Every region has its favorite sandwiches, but few are as beloved as the Philly Cheesesteak.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, people are pretty proud of their world-famous sandwich, much like native New Yorkers are about their pizza or Texans over their brisket.
Condiments That Go on a Philly Cheesesteak
When it comes to great-tasting condiments for Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, many “purists” would likely gasp in horror at the thought of putting any type of sauce on a Philly cheesesteak.
But, if you’re one of those adventurous types who like to try new things, here are a few popular suggestions:
Yellow Mustard is a sauce that is good on sandwiches. It has a strong flavor and can be used on lots of different kinds of food.
Brown mustard is a sauce that is good on Philly cheesesteaks. It adds a bit of flavor and makes the sandwich taste even better.
Ketchup is a sauce often used on hamburgers and hot dogs. It is made from tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. Ketchup is a good choice for a Philly cheesesteak because it goes well with the beef and cheese.
Mayonnaise is a sauce that is made with eggs and oil. It can be used on sandwiches to make them taste better.
A1 Steak Sauce
A1 Steak Sauce is a sauce made with vinegar and spices. People put it on their steaks, but it is also good on Philly cheesesteaks.
Sriracha Mayo is a sauce that is made with mayonnaise and sriracha sauce. It’s a spicy sauce that goes great on Philly cheesesteaks or any other sandwich.
Hot sauce is a sauce that is spicy. It makes ALL food taste better.
Celery salt is a condiment that is used on Philly cheesesteaks. It is made up of celery seed and salt. Celery seed has a strong flavor and it helps to enhance the taste of the salt.
Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Cheddar cheese sauce is a type of sauce that you can put on top of your Philly cheesesteak. It tastes good and it makes the sandwich even better. There’s nothing like extra cheese.
BBQ Sauce is a sauce that is good on Philly cheesesteaks. It makes the sandwich taste better and it’s easy to put on.
Blue Cheese Dressing
Blue cheese dressing is a sauce that is good on Philly cheesesteaks. It is made out of blue cheese and other ingredients.
Ranch is a sauce that is made with buttermilk, herbs, and spices. It is great on salads, chicken, and of course, Philly cheesesteaks!
Thousand Island Dressing
Thousand Island Dressing is a sauce that is made with ketchup, mayo, and relish. It’s good on Philly cheesesteaks because it gives the sandwich a bit of sweetness and tang.
The Italian dressing is great because it makes the Philly cheesesteak taste really good. It hearkens back to the Italian neighborhoods where the Philly cheesesteak was invented.
Creamy Italian Dressing
Creamy Italian Dressing is good on a Philly Cheesesteak because it makes the sandwich taste creamy and delicious.
Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
Jalapeno Ranch Dressing is a sauce that is made with ranch dressing and jalapeno peppers. It is a great sauce to use on a Philly cheesesteak because it has a bit of spice to it.
Homemade Sauces & Condiments
Continuing our list are recipes for sauces you can make at home.
Provolone Cheese Sauce
The Provolone Cheese Sauce is great because it tastes good and it’s easy to put on a Philly Cheesesteak. It’s extra cheese flavor with the creaminess of a sauce.
This simple green sauce recipe with jalapeño and garlic takes only 5 minutes to prepare. It will liven anything you serve it on!
Carmelized Onion-Blue Cheese Sauce
The complex flavor of caramelized onions combined with the distinct aroma of blue cheese makes for a rich and luxurious sauce to pair with a Philly cheeseteak or any other favourite beef dish.
Burgundy Mushroom Sauce
This is a sauce that can be put on a Philly cheesesteak. It’s made with mushrooms and burgundy wine. It provides a rich contrast and pairs withe the beef.
Cowboy Butter Sauce
This garlic butter dipping sauce is outstanding! It’s insanely delicious with grilled meat like a Philly cheesesteak. You can also enjoy this cowboy butter sauce with dipped bread slices or veggies.
Country-fried Steak Gravy
Our ultimate Country Fried Steak is cooked to a beautiful golden brown and then bathed in the most delicious gravy imaginable. It adds a richness to any Philly cheesesteak.
This is the greatest Thai peanut sauce ever. This recipe is used as a dipping sauce, a salad dressing, and for making a Thai twist on any Philly cheesesteak.
Avacado-Wasabi Cream Sauce
Use this sauce on cheesesteak, in a salad or as a dip. Add more or less wasabi to taste–the avocado will make the dish creamy and delicious.
This homemade hoisin sauce is so rich, sweet, and salty that it adds a true fusion to any Philly cheesesteak!
History of The Philly Cheesesteak
Regarding the history of this great sandwich, culinary historians credit Harry and Pat Olivieri, two brothers who in the 1930s ran a hot dog stand in South Philly’s Italian market area. As legend has it, the brothers wished to create new sandwiches for their customers.
