Sauces that Go with Philly Cheesesteak

Philly cheese steaks are beloved for their tender meat, gooey cheese, and perfectly cooked onions on a soft roll. While the classic sandwich is a masterpiece on its own, the right sauce can elevate the flavor profile and add a layer of delicious complexity. In this article, we will explore some of the best sauces that can complement and enhance the taste of your Philly cheese steak.

Sauces not only contribute to the overall taste, but they also add extra moisture and texture, making every bite a mouth-watering experience. From traditional options that have been paired with Philly cheese steaks for generations to creative and unconventional sauces, there is a wide variety of choices to suit everyone’s personal preferences. Let’s dive into the world of Philly cheese steak sauces and discover new ways to enjoy this classic sandwich.

Key Takeaways

  • The right sauce can elevate the flavor of a Philly cheese steak, offering a variety of taste experiences.
  • Traditional and unconventional options are available, catering to diverse preferences.
  • Adding sauce enhances not only the taste but also the texture and moisture level of the sandwich.

The Classic Philly Cheese Steak

Philly cheesesteak is a flavorful sandwich that consists of thinly-sliced beefsteak, sautéed onions, bell peppers, and cheese, all combined inside a soft hoagie roll. As you savor the sandwich, there are a few popular sauces that perfectly complement these classic flavors.

Provolone Sauce: Provolone is a popular cheese choice for a classic Philly cheesesteak, adding a smooth, creamy flavor that pairs well with the beefsteak and sautéed vegetables. To make a simple provolone sauce, just heat and melt provolone slices in a saucepan with a dash of milk, then pour the mixture over the cheesesteak before serving.

American Cheese Sauce: American cheese is another classic option for Philly cheesesteak. It’s easy to melt into a velvety sauce that will enhance the sandwich’s taste. You can create an American cheese sauce by melting the cheese with a little milk or cream in a saucepan, then drizzling it over the cheesesteak and vegetables to create a decadent, satisfying meal.

Cheese Whiz: Cheese Whiz is a classic addition to a Philly cheesesteak. This thick, at-the-ready cheese sauce brings an added zing that many cheesesteak enthusiasts crave. Simply heat up the cheese whiz and spread it generously on the sandwich before placing the cooked beefsteak, onions, and bell peppers on the hoagie roll.

These classic sauces will elevate your Philly cheesesteak experience and bring out the mouthwatering flavors associated with this famous sandwich. By experimenting with provolone, American cheese, and Cheese Whiz, you’ll find the perfect sauce to complement your cheesesteak and taste buds. Enjoy!

Popular Sauces for Philly Cheese Steaks

When enjoying a delicious Philly Cheese Steak, the choice of sauce plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall flavor. There are several popular sauces that complement this classic sandwich, and you can select one or a combination to satisfy your taste buds.

1. Cheese Sauce: Perhaps the most iconic Philly Cheese Steak sauce, cheese sauce adds a rich and creamy element to the sandwich. Options include Cheese Whiz, provolone, or American cheese.

2. Tomato-based Sauces: Ketchup and marinara sauce are two popular tomato-based sauces that add sweetness and tanginess to your Philly Cheese Steak. Ketchup is a simple addition while marinara sauce offers a more robust flavor with a hint of umami.

3. Mayo, Aioli, and Miracle Whip: These creamy options create a smooth, velvety texture. Aioli, a garlic-flavored mayonnaise, adds an extra kick of flavor, while Miracle Whip provides a slightly sweeter taste compared to traditional mayonnaise.

4. Ranch Dressing: Beloved for its versatility, ranch dressing complements Philly Cheese Steaks with its blend of buttermilk, herbs, and spices. It’s a great choice for those who crave a refreshing, zesty flavor.

5. Mustard and Horseradish: If you prefer something spicier, mustard and horseradish will definitely enhance your Philly Cheese Steak experience. Mustard provides a tangy flavor with a hint of heat, while horseradish adds a spicy zing.

6. Hot Sauce and Pepper Options: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes are the perfect additions. You could also opt for sliced jalapenos or banana peppers for an extra kick.

7. Pickle Relish: This tangy condiment adds a touch of sweetness and acidity to your Philly Cheese Steak, cutting through the richness of the sandwich and creating a well-balanced flavor profile.

There is a multitude of sauces for you to try with your Philly Cheese Steak. However, it’s essential to remember that what matters most is finding the perfect combination that suits your personal taste preferences while enhancing the sandwich’s overall experience.

Cheese Options

When it comes to Philly cheesesteaks, the cheese selection is essential for creating the perfect flavor combination. You have several options to choose from, each providing a unique taste. This section will discuss some popular cheese choices: provolone, American, Cheese Whiz, cheddar cheese sauce, and melted cheese.

Provolone cheese is a popular choice for a more traditional Philly cheesesteak experience. It offers a somewhat mild flavor, allowing the meat to remain the star of the dish, and has an appealing texture when melted. It is often the default option at many establishments, although it may not be as creamy or gooey as other choices.

American cheese is a classic choice for those desiring a nostalgic, comforting feel in their cheesesteak. With its smooth and creamy texture, it creates a delightful contrast with the meat and other ingredients. Many people find the combination of this cheese with steak and onions to be irresistible.

