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Air Fryer French Dip

What is a French Dip Sandwich?

French dips are piping hot sandwiches consisting of thinly sliced beef served on a toasted hoagie, French roll (pao de sal), or baguette with gooey melted cheese. Pair the sandwich with au jus, a flavorful dip made from the juices accumulated by cooking the beef. And that’s where the sandwich gets its name – toasty sandwich meets juicy dipping sauce.

Despite its name, the French dip sandwich did not originate in France. It was invented in L.A, albeit by a French man, and the creator originally made the sandwich by happy accident with roasted pork (yep, that was the original meat of choice). 

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Au Jus: Add beef stock, sherry wine, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and fresh thyme to a pot to prepare flavorful homemade au jus. You can also combine water with store-bought au jus gravy mix out of ease.
  • Skirt Steak: For consistent cooking, choose inside skirt steak that’s not too thick; look for a steak about ½ to ¾- inch thick with marbling for added flavor and juiciness.
  • Olive Oil: Rub olive oil over the steak before cooking to enhance the flavor and prevent the thinly sliced steak from sticking to the air fryer basket.
  • Salt + Pepper: Season the steak with kosher salt and coarse ground pepper.
  • Bread: Prepare the sandwich with crusty bread. Try using a hoagie, French bread, or baguette. 
  • Butter: Slather butter on the bread for additional flavor.
  • Garlic Powder: Sprinkle garlic powder over the bread or use grated fresh garlic. 
  • Cheese: Top the sandwich with provolone, gruyere, mozzarella, or Swiss cheese.

Additions and Substitutions

Take your air fryer French dip sandwich up a notch with sautéed vegetables like onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Or consider replacing sandwich bread with a flour tortilla to make a French dip wrap in the air fryer for a tasty variation.

How to Make Air Fryer French Dip Sandwiches

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Combine the ingredients for the au jus in a saucepan. Warm the mixture over medium heat and whisk for 5 minutes until they combine. Remove the au jus from heat and set it aside.

Au jus cooking in a sauce pan.

Step 2: Pat the skirt steak with a towel to remove excess moisture. Then, coat it with olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper.

Seasoning the steak with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Preheat the air fryer to 400℉ (204℃). Add both or half of the skirt steak to the air fryer basket, depending on the size of your air fryer.

Cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping the steak halfway through.

Steak cooking in the air fryer.

Step 4: Remove the steaks and let them rest for 10 minutes. Slice the skirt steak against the grain.

Cutting the steak against the grain.

Step 5: Set it into the bowl with the reserved au jus.

Steak inside of au jus.

Step 6: Meanwhile, butter the bread and sprinkle them with garlic powder.

Butter spread onto the cut bread.

Step 7: Then, layer the meat onto the bread slices and top them with cheese.

Top the sandwich with cheese.

Step 8: Line the sandwiches into to the air fryer basket and cook at 350℉ (176℃) for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese melts. 

Serve the sandwiches with a side of au jus and horseradish cream sauce, and enjoy!

Expert Tips

  • Pat dry the steaks to create a better crust in the air fryer. Excess moisture creates steam and reduces the likelihood of a nice sear.
  • Since skirt steak doesn’t have a ton of fat, use high heat to cook the steak. Whether you’re grilling or cooking it in the air fryer, hot and fast is the way to go for the best-tasting skirt steak.
  • Don’t skip resting the steak. After cooking, let it rest for 10 minutes; this allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicy, flavorful steak.
  • Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the sandwiches in batches. We use an Instant Pot Vortex, and ours fits two at a time.

If you enjoy the meal, try one of these air fryer recipes!

Air fryer french dips being dipped into au jus.

Serving Suggestions

If you’re deciding what to serve with French dip sandwiches, check out a few of our suggestions.

What to do With the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store the air fryer French dip sandwiches and au jus in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: Let the sandwiches cool, then wrap them with plastic wrap before transferring them to an airtight container or bag. They will freeze for two months.
  • Thaw: Remove the sandwiches from the freezer and let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat: Wrap the individual sandwiches in foil and set them on a baking sheet. Bake them in the oven at 350℉ (176℃) for 3-5 minutes.
  • Repurpose: If you have leftover steak, I highly recommend making air fryer french dip wraps by rolling the meat into a tortilla with cheese and warming it in the air fryer until gooey and melty. Serve the wrap with leftover au jus.

