What is the secret to a Philly cheesesteak?

What is the secret to a Philly cheesesteak? Discover the key elements for an authentic Philly cheesesteak. From thinly sliced ribeye to the perfect Amoroso roll, learn what makes this iconic sandwich truly irresistible.

What is the secret to a Philly cheesesteak?

What makes a Philly cheesesteak unique?

The first essential element of a Philly cheesesteak is the cut of beef that is used. Traditionally, thinly sliced ribeye steak is the preferred choice. The beef is cooked on a griddle or flat-top grill until it is tender and juicy. The second crucial component is the bread. A genuine Philly cheesesteak is served on a long, crusty Italian roll that is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.

The art of the cheese:

The cheese used in a Philly cheesesteak is another critical aspect that sets it apart. The most authentic choice is Cheez Whiz, a processed cheese sauce that originated in Philadelphia. However, other common options include provolone and American cheese. The cheese is melted on top of the cooked beef, bringing all the flavors together in a harmonious and gooey delight.

Accompaniments and toppings:

To enhance the flavors and add an extra dimension to the sandwich, various toppings and accompaniments are often included. Sautéed onions are a classic addition that complements the richness of the beef and cheese. Some variations may also feature sliced bell peppers or mushrooms, adding a touch of earthiness to the mix. The condiments used are usually ketchup, mayonnaise, and hot or sweet peppers. However, each place might have its own unique twist when it comes to toppings, making the Philly cheesesteak a versatile sandwich.

Mastering the technique:

The technique used to assemble a Philly cheesesteak is as important as the ingredients themselves. The beef is typically chopped or thinly sliced and then cooked on a hot griddle. The cheese is melted on top of the beef, and the roll is lightly toasted before being filled with the meat and cheese mixture. This ensures that all the flavors meld together perfectly and that the sandwich maintains its structural integrity.

The history and legacy of the Philly cheesesteak:

The Philly cheesesteak has a rich history that dates back to the 1930s. Pat Olivieri, a hot dog vendor from Philadelphia, is credited with inventing this beloved sandwich. Pat initially grilled some beef and placed it on a roll, but a cab driver passing by was enticed by the aroma and requested to have the same. This sparked the start of a culinary legend that has endured for decades.

Today, countless restaurants and food carts in Philadelphia and beyond specialize in serving authentic Philly cheesesteaks. It has become a symbol of the city's culture and a magnet for food lovers worldwide.


The secret to a perfect Philly cheesesteak lies not only in the choice of ingredients but also in the passion and skill with which it is prepared. A true Philly cheesesteak is made with love, using high-quality beef, genuine cheese, and a fresh, crusty roll. The combination of flavors, textures, and techniques elevates this sandwich to a level of culinary greatness. Whether you are a Philadelphia local or a curious traveler, experiencing a genuine Philly cheesesteak is a must and will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What type of bread is traditionally used for a Philly cheesesteak?

The traditional bread used for a Philly cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll known as an Amoroso roll. It has a soft interior and a slightly crispy exterior, which pairs well with the filling.

2. What type of cheese is typically used in a Philly cheesesteak?

The classic cheese used in a Philly cheesesteak is Cheez Whiz, a processed cheese sauce. However, American cheese and provolone are also popular choices. It ultimately depends on personal preference.

3. Can a Philly cheesesteak be made with chicken instead of beef?

Yes, a Philly cheesesteak can be made with chicken instead of beef. This variation, known as a "chicken Philly," is a popular alternative for those who prefer poultry over red meat.

4. Are there any vegetables included in a traditional Philly cheesesteak?

Yes, a traditional Philly cheesesteak typically includes sautéed onions. Some variations may also include peppers, mushrooms, or even lettuce and tomatoes, but these are not considered to be part of the original recipe.

5. Is it necessary to use thinly sliced meat for a Philly cheesesteak?

Yes, thinly sliced meat is essential for a Philly cheesesteak. The meat is typically sliced very thin and then cooked on a griddle or flat-top grill until it is slightly crispy. This allows the meat to be tender and easily packed into the sandwich.