This post has been updated and was originally published on October 4th, 2017.
When my husband Ryan first made Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches it was love at first taste for every single one of us. We all know that Ryan is the genius in our kitchen, and this time, he truly outdid himself.
We have been enjoying the French Dip Sandwiches for several years now, and every time, when he is cooking the roast in the Instant Pot, there is an amazing aroma that fills the house, and as soon as the kids smell it, they literally jump for joy!
I’m not even exaggerating! I swear my son Phillip, sits there and eats it with his eyes closed, enjoying every single last bite.
What’s the Best Cut of Meat for Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches?
Since we have a large family, a premium roast is out of the question. We certainly didn’t want to use up our entire grocery budget on a single meal! We wanted a cut of meat that was both economical, flavorful and tender. You’ll find recipes using different cuts of meat, but I believe chuck roast is the way to go.
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We decided on a chuck roast which is very rich and flavorful but the only problem with chuck roast is that it is a tough cut of beef. Well, thanks to the magic of the Instant Pot, this chuck roast will come out so tender that you won’t even be able to remove it from the pot without it falling apart. The rich flavor and juiciness are absolutely heavenly.
Do I Really Have to Cook it For 100 Minutes?
I can’t stress this enough, YES! Yes, you should cook it for 100 minutes. I see so many disappointed posts online about people who cooked theirs for less time and the meat was tough. Since the meat is tough, people assume they overcooked it. The actual answer is quite the contrary.
A chuck roast is the kind of meat that needs to be cooked to death. The Instant Pot has allowed us to cook it faster, but it still needs a lot of time in there to be fall-apart tender. The longer it’s in there, the more tender it will be. We found the perfect time to be 100 minutes plus natural pressure release.
What Ingredients Do I Need for Instant Pot French Dip?
You’ll need only a few basic ingredients to make the most delicious Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches you’ll ever try! I have had people say this recipe is better than any French Dip Sandwich they’ve had, even at restaurants. You won’t believe how easy and delicious it is to make your own at home!
You should buy an approximately 2.5 to 3-pound chuck roast. You’ll need salt, pepper and garlic powder to season the roast before browning it. The other ingredients you will need are one sliced onion, sweet red table wine like this one which is our favorite, soy sauce, unsalted beef stock, and a bay leaf. Finally, you need some crusty French bread, butter, and provolone cheese. That’s it!
Kitchen Prep Tools, Utensils & Appliances
Here is a list of the kitchen prep tools, utensils, and appliances I used to make this recipe.
Prep Tools & Utensils
These are the items I used to prep and make this recipe:
- pinch bowls for holding the spices
- a large measuring cup for the stock and a one-cup measuring cup for the wine and soy sauce
- a cutting board and a chef’s knife
- metal tongs for handling the meat
Appliances & Cookware
Serving Platters & Dishes
Instant Pot Accessories
Make sure to check out my post on Must-Have Accessories for the Instant Pot. You’ll find a complete list of all the top accessories that can be used with your Instant Pot.
A word on the wine. If you need to sub the wine for any reason, you can use grape juice instead. We’ve made it with grape juice before when we forget to buy the wine, and our supermarket won’t let us buy it on a Sunday morning! That being said, even if you use wine, it’s safe for the kids to eat. I’m allergic to alcohol and I have no problem eating these Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches.
I know you will absolutely love this recipe for Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches! Let me know in the comments when you make them and how much you enjoyed them. I included a step-by-step below in case you need it. If you don’t, just scroll down to the printable recipe. Looking for another meal to feed a crowd? Try my super popular and easy Instant Pot Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork!
How to Make French Dip Sandwiches
Making a perfectly cooked roast for french dip sandwiches is actually quite simple with the help of the Instant Pot. Just follow these easy steps and you’ll be enjoying the most extraordinarily delicious sandwiches, and with minimal effort.
Gather The Ingredients
Like I mentioned above, this recipe requires very simple ingredients. I’m sure you’ll already have most of them in your pantry and refrigerator.
