How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (2024)

Published . By Alyssa Brantley 83 Comments

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Learn everything you need to know to make the Best, Authentic Philly Cheese Steak Recipe at home from a Philadelphia native! What type of meat, cheese, and bread to choose and more. Bonus guide: Where to get the Best Cheese Steaks in Philly!

How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (1)

This post has been A LONG TIME coming. I grew up in Philly and while I now live on the West Coast, I lived there most of my life. Cheesesteaks are something I grew up on and know a lot about. Probably too much 😉

People in Philly take Cheesesteaks really, really seriously and everyone has their fav spot. While cheesesteaks have some slight variations from place to place and personal preference, there are some things that really matter.

AUTHENTIC PHILLY CHEESESTEAKS:

  • NEVER (I repeat, NEVER) have green peppers on them. That is something that probably started at a chain restaurant. (I’m looking at you Chili’s.) Seriously though, if you order a cheesesteak and it has bell peppers on it, eat something else. Not Legit.
  • …are always on good bread. The bread matters. You need to find a soft hoagie roll that is light and airy on the inside and just very slightly crusty on the outside. We are not talking about baguette crusty at all. The king of cheesesteak rolls in Philly is Amorosos.
  • do not have mayonnaise on them.
  • cook the meat and onions in oil. Usually soybean or canola oil. I upped the game and used Avocado oil. But, NEVER butter.

HOW TO MAKE A PHILLY CHEESE STEAK SANDWICH:

  1. Fry onions in oil for a few minutes until starting to brown.
  2. Add sliced or chopped meat along with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cook until pink is gone.
  3. Separate meat into piles and add sliced cheese on top.
  4. As soon as the cheese begins to melt, place the sliced roll on top and use a large spatula to lift and flip the sandwich over.
  5. Serve hot and Enjoy!

How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (2)

WHAT KIND OF MEAT FOR PHILLY CHEESE STEAK?

  • Boneless Ribeye is the preferred cut of meat but it’s usually super expensive. Sirloin works just as well and here is a little secret — a lot of the real cheesesteak joints actually use this or a blend of Sirloin and Ribeye. Most butchers (even at the grocery store) will properly slice the meat for you, you just need to give them a heads up when you first get in the store so that they can freeze the meat for 1/2 hour before thinly slicing. Or, better yet, call it in so it’s ready when you get there (just tell them sliced “for cheesesteaks”)!
  • If you can’t get them to slice the meat for you, you can freeze it for 20 to 30 minutes and use a very sharp chef’s knife to thinly slice against the grain. Another option is an at-home meat slicer. If you are going to be making a ton of cheese steaks or plan to make Homemade Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches on the regular, this might be a good investment!

How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (3)

WHAT KIND OF CHEESE?

There are really three choices:

  1. Whiz. Yes, as in Cheez Whiz. This is a huge thing here and some locals can’t have a cheesesteak in Philly without whiz. It’s melty and gooey and adds another layer of salty flavor.
  2. Provolone. Usually regular provolone. When you start getting into sharp provolone, you’ve moved on to a hot roast pork or other type of sandwich. Also called “Provi”.
  3. American. American cheese doesn’t have as much flavor but it melts beautifully.

Personally, I am a provolone girl all the way but I respect the Cheese Whiz choice because that is how a lot of people are used to a real cheesesteak. I can also get down with American cheese but for me, nothing compares to high-quality provolone.

