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Best Cheesesteak Sandwich Recipe

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What makes the best Philly Cheesesteak sandwich recipe? Tender, shaved beef, caramelized onions, lots of flavor thanks to Worcestershire Sauce and oodles of gooey, stringy, drippy cheese — piled on top of a buttery, toasted french roll. Best part, it’s pretty much a one pan meal, done in 30 minutes!

I adore easy dinners, especially meals that are ready in 30 minutes or less, and this is the Best Cheesesteak Recipe ready in 30 minutes!

We adore easy weeknight, fresh and tasty meals in this house, you too? Try these Honey Bourbon Chicken, Healthy Mongolian Beef, and Penne alla Vodka and these delicious Homemade Sloppy Joes.

Best Cheesesteak Sandwich image with juicy shaved steak dripping with sauce and melted cheese in a hoagie bun.

This has been a year for comfort food for me, probably for many of us; and these sandwiches fill my comfort depleted bucket right now! Even in the heat of summer, I enjoy the warm, tasty, rich and savory sandwich, with juices dripping down my chin, stringy cheese bite after bite. My kinda meal!

What’s the difference between a Philly Cheesesteak and a Cheesesteak?

Great question, I’m a Colorado girl via the west coast and while I’ve visited Philly, I have not eaten many of Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches. I had to do a little digging and by digging I mean, surfing the internet.

  • Philly Cheesesteak | A long, crusty Italian roll cradles thinly sliced, sautéed ribeye steak, dripping with meat juices and messy, melted cheese. It’s heavy. It’s simple. And ooooh, boy, is it savory. Authentic Philly Cheesesteaks cheese of choice is Cheez Whiz, but American and Provolone are common substitutions. (Source)
  • Cheesesteak | So by definition, anything that changes things up, whether it’s cheese, additions, seasonings, makes it a plain (but still savory and delicious) Steak Sandwich Recipe.
  • I have been corrected by several Philadelphians that all self-respecting Philly residents order order their Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches with Cheez Whiz. They say, “wiz wit” that’s Philadelphian for wiz and fried onions on the sandwich, and that’s how we order them. 
Slices of tender, juicy shaved steak pilled high atop a toasted hoagie roll with dripping, melted provolone cheese.

Authentic Philly Cheesesteak?

According to Philadelphians, you simply cannot make an authentic Philadelphia Cheese Steak sandwich without an authentic Philadelphia roll. The rolls must be long and thin, not fluffy or soft, but also not too hard. They also say that if you are more than one hour from South Philly, you cannot make an authentic sandwich. 

Source

So, no, this recipe is not authentic, which is why I’m calling it simply, the BEST Cheesesteak recipe!

I’ve been making this homemade Philly cheesesteak recipe on repeat for the past year, the original recipe is from my dear, creative friend, Norine from Norine’s Nest, who by the way you should follow, because not only is she a fabulous cook, but she’s sooo funny!

It’s a huge hit in our house, when my family sees shaved beef thawing they KNOW that goodness is happening for dinner!

Whole wheat sub sandwich roll with cheesesteak piled between, on parchment paper with juices spilling onto the parchment.

What Goes on a Traditional Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich?

  • Shaved ribeye steak
  • White American cheese; tourists ask for Cheez Whiz, but provolone is also a welcome substitution
  • Salt and pepper, pan juices
  • With and without sautéd onions

WHAT GOES IN A CHEESESTEAK SANDWICH?

  • shaved beef, steak or thinly sliced cube or round steak
  • butter (don’t knock it, it adds a ton of flavor)
  • caramelized onions (drool worthy)
  • seasoning salt
  • Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins is Gluten free)
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • Cheese (our family is split; 1 no cheese, 2 Pepper Jack and me, Provolone)
  • Toasted sub rolls

What Cut of Meat is the Best for Cheesesteak

Norine uses cube steak, the first time I made this, I wasn’t able to find cube steak; so I used round steak and sliced it as thin as possible. However; I’ve since discovered shaved beef from Trader Joe’s! It’s paper thin, tender and delicious.

PRO TIP |If using cube or round steak, roll and wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 20 to 30 minutes, then using a sharp knife, slice very thin, trying to “chip” away at the steak.

