Slow Cooker Italian Shredded Beef

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This tender Italian Beef cooked in the slow cooker with garlic, red wine, onions, and beef broth is the ultimate comfort food dish. Served with polenta or mashed potatoes, it's a dinner everyone loves.

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This Slow Cooker Italian Beef is an easy dinner recipe that is sure to please everyone at the dinner table. You can easily use this Italian beef recipe to make quick and simple subs, on top of pasta, or served with your favorite salad!

Lately, I have been on the hunt for a delicious Italian beef sandwich recipe. You know the kind with onions, peppers, and some yummy hot giardiniera that's then dipped in au jus?

Well, I am happy to report that, after lots of hunting, I finally found one I fell in love with!

The recipe below is just for the beef, but for maximum enjoyment, add a bun and get ready to dip. Make it any way that you like with roasted peppers, onions, cheese, or hot giardiniera. You can also serve it over rice or pasta.

It’s guaranteed to please!

Shredded Italian beef served in a bowl and as a sandwich on a wooden board.

Key Ingredients For Slow Cooker Italian Beef

All of these ingredients are easy to find, and they really enhance the flavor of the beef.

  • Beef: Use a beef roast that will shred really nicely. I used extra-lean top round roast. Extra-lean is crucial because it means there won't be as much grease in the slow cooker as it cooks.
  • Onion: Use either red, white, or yellow onions - the red onion will have a more robust flavor.
  • Garlic: For the most assertive flavor, use freshly minced garlic cloves. Garlic powder can also work in a pinch. I recommend using three teaspoons.
  • Italian Seasoning: If you don't have a jar of dried Italian seasoning, you can make it! Use a tiny bit of the following herbs mixed together - basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and parsley.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: This is optional. Use more if you want it to taste spicier.
  • Red Wine: The best red wine to use when you cook beef is Pinot Noir or Merlot. You can also just use red cooking wine.
  • Beef Broth: Either beef broth or beef stock will work!

Note: For a complete list of ingredients and detailed instructions on how to make this slow cooker Italian beef, take a look at the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!

What To Serve With Italian Beef

I like to enjoy this Italian beef as a sandwich! So, I serve it on a warm hoagie bun sliced in half. You can also serve it on top of some mashed potatoes with the beef au jus poured over the top.

If you want to keep your dinner low-carb, serve this slow cooker Italian beef alongside some cauliflower mash instead!

Then I like to add some greens. Favorite options include these Healthy Kale Caesar Salad or some Balsamic Brussels Sprouts.

Italian beef sandwich on two slices of bread with spinach.

Recipe Tips And Ideas

Follow these tips to ensure that this slow cooker Italian beef recipe turns out tender and flavorful every single time!

  • Save yourself time and use frozen diced onions. This is also a great idea if you have family members that don't like onions. Frozen chopped onions hide inside the beef better.
  • You will know it is ready when the roast shreds easily with a fork.
  • Strain the beef and use the broth in a homemade gravy for mashed potatoes.
  • If you don't buy extra-lean roast, trim the fat around the meat before placing it into the slow cooker.

Frequently Asked Questions About Italian Beef

Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers…

Yes, you can freeze the beef after you cook it. Let it cool completely first, and then strain the meat and store it in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag. It will stay fresh for up to 3 months.

When you are ready to eat it again, just place the bag in the refrigerator overnight for it to thaw out.

When you are buying meat for a family, the rule to remember is to prepare half a pound of meat per person. So, for a family of four, cook a 2-pound beef roast.

The best way to make your Italian beef spicier is to use more red pepper flakes. You can also add a splash of hot sauce or chili oil to the beef too!

In most cases, a 2-pound beef roast will take half as long to cook on high as it does on low - so it should take about 4-6 hours to cook on high. In most cases, expect it to take closer to 6 hours. You'll know it is ready when you can easily shred it with a fork!

The best thing about this roast is that you can use the broth it cooks in as an au jus for dipping your sandwich. In fact, you can just scoop some of the broth out of the slow cooker. If you want to make more, put it into a saucepan and add more beef broth.

Crockpot Italian shredded beef served in a white bowl with a tomato and red wine sauce.
The Recipe
Slow cooker Italian beef in a bowl with shredded beef in a red sauce served with bread and spinach on the side.

Slow Cooker Italian Shredded Beef

COOK TIME: 8 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 8 Hours, 10 Min
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  • 2 lbs extra lean top round beef roast (or chuck roast, trimmed)
  • 14 oz canned fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup red wine (or extra beef broth)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

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Cut the beef into large pieces, about 3-4 inches each. Season the beef with salt and pepper. For the best flavor, sear the beef in a heavy skillet until browned on the outside. This skip can be skipped to save time.

Beef being seared in a hot skillet.

In the bottom of the slow cooker, mix together the diced tomatoes, beef broth, red wine, tomato paste, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Once combined, add the beef. Cook on low for 8 hours until beef shreds easily with a fork.

Beef, diced tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste, and seasoning in a slow cooker.

If the sauce seems runny at all, let the slow cooker cook a bit longer with the lid open to thicken. Serve with pasta, polenta, mashed potatoes, or in a sandwich.

Italian beef in a thick tomato based sauce in a crockpot.

If you will be using the beef in Italian beef sandwiches, you can strain the broth to make an au jus for dipping.

Italian shredded beef sandwich on a baguette.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2/3 cup (201g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 231
Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 92mg
Sodium 319mg
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 3g
Protein 37g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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