Copycat Portillo’s Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe

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Avatar Author's default profile picture Team October 1, 2020

Portillo’s Italian beef sandwich is famous for its savory and hearty flavors. One can never go wrong with a sandwich like this. This iconic sandwich is made by simmering beef in aromatic spices then served with beef au jus on a bread roll. While it is called Italian, it actually didn’t come from Italy. Rather, it originated from Italian immigrants in Chicago. Grab your pan and crock pot, and we’ll show you how to make this homemade Italian beef sandwich recipe by Portillo’s.

Tips in Making Italian Beef Sandwiches Like Portillo’s

Apart from the fact that they are served fresh daily, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about Portillo’s Italian beef sandwiches; so here it goes. Let’s start recreating the best Chicago Italian beef sandwich.

  • Slice the beef as thin as possible. This allows you to pile on the meat slices which can then soak up the au jus, making the sandwich more flavorful.
  • Season the whole beef to bring out its umami. The simple seasoning of mustard, salt, and pepper gives your meat a great boost, especially after searing all the flavors in.
  • Slow cook the well-seasoned thin-sliced beef in beef broth. This ensures that the beef absorbs the flavors more than the average whole beef cuts.
  • Don’t forget to top it with hot peppers. It adds profile and spice to every bite of this most filling sandwich. You can use pepperocini or giardiniera peppers. If you prefer less spice, you may tone down the heat by replacing hot peppers with sweet peppers. Try topping your sandwich with piquillo or banana peppers instead.
  • Choose the right bread. In this case, the right bread means a bread that can withstand the juices of the beef and the savory beef gravy dip. You can use Turano rolls or hoagie rolls.
Tip: Do a little trick before serving by gently warming the beef in the au jus to make it extra juicy.

How To Make Copycat Portillo's Italian Beef Sandwich

Recreate Portillo’s Italian beef recipe in the comfort of your own home. It has thin-sliced slow-roasted chuck roast beef covered in a generous amount of rich savory beef gravy, and topped with spicy giardiniera pepper.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 10 mins


  • 2 lb chuck roast
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 oz red onions, quartered
  • 3 oz carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3 oz celery, leaves and stalks, cut into chunks
  • 5 tbsp mustard, prepared
  • 4 cups beef broth, plus more as needed
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, or rendered beef tallow
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste, to taste

To serve:

  • 2 hoagie rolls
  • ¼ cup pepperocini peppers, or giardiniera peppers, sliced into strips
  • Prepared mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Au jus


  1. Heat up a skillet with oil and sear the meat on all sides until evenly caramelized.

  2. Season evenly on all sides with salt and pepper while searing.

  3. Transfer to a clean working area and brush the mustard around the stewing beef.

  4. Make a vegetable bed inside your crock pot by adding red onions, celery, and carrots.

  5. Add all the spices into the crockpot and layer the seared beef on top of the vegetables.

  6. Pour enough beef broth to cover the beef.

  7. Cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 5 to 6 hours, until beef is tender enough to be pulled and shredded.

  8. You may need to add more beef broth to cover the beef while being slow-cooked.

  9. Once done, set aside the beef and transfer all other contents into a saucepot.

  10. Reduce the beef broth to half which will turn it into au jus, and strain once done. Discard all other solids.

  11. Layer your cooked beef onto a flat surface. Then either shred or pull apart using a pair of forks or thinly slice the beef. Set aside.

  12. When ready to serve, slice your hoagie rolls into half lengthwise and toast.

  13. Spread mayonnaise and mustard on separate sides of the bread.

  14. Heat up a pan and add your preferred beef potion with a little beef gravy. This will warm up your beef.

  15. Drain and layer your warmed beef into the sandwich.

  16. Finally, layer your pepper strips around the sandwich and seal.

  17. Serve together with a little of the beef gravy. Enjoy by dipping the sandwich briefly in the au jus between bites.

Recipe Notes

  • Double-check your beef while slow-cooking, as you may need to add more broth to cover the beef.



  • Calcium: 69mg
  • Calories: 428kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Cholesterol: 104mg
  • Fat: 26g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Iron: 8mg
  • Potassium: 735mg
  • Protein: 34g
  • Saturated Fat: 13g
  • Sodium: 980mg
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Trans Fat: 1g
  • Vitamin A: 2473IU
  • Vitamin C: 3mg
Nutrition Disclaimer

Commonly Asked Questions

What cut of meat is used for Italian beef?

You can always choose the cut of your choice in making Italian beef. But as we are using a slow cooker to cook, we recommend using a tougher cut like chuck roast beef. Chuck can be found at the lower neck and upper shoulders of a cow. It’s a tough and lean cut with a slight amount of fat. It becomes tender and flavorful when slow-cooked in liquid. Alternatively, you can also use rump roast, eye of the round, top round, bottom round, or chuck shoulder.

Can I freeze Italian beef?

If you’re looking to cook this recipe in batches and wish to store them, you can! Place your slow-roasted beef and some bit of the beef broth in an air-tight container or a freezer bag. This will ensure your beef does not get freezer burn and will preserve its juices. This can last in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. To thaw, simply take them out of the freezer, then thaw in the refrigerator overnight.



Our copycat Portillo’s Italian beef will make the perfect picnic meal to have with friends and family! You no longer have to wait in line to grab a bite of this Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich. Everyone will definitely be wanting seconds, so make sure you prepare enough!

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