How to Make a Steak and Cheese Sandwich

  1. Slice onion in half, then slice thinly
  2. Heat large pan over medium heat (this is my favorite pan!)
  3. Pop in butter, melt until bubbly
  4. Toss in onions and saute until soft and caramel colored
  5. Meanwhile, season shaved beef with seasoning salt
  6. Remove onions once caramelized to plate
  7. Increase heat to medium-high, adding another pat or two of butter
  8. Add beef in single layer, if not possible, do in batches. It’s a quick saute to brown, the beef is thin enough it will cook super quickly. Turn after a minute or two.
  9. Once meat is browned, return onions to pan, and stir in Worcestershire sauce, and if desired, hot sauce.
  10. Layer cheese over meat, cover with lid to melt.
  11. Brown rolls on griddle with a little butter, if desired (and by desired, I mean, you should do this part, come on, this is not diet food!)
  12. Serve on top of browned sub or hoagie rolls, I’ve also used whole wheat to make myself think it was a bit healthier. Can’t blame a girl for trying!
Skillet filled with melty cheesesteak with griddle in background toasting sub sandwich rolls.

Can I Make ahead of time

YES! This is a great meal to serve for a game day, tailgating or a party.

Make ahead as directed above; place in slow cooker and keep on the warm setting or covered in an oven set to 150-200 degrees. Serve with toasted sub or hoagie or slider rolls.

Philly Steak Sandwich Add-Ins

  • Add sliced red, green, yellow or orange peppers when caramelizing onions, sauteeing until soft and slightly browned
  • Saute sliced mushrooms
  • Norine’s fave is to serve with Lighthouse Cotija Cilantro dressing
  • Ranch dressing
  • Garlic Aioli
  • We eat our’s “naked” so to speak, so juicy, flavorful, filling and savory!
close up image of half cheesesteak sandwich on white plate, with toasted sub roll and stuffed with steak, melted cheese and sauteed onions.

What’s the Difference between a Hoagie and a Sub Sandwich?

The difference in this instance is a Hoagie uses a harder, firmer roll, not slicing it all the way through, instead stuffing it with meat, cheese, etc. Whereas a sub sandwich is typically a soft roll, cut all the way through.

Then you have grinders, poor boy’s and hero’s! Being born and raised on the west coast, these were all foreign names to me when I was first introduced to them while visiting the East coast and the south for the first time.

What I do know? They are all delicious, all a sandwich of some for or another, so why let semantics get in the way of enjoying a scrumptious meal!

Sub sandwich toasted and filled with juicy philly cheesesteak on a white plate.

I hope these homemade Philly Cheesesteaks become a family favorite for you as well! Here are a few other comforting family favorites.

Don’t forget to PIN to your favorite 30 Minute Meals Board on Pinterest!

Long pin for Best Cheesesteak sandwich with top image of slices of shaved beef steak, covered in a gooey sauce and dripping in cheese all in a bun.

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33 Comments

  1. “Tourists ask for cheese whiz”. Ummm authentic philly has cheese whiz. White American is more Lehigh Valley cheesesteaks. I prefer white american, but that is not authentic philly. Wiz wit Wiz wit….

  2. I am a Philadelphia native, born and raised in west Philly..I HAVE to say you spoke to people outside of Philadelphia if they told you no cheese whiz. We say, “wiz wit” for a reason. That’s Philadelphian for wiz and fried onions on the sandwich, and that’s how we order them.
    I just wanted to correct that one, and I don’t know of any Philadelphian that doesn’t order it wiz wit. Not knocking you, but you got some bad info.

    1. Thanks Chris for your insights, I have modified over the years from friends and readers who are from Philly, and will certainly take your information into account the next time I modify the post. While I know and admit this is not a Philly Cheesesteak, I hope you might give it a try for one to make at home! One thing is for darn sure, you all are passionate about your cheesesteaks! Which I love!

      Thanks again, happy cooking! Kathleen

  3. I enjoyed your article
    I’m from philly so I didn’t need to surf the internet.
    First of all I agree with all you’ve said about the making of this fine sandwich
    But !
    Cheese wiz is for tourists
    White American cheese is the authentic
    Some places do provolone
    But absolutely no wiz

    Here’s a tip about a sandwich even more revered in phily
    It’s called a roast pork Italian sandwich with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone
    Best place in philly
    Tony Lukes
    Cheers
    Steve

    1. Hi Steve,

      Hey thank you so much! I had another Philly born gal school me that my research on the Cheez Wiz is not accurate! I just need to update the post!