Here’s a complete rundown of exactly what you’ll need:
- Vegetable Oil
- Chuck Roast – You’ll want a 2 ½ to 3-pound chuck roast. If you want to double the recipe, just add another 2 ½ to 3-pound chuck roast to the pot. Just make sure that any one roast is not larger than about 3 pounds or it might not cook properly. Oh, and there’s no need to double the liquid or adjust the cook time.
- Kosher Salt
- Ground Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Yellow Onion
- Sweet Red Wine – I prefer Llano Sweet Red but any sweet red wine will work. And, as I mentioned above, grape juice makes a perfect alcohol free substitution.
- Soy Sauce – Soy sauce adds that extra umami punch to any beefy recipe. We usually always have a large bottle of Kikkoman in our spice cabinet because we love using it to boost the flavor of any beef recipe.
- Unsalted Beef Stock – This recipe already calls for seasoning the roast with salt. It also has soy sauce in it. With that, this recipe is super flavorful with the perfect saltiness. Since I don’t want to go overboard with the sodium, I use unsalted beef stock. I use the Unsalted Beef Stock from Kitchen Basics or Swanson.
- Bay Leaf
- French Bread – I’ve made these sandwiches on all types of bread including large soft rolls, Ciabatta rolls, regular white bread slices and it’s great on all of them. But our preferred bread is crusty french bread.
- Butter – I like to spread butter on the slices of bread and toast them before making our sandwiches.
- Provolone Cheese – Provolone is our preferred cheese on these sandwiches because it melts so well and the mild flavor doesn’t compete with the wonderfully beefy flavor of the chuck roast and au jus. Swiss cheese makes a great substitute.
Season the Roast
Start by seasoning the chuck roast. We usually try to get a 3 lb roast. The only thing you need to season it is salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sprinkle the spices on the meat, and rub them all in, making sure to get an even coat on both sides.
Sear the Roast
Turn your Instant Pot to Sauté and, using the Adjust button, set the heat level to ‘More’. Wait for a few minutes to make sure the pot gets nice and hot. Once the digital display reads ‘Hot’, your pot is ready.
It’s important to sear the meat because it helps develop a rich meaty flavor and makes for a much better tasting roast. So, once the pot is hot, add the oil and allow it to get hot. This takes about 30 seconds.
Once the oil is hot, it’s time to add the roast to the pot. Using a pair of tongs, place the roast in the pot with the fattiest side down. You’ll want to get it nice and brown on both sides. So, let it sit undisturbed cooking on one side for at least 5 minutes and up to 10 minutes. I usually let it sit longer on each side to make sure it has a really nice sear.
Slice an Onion
While your roast is browning, you can take that time to slice the onion into thin strips.
Turn the Roast
Once the first side has finished searing, grab the tongs and flip the roast onto the other side and let it sit for another 5 to 10 minutes. I like to sear the roast for a few minutes on its sides also.
Remove the Roast
Once the roast is browned on all sides, you can remove it from the pot and set it on a cutting board until it’s ready to go back in the pot. When it’s finished searing, the roast should look like this:
Cook the Onions
Now, don’t be tempted to clean your pot. Don’t scrape the good stuff from the bottom. Just place your onion slices in there, and move them around until they get a nice, golden color to them. The good stuff at the bottom will start to come off as you mix the onions and add your liquids. Continue to the sauté the onions until they are soft and start to turn a golden color. This will take about 10 to 12 minutes.
Prepare the Au Jus
Once the onions are soft and just starting to caramelize, you can start adding the liquids that will serve as the base for the most delicious au jus. The au jus is the liquid that is served with the sandwiches and used for dipping.
First, add the wine. No worries, most of the alcohol cooks out of it, so it’s safe for the kiddos! Ryan likes to use a sweet red table wine. He uses a local Texas brand called Llano.
Mix the wine with the onions, and let the wine stay on the heat until it reduces to about half. While the wine is reducing, deglaze the bottom of the pot with a wooden or silicone spatula. This takes approximately 2 minutes in a very hot pot. The onions should end up looking like the ones below.
Next, add the soy sauce and beef stock.
