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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?

Yield: 20 servings (3-5 thin slices per serving)


Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 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


  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.


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.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 267mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 21g

Nutrition information is an estimate only.

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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.

19 thoughts on “Homemade Roast Beef Deli Recipe”

  1. 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?

    • 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. 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. 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 🙂

    • 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. 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!

  5. I made this once before, adding dried oregano and garlic as well as the other seasonings, and it was the best roast beef I’d ever had. I couldn’t stop eating it. It even worked really well as an Italian type roast beef for dinner. I’m making it again today and can’t wait to eat it again. Thanks for this great recipe.

  6. Excellent recipe! I live in a part of Central America were lunchmeat is foreign. You can get decent, pricey lunchmeat in the city or really awful stuff in the outlying towns. I’ve been making hams for sandwiches, but it was getting boring… This came out super tender, juicy and delicious! A 3.5 lb beef round roast from Reinland: washed, dried, rubbed with oil and seasoned with Adams Reserve Citrus Sriracha rub. Roasted 25 minutes at 500, then 300 for 50. Seems like a long time, but it came out perfectly medium… my oven is… um, lacking. Outstanding roast beef!

  7. Hi! Thank you for this excellent tutorial. I bought a top sirloin roast and it is bound with cords. Should I cut those off before roasting or not? Thank you!

  8. I made this yesterday and thought that it might be over seasoned, but I always try the recipe first to see. Today I tried a slice and the best I have ever eaten. The spicing really made it! . I made it at 130F , by the way. I couldn’t get my oven to 500F only 450F, but it made no difference, came out nicely. You have to try this. The best part was I only paid $3.70 a pound for the top round roast I used to make it.


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