What Sauce to Put on Philly Cheesesteak? – 11 Top Sauces

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Wondering what sauce to put on a Philly cheesesteak? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s post, we’ll dive into all the different options you have for topping your Philly. There’s everything from traditional sauces to unconventional ones. But don’t worry. Even the weird toppings will taste great. So, if you’re ready, let’s jump into this juicy — and very controversial — topic now!

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What Sauce Should You Use On A Philly Cheesesteak? 11 Top Sauces

Table of Contents

Is There Sauce on a Philly Cheesesteak?

Technically, no. But it really comes down to where you live, who’s fixing it, and, well, the recipient’s creativity.

Allow us to explain.

The Philly cheesesteak hails from Philadelphia, PA. There is always much controversy and debate regarding what exactly should go on this famous sub. This is especially true regarding the sauce.

Traditionally, a Philly cheesesteak is offered up with either no sauce at all or a cheese sauce, often referred to as “Philly sauce,” to go on top of it. From there, patrons may choose to top their Philly cheesesteaks with whatever options they have available to them.

What Goes Well With a Philly Cheesesteak?

So, what sauce options are out there for you to choose from? Many people like to eat their Philly steaks as is, especially if there’s already a cheesy sauce topping them.

However, you’ll find plenty of people who love dipping their cheesesteaks in au jus or slathering them down with mayo.

Are those your only options? Not so fast. There are so many more sauce combinations to choose from that can completely change a Philly’s dynamic and flavor profile – but in an excellent way!

Some people, especially those from Philadelphia, enjoy their Philly steaks as they traditionally come. However, some of the options we’re about to mention are a bit out of the norm. So keep that in mind – especially if you’re a Philly native!

What Sauce Should You Put on a Philly Cheesesteak If You Don’t Have Cheese Sauce?

If you’ve got a Philly cheesesteak that doesn’t have the traditional cheese sauce on it, you may be wondering what your options are. I’ve mentioned a few already, but we’re going to go into detail about why each one pairs well with a Philly as well as offer up a few other surprising sauces you could use as well.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into our top 11 crave-worthy sauces that can top your Philly cheesesteak.

  1. Buffalo Sauce
  2. Ketchup
  3. A1 (or any Steak Sauce)
  4. Mayonnaise
  5. Barbecue Sauce
  6. Au Jus
  7. Ranch Dressing
  8. Chipotle Mayo
  9. Tomato Sauce (or Marinara)
  10. Horseradish Sauce
  11. “Philly” Sauce

Buffalo Sauce

Yep, you heard it here, folks. Although uncommon, slathering your Philly steak in buffalo sauce is entirely possible.

The heat and vinegary tang of the sauce makes it the perfect match for the juicy umami flavors that emit from the steak. It also helps break up the creaminess that comes from the cheese slices, which may really help those who don’t prefer cheesy-tasting sandwiches.


Yes, it’s true. We Americans do love ketchup and will find any excuse to put it on virtually anything. Having said that, ketchup is a surprisingly tasty addition to Philly steak.

Those who regularly use ketchup instead of steak sauce on their grilled steaks at home know how oddly satisfying it can be. The same works here for the Philly steak sub. Just know that if you do choose to use ketchup, your Philly will taste somewhat reminiscent of a cheeseburger.

So, if that’s your thing, go for it!

A1 (Or Any Steak Sauce)

Speaking of steaks, it only makes sense that one could use A1 sauce, or any other kind of steak sauce, on a Philly, right? Right!

In fact, this is one of our personal favorites when deciding what sauce to add to a Philly. Because steak sauces already contain the flavors that enhance the taste of steak, they automatically raise the bar when added to Philly subs. In addition, the taste of the sauce provides a nice contrast when paired with the cheese.

It’s a win-win!

A.1. Original Steak Sauce (15 oz Bottle)
Buy on Amazon


Remember the steak sauce that was just mentioned? Try adding a little mayo to your Philly along with the sauce for a match made in heaven!

However, if steak sauce isn’t your thing, you could add mayonnaise to your Philly for an equally satisfying bite. Just know that because the Philly already contains plenty of creamy cheese, adding a lot of mayo will make the sandwich quite rich. If you don’t mind that, you’ll probably love putting mayo on your Philly!


If neither steak sauce, ketchup, nor mayonnaise sound appealing to you, try using barbecue sauce.

Adding barbecue sauce to your Philly is like adding a blend of steak sauce and ketchup to the mix. And for me, it’s my second favorite unconventional way of topping a Philly.