      Thanks for your kind words and that roast pork sandwich sounds wonderful!! Sounds like I really need to get back to Philly!

      Thanks again, have a wonderful day!
      Kathleen

    2. @Steve, 😏 oh my God, I am leaving for vaca tomorrow and was looking forward to making my first home made cheese steak for a friend and I. My ex used to make them late at night and he would serve with an over easy egg nestled in. ….now! I see you additional comment about
      ” roast pork Italian sandwich with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone”…I am dying! Must make this also! Thank you for such a Great idea! Please, I am shopping on way up tomorrow. What pork do you use please? It sounds delicious! Thank you!

    3. @Steve, That’s how Texans feel about chili and brisket. Others can cook it, but don’t claim it’s from Texas if you are adding beans and bell pepper, etc. too the chili, or if it is watery like a soup, and if your brisket is cooked low and slow, in a wood smoker, with no seasoning but salt and pepper, it isn’t Texas style brisket.

    4. Don’t know what you’re talking about cheese whiz is for tourists. I’ve been a Philadelphian for 52 years, if you order one with American they call it a ” medigon”, Italian slang for non-italiana or American in this case.
      But by no means is “wiz wit” made up by a tourist. Speaking of tourist, Tony Luke’s is a tourist trap bud, John’s roast pork is hands down the best roast pork in Philly. In south Philly on Columbus Blvd. Give it a try you’ll forget the name Tony Luke.

  4. @Kathleen,

    I am 59, born and raised South Philadelphian. First, I must say your article is lovely and cheesesteaks any which way are certainly delicious!!! However, (white) American cheese is the cheese of choice in Philadelphia. No self-respecting Philadelphian (I’m sure there are a few) would agree that Cheez Whiz is the primary used – and it’s never Provolone (and I do not argue that many folks love provolone on cheesesteaks)

    Also, Philadelphia has so many really tasty, famous roast beef niche shops and there is nothing like a nice roast beef sandwich on a kaiser roll covered in Provolone and Brocolli Rabe… but Rib Eye Steak is not the popular cheesesteak choice of meat.

    Now, and historically speaking (you’d have to do a little web research for the source on this – I know it’s out there, I had to prove this before to colleagues in DC), the true steak used for a Philly cheesesteak is ‘chuck steak’ otherwise known as ‘chip steak’ (not to be confused with chipped beef) in Philly… you can get this sliced by the pound at any deli in the area. The Philly cheesesteak was invented using chip steak – and is still the preferred ‘flavor’ of Philadelphians today.

    But FYI when a true Philadelphian orders a proper cheesesteak – anywhere in Philadelphia (except the tourist traps spots like Pat’s and Geno’s, Mike’s, etc)… they simply say “I’ll have a large Cheesesteak, with fried onions and Xtra cheese” ——- haha… I added extra, I always do —- and they automatically give the chip steak with white American, no questions asked. THAT’s authentic! If you specify a cheese in your order….. they know you are not from around there.

    I’ve eaten quite a few of these in my years… and as I am currently living out of town, have become quite the connoisseur of out of state cheese steaks. Ugh. Nothing is comparable. I save my calories for a treat and drive back home – and yes, I bring an empty cooler with me to the deli and load up for at home cooking!! (Yes, the rolls are important and hard to find, but an italian loaf or french loaf can do in a pinch).

    Geeez… can you tell I love these!? hahah! Thank you for your article and great recipes!!

    One very popular topping growing up was cooking the steak in the fry pan with pizza sauce, onions, mushrooms, and yes… this one gets provolone!

    All the best,

    Scarlett,
    The oldest, Philly-wiser big sister of Josh, the former host of Ginormous Food.

    1. Hi Scarlett,

      Thank you so much for the complete history, I love it! I tried to definitely say what was authentic and that mine is not! Haha! All of my research said that Cheez Whiz was what was used, but good to know that it’s white American! I am so glad you love these, thanks so much for all of the great information, it’s been awhile since I’ve had an authentic one, someday I will get back to Philly! Have a great week!
      Kathleen

    2. @Scarlett, I really doubt many can tell a difference in taste between American cheese and Cheez Whiz….both processed cheese products, and I like ALL cheese. 😍

  5. When I was a kid there was a cheesesteak place near my house. I loved going there. Now I can make these again and again for my family. Thanks for the recipe, it’s great!