Frequently Asked Questions

What beef for French dip?

Thinly sliced roast beef is the star ingredient in a French dip sandwich. Top-round or bottom-round roasts are a popular choice because they are lean and flavorful cuts of meat. 

Many recipes online call for chuck roast to make French dip sandwiches, perfect for slow cooking or braising the beef in au jus; I also love using skirt or flank steak, but thinly sliced ribeye steak is another option.

What is French dip sauce made of?

Serve the French dip sandwiches traditionally with a side of the flavorful juice known as au jus (“with juice,” referring to the drippings left over from roasting the meat); use the liquid the beef cooks in or make your own on the side. It’s perfect for dipping the sandwich and adding flavor and moisture to the crunchy bread with each bite.

If you prefer to make your own, simmer beef stock, sherry wine, Worcestershire sauce, salt, spices, and herbs.

What bread for French dip?

The type of bread traditionally used for a French dip sandwich is a French roll or baguette. The bread should have a slightly crispy crust and a soft interior to hold up well to the flavorful au jus (dipping sauce) without becoming too soggy.

If you want to make bread at home, try making our beginner-friendly Brazilian French bread, pao de sal.

More Sandwich Recipes:

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Air fryer french dips with au jus.

Air Fryer French Dip

Tressa Jamil
Make our easy air fryer French dip sandwiches with skirt steak and homemade au jus in less than 30 minutes for a deliciously quick dinner idea.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 0 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Sandwiches
Calories 617 kcal
Ingredients
  
For the Au Jus:
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
For the French Dip Sandwiches:
  • pounds skirt steak, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 4 hoagies, (like pao de sal) sliced in half
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 4 slices cheese
Instructions
 
  • Combine the ingredients for the au jus in a saucepan. Warm the mixture over medium heat and whisk for 5 minutes until they combine. Remove the au jus from heat and set it aside.
  • Pat the skirt steak with a towel to remove excess moisture. Then, coat it with olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400℉ (204℃). Add both or half of the skirt steak to the air fryer basket, depending on the size of your air fryer. Cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping the steak halfway through.
  • Remove the steaks and let them rest for 10 minutes. Slice the skirt steak against the grain and set it into the bowl with the reserved au jus.
  • Meanwhile, butter the bread and sprinkle them with garlic powder. Then, layer the meat onto the bread slices and top them with cheese.
  • Line the sandwiches into to the air fryer basket and cook at 350℉ (176℃) for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serve the sandwiches with a side of au jus and horseradish cream sauce, and enjoy!
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • Pat dry the steaks to create a better crust in the air fryer. Excess moisture creates steam and reduces the likelihood of a nice sear.
  • Since skirt steak doesn’t have a ton of fat, use high heat to cook the steak. Whether you’re grilling or cooking it in the air fryer, hot and fast is the way to go for the best-tasting skirt steak.
  • Don’t skip resting the steak. After cooking, let it rest for 10 minutes; this allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicy, flavorful steak.
  • Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the sandwiches in batches. We use an Instant Pot Vortex, and ours fits two at a time.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Sandwich | Calories: 617 kcal | Carbohydrates: 21 g | Protein: 39 g | Fat: 40 g | Saturated Fat: 18 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8 g | Trans Fat: 2 g | Cholesterol: 143 mg | Sodium: 1056 mg | Potassium: 534 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Calcium: 20 mg | Iron: 22 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Tiffany

Saturday 16th of September 2023

OMG I love a french dip sandwich! Making this now.

Tressa Jamil

Saturday 16th of September 2023

I hope you enjoy the French dips! And since they are made in the air fryer, you can eat them right away!

Karina

Thursday 14th of September 2023

I always been making French Dip sandwiches in my slow cooker, but now I can't wait to make it in the air fryer. So much faster, convenient especially on busy weeknights.

Tressa Jamil

Friday 15th of September 2023

Ooooh slow cooker French dips are amazing too! Be sure to come back and let me know what you think.