I feel like I really shine with snack-type food. I love things that allow you to try many different dishes or graze. So creating recipes with snacking or grazing in mind is something I love to do.
One of my favorite things, if you don't already know, is sliders or mini sandwiches. I'll gladly eat anything in slider form over full-size any day. Additionally, a french dip sandwich is definitely in my top 5 favorite types of sandwiches so it's no surprise that I decided to make a mini version to share with y'all.
Roast beef and provolone cheese on their own are great, but add in sweet caramelized onions, a zesty topping for the bread, then dip it all in au jus and it's truly about as perfect as a sandwich can get. I also have the recipe below for a zippy horseradish cream sauce that is SO easy to make and that adds a nice punch to the sandwiches, but it is completely optional - either due to taste buds or lack of wanting to do an extra step which I totally get.
Kings Hawaiian rolls really are the hero of homemade mini sandwiches. For this recipe I used their actual slider buns, but you definitely could use the rolls like I did with my beef and cheddar sliders. If you can, don't skip the caramelized onions. They take some time, but they are very simple to make. If you're pressed for time or patience though, sauté onions until soft and translucent, but you don't need to keep cooking them to the caramelized state.
These mini sandwiches are perfect for a party, watching football, a fun weeknight dinner, or serving up to a gaggle of kids at a sleepover. They are delicious hot out of the oven OR room temperature which makes them an awesome party food. People can keep grabbing and noshing as the fun wears on and no need to worry about reheating.
You're going to love these sandwiches as much as I do, I just know it.
Mini French Dip Sandwiches
Makes ~ 9-12 sandwiches (depending on what bread you use)
Cook time: 50 minutes | Prep time: 10 minutes
Click the file below to download and print the recipe
I recommend reading the recipe all the way through, including the recipe notes at the bottom, before you start cooking.
For caramelized onions:
(See Recipe Notes & Variations below for a quicker alternative to caramelized onions)
1 large onion (yellow or white)
3 TB butter
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. sugar (optional)
For sandwich topping:
2 TB butter
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried parsley (or 1 tsp. fresh parsley)
1 package King's Hawaiian slider buns or sweet Hawaiian rolls
3/4lb. thinly sliced deli roast beef
6 slices provolone cheese
Prepared au jus (such as Johnny's)
Horseradish cream sauce:
1.5 tsp. prepared horseradish (or to taste)
2 TB mayo
1 TB sour cream
pinch of pepper
First make the caramelized onions. Thinly slice an onion then melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan of medium heat. Add the onions to the pan with a good pinch of salt and stir to coat the onions in the butter. Turn the heat to low and let the onions cook without touching them. If they start to brown or scorch, turn the heat down even more. Stir and scrape the pan every 5 minutes or so. After 15 minutes, add the 1/2 tsp. of sugar and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the onions are extremely soft and a deep caramel color. This whole process takes 25-30 minutes. Set the onions aside when they are finished cooking.
While the onions are caramelizing, make the topping for the sandwiches by melting butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Add the rest of the topping seasoning and mix everything together.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the bottom half of the slider buns into a baking dish. Layer the roast beef on top of the buns followed by the provolone cheese. Evenly spread the caramelized onions over the cheese then place the bun tops on top of the sandwiches.
Using a pastry brush or spoon, spread the topping of the melted butter and seasonings on top of the sandwiches, making sure to get all of the crevices coated. Bake in the oven at 375° for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted, the roast beef is hot, and the buns are slightly browned. If the buns start to brown too much, loosely cover the pan with foil.
While the sandwiches cook, mix together all of the ingredients for the horseradish cream sauce, if desired, and set aside.
Remove the sandwiches from the oven then carefully transfer them to a cutting board using a spatula. Cut into individual sandwiches and serve with the horseradish cream sauce and warm au jus for dipping.
*Recipe notes + Variations*
Making caramelized onions does take some time, but it's very easy. However, if you don't feel like spending the time, you can simply cook the onions in the butter until they are soft and translucent which will take 5-10 minutes instead of 30 to caramelize.
My family has been using the Johnny's French Dip Au Jus for YEARS. It is truly a delicious flavor that tastes like you made it from your own roast beef. Follow the directions on the container to make it and serve alongside the sandwiches for a perfect french dip without the hassle of figuring out how to make your own au jus. This is readily available in most grocery stores and can be found in the condiment aisle.
If you use the King's Hawaiian slider buns, you'll get 9 sandwiches. If you use the regular sweet Hawaiian rolls, you'll get 12 slightly smaller sandwiches. If you use the rolls, cut them in half like I do with my Beef & Cheddar Sliders (see here).