There is little better in this world than the Philly cheesesteak when you are looking for a perfectly greasy and meaty snack during a day out in the city. While you might know about the Philly cheesesteak and might have even tried one or two of them, you might not know exactly what is inside of it. The toppings in a Philly cheese really make or break the entire sandwich. If the toppings are bad, you will not want to eat them. Without further ado, here is our list of the best toppings to have in a Philly cheesesteak.
Table of Contents
- Are Toppings Important in a Philly Cheesesteak?
- Best Philly Cheesesteak Toppings
- Should You Stick With A Traditional Philly Cheesesteak?
- FAQs on Philly Cheesesteak Toppings
Are Toppings Important in a Philly Cheesesteak?
As mentioned. the toppings that are on a Philly cheesesteak can really make or break the entire dish. No matter how perfect the rest of the sandwich is, if you dislike one of the toppings then chances are that you will not enjoy eating it.
However, the toppings do not just have the power to ruin the cheesesteak. They also have the power to enhance it. If the toppings are amazing then that can really add to your experience when eating. You may like the sub a lot more!
The cheesesteak is all about your overall experience as everything needs to be good. You cannot have a single ingredient or a single aspect of it being the carrying force of the sandwich’s quality. The entire sandwich has to be amazing from the bread to the toppings.
So, arguably, the toppings are just as important to the entire dish as the bread and meat are.
Best Philly Cheesesteak Toppings
The way a Philly cheesesteak works is similar to any other sandwich or layered snack. There are certain categories that are expected, although you can play around with what ingredient is used in each category.
For example, a pasta dish has three categories of pasta, sauce, and added meats or vegetables. You are going to want to add all three categories but it is up to you to decide what type of pasta you use, what flavor of sauce you use, and what added meats or vegetables you use. A Philly cheesesteak is the same.
I will guide you through each category and discuss the options and the best choices you can make.
When you are making a Philly cheesesteak, it should come as no surprise that you need to add cheese to the sub. A lot of people have different opinions on what cheese should be added as some people vouch for the classic and traditional choice of American cheese, provolone, or Cheez Whiz. Other people enjoy their Philly cheesesteaks with mozzarella or pepper jack cheese.
The cheese in a Philly sub is not meant to be incredibly flavorsome and overpower all of the other ingredients. It is meant to be subtle and help add to the overall texture of the sandwich. The ribeye steak that is usually used for the cheesesteak is quite often covered in melted cheese to the point where it sticks together and will prevent the fillings from falling out after each bite. Without the cheese, every bite will result in some bits of meat or other toppings falling out of the sandwich and creating a mess. The cheese helps prevent this by keeping everything together while also tasting nice.
The best choice really depends on what you are looking for. Although, using the tried and tested American cheese is never going to fail you. Provolone is the second best choice as it does everything you want to, yet it is more flavorsome so it may mess with the balance of all the other ingredients.
Out of all the cheeses you have available, provolone or American cheese is definitely the way to go.
If you want to know the best example of sacrilege, it is making a Philadelphia cheesesteak without onions in it.
Okay, obviously it is up to you and you might not want onions. But they are considered essential for this sandwich.
The most common preparation for onions in the Philly sub is for them to be fried. Fried onions are gorgeously crispy and sweet which makes them the perfect choice to be sprinkled over the rest of your sandwich.
Other preparations of onions could be sauteed onions, caramelized onions, and raw seasoned onions. The fried onions are the best suited for this as they have been cooked to the point where they are now sweet and crispy, providing both a contrasting flavor and a nice additional texture.
Raw onions can be used although the bitter flavor of them might be a bit too overpowering. If they are instead prepared with seasoning and a mayo sauce on them, similar to coleslaw, then they would be better fitting for the sub.
The Extra Meat
While you might be thinking that the shaved ribeye steak in your Philly cheesesteak is enough, you clearly haven’t been enlightened by the use of extra meat yet. Depending on if you use ribeye steak or lamb as your main meat of choice, you can have the option to add other types of meat to your sandwich.
