What Sauce For Philly Cheesesteak

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When it comes to enjoying a delicious Philly cheesesteak sandwich, the type of sauce you choose can make all the difference. From classic and traditional to unique and homemade, there are a plethora of sauces available to help enhance the flavor and texture of your sandwich. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best sauces for Philly cheesesteak, delve into the history of this iconic sandwich, and provide tips for creating and pairing the perfect sauce for your favorite sandwich.

The Best Sauces for Philly Cheesesteak: A Comprehensive Guide

While a traditional Philly cheesesteak sandwich includes thin-sliced steak, grilled onions, and melted cheese, adding a sauce can take it to the next level. Some of the most popular sauces for Philly cheesesteak include:

  • Cheese Sauce
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Horseradish Sauce
  • Pepper Jelly

Each sauce brings its unique flavor and texture to the sandwich, so it’s essential to choose wisely. A cheese sauce, for instance, is creamy and tangy, while hot sauce adds a spicy kick. A marinara sauce brings a tomato-based sweetness, while barbecue sauce provides a smoky and savory flavor.

It’s worth noting that some Philly cheesesteak purists argue that adding sauce to the sandwich is sacrilege. They believe that the combination of steak, onions, and cheese is perfect on its own and that adding anything else detracts from the sandwich’s simplicity and deliciousness. However, many people enjoy experimenting with different sauces to find their perfect combination. Ultimately, it’s up to personal preference, and there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy a Philly cheesesteak.

The History of Philly Cheesesteak and its Sauces

Philly cheesesteak is an iconic sandwich that traces its roots back to the 1930s in Philadelphia, PA. The sandwich was initially created by Pat Olivieri, who ran a food cart in South Philly. He began experimenting with different sandwich concepts, eventually settling on thinly sliced steak, grilled onions, and melted cheese served on a roll.

Over the years, the sandwich has become a staple in the Philadelphia area, with different variations and additions being made to it. Sauces have also become a popular addition to the sandwich, with everything from ketchup to hot sauce being used to enhance its flavors.

One of the most popular sauces used on Philly cheesesteak is the “Whiz,” a cheese sauce made from Cheez Whiz. This sauce was first introduced in the 1950s and quickly became a favorite among locals. Other popular sauces include marinara sauce, barbecue sauce, and mayonnaise-based sauces like aioli and horseradish sauce.

How to Choose the Right Sauce for Your Philly Cheesesteak

Choosing the right sauce for your Philly cheesesteak can be a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. Start by considering what flavors you like and what would pair well with the other ingredients in your sandwich. For instance, if you like a spicy kick, hot sauce could be an excellent option. If you prefer a creamy and tangy flavor, a cheese sauce would work well.

You can also experiment with different sauces and create your unique blend. Try combining hot sauce and mayonnaise for a spicy and tangy spread or mixing ketchup and barbecue sauce for a sweet and savory flavor.

Another factor to consider when choosing a sauce for your Philly cheesesteak is the texture. Some sauces, like a creamy cheese sauce, can add a smooth and velvety texture to your sandwich, while others, like a chunky salsa, can add a bit of crunch and texture. Think about what texture you want to add to your sandwich and choose a sauce accordingly.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to sauce choices. While traditional options like ketchup and mustard are always a safe bet, you can also try more unconventional sauces like pesto, aioli, or even a fruit-based sauce like mango chutney. The possibilities are endless, so have fun and get creative with your sauce choices!

Homemade Sauces for Philly Cheesesteak: Recipes and Tips

If you’re up for a challenge, why not try making your own sauce for your Philly cheesesteak sandwich? Homemade sauces can be a great way to add a personal touch to your sandwich and take it to the next level.

For a creamy cheese sauce, start by melting shredded cheese and butter together in a small pot. Add a splash of milk or cream to thin out the sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste. For a spicy and tangy sauce, mix together hot sauce, mayonnaise, and a pinch of garlic powder.

If you’re looking for a healthier option, try making a homemade avocado sauce. Mash up a ripe avocado and mix it with Greek yogurt, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. This sauce is not only delicious, but it also adds a creamy texture to your sandwich without the added calories.

If you want to add a unique twist to your Philly cheesesteak, try making a homemade pesto sauce. Blend together fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil until smooth. Spread the pesto sauce on your bread before adding the meat and cheese for a flavorful and aromatic sandwich.

Classic Sauces for Philly Cheesesteak: What Makes Them Great?

Classic sauces for Philly cheesesteak, like cheese sauce and marinara sauce, are popular for a reason. They pair perfectly with the other ingredients in the sandwich and bring out their flavors without overpowering them.