How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (4)

HOMEMADE CHEESESTEAK TIPS AND TRICKS:

  • You need more salt and pepper than you think. Don’t waste your time using freshly ground pepper. You want regular old black pepper from a tin can.
  • You need to fry the onions in oil. Don’t skip this. The cheesesteak is not health food. Think of this like birthday cake. If you want it to taste good, you need to cook it the way it’s supposed to be done.
  • Onions. We always go with fried onions but it’s legit to order raw onions. Some places serve diced onions (that’s my preference) and some serve super thin sliced onions, either works! For this recipe, you want yellow onions.
  • Hot Peppers are almost always a good option. Usually called “Hots”, they are pickled hot cherry peppers of various colors, some places will offer a hot pepper relish or some other kind of pickled hot pepper. Long hots are usually reserved for roast pork sandwiches but are also delish on a cheesesteak.
  • Gluten-Free Option: This is the first gluten post I’ve posted on here in like 4 years. I don’t have to be gluten-free but we keep our house GF because of our older son and because we all feel significantly better avoiding gluten 98% of the time. With that being said, while we go with real hoagie rolls for cheesesteaks, there are some decent GF options out there. I would go with either Three Bakers Gluten Free Hoagie Rolls or Schar Gluten-Free Sandwich Rolls.
  • Low Carb Option: My Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers take all of the goodness of the classic Philly Cheese Steak recipe and ditch the bread.
  • Griddle or Cast Iron? The best way to cook a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich is on a flattop griddle. I realize that most people don’t have that at home so another fantastic option is a large stainless steel frying pan or cast iron pan. Don’t use a non-stick pan or get crazy and bake the ingredients. Bottom line is that you need to brown the meat and onions to get good flavor!

How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (5)

WHERE TO GET THE BEST CHEESESTEAK IN PHILLY:

In case you find yourself in Philadelphia and want to go get an authentic Philly Cheese Steak, I’ve listed my top 8 recommendations in order of where I would go:

  1. John’s Roast Pork (South Philly), chopped steak
  2. Sonny’s Famous Steaks (Old City), chopped steak
  3. Dalessandro’s Steaks and Hoagies (Roxborough), chopped steak
  4. Steve’s Prince of Steaks (multiple locations), shaved steak
  5. Geno’s Steaks (South Philly), shaved steak
  6. Ishkabibble’s (South Street, Queen Village), chopped steak
  7. Pat’s King of Steaks (South Philly, chopped steak
  8. Jim’s Steaks (multiple locations), chopped steak

HOW TO ORDER A PHILLY CHEESESTEAK:

  1. Pick your cheese (Provolone, American, Whiz).
  2. Decide if you want your cheese steak Wit’ or Wit’out fried onions.

Examples:

  1. “Give me a Provi wit’.” Translation: “May I have a Provolone Cheese Steak with fried onions, please?”
  2. “Two Americans wit’.” Translation: “May I have two Cheese Steaks with American cheese and fried onions, please?”
  3. “One Whiz wit’out”. Translation: “May I please have a Cheese Steak with Cheez Whiz and no fried onions?”

How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (6)

Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!

Philly Cheese Steak Recipe

Prep Time:10 mins

Cook Time:10 mins

Total Time:20 mins

Learn everything you need to know to make the Best Philly Cheese Steak Recipe at home from a Philadelphia native! What type of meat, cheese, and bread to choose and more.

Course:Lunch, Mains, Sandwiches

Cuisine:American

Keyword:best philly cheese steak recipe, homemade philly cheese steaks, how to make philly cheese steaks

Servings: 4

Calories: 826 kcal

Author: Alyssa Brantley

5 from 17 votes

How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (7)

Print

Ingredients

  • 4Tavocado oil(or other mild high heat oil)
  • 2extra largeyellow onionsdiced
  • 2poundsSirlointhinly sliced and cut into 2" pieces
  • 2teaspoonssalt
  • 2teaspoonsblack pepper
  • 4hoagie rolls
  • 8ouncesprovolone cheese slices

Instructions

  1. Peel and dice onions.

    How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (8)
  2. Cut thinly sliced meat into 2" pieces using a kitchen scissors.

    How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (9)
  3. Gather rolls and slice 3/4 of the way through from the curved side. Gather cheese slices, salt, pepper and avocado oil.

