Tri-tip sandwich on a ciabatta roll with melty cheese and browned red onion slices.

Tri-Tip Sandwich Recipe

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


I cannot wait for you to try this amazing tri-tip sandwich! If you’d prefer to grill the tri-tip, you can do that instead of pan-roasting. The instructions for grilling tri-tip are over here. Enjoy! -Christine xo


Units Scale
  • 2 lb. tri-tip steak
  • 2 and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 6 ciabatta buns, split
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup creamy horseradish sauce*, divided
  • 6 slices of Provolone or American cheese


  1. Rub the steak all over with 2 teaspoons of the salt, the pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  3. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cooking oil and swirl it around to coat skillet. Add the steak to the skillet. Cook undisturbed until well-browned underneath, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until well-browned underneath, another 4-5 minutes.
  4. Transfer skillet with steak to the oven. Cook until desired internal temperature is achieved in the thickest part of the steak, recognizing that the thinner parts and edges will be a bit more well-done than that.**
  5. Remove skillet from oven and immediately take steak out of pan. Set it on a cutting board or platter to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the red onion and stir to coat. When some pieces just start to brown, reduce the heat to low. Stir in the brown sugar and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Pre-heat the broiler and set a rack about 6 inches from the heating elements.
  8. Slice the tri-tip against the grain. Set aside.
  9. Put the tops and bottoms of the buns split-side-up on a large baking sheet. Spray split sides of buns with the cooking spray. Put baking sheet on the rack below the broiler and cook until tops of buns are toasted, 2-4 minutes. Remove pan from oven.
  10. Take the bun tops off of the baking sheet and set aside. Spread the bottom buns with 1 tablespoon of horseradish sauce each. Top each with one sixth of the sliced tri-tip, 1 slice of cheese, and then one sixth of the cooked onions. Put pan of bun bottoms back under the broiler just until the cheese melts, 2-4 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, spread the bun tops with 1 tablespoon each of the horseradish sauce.
  12. Remove the pan of bun bottoms from under the broiler. Top each bottom with a top and serve.

Love this recipe? I’d appreciate it if you could scroll down and add a *5 star rating* to help others know they’ll love it as well!


*You can use store-bought creamy horseradish sauce or the homemade one linked to. The other thing you can use instead is a quick, spicy aioli. You’ll use a bit less of this than of the horseradish. Simply combine 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 1 minced jalapeno (remove seeds to make it milder, if desired), 1/4 teaspoon of lime juice, and salt to taste.

**Test 5 minutes before the lowest times given because some tri-tips are thinner than others. These times are just a general guide. Test the temperature using an instant-read or electric probe thermometer:
12-17 minutes for 125°F (rare)
15-20 minutes for 135°F (medium-rare)
20-25 minutes for 140°F (medium)
25-30 minutes for 150°F (medium-well)
30-35 minutes for 160°F (well-done).