Homemade Roast Beef Deli Recipe


Sandwiches are the unsung heroes of the kitchen. They can be as simple as spreading peanut butter and jelly, or melting a piece of cheese between two slices of bread. They can be piled high with healthy ingredients like avocados, cucumbers, and peppers, or battered and deep fried. In our family, we eat some kind of sandwich almost everyday. My latest favorite has been a roast beef sandwich.


Since we do a cowpool, a term I’ve just learned which describes our splitting a local grass fed cow amongst friends and family, it makes sense to make our own roast beef for sandwiches. Think about it, I could buy deli style roast beef in the store for $8-10 a pound. But isn’t it so much better to make my own lunchmeat from tender, organic, flavorful beef that only cost us about $4 a pound? If you’re still not sure, the answer is yes, yes, YES!


To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure how to make roast beef for sandwiches at first.  So I tried making a basic roast that I would normally slice thick and slather with horseradish.  Once it was cooked and cooled, I simply sliced it as thinly as possible.

The meat was beautifully pink in the center with a dark crust of seasoning on the razor thin edges.  I’d found my answer in just one attempt, I just needed to make a roast beef, well, roast!


This is a perfect recipe for Hunger Action Week, because I quickly learned in my first year of the challenge that lunchmeat is VERY expensive. Even if you don’t share in a cow like we do, you can still save lots of money by cooking and slicing a roast that you buy from the grocery store. A 3 lb roast will fit in a food stamp budget (usually $10 or less) AND provide lunches for a week!

This is a very basic recipe using ingredients that most people already have in their pantry. For the spices, you can get them from the bulk spice section and pay just pennies for exactly the amount you need.

For the cut of beef, I have used everything from prime rib, to top loin, sirloin tip or top round.  The main thing is to remember that leaner roasts will get dried out if cooked too long, so err on the side of caution and check your meat’s temperature regularly.  I prefer my roast medium rare to keep it nice and tender.  Use the following list to determine how to get yours to the degree of doneness you prefer:

Rare 120° – 125°
Medium-rare 130° – 135°
Medium 140° – 145°
Medium-well 150° – 155°
Well done 160° and above

You may notice in the photos that we have a beautiful meat slicer.  That’s a new addition to our kitchen, but for years before getting it I simply sliced our own sandwich meat thinly with a knife, so don’t feel like you need one to make your own lunchmeat.

Okay, here’s my easiest roast beef recipe.  But I want to know, whether a roast for dinner or for sandwiches, how do you make roast beef?


Homemade Deli Style Roast Beef Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Yield: 20 servings (3-5 thin slices per serving)
Calories per serving: 127
Fat per serving: 7.36


  • 3lb
    beef roast (round, top, or sirloin are all fine)
  • 1 TBS
    extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp
    kosher salt
  • 1 tsp
    black pepper
  • 1 tsp
    onion powder
  • 1 tsp
    garlic powder

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Rub olive oil all over beef roast.
  3. Mix salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder in a small bowl. Rub the spices into the beef, coating the entire roast, then place beef on a rack in a roasting pan.
  4. Roast for 25 minutes, then drop heat to 300 degrees.
  5. Roast an additional 20-40 minutes until meat reaches desired temperature (see temperature guide in the post above).
  6. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing thinly. Keeps up to a week in the fridge or six months in the freezer.

Cholesterol 33.2mg, Sodium 326.12mg, Total Carbohydrate 0.1g, Dietary Fiber 0.01g, Sugars 0.05g, Protein 13.21g, WW Points Plus 3, WW Old Points 3

Approximate cost/serving: This should end up being around $2-4 a pound depending on the quality of meat and whether you get it on sale or in bulk. Even at $4/lb it’s still just 60 cents for a few slices, much cheaper than buying pre-sliced lunchmeat.

Gluten Free: Just make sure that the onion and garlic powder don’t contain gluten, I’ve seen a couple that have it sneaked in for anti caking.

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7 Responses to “Homemade Roast Beef Deli Recipe”

  1. CSALady
    May 3, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Can you tell us more about your lovely meat slicer? What kind, how much was it, do you use it a lot? Easy to clean? Good for all kinds of slicing needs or just meat?

    • Diana
      October 5, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      Hi CSA Lady (love your name!), here’s a post on making your own lunchmeat with a video of the slicer and more info. Thanks for asking!

  2. Rachel
    August 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    This is an excellent idea Diana! My husband got a nice smoker for his birthday and one of the ways we used it was to smoke turkey for sandwiches. I don’t know why I didn’t think of roasting meat and using it for sandwiches. I’m wondering how you freeze the meat? Do you slice it first and then freeze it or do you freeze it whole? What do you wrap it in? Thanks so much!

  3. Kendra
    November 9, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Can you tell me what kind of slicer you are using ? It looks so nice. I am using an older Rival and thinking of updating. Also… What has been the best cut of beef you have used for the roast beef.

    Thanks for your time :)

    • Diana
      November 10, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

      Hi Kendra, we use this slicer. You can watch it in action in this lunchmeat video!

      I really like the prim rib, though I have to cut the ribs off first. It’s like the creme de la creme of lunchmeat! It doesn’t cost us any extra to use such a nice cut since we buy a cow. That said, the sirloin, round, and top are all fantastic and no one really notices a difference between them.

  4. Rick
    March 27, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    I bought a slicer identical to the one in the picture on Amazon for about $99

  5. Gabriela
    August 29, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Hi Diana,
    I just fnd your site when I was looking for a recipe to make homemade deli style roast beef. I will definatelety try your recipe. I week ago I bought deli style roast beef in a whole food store for $12.99/lb. (I read that the one you made was $2-$4 per pound depending in the meat you purchase, huge difference in the price!) it was good but I believe never better than the one we can do at home knowing what we put in it
    I let you know how did it go
    Thank you!

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