Sides For Philly Cheesesteak – Best Pairings!

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The cheesesteak – born in Philadelphia, now widespread across the States. This easy-to-make classic is renowned as one of America’s favorite comfort foods, and rightfully so! However, having a cheesesteak as a meal on its own is no way to make it last. Shake things up a bit and make sure your cheesesteaks go a long way by adding some sides!

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In this article, I’ll be walking you through a brief summary of the cheesesteaks’ history, the different variations and toppings you can try out to spice up your steak, and different desserts and sides; all with keto options!

Philly Cheese Steak: The Basics

The Birth Of The Cheesesteak

The story goes that the Philadelphia cheesesteak was invented in 1930, when hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri threw some beef onto his grill to make a sandwich. A passing cab driver was said to have asked for one too, and from there it spread.

A traditional Philly cheesesteak is made up of thin-cut steak strips, enveloped in a hoagie bun, and doused in gooey provolone. From there, there are all sorts of toppings you can add! The most common are caramelized onions or pickles and peppers, but the sky is truly the limit. Condiment-wise, the classic ketchup and mayo combo is pretty widespread at Philly delis, but it’s not to everyone’s taste.

a person grilling steak for a philly cheesesteak side

Building Your Cheesesteak

What Cheese Goes With A Philly Cheesesteak?

While provolone and white American cheese are the most common, but most cheeses will work! White cheese is preferred, so Monterey Jack, mozzarella, and gouda are all great choices.

Topping Table For Philly Cheesesteaks

Philly cheesesteaks didn’t originally have much choice in the way of sides because of the versatility that toppings offer. Anything you’d want on the side would go straight into the sandwich! With this in mind, I’ve gathered a list of different sides that you can try out in your cheesesteaks.

PeppersFruit, veg, n’ mushroomsOther
Sliced banana peppers, pickled jalapeños, bell peppers, pepperoncini, long hot peppers, sweet peppersTomato, lettuce, olives, caramelized onions, pickles, sautéed mushroomsBacon, dried oregano, homemade matchstick fries, hot sauce, ketchup or mayo

Which Bread Should I Use?

Hoagie buns are the traditional, Philly-certified choice, but you can use sub or hero rolls too. Soft French bread or oven-heated hot dog buns are also a solid choice!

To heat your buns, slice them and wrap in foil, then heat at 350ºF (176°C) for around 10-15 minutes.

How To Make A Philly Cheesesteak

Now that you have chosen what to customize your Philly cheesesteak with, you’re ready to make it! I’ve linked a video here with an easy-to-follow Philly cheesesteak recipe. If you’re trying to get fancy with it, you could even make your own bread!

What Sides To Serve With Steak Sandwiches

If you want a smaller cheesesteak – or you’re trying to make them last for the whole family – I’ve provided some sides below that you can choose from!

Sides For A Philly Cheesesteak:

  • French fries
  • Onion rings or a bloomin’ onion
  • Potato salad
  • Jalapeño poppers
  • Chips
  • Nachos
  • Pasta salad
  • Grilled or oven-baked baby potatoes
  • Grilled sweet potatoes
  • Fried cubed yuca
  • Potato wedges
  • Halved grilled peppers

What Goes With A Chicken Philly Cheesesteak

Chose to swap out the steak for chicken? There’s no need to worry since the sides I’ve listed will work just as well with a chicken cheesesteak. When it comes to chicken, I tend to prefer tangier flavors like pickled jalapeños or a vinegar coleslaw, but the choice is all yours!

What Dessert Goes With Philly Cheesesteaks?

Luckily, desserts aren’t the be-all and end-all for this dish. Being a classic American food, any popular desserts should fit! Regardless, I’ve provided some examples below to start you off with. I also made sure that they’re easy to modify should you want something lighter!

Dessert Ideas To Serve With Philly Cheesesteak:

  • Milkshakes
  • Cannolis
  • Brownies
  • Fudge cake with ice cream
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Flan
  • Cheesecake
  • Boston cream pie
  • Carrot cake
  • Pecan pie
  • Peach cobbler
  • Key lime pie
  • Apple or pear crumble
  • Lemon pound cake

Dietary Restrictions

Looking for keto sides? Don’t worry, I’ve also got you covered! Below is a table with options for you.

Low-Carb And Keto Sides For Your Philly Cheesesteak

MushroomsSlaw And SaladsVeggies
Deep fried button mushrooms, stuffed mushroomsTangy carrot coleslaw, vinegar coleslaw, grilled zucchini salad, broccoli salad, grilled zucchini salad, broccoli saladGrilled parmesan broccoli (or cauliflower), herbed smashed cucumbers, stuffed cherry peppers, celery, grilled tomatoes, collard greens, avocado fries, spinach or broccoli sauteed in garlic and olive oil
philly cheasesteak with onions and greens

Sides For A Philly Cheesesteak – What Should I Do?

When planning out your dishes, I would suggest choosing things that fit together well – consider your toppings and see whether they would ‘match’ your sides, while not overwhelming anyone with one flavor. For example, if I chose to put pickled jalapeños on my toppings, I wouldn’t do jalapeño poppers as a side. A vinegar coleslaw might suit the dish better as it wouldn’t be repetitive but would still complement the tangy taste of the toppings.

With that said, I hope that this article has helped you find the right side dishes and desserts – and that you got to learn a little more about the Philly cheesesteak along the way. Now that you’re ready, get cooking!

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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