Italian beef is a beloved dish that has captured the hearts and taste buds of foodies, home cooks, and Italian cuisine lovers around the world. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps to create an authentic Italian beef dish right in your own kitchen.

italian beef

Introduction to Italian Beef

The origins of Italian beef can be traced back to early 20th-century Chicago, where Italian immigrants would slow-cook tougher cuts of meat until tender and juicy. The dish quickly became a staple in Italian-American households and eventually found its way into restaurants. Today, Italian beef holds a special place in Italian cuisine, known for its rich flavors and versatility.

Ingredients Needed

To make authentic Italian beef at home, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 3-4 lbs of beef roast (preferably chuck or round)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of red wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jar of pepperoncini peppers (including liquid)

Preparation Steps

Choosing the Right Cut of Beef

Start with a 3-4 lb beef roast, either chuck or round. These cuts are perfect for slow cooking as they become incredibly tender and flavorful over time. Trim any excess fat to ensure a leaner final product.

Seasoning the Beef

Rub the beef roast with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Then, evenly coat the roast with a blend of dried oregano, basil, thyme, and red pepper flakes. This custom blend of Italian spices will infuse the meat with rich, aromatic flavors.

Slow Cooking to Perfection

  1. Sear the Beef: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the beef roast on all sides until browned. This step locks in the juices and adds depth to the flavor.
  2. Cook the Aromatics: Transfer the seared beef to a slow cooker. In the same skillet, cook the sliced onion until caramelized, then add it to the slow cooker.
  3. Add Liquid: Pour the beef broth, water, red wine (if using), and the liquid from the jar of pepperoncini peppers into the slow cooker. Add the pepperoncini peppers themselves as well.
  4. Slow Cook: Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 8-10 hours, or until the beef is fork-tender and easily shredded.

Serving Suggestions

Italian beef can be enjoyed in various delicious ways:

  • Italian Beef Sandwich: Pile the shredded beef onto a crusty Italian roll and top with sautéed bell peppers or giardiniera (a spicy pickled vegetable mix).
  • With Pasta: Serve the shredded beef over a bed of pasta, such as fettuccine or pappardelle, and drizzle with some of the flavorful cooking liquid.
  • On a Salad: Create a hearty salad by topping mixed greens with Italian beef, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Pro Tips

  • Marinate Overnight: For an even more flavorful dish, marinate the beef with the spice rub and garlic overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Use Quality Beef Broth: Opt for a high-quality beef broth or make your own for a richer taste.
  • Check the Seasoning: Taste the liquid before serving and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes if needed.


Creating authentic Italian beef at home is a rewarding experience that brings a taste of Italy to your kitchen. With the right ingredients and preparation steps, you’ll impress your family and friends with this flavorful dish. Give it a try and share your results with us—we’d love to hear about your culinary adventures!

Buon appetito!

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