While you may not have ever thought about pairing steaks with other types of meat – I can confirm that it is possible and works shockingly well. It will all be trial and error until you find your favorite pairing yet chicken, pepperoni, and salami are all great contenders.
The additional meat you use will not be serving the largest purpose but it can help add extra flavor to your sandwich and will also make it bulkier and more filling. If you are a fan of salty flavors, prosciutto di parma is a brilliant choice as it is soft and delicate while also being incredibly meaty and salty. It will not make your sandwich too thick and overwhelming yet it will add just enough flavor to be noticed.
The Extra Vegetables
When making a Philly cheesesteak, a lot of people only tend to add onions as their only vegetables. This is fine, onions work amazingly. However, as proven by burgers, vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce can be really influential to the sandwich as a whole.
A lot of people like to add a slice or two of tomato to their Philly sub. It adds a great texture and flavor, while also helping moisten your food so that it does not feel dry and difficult to swallow.
While it may seem very weird, adding any type of pepper to your cheesesteak is also quite a good idea. Some green peppers cut into slices can make a great addition to both the nutrition and texture of the sandwich while also not taking too much effort in terms of preparation.
If you are shocked by the addition of green peppers, then I would like to apologize. I know it is a big change and that things are moving fast. But you’ve got to try peppers on your cheesesteak, it will change your life. Even if it does sound weird, at leasing I’m not suggesting you add avocado to it as well.
If you want your Philly cheese to taste amazing while also not being bone-dry, you should add sauce to it. While your first thought may be to squirt some ketchup onto your sandwich, I urge against this.
The best choice for a sauce is going to be something similar to garlic mayo or ranch dressing. You want something light and creamy while also being slightly bitter or sour. A tart sauce such as ranch dressing is going to go perfectly with the sweetness from the onions and bread. It will also help enhance the saltiness from the meat you have added.
A Philly sub with amazing toppings and then drizzled with a well-pairing sauce is going to be one incredible experience.
Should You Stick With A Traditional Philly Cheesesteak?
It can be a big choice to choose between breaking tradition or embracing a more flavorsome alternative. The main reason that we view traditional recipes as we do is that they are nostalgic and delicious. They’re really tried and tested. Because of this nostalgic love we have for some recipes from our younger days, we can sometimes think that they are better left unaltered.
In this instance, the sentiment does not ring true. A Philly cheesesteak is a lot better when it is altered and has additional toppings added to it. Not only do the toppings provide a more flavorsome meal but they also help enhance the texture of the food. After all, the same texture consistently can get boring. Having a few ingredients that break this up and provide a new and more interesting texture can really go a long way in helping you enjoy something more.
When eating a Philly cheesesteak make sure you find the best sides to serve with it. You might be full from the cheesesteak. But if you aren’t, you are going to want some amazing side dishes to go with it.
FAQs on Philly Cheesesteak Toppings
Real, in other words authentic, Philly cheesesteaks do not have peppers in them. Green peppers are not part of the original recipe and therefore are not used in authentic restaurants or stalls. However, despite them not being true to the original recipe, green pepper slices add a lot to the sub without taking away any of the other redeeming features of it. They are truly worth trying out if you have not done so before.
Pickles can be put on a Philly cheesesteak if you want to add them. However, this might mess with some of the other flavors introduced as pickles are quite difficult to pair ingredients with. If you are going to use pickles, embrace them and use them as a contrasting flavor instead of trying to add them to another flavor.
Hot peppers are sometimes added to a cheesesteak if you are wanting a bit more flavor and spice from your food. It is not unheard of for people to sometimes find a Philly cheesesteak a bit tame and ‘boring’. Therefore, a lot of people opt to add a hotter element to the sub. Jalapenos are the most commonly added hot pepper as they are sweet and delicious while also adding heat and a depth of spice to the food.
When making a Philly cheesesteak, it is almost unheard of for someone to order it without onions. Whether they are fried, grilled, raw, or sauteed, onions are almost always added. The type of onion most typically used is the old reliable yellow onion. It is sweet and flavorful without being too overpowering.