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Italian beef sandwiches are a classic Chicago-style sandwich. Our version is made with paper-thin slices of deli roast beef, sharp provolone cheese, spicy pepperoncini peppers, all wrapped in a soft roll with extra beef broth for dipping. If this doesn’t get your tastebuds rockin’, I don’t know what will!
Not sure what to eat for a weeknight dinner? Looking for something fun and different to pack for a picnic or baseball game? The Italian beef sandwich has you covered. This sandwich is typically made with beef that’s been braised for hours, and while that certainly makes for a delicious sandwich, we wanted to hit the easy button for this one. Because sometimes life gets crazy and there’s nothing better than some time back in your day. That’s why we use deli roast beef and zhuzh it up a bit with some beef broth. It’s just as moist and tender as if it had been sitting in the slow cooker all day.
Easy Italian Beef Sandwiches
There are really so many ways to serve these sandwiches. We love these for an easy weeknight dinner, but they’re also perfect to serve for a football party or any other game night!
Because these beauties are so incredibly EASY to make, you have time to make a few other dishes to serve alongside them, depending on your needs. For a weeknight meal, we like to go a bit lighter and serve these with an Italian Chopped Salad or Instant Pot Homemade Tomato Soup.
For game day, nothing pairs better with a few beers than an Italian Beef Sandwich, and some Crispy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings! For a classic pairing that will please everyone, you can’t go wrong with these Homemade Baked French Fries.
Where did the Italian Beef Sandwich Originate?
This classic sandwich’s debut dates back to the 1930s. Al Ferreri needed a way to stretch a beef roast to feed more mouths during the great depression when meat was a scarce commodity. He thinly sliced the beef and soaked it in au jus, then put it on fresh Italian bread. His original Italian Beef Sandwich recipe is still served in the family’s Chicago restaurant today.
How to Make Italian Beef Sandwiches
There are just four simple ingredients on this sandwich:
- Roast beef, thinly sliced from the deli, then soaked in a flavorful beef broth.
- Provolone cheese, also thinly sliced.
- Pepperoncinis for a little tang and a little heat.
- Hoagie rolls that are soft on the inside with a little crunch on the outside. French rolls would be a fine substitution.
Italian Beef Broth
The homemade broth is simple, but adds incredible flavor that you just won’t get from a can. Mix together, then simmer in a saucepan, beef base (bouillon), water, oregano, bay leaf, garlic and black pepper. Taste and adjust the salt if you need to. Packaged beef broth can be used as noted in the printable recipe card below if bouillon is not available.
- The thing I love most about these sandwiches is that you can change it up to suit your wants and needs! If roast beef isn’t your thing, this would be just as good made with deli turkey and chicken stock. If you’re not into the spiciness of pepperoncini, try using jarred roasted red peppers. That will add a nice smoky element. Conversely, if you love heat and want to add some more to your Italian beef sandwiches, try adding some super spicy Calabrian chili peppers. But watch out – they are HOT!
- These would also make awesome paninis! Just slather the top of the buns with some butter or oil and press them in a panini press until crisp and melty. So good!
- If you’re looking for something to do with any leftover roast beef and you’ve got a hankering for something sweet and savory, try these Monte Cristo Sliders. These are usually made with turkey or ham, but deli roast beef would work perfectly also.
Sandwiches, Sandwiches, and More Sandwiches!
If you’re anything like me, you just can’t get enough sandwiches. And since you’re reading this post, I’m willing to bet that you probably are a fellow sandwich fan. So after you finish making these classic Italian beef sandwiches, be sure to check out some of my other favorite sandwich recipes like this Cuban Sandwich, Blackened Chicken Sandwich with shishito peppers, and for a sweet ending, try these Oatmeal Cream Pies! Enjoy!
Italian Beef Sandwich
For the sandwich
- 1 pound roast beef thin sliced
- 1/4 pound provolone cheese sliced
- 4 large hoagie buns
- 1 cup pepperoncini peppers stems and seeds removed
For the broth
- 5 teaspoons low sodium beef base
- 3 cups water
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large bay leaf
- Combine the water, beef base, bay leaf, oregano, pepper, and garlic in a pot and bring to a boil. Dissolve the beef base and boil for 5-7 minutes to reduce liquid by about 1/3.
- Taste test the broth and adjust salt and pepper if required.
- Dip the roast beef into the broth for 1-2 minutes or until hot and place on the 4 hoagie buns dividing the beef evenly. Divide the provolone cheese and peppers as well onto the 4 sandwiches.
- Serve each sandwich with a side of the beef broth for dipping. Enjoy!
- Low sodium beef base was used. The instructions on the jar say 1 teaspoon beef base per 1 cup of water. In order to strengthen the beef flavor, 5 teaspoons of base were used for just 3 cups of water.
- If the beef base (au jus) after reducing by ⅓ is still not salty enough make adjustments to it prior to submerging the roast beef to get the flavor just right.
- If you can't find beef base substitute 4 cups boxed beef stock and reduce on the stove by ⅓ to 1/2 to increase the beef flavor.