Sweet and Spicy Roast Beef Sandwiches

These sweet and spicy roast beef sandwiches can be served hot or cold. The sweet comes from the pickles and roasted red peppers in the center of the sandwich and the horseradish sauce, which can be made as hot or mild as you like, gives you a little spicy kick.

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When the no-carb diet became popular, sandwiches got a bad rap. That’s a shame. A good sandwich is honestly a thing of beauty and the perfect portable meal. These sweet and spicy roast beef sandwiches are no exception, especially when you tie them up in parchment paper with a little twine. You can make ’em, wrap ’em, take ’em and enjoy them anywhere – cold or hot..

Roast beef sandwiches wrapped in parchment paper on a cutting board with chips scattered around.

What to Serve with Roast Beef Sandwiches

A few potato chips are the obvious choice to accompany any sandwich, whether they are store bought chips or homemade air-fried potato chips, but there are a number of salads that would fit perfectly with these delicious sandwiches. You could make a classic potato salad, a pasta salad, or a cauliflower salad, but I think this cucumber salad with creamy Vidalia onion dressing would be a delicious match. Just remember that if you’re taking these sandwiches on a picnic or an outdoor excursion, both the sandwiches and salad should be kept cold in a cooler. 

Ingredients on a counter with a bowl and spatula.

Horseradish Mayo

The spicy part of this roast beef sandwich comes from the horseradish mayo. This spread is super simple because it only has four ingredients – mayonnaise, prepared horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and freshly ground black pepper. It’s really up to you to dictate how much kick this spread has – just add as much horseradish as you like to suit your tastes (1 to 2 tablespoons). When you’re buying the horseradish for this sauce, look for “prepared horseradish”, rather than “horseradish sauce” or “creamed horseradish”. Prepared horseradish is usually horseradish root, grated and then preserved in a mild pickle. Horseradish sauce, on the other hand, is already mixed with sour cream, heavy cream or mayonnaise and is therefore not as pungent and flavorful. Since you’ll be using the horseradish as an ingredient, use the prepared horseradish to get the most bang for your buck.

Roast beef, red pepper, pickle chips, horseradish mayonnaise, oregano and steak rolls on a cutting board with a red windowpane towel nearby.

Sandwich Ingredients

I used deli roast beef for these sandwiches, sliced nice and thin. If you happen to have made a roast beef at home, you could use the leftovers for this sandwich, but try to slice the beef as thin as possible. That’s a lot easier if you have an electric slicer, which most people don’t have at home. Beef from your local delicatessen or the deli counter in the grocery store is perfect. I also used jarred roasted red peppers when I made these sandwiches, but you could roast your own red bell pepper and peel it. The roasted peppers do add an element of sweetness to these sandwiches, but it’s really the bread and butter pickles that contrast so nicely with the horseradish mayo and beef, adding a sweet flavor. If you don’t have bread and butter pickles or would prefer the sandwich without a sweet element, you can use any pickles you like. 

Assembling roast beef sandwiches with all the ingredients on a cutting board.

Building Sandwiches

The order in which you build sandwiches is always important and the key to doing it well is to think about the impact the ingredients will have on the bread. If you’re eating these sandwiches right away, spread the mayo on the cut rolls – that will provide moisture to the bread. If you’re making these sandwiches ahead of time and plan to travel with them, put the cheese down first and then spread the mayo on the cheese. That might feel a little unintuitive, but it helps to keep the bread from getting soggy.  Then, add your beef and top with the peppers and pickles. You can even add a little leftover horseradish mayo at this stage, but then when you fold the sandwich up, try to make sure the pickles and peppers are surrounded by beef so that 1) they don’t fall out and 2) you protect the bread from added moisture.

One roast beef sandwich being assembled on a cutting board next to a second sandwich wrapped in foil.

Make Ahead Roast Beef Sandwiches

Making the sandwiches ahead of time is quick and easy, but do make sure you try to keep as much moisture as possible away from the bread – put the cheese down first and dry the pickles and peppers with a clean paper towel so that they don’t have any excess moisture. Wrap the sandwiches in either parchment paper or aluminum foil. If you’re planning on heating the sandwich on the BBQ grill, foil is a must. Otherwise, either will do.

Four roast beef sandwiches wrapped in foil on a bbq grill grate.

Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

These roast beef sandwiches are delicious when warmed. Just remember to build the sandwich keeping as much moisture out as possible and wrap them in aluminum foil (instead of parchment paper). Then, you can pop them onto a BBQ grill for about 5 to 6 minutes, turning them halfway through. The bread should crisp up and the cheese will melt. As the sandwich warms, the filling ingredients will release more moisture making this sandwich a bit messy to eat, but it’s the kind of delicious mess that keeps you licking your fingers at the end hoping for more. You can also partially unwrap the sandwiches so that they are sitting in an aluminum foil boat and air-fry them for about 4 minutes at 380ºF. This also warms the fillings, melts the cheese and crisps up the bread. 

Delicious hot or cold!

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

Cooking School
How to Roast a Pepper

Roasting a pepper enhances its sweet flavor and softens the vegetable for immediate use or to add to a recipe....View Technique

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Sweet & Spicy Roast Beef Sandwiches

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Total Time: 15 m
  • Servings:


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 crusty long steak rolls or hearty kaiser rolls
  • 12 ounces sliced provolone cheese
  • ¾ pound shaved or thinly sliced roast beef
  • ½ cup bread and butter pickle chips
  • 1 cup sliced roasted red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano


  1. Combine the horseradish, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. (If you like things on the spicy side, add more horseradish; if you want to keep the spice level low, add less horseradish.) Season with freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
  2. Cut the rolls open, but not all the way through. Spread the horseradish mayonnaise on both sides of the bread. Add a couple slices of provolone cheese, laying them over both sides of the roll. Top with roast beef and nestle the pickles and roasted red peppers on the roast beef near the fold of the roll. Season with oregano, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Close the rolls and wrap with parchment paper to keep them closed.
  3. If you want to make these sandwiches ahead of time, rearrange how you build them as follows. First dry the pickles and red pepper strips with clean kitchen towel. Build the sandwiches by layering 2 slices of provolone cheese, laying them over both sides of the rolls. Spread some of the horseradish mayo on the cheese and then top with the roast beef. Place the dried roasted peppers and pickles on the roast beef near the fold of the roll. Season with oregano, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Close the sandwich making sure the roasted peppers and pickles are on the inside to ensure the bread does not become soggy. Wrap with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  4. If you are not eating the sandwiches right away, store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
  5. When ready to serve, enjoy the sandwich cold with some potato chips or heat the sandwiches. You can heat them wrapped in foil on a BBQ grill for 5 to 6 minutes or unwrapped in your air fryer for 3 to 4 minutes – just enough for the cheese to melt and for the bread to get crusty. Let the hot sandwiches rest a few minutes before serving. Carefully unwrap and enjoy!
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Comments (3)Post a Reply

  1. Can’t wait to make these sandwiches. Thrilled to see the Duke’s. I’m originally from North Carolina and we lived on that wonderful stuff. Now in CA but happy that over the past few years I can get it through Amazon. Love you recipes.

  2. 5 stars
    These sandwiches were delicious! Thank you for the recipe! I can hardly wait to make them again!

  3. 5 stars
    So very easy and good. A unique combination of ingredients that I probably wouldn’t have thought of myself, but it works so well. Fresh tasting. We had ours cold.

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