Best Bread for Philly Cheesesteak – Your Options Covered!

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What bread for Philly cheesesteak that you use can really make or break the dish. Anyone who has experience creating a homemade Philly cheesesteak will know that it is challenging to make them taste right unless you use the same bread that street vendors and restaurants use. That being said, there are some alternatives that can be quite nice to use if you do not have the hoagie rolls for this classic sandwich.

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white bread for philly cheese?

Table of Contents

Why is the Bread Important in a Philly Cheese?

Almost all Philly cheesesteak recipes use a hoagie roll as the bread. At least, this is what is used for an authentic Philly cheesesteak.

The importance of the bread in this steak sub is no different from the vitalness of bread in any sandwich. Meaning, it is important and cannot be skipped. No matter how good the fillings are, the bread is a crucial ingredient. It needs to have as much effort put into it as the other ingredients have.

The bread is important because obviously, you need something to contain all of the other ingredients. Imagine not having something to hold the steak, cheese, onions, and peppers. Without the bread, it would be a meaty mess on a plate. You would need to eat with a knife and fork, so it’s not a sandwich.

Not only is the bread crucial in terms of structure, it also adds a brilliant texture and flavor. Your bread really completes the rest of the dish. Hoagie rolls are chosen because of how light and sweet they are. Using something completely different such as sourdough would just not be the same.

Hoagie Roll Alternatives for Philadelphia Cheesesteak

When looking at the bread options for Philly cheesesteaks, there are a few requirements you must keep in mind to make sure you choose the perfect bread for you.

The bread used has to be sturdy enough to not fall apart after it soaks up too much sauce or grease. It is incredibly annoying when your sandwich falls apart halfway through eating it. Then you are just left with a greasy mess.

Other than the sturdiness of the bread, you want to pay close attention to the texture as well. If it is chewy and enjoyable to eat, that is great. You want to avoid choosing bread that is too hard or has too much crust which can make eating it quite annoying.

Italian Sub Roll

If you are trying to make a Philly cheese steak sandwich without the classic hoagie roll, the Italian sub roll can come in incredibly handy as a replacement.

This white wheat roll is perfect for a Philly cheesesteak. It is strong and durable with a nice texture. But not too crunchy to the point where it hurts your mouth to try and eat.

Not only is it durable but the Italian bread roll can also be cut into slices quite easily without the bread crumbling and tearing apart when you are trying to slice it.

italian sub roll


Focaccia is a soft flatbread that has a brilliant airy texture and a strong sturdy structure. It is light and chewy yet will not break and fall apart while you are holding it.

While it may be a bit different in flavor from the other alternatives, focaccia has a nice subtle taste. It pairs really well with the steak and cheese fillings.

On top of this, focaccia is very soft and will not crumble when pulled apart. This means it is great for tearing into portions to eat instead of having the entire Philly sandwich in your hands at once.

sliced focaccia on white ceramic plate


While it may seem like an unorthodox choice, naan bread is proven to hold up incredibly well even when paired with liquidy foods such as curry or korma.

That is all the proof needed to know for certain that this Indian flatbread will not buckle under pressure. It’ll hold strong while you eat to your heart’s content.

Naan bread is made from white flour and has a brilliantly airy texture and subtle wheaty flavor. It pairs well with steak and cheese and will not seem out of place while you are eating it. While it looks quite out of place, naan bread is an incredible alternative to a hoagie roll.

naan for philly cheese


Challah is a Jewish bread that is renowned for its light texture and delicate flavor. Because of how airy it is, it can easily soak up the grease and sauce from your Philly cheesesteak with ease. It’ll do so without becoming soggy.

Challah has a very similar shape to a hoagie roll. Cut it in half horizontally and use as a sub. The general texture of a Challah roll is quite bubbly as the roll looks as if it has a lot of knots in it. This is not a bad thing and can be quite nice to eat as it makes every bite feel different.



Another Italian bread, ciabatta is a gorgeously delicate bread that is perfect for cutting open and filling with your favorite toppings. It would really suit being used for a Philly cheesesteak as the flavor is quite sweet.

While it is not the authentic Philly cheesesteak experience, ciabatta can be used instead of any other bread and will fit in magnificently.

It is worth mentioning that ciabatta can be a bit crumbly sometimes. Ciabatta can tear apart into bigger chunks than expected. It is very soft to eat, yet the bread itself can seem a bit rough or dry.

ciabatta bread


Personally, I do not think that brioche buns are used enough for sandwiches. They are almost criminally underrated and should certainly be used more often.

Brioche buns are light, airy, buttery, and sweet. They are quite delicate and may not be as structurally sound as other choices. Yet their flavor and softness alone more than makeup for this.

The sweetness of a brioche bun is always a nice surprise in any sandwich. Brioche would pair really well with the saltiness of the steak and cheese fillings. This contrast would work really well to make your taste buds happy. While it is not the original Philly cheesesteak you were after, it can be argued that this is even better.

brioche loaf

Is there a Best Bread for Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches?

There is no determined winner for what the best bread is. However, it can be really easy to find a replacement that you really like.

It is all about making sure the bread you choose is strong enough to absorb some of the grease and sauce. Without going all soggy and turning to mush in your hands.

That being said, while we are talking about the best bread for Philly cheesesteak, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the traditional hoagie rolls. If you cannot eat them for dietary reasons or just cannot seem to find them, then that is fine. But there is nothing wrong with an authentic Philly cheesesteak and having it without any changes is completely fine.

While talking about the best bread for a Philly cheese steak, you may be wanting to know about the best sides for one as well. People also make Philly cheesesteaks with lamb instead of beef, is that sacrilege or surprisingly tasty? You can read more on our blog!

FAQs on Philly Cheesesteak Bread

What is the best bread for Philly cheese steak?

There is no best bread for a Philly cheesesteak as it is all down to personal preference. However, there are some competitors that are incredibly good. The best alternatives to the hoagie roll in my eyes are brioche, focaccia, and ciabatta. They are all sturdy enough to not turn into mush when they have soaked up too much grease and they are also delicious and soft.

What exactly makes a good bread for a Philly cheesesteak?

When looking at the bread you want to use for a Philly cheesesteak, you want to pay attention to how absorbent and strong it is as well as its texture and flavor. You want to find bread that is strong enough to keep its shape when saturated, but you do not want it so strong that it is crusty and too hard to chew without hurting your mouth. As for texture and flavor, you want it to ideally be soft with a rather subtle flavor that either gets easily overpowered by the fillings or nicely compliments them.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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