Requiring only 5 minutes of prep and simple ingredients, this slow cooker Italian beef recipe is the stuff legends are made of. Oh, and it’s mouthwateringly good!
My dearest mother is the culinary genius behind this tasty masterpiece everyone refers to as Mother Theresa’s Famous Italian Beef. She’s been making it since I was a little kid and it is quite the crowd pleaser.
Why This Recipe Works
Super Quick Prep + Easy Ingredients – only takes 5 minutes to prep. It only takes 5 minutes to throw together in the slow cooker. Then let the slow cooker do the rest!
Foolproof Perfection – This recipe is cooked low and slow in a slow cooker/crockpot which makes the Italian beef perfectly tender every time! Just set it, forget it, and let the slow cooker do its magic!
Tender Deliciousness – My Italian seasoning blend combined with beer and pepperoncini peppers adds a ton of delicious flavor. The pepperoncinis give the Italian beef a little zing that is absolute perfection!
Leftovers – The leftovers are amazing and reheat wonderfully. This is a great make-ahead or meal prep recipe.
Ingredients You’ll Need
This recipes consists of four things; Italian seasoning, beer, jarred pepperoncini peppers, and a beef roast. That’s it!
Shortcut Tip: This recipe includes my homemade Italian seasoning blend. However, a store-bought Italian seasoning packet can be used as a substitute.
Italian Seasoning Ingredients
Ingredients – My homemade Italian seasoning blend includes salt, oregano, onion powder, parsley, white sugar, black pepper, basil, thyme, celery powder, and red pepper flakes.
Dried – All the ingredients are dried. Do not use fresh herbs!
Make Extras – Double or triple the Italian Seasoning portion of the recipe to use for later. Store the blend in a sealed container in a cool dark place like a drawer, cabinet or pantry.
Step 1 – Italian Seasoning: Mix up the Italian Seasoning ingredients and generously rub it all over the roast. If using a store-bought Italian seasoning packet, use the entire packet.
Step 2 – Slow Cook: Put the seasoned roast, beer, and pepperoncini peppers (including the juice!) in a slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours.
Step 3 – Shred + Slow Cook (round 2): Shred the roast with two forks. Return the shredded beef to the slow cooker for an additional hour so it can soak up all the delicious flavors from the drippings, beer, and pepperoncinis.
Note: If you are short on time, put the slow cooker on high for 4-5 hours, flipping the roast halfway through cooking to keep the topside from drying out. However, the beef may not be as tender or easy to shred.
My Top Recipe Tips
- Low and slow is the way to go!
You can put your slow cooker on high for 4-5 hours if you are pinched for time. However, I don’t recommend it. This recipe is significantly better when cooked low and slow. Every bite melts in your mouth and is well worth the extra slow-cooking time!
2. Buy a cheap roast.
There is no need to spend money on an expensive roast because cooking it low and slow in the slow cooker will make any roast tender and delicious! So, save your pennies and opt for a cheaper roast. Chuck roast is a great option!
3. Store the Italian beef in the cooking liquid/au jus.
The Italian beef is slow cooked in beer and pepperoncini peppers. Store the shredded Italian beef in the leftover cooking liquid from the slow cooker. This helps keep the Italian beef juicy and adds incredible flavor to leftovers!
4. Top Italian beef sandwiches with purple cabbage.
If you are using your Italian beef to make sliders or sandwiches, top it with my lime purple cabbage. Finely slice the purple cabbage. Season it with a pinch of salt and a couple squeezes of lime juice. Then add it to your sammie for crunch, freshness, and a little zest!
For this recipe specifically, pretty much any roast will work, but I recommend using a chuck roast. It is cheap and good for shredding!
If you’re cooking it on low, the roast isn’t done yet! Keep in it the slow cooker on low until you are able to shred it.
If you are cooking the roast on high, it is possible it isn’t done yet but more likely it is tough from being cooked at a high heat.
A light beer is always a safe option. Stay away from IPAs for this recipe.
If you are look for an alcohol-free substitution, swap out beer for beef stock!
Note: The alcohol will cook out during the cooking process. This recipe is suitable for children!
Pepperoncini peppers are little greenish yellow peppers. They originate from Italy or Greece, depending on who you ask! This recipe calls for jarred pepperoncinis which means they are technically pickled.
Pepperoncinis are relatively mild peppers. While they do have a little zing, they are less spicy than most peppers. I would call them more tangy than spicy.
Jarred pepperconcini peppers are very easy to find at most grocery stores. You can find them where you’d find pickles and olives.
My favorite ways to eat Italian beef is in a sandwich. I put it in a soft Hawaiian roll, top it with zested purple cabbage, and a side of the Italian beef juice for dipping. It is amazing.
You can also use it in paninis, breakfast hashes, burrito bowls, gyros … the list goes on! You could also serve the Italian beef as a main dish with sides of mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.
Tip: Serve the Italian beef with a side of the au jus from the slow cooker for dipping!
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Watch the How-to Video
Mother Theresa’s Famous Italian Beef
Italian Seasoning Ingredients (see note 1):
- 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/8 tsp dried thyme
- 1/8 tsp celery powder
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, (optional)
- 3-4 lb beef roast, (see note 2)
- 12 oz beer, (1 can/bottle)
- 16 oz jarred pepperoncini peppers + juice, (see note 3)
- Italian Seasoning: Make the Italian Seasoning by mixing all Italian Seasoning Ingredients in a small bowl until well combined (see note 1). Then use the Italian Seasoning to season all sides of the roast.
- Slow Cook: Put the seasoned roast, the beer and the entire jar of pepperoncini peppers, including the juice, in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until the roast can easily be pulled apart with two forks (see note 4).
- Shred + Slow Cook (round 2): Remove the roast from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Return the shredded beef to the slow cooker for an additional hour (still on low) so the shredded beef can soak up all the delicious flavors.
- Serve: Serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container until needed (see note 5). Tip: Serve the Italian beef with a side of the au jus from the slow cooker for dipping!