Cheese Whiz is a bold choice, known for its intense flavor and gooeyness. This processed cheese product often shocks newcomers, but it’s become a fan favorite for many, delivering an exciting twist to an otherwise traditional sandwich. Keep in mind that it’s not as natural as other cheese options, and some may find it overly salty.

Cheddar cheese sauce provides an alternative to the more traditional options. Its rich, creamy nature adds depth and thickness to the sandwich. You may find that it complements the meat and vegetables differently, resulting in a unique taste experience.

Lastly, you may opt for a melted cheese blend – a combination of different cheeses chosen by the establishment. These blends usually aim for a balanced flavor, taking the best qualities from various types of cheese.

Ultimately, the choice you make depends on your taste preferences and the type of experience you desire from your Philly cheesesteak. Don’t be afraid to try different options and explore the wide variety of flavor combinations that cheese has to offer.

Unique Variations of Philly Cheese Steaks

Philly Cheese Steaks are known for their tender beef, gooey cheese, and flavorful onions and peppers, but their appeal is also in their versatility. As you explore the world of Philly Cheese Steaks, you will find many interesting and unique variations on the classic sandwich.

Pizza Sauce transforms your Philly Cheese Steak into an Italian delight. Simply replace the traditional Cheez Whiz or provolone with a hearty layer of pizza sauce before adding your cheese of choice. This combination makes for a melt-in-your-mouth taste sensation that blends cuisine staples into one delicious package.

Barbecue Sauce is another option that takes your Cheese Steak to a whole new level. Swap out the regular onions and peppers for a tangy, smoky, and sweet version by sautéing your vegetables in barbecue sauce before adding them to your sandwich. This alternative adds a depth of flavor, evoking the summer cookout atmosphere.

When you think of Au Jus, it might be more commonly associated with a traditional French Dip, but incorporating it as a dipping sauce for your Philly Cheese Steak can be a game-changer. By simply serving a small bowl of Au Jus alongside your sandwich, you can enhance and absorb the flavors of the tender meat and rich cheese, creating an entirely new dining experience.

Lastly, Ranch Sauce is a surprising addition that many people swear by. Drizzle as much or as little as you like onto your Cheese Steak, and the combination of the creamy, zesty ranch with the rich meat and cheese will instantly resonate with your taste buds. If ranch isn’t your top choice, try experimenting with other sauces like garlic mayo or chipotle aioli.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to step outside the box and try new variations on a classic Philly Cheese Steak. Each of these unique sauce additions offers a deliciously different taste, while the heart of the sandwich remains the same.

Creating the Perfect Sauce

When crafting the perfect sauce for your Philly cheesesteak, start by choosing a base that complements the flavors of your sandwich. A1 Steak Sauce and Heinz 57 sauce both make excellent choices, thanks to their tangy and savory flavors. To enhance the umami sensation, consider adding a dash of all-purpose flour for a slightly thicker consistency and to help bind the ingredients together.

Next, spice up your sauce with the proper seasoning. A generous amount of black pepper is a must, as it adds depth and heat to your sauce. Feel free to experiment with additional spices, such as paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder, to give your sauce a unique twist.

For a touch of acidity and a burst of freshness, including pickles can make a world of difference in your sauce. Try using dill pickles for a classic taste, or get creative with pickled jalapeños for an exciting kick.

Ensure your sauce has the perfect balance by considering the following key components:

  • Base: A1 Steak Sauce / Heinz 57 sauce
  • Flavor Enhancers: All-purpose flour, spices
  • Spice: Black pepper
  • Acidity: Pickles

Feel free to tweak these ingredients to suit your personal taste. Just remember to maintain a confident, knowledgeable, and neutral approach while creating your perfect Philly cheesesteak sauce, allowing the flavors to seamlessly come together and delight your taste buds.

Philly Cheese Steak Toppings

When it comes to Philly Cheese Steak, the toppings can enhance the flavor and bring out the best in your sandwich. Here are some popular toppings that you can try to elevate your Philly Cheese Steak experience.

Fried mushrooms are an excellent addition to your Philly Cheese Steak. They provide a delicious, earthy flavor and a contrasting texture, which works wonderfully with the tenderness of the steak. To enjoy this topping, simply sauté some mushrooms in butter or oil until they are golden brown and tender, then add them to your sandwich.

Tomato sauce is another popular choice to add some tanginess and moisture to your sandwich. Most people prefer a slightly sweet and savory tomato sauce. To make it, simply heat some oil in a saucepan, add crushed tomatoes, and season with basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, and your sauce will be ready to spread on your Philly Cheese Steak.

For those who prefer a slightly spicier and zestier option, horseradish sauce is the way to go. This sauce adds a bold, sharp flavor that complements the richness of the meat and cheese. To make it, combine prepared horseradish, mayonnaise, sour cream, and lemon juice. Season it with salt and pepper, and it is ready to be drizzled over your Philly Cheese Steak.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to try something unique, consider adding anchovies to your Philly Cheese Steak. These small, salt-cured fish pack an intense, umami punch that can enhance the flavors of the sandwich. They are not for everyone, but they are definitely worth a try if you are open to experimenting with new tastes.

Finally, to complement any of these toppings, feel free to add some classic favorites like grilled onions, peppers, and melted provolone or American cheese. Customize your Philly Cheese Steak with these toppings and enjoy a satisfying, flavor-packed meal.