Experiment with spicier, sweeter, and smokier barbecue blends to add a subtle shift in flavor to your Philly. If you love sweet sauces, we’ll guarantee you’ll love what adding barbecue does for your sandwich!

Au Jus

Yes, dipping your Philly steak in au jus is absolutely scrumptious. In fact, for Philly steak purists out there, this may be the sauce of preference, as it allows the Philly’s meat, cheese, peppers, and onions to truly shine.

Ranch Dressing

Despite being one of the most contentious of our suggestions, adding ranch dressing to a Philly sub does not disappoint. With its creamy consistency and tasty flavor profile, adding ranch is a no-brainer for many unashamed ranch-loving Philly steak fans.

Chipotle Mayo

If you like the idea of adding mayo sauce to a Philly cheesesteak but want it to have just a little more kick, then adding chipotle mayo might be for you.

Chipotle mayo has a bolder flavor to it that can really liven up a Philly cheesesteak. Give it a try and see what you think!

Chosen Foods Ranch House Dressing, 8 FZ
Buy on Amazon

Tomato Sauce (or Marinara)

Those from Philly know that there is a long-standing debate about whether or not tomato sauce (or marinara) actually belongs on a Philly. While we’ll leave the answer to that up to the locals, the truth of the matter is that both tomato sauce and marinara sauce pair beautifully with the flavors of a Philly.

Know, however, that some “Philly” steaks in Philadelphia that contain tomato-based sauces are referred to as “pizza” steaks. So, if you’ve got a hankering for a Philly but want tomato sauce spooned over it, try looking for a place that sells pizza steak sandwiches instead.

Horseradish Sauce

For a very bold flavor and lots of spicy kick, try adding horseradish sauce to your Philly cheesesteak. It works well because of the muted umami flavors of the peppers, onions, steak, and cheese!

“Philly” Sauce

Last but not least, we’ve already mentioned that many Philly steaks come with their own cheese sauces known as “Philly sauces.”

What is Philly sauce? It’s basically liquid cheese. These come in the form of mozzarella cheese sauce for Philly cheesesteak, Velveeta cheese sauce for Philly cheesesteak, and our personal choice, provolone cheese sauce for Philly cheesesteak.


What Sauce Should You Use On A Philly Cheesesteak? 11 Top Sauces

The Best Philly Cheesesteak Sauce

So, now that we’ve answered the question of what condiment goes with steak and cheese, you may be wondering which is our favorite. Personally, I think that adding mayo is the most delectable option for people who are new to the world of Philly steaks. To this, you can also add a bit of steak sauce, barbecue sauce, or yes, even marinara. But which one you pick is ultimately up to you.

Don’t like mayo? Try dipping your Philly in au jus, or try a little ketchup on for size. When it comes to dressing up Philly, the choice is yours. Just know that you might receive a little flak from Philadelphia locals, depending on what you choose.

But don’t worry. I won’t tell on you!

Philly Cheesesteak Sauce Recipe

Still wondering about that Philly sauce mentioned earlier? It isn’t hard to make!

Follow this quick recipe to get started!


  • 4 ounces of whole milk
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Place your milk and cream cheese in a saucepan. Warm over low heat
  2. Continuously stir until the syrup is smooth. Add your seasoning before serving over a Philly steak.
  3. Enjoy!

What Sauce Should You Use on a Philly Cheesesteak? Take Your Pick!

When it comes to what sauce to put on a Philly cheesesteak, know that the sky’s the limit. Choose from 13 options of delicious sauces to ladle over your cheesesteak the next time you get a craving. Also, know that there isn’t anything wrong with consuming your Philly as is. These are simply suggestions in case you’d like to impart a little more juiciness and flavor to an already perfect sandwich.

I hope that answers the question, “What sauce should I put on my Philly cheesesteak?” See you next time!


Is there mayo on a Philly cheesesteak?

In some cases, yes, but in many cases, you’ll need to request it.

What is the red sauce on a Philly cheesesteak?

It is usually either tomato sauce or marinara sauce. These types of Philly steaks are commonly referred to as “pizza steaks” in Philadelphia.

Is it normal to put ketchup on a Philly cheesesteak?

Yes! Many people love topping cheesesteaks with ketchup. This is also true of people who reside in Philadelphia.

Do Philly cheesesteaks have marinara sauce?

They can! There are a few places that sell them like this.

Does pizza sauce go on a Philly cheesesteak?

It can, but it isn’t always the case. It’s really up to you when it comes to what tops your Philadelphia.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind CooksDream.com, 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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