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This delicious and simple Slow Cooker Chicago Italian Beef is loaded with Italian style flavor, and makes a great set-it-and-forget-it dinner, or a pre-made party food! Serve it up on long sandwich rolls, or as an open faced sandwich on focaccia topped with melty and gooey cheese!


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Easy and Delicious Chicago-Style Slow Cooker Italian Beef

Chicago is one of my favorite places I have ever visited It’s a town full of great people, unique culture, giant silver beans, and of course- delicious foods. And while I cannot of clear conscience advocate for you trying a deep dish pizza (thin crust all the way, baby), I will say that their Chicago style beef is top notch.

While if you haven’t been to Chcicago yet, you should goooooo- the good news is, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy some delicious Chicago style Italian beef. You’ll only have to go as far as your local grocery store. Another bonus? You’re crockpot is going to do most of the work It’s a win-win!

Looking for more great sandwich ideas?

Why not try my Marinated Pork Chop Bánh mì Ciabatta Sandwiches,  Slow Cooker Italian Shredded PorkSpicy Muffuletta Oven Panini, or Great Grandma’s Sloppy Joe!

closeup chicago Italian beef

Searing in the flavor: Making the dry rub for the Slow Cooker Shredded Beef

This Slow Cooker Chicago Style Italian Beef recipe starts off with a good sized chuck roast, and a super flavorful rub of dried herbs. Before adding the beef to the crockpot, you’ll coat it in a quick and simple dry rub, and sear the meat well. This not only gives the meat a great umami richness, it also helps seal in the Italian flavors in the dry rub. 

What goes into the dry rub?

  • • Coarse sea salt.
  • Fresh ground pepper.
  • Dried oregano.
  • Dried basil.
  • Garlic powder.
  • Onion powder.
  • Dried rosemary. 
seasoning the chuck roast

Layer up the Italian pot roast in the slow cooker, and let it simmer

Before adding your seasoned and seared beef to the slow cooker, you’ll layer in some aromatics, chicken stock, red wine, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Layer the seared beef on top, pop a lid on it- and let that bad boy slow cook for 6-8 hours, until it easily pulls with a fork.

adding the beef to the crockpot

Finishing the crockpot Chicago Italian Beef

Once the Chicago Style Italian Beef is ready to shred, remove the meat from the crockpot, and shred it with 2 forks. Make sure to discard any excess fat.

Next, skim the fat from the top of the cooking liquid, and discard. At this point- you’ll blend the sauce. This can either be done with an immersion blender, or standard blender. If using an immersion blender- you can blend that sauce up right in the crockpot. If you’re using a regular blender, transfer the liquid to the blender, and pulse until smooth.

You’re gonna go ahead and pulverize everything into one homogenous sauce, then add the shredded beef right back into the sauce in the crockpot. At this point- you can keep it on warm and let guests serve themselves, or go ahead and dive in!

chicago Italian beef

Serving Suggestions for the Chicago Italian Beef Recipe

I love to serve this beef up on a long roll with plenty of provolone cheese and sauce, or as an open-faced sandwich on some fresh baked focaccia bread, with a bit of grated Italian blend cheese on top. For the open-faced sandwich, pop the sandwiches under the broiler for 305 minutes, until the cheese gets nice and bubbly. Serve them with a side of sauce for dipping!

chicago Italian beef open faced sandwiches

Tips for using up leftover ingredients

While I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what to do with the leftover wine (glug glug), sometimes you just don’t have an immediate use for an ingredient a recipe calls for, so storing them for the long haul can be helpful, and less wasteful.

Here’s a few tips and tricks for storing/using up leftover ingredients:

  • Make tomato paste ice cubes, then transfer them to a freezer safe bag- and voila, you’ve got tomato paste on hand whenever you need it! It’s a great way to stretch a super cheap can on tomato paste! 
  • Store leftover chicken stock in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container for when you need it. 
  • Pepperoncini peppers make a great addition to salads- just ask Olive Garden! You can also use them to make my Pepperoncini Mayo for my Leftover Pot Roast Grinder Sandwiches! 
  • Use the leftover fresh thyme for making some cocktails, like my Strawberry Thyme Vodka Lemonade, or Honey and Thyme Paloma!
chicago Italian beef and foccaccia
chicago Italian beef
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Slow Cooker Chicago Italian Beef

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dinner
Keyword: beef, crockpot recipes, shredded beef, slow cooker recipes


  • 5-7 quart crockpot or slow cooker
  • blender or immersion blender
  • large deep frying pan, or cast iron skillet


Dry Rub

  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt, or flakey sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper 
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano 
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil 
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder 
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary 

Italian Beef

  • 3-5 lbs beef chuck roast
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil, such as canola 
  • 2 small sprigs fresh thyme 
  • 1 cup chicken stock 
  • 1 cup red wine (blend or Cabernet Sauvignon preferred), (nothing too bitter)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced 
  • 6 peeled garlic cloves
  • 4 whole jarred pepperoncini peppers
  • 1/3 cup pepperoncini pepper brine (from jar)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste 


  • Add sliced onion, whole garlic, whole pepperoncini peppers and brine, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, chicken stock, red wine and fresh thyme sprigs to the bottom of a slow cooker (5-7 quart preferred).
    2. Add the dry rub ingredients to a small bowl and toss well with a fork to combine.
    3. Pat the chuck roast dry with paper towels, and and rub seasonings all over meat on all sides.
    4. Add the oil to a large, deep frying pan or cast iron skillet, and heat over high heat for 3-4 minutes to get it nice and hot.
    5. Add the seasoned chuck roast to the hot pan, and sear meat on all sides for 5-6 minutes a side until well browned.
    6. Transfer the seared meat to the slow cooker/crockpot with the other ingredients.
    7. Cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until meat is easily shredded with a fork.
    8. Remove the meat from the slow cooker to a cutting board or dish and shred, discarding any really fatty pieces.
    9. Skim the fat from the top of the slow cooker liquid, and discard.
    10. Using a standard blender or immersion blender, blend the crockpot liquid and ingredients until a smooth sauce is achieved. Add to slow cooker (if using immersion blender, you can blend right in the slow cooker!) and add the shredded beef back in.
    11. Toss to coat.
    12. Serve warm on long rolls with provolone cheese, or layer on top of focaccia slices, top with cheese and broil 3-5 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.

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