Cook the Roast
Finally, add the roast back into the pot and don’t forget to add the bay leaf (I forget about half of the time). At this point, you can cancel the Sauté function on the pot. Close your Instant Pot and set it on Manual, High Pressure for 100 minutes.
Once the pot beeps and it’s done pressure cooking, allow it to do a 25-minute natural pressure release (NPR). After 25 minutes, release any steam left in the pot and when the pin drops, open it and be amazed at the beauty!
A Perfectly Tender, Juicy, Flavorful Roast
We don’t attempt to take the whole roast out of the pot since it is fall-apart tender. We use some tongs to take out a piece at a time and shred it for the sandwiches.
Building the Perfect French Dip Sandwich
When the meat is ready, it’s time to start making sandwiches. I know your mouth is probably watering by now so let’s get started.
Toast the Bread
You’ll want to prep your bread. A French baguette is an obvious choice here. Brush the inside of the bread with some melted butter and then toast it. We like to toast it on the stove using an iron skillet. We love this one for doing this.
Add the Cheese
Next, place two slices of provolone cheese on the bread. No need to melt the cheese since the hot meat on top of it will do the job for you.
Add the Meat
Load up the bread with some shredded roast and close the sandwich up.
Serve the Au Jus
Using a ladle or large serving spoon, scoop out the juice and serve some in a ramekin for each sandwich.
Sit back, dip the sandwich in the au jus and enjoy my friends! Enjoy! I’m telling you, you will thank me after eating one of these. They are amazing!!
Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches
A juicy and tender roast, covered in melted provolone on a butter toasted french bread
for the Roast
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil I use avocado oil
- 3 pounds chuck roast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large yellow onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup sweet red wine I prefer Llano Sweet Red
- ½ cup soy sauce I prefer Kikkoman
- 4 cups unsalted beef stock I prefer Kitchen Basics
- 1 bay leaf
for the Sandwiches
- 2 loaves french bread
- 1 stick salted butter
- 16 slices provolone cheese
cook the Roast
- Season Roast: Start by seasoning the chuck roast with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Make sure to rub in the spices and evenly coat the roast.
- Sear Roast: Turn on 'Sauté' and adjust the heat level to 'Normal'. Allow the pot to heat up until the display reads 'Hot' and then add the vegetable oil and allow it to heat up. Next, place the chuck roast in the pot and sear undisturbed on one side for at least 5 minutes or until it's nicely browned. Then, turn the roast over and brown on the other side. Once the roast has browned nicely on all sides, remove it from the Instant Pot and set aside. Leave the browned bits in the bottom of the pot.
- Sauté Onion: Add the sliced onion to the Instant Pot and sauté, deglazing the bottom of the pot and tossing the onion in the browned bits as they cook. Continue to sauté the onions until they are a golden brown and starting to caramelize. About 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add Wine: Add the red wine to the onions and cook, continuing to deglaze the bottom of the pot, until the wine is reduced by half. About 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add Soy Sauce, Stock & Roast: Add the soy sauce and beef stock to the pot, place the chuck roast back into the pot and then add the bay leaf. Turn off the Sauté function.
- 100-Minute Cook Time: Close the Instant Pot, set the pressure release valve to 'Sealing' and set the pot to cook on 'Manual' or 'Pressure Cook', 'High Pressure' for 100 minutes.
- 25-Minute NPR: Once the 100-minute cook time has completed, allow for a 25-minute Natural Pressure Release. When the 25-minute NPR has finished, release the remaining pressure and then open the pot.
- Serve Roast: The chuck roast is ready to serve. It will fall apart as you try to remove it from the pot. I usually serve it straight from the pot, pulling pieces of meat off the roast using my metal tongs. I'll then scoop out some of the juice with a ladle and serve it in a small ramekin for dipping.
make the Sandwiches
- Toast Bread: Cut each loaf of french bread into 2 to 4 sections (depending on length), butter each side and toast on a skillet.
- Add Cheese & Roast: Place two slices of provolone cheese on the bread and serve the roast over the top of the cheese.
- Enjoy the best French Dip sandwiches ever!
While every effort is made to correctly calculate these nutritional facts, they should be used as general guidance as they may not be 100% accurate.