Cheese sauce, for instance, is creamy and tangy, making it a perfect complement to the steak and onions. Marinara sauce adds a sweet and savory flavor that works well with the melted cheese and grilled onions.

Another classic sauce that is often used in Philly cheesesteak is hot sauce. It adds a spicy kick to the sandwich and enhances the flavors of the steak and onions. Some people also like to add mayonnaise or ketchup to their cheesesteak for a milder flavor. However, purists argue that these sauces take away from the authenticity of the sandwich.

The Most Popular Sauces for Philly Cheesesteak: Tried and Tested

Some sauces have stood the test of time and are widely popular among Philly cheesesteak enthusiasts. These tried and tested sauces include:

  • Cheese Sauce
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Mayonnaise

These sauces are popular because they work well with the flavors and textures of the sandwich. They are also readily available at most restaurants and delis that serve Philly cheesesteak.

However, there are also some lesser-known sauces that can take your Philly cheesesteak experience to the next level. One such sauce is the garlic aioli, which adds a creamy and garlicky flavor to the sandwich. Another sauce that is gaining popularity is the chipotle sauce, which adds a smoky and spicy kick to the sandwich.

It’s important to note that the choice of sauce ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer a classic cheese sauce, while others may opt for a tangy marinara sauce. Experimenting with different sauces can be a fun way to discover new flavors and enhance your Philly cheesesteak experience.

Healthier Alternatives to Traditional Philly Cheesesteak Sauces

While traditional Philly cheesesteak sauces can be delicious, they often contain high amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats. However, there are healthier alternatives that you can use to satisfy your craving for a delicious sandwich.

Try using Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise for a creamier and healthier spread. You can also make a homemade salsa to add a fresh and tangy flavor to your sandwich, or use a low-fat cheese sauce instead of the regular version.

Regional Variations of Philly Cheesesteak Sauces: Exploring the Differences

While Philly cheesesteak is a staple in Pennsylvania, it’s also popular in other parts of the country. Regional variations of the sandwich often include unique sauces that reflect the flavors and ingredients of the area.

In New Jersey, for instance, many delis serve their Philly cheesesteak with a sweet and tangy tomato-based sauce. In Maryland, Old Bay seasoning is often added to the sandwich or the sauce for an added kick. And in Texas, barbecue sauce is a popular addition to the steak and onions.

How to Pair Your Philly Cheesesteak Sauce with Side Dishes and Beverages

A good Philly cheesesteak sandwich deserves a great side dish and beverage pairing. The sauce you choose should complement your side dish and beverage choices. For instance, if you’re having fries, a traditional cheese sauce would be a perfect complement. If you’re having a salad, a fresh and tangy salsa could work well.

When it comes to beverages, beer is often the go-to pairing for Philly cheesesteak. A cold lager or pilsner can help refresh your palate and complement the savory flavors of the sandwich. However, if you’re not a beer drinker, a sweet and tangy lemonade or iced tea could work well.

A Guide to Ordering a Philly Cheesesteak with the Perfect Sauce

Ordering a Philly cheesesteak can be intimidating, especially if you’re not familiar with all the different options. However, with a few tips, you can order the perfect sandwich with the perfect sauce.

Start by considering what flavors you like and what sauces would complement them. Ask the server or chef for recommendations, and don’t be afraid to customize your sandwich. If you don’t like a particular sauce, ask for it to be excluded or swapped with a different one.

Specialty Sauces for Philly Cheesesteak: Are They Worth Trying?

Some specialty sauces are available for Philly cheesesteak, and they are often unique and inventive. These sauces can take your sandwich to another level and even become your new favorite.

Some specialty sauces include truffle aioli, garlic herb sauce, and jalapeno cheddar sauce. While these sauces may be pricier than the traditional options, they can add a new dimension of flavor to your sandwich that’s worth trying at least once.

How to Make Your Own Signature Sauce for Your Favorite Sandwich

If you want to take your Philly cheesesteak sandwich to the next level, consider making your own signature sauce.

Start by experimenting with different flavors and textures that you enjoy. Consider adding herbs, spices, and sauces that complement the other ingredients in your sandwich. Keep tasting and adjusting until you find the right balance of flavors that work well together.

Making your own signature sauce can be a fun and creative process that allows you to tailor your sandwich to your exact preferences.


In conclusion, choosing the right sauce for your Philly cheesesteak can have a significant impact on your overall sandwich experience. Whether you go for a classic sauce or experiment with a new and exciting variation, there are plenty of options available to suit your taste and preference.

Remember to consider what flavors you enjoy, what sides and beverages you’re pairing it with, and don’t be afraid to customize your sandwich to your liking. With these tips and suggestions, you’ll be well on your way towards enjoying the perfect Philly cheesesteak sandwich with the perfect sauce.

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