  4. Place 2 to 3 slices of provolone on each hoagie roll (about 2 ounces total of cheese) and set aside.

    NOTE: If you want the cheese super melty, place cheese slices directly on the mounds of cooked meat and onion before placing roll on top.

    How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (11)
  5. Heat flat-top griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 T avocado oil and diced onions (You may need to cook the onions / meat in 2 batches depending on the size of your griddle / frying pan.)Cook onions for 2 to 3 minutes until they are just beginning to brown.

    How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (12)
  6. Add sliced meat. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, using a spatula to continually move around and break up into smaller pieces. Cook until all of the pink is gone. Sprinkle meat and onion mixture generously with salt and pepper.

    How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (13)
  7. Separate meat into piles for each cheesesteak. Flip a hoagie roll with cheese on top of each pile.

    How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (14)
  8. Allow to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until cheese is melted and roll has begun to soften.

    How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (15)
  9. Use a long spatula to scoop the cheesesteak off the griddle / frying pan. Flip over, add your favorite toppings and serve hot! Enjoy 🙂

    How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (16)

Nutrition Facts

Philly Cheese Steak Recipe

Amount Per Serving (1 cheese steak sandwich)

Calories 826Calories from Fat 369

% Daily Value*

Fat 41g63%

Saturated Fat 15g94%

Cholesterol 177mg59%

Sodium 2083mg91%

Potassium 947mg27%

Carbohydrates 39g13%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 6g7%

Protein 70g140%

Vitamin A 500IU10%

Vitamin C 4mg5%

Calcium 516mg52%

Iron 14.9mg83%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Did you make this recipe? Tag @EverydayMaven on Instagram with the hashtag #EveryDayMaven and please give a star rating below.

UPDATE NOTES: This recipe was originally posted in September of 2017. It was updated in April 2019 with more photos, answers to commonly asked questions, nutrition information and more helpful tips.

EverydayMaven.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (17)Sharon Barron says

    What about pasta sauce on them. Your thoughts.

    Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (18)Alyssa Brantley says

      Not a fan but I know a lot of places in Philly where you can add pizza sauce so it’s definitely a thing!

      Reply

  2. How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (19)Dennis Glover says

    Late fall 1971-early spring 1972 my ship was at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard getting overhauled and that was a tough time of hard work. Nights when I had watch duty my section had to sleep in the barracks next to the old naval railway (small drydock kind of thing for smaller ships) and we ordered a whole lot of cheese steaks, usually from Geno’s, I think. (Whoever it was, they supplied hot pepper relish, which was a great addition! A memorable time for me at age 19-20. Put this memory with hearing the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Academy of Music conducted by Eugene Ormandy, and the Italian restaurant a half-block the other side of Broad Street on Locust Street and I’ll never forget that short six months! Thanks to a kid from Philly, name of Bobby Desimone for telling the rest of us about cheese steak.

    Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (20)Alyssa Brantley says

      I love hot pepper relish! Sounds like great memories 🙂

      Reply

  3. How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (21)AP says

    Thank you for this pure, authentic recipe. Trader Joe’s now carries excellent shaved steak in their fresh meat section, and so I’m glad I can now try a real Philly Cheesesteak without having to travel.

    Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (22)Alyssa Brantley says

      Hey! Yes, I have bought that shaved steak from TJ’s as well. Hope you had a chance to try this 🙂

      Reply

  4. How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (23)Wildriver says

    You can put mayo on any sandwich, but I do not think that is authentic at all. Sure the Philly shops will put it on if you ask but only if you ask unless they want to sell you a fancy California or some nonsense titled steak and cheese sandwich. Or maybe if the bread is stale or not the best. I suppose if you asked for ketchup they would put in on also 🙂

    Reply

  5. How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (24)Wildriver says

    From PA, always a lively conversation, with our friends also. We all agree no bell peppers, only cooked chopped onions with or without (never raw) better if they disappear after cooking into the steak. Consensus is either provolone (never sharp) or American preferably white-why would you put wiz on expensive steak? We think acceptable alternatives
    is with a sharp red sauce which is cut with Worcestershire sauce and heavy oregano with oil- a north Philly thing which is really pretty good actually and more popular than you think; many shops have there own secret recipes. It seems many pa Philly shops are also trying creamy cheeses like muenster and chopped mushrooms;we agree while not authentic is acceptable once in while.. We are passionate about our cheesesteaks for sure. Me, white American extra cheese with, on a good roll.

    Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (25)Alyssa Brantley says

      Exactly! I personally love regular provolone but right after that is white American (especially on a chicken cheese steak). Yum!

      Reply

  6. How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (26)Nico Scherr and Mouse says

    Grew up in Kensington. There was an old time diner called Haimie’s. Only fried onions, white American or Prov. no Mayo. My aunt was a waitress there in the 1920-s until the 1970’s when she retired. My sister was cook from the 70’s until it shut down in the 80s’ Aunt Rose said they were the original shop in that section that helped to developed the sandwich. If you ordered it with mayo it became a steak sandwich hoagie.

    Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (27)Alyssa Brantley says

      Wow! that is so cool. I swear I remember my grandmother talking about eating at Haimie’s as well. Did they have a fish cake sandwich they were known for?

      Reply

  7. How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (28)ROBERT S BAYERS says

    Nobody has mentioned that you must scoop out the roll’s inner bread.

    Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (29)Alyssa Brantley says

      Hi Robert, I am not a fan of scooping out the bread but I know there are certain places in the Philly area that definitely do that!

      Reply

  8. How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (30)Doug Haughs says

    You are mostly right. Green peppers NO! But, also Cheese Wiz – absolutely Triple NO! I don’t care what Geno or the other guy across the street says. Neither one of them are the original inventor of the “Philly”. .I’m talking early 1950s before these guys came along. How could you crap up a Philly with cheese wiz?

    Sincerely,
    Doug

    Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (31)Alyssa Brantley says

      Hi Doug, Lol I hear you!

      Reply

  9. How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (32)E says

    Correct but cheesesteak DO have mayonnaise on them. Take that from a guy from philly born and raised 215

    Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (33)Alyssa Brantley says

      Hey E! My husband will sometimes get mayo on a cheesesteak as well!

      Reply

      • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (34)Junior says

        I hate provolone cheese . And a cheese steak has to ha e mayo

        Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (35)Joan Ressman says

      Cheesesteaks do NOT have MAYO .. or Green Pepper steaks. I suppose there are some that add what they may but I have been eating these delights since the 1950s and NEVER was there mayo or any other additions but cheese and onion to the meat and maybe some red sauce. Younger generation have fallen prey to the processed chez whiz . I’ll stick with provolone .. E Says must be young ..

      Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (36)Jean A Manning says

      Lived in a dark
      Lived in and around Philly all my life.
      Watched cheesesteaks being made at lots of different places.
      Never once saw mayonnaise or orange cheese.

      Reply

  10. How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (37)Fancy Nancy says

    I am from the Pittsburgh area (we are famous for our Chip Chop Ham Barbeque). I had my first Philly Cheesesteak approx. 45 yrs ago when I was a teenager and a family member had moved to Philly and was bragging about these sandwiches. I have had the authentic back then and you are correct… no bell peppers. Mine had provolone and sautéed onion and the cheese was put on the steak and the open faced hoagie roll on top till the cheese melted into the roll. I was hooked! Our local steak just wasn’t the same in our area back then so any time we were in the philly area, a bunch of it came back with us to make our own.
    Your recipe is as authentic as it gets. It is also my recipe I’ve had for 45 years, lol. I just made it and it is yummy and authentic!

    Reply

    • How to Make a LEGIT Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (from a Philly Native) (38)Alyssa Brantley says

      Hi Nancy! I love it!!! This comment totally made my day. And, now, I am in the mood for a cheesesteak 😉

      Reply

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