One day, Pat told his brother to go to the store and purchase some beef. The next day they introduced a new item featuring grilled onions and beef on a toasted roll.
Their first customer was a cab driver who smelled the beef cooking and ordered a sandwich.
By 1939, Harry registered their new business in several locations around Philly.
The brothers started Pat’s King of Steaks, located at the site of the iconic hot dog stand where they first invented the sandwich.
At a rowhouse located at 815 Wharton St, they opened Million Dollar Steak Sandwich.
Finally, at 3251 Ridge Ave, they opened Pat’s Steaks Sandwiches, located in the popular Strawberry Mansion district not far from what was at the time a trolley turnaround that today has become a bus station.
Now you might be thinking. Wait a minute, didn’t you forget something?
Nope, I didn’t forget anything. The original sandwich did not have cheese!
As the sandwich became more popular, a manager named Tony Lorenzo, working the stand at the Ridge Avenue location during the late 40s or early 50s, got a bit bored with the original sandwich and decided to add provolone, marking the birth of the current Philly Cheesesteak sandwich! Although, it’s not clear if the clouds parted and a ray of sunlight enveloped the cart at the moment.
Frank Olivieri Jr., Harry’s grandson, later recalled during an interview with the Inquirer in 2015 how Pat was against putting cheese on the sandwiches in his South Philly locations.
He said that he never wanted to put cheese on the sandwiches at his original location since he wished to keep his sandwiches kosher enough for his Jewish friend to enjoy.
But, he said, after his dad learned about Cheez Whiz, he would hide it at the edge of the grill where his grandfather couldn’t see it and started serving it to folks anyway. It almost became like a secret menu item.
Soon Philly’s cheesesteak sandwiches began to catch on like wildfire, and during the 1960s, Pat’s King of Steaks found themselves in competition with a plucky upstart chain that moved in across the street called Geno’s Cheesesteaks! And the two have engaged in a friendly food war since that day.
In the decades that followed, Philadelphia saw more than its share of upstart Philly cheesesteak restaurants, most of which are not still around.
Many began offering unique twists to the classic formula, such as John’s Roast Pork and Max’s Steaks, located in North Philly, where you can still order a cheesesteak sandwich that’s as long as your arm!
And as the years went by, many of these restaurants developed generations of fans who still swear their restaurant makes the “best” Philly cheesesteaks on the planet.
Philly Cheesesteak FAQs
Do you put condiments on Philly cheesesteak?
There are a lot of Philly cheesesteak purists out there who will tell you that condiments absolutely ruin the sandwich. But, here’s the deal. At the end of the day, they are your taste buds, not anyone else’s.
You may find that after trying different condiments, you prefer just a plain, traditional Philly Cheesesteak or that you like certain condiments. The key is taking a chance, or you’ll never know for sure.
What do you top Philly cheesesteak with?
With Philly Cheesesteak, you can mix many of your toppings into the sandwich or have them added on top of the meat. Here are a few topping suggestions: Provolone cheese, White American, Pepperjack Cheese, Sauteed mushrooms, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Pickles, Bacon, French Fries, Onion rings, Tator Tots, Sauteed onions, Black olives, Diced sauteed celery, Green olives, Hot peppers, Bell peppers, Cherry peppers, or Banana peppers.
Does Philly cheesesteak have sauce?
Philly cheesesteaks don’t usually have a “special sauce.” However, some places that serve them may have come up with their own, but there’s no official Philly Cheesesteak sauce like Buffalo Wing Sauce. Some might argue that cheese sauce is the unofficial sauce.
Do you put mayo on a Philly cheesesteak?
Typically, most folks don’t put mayo on their Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. However, if you’re someone who enjoys mayo, don’t deny yourself on their account! I love mayo on my hot dog buns, while most eat theirs dry. The creamy richness of mayo has a way of adding something special to the meat, and if mayo’s your thing, don’t be ashamed to have it.
What cheese is the best on a Philly Cheesesteak?
The most popular cheese choices for Philly cheesesteak are White American and Provolone. However, many purists would argue that White American provides a more authentic experience. But, many still prefer the provolone flavor, and as we know, it was the original cheese put on the sandwich by Tony Lorenzo.
What is the best beef to use for Philly Cheesesteak?
While many would shrug and say it doesn’t matter, those who know beef recommend using ribeye as it has excellent marbling (fat vein through the meat) and cooks super tender and juicy. You honestly don’t want to get cheap beef that cooks tough.
What is the best beef seasoning for Philly cheesesteak meat?
This question can earn tons of different opinions, but the most consistent seasoning is garlic. Some like to cook with fresh garlic and pick out the cloves. This way, you get a more robust garlic flavor. But, I’d say most use garlic powder. But there is a wide array of steak seasoning blends that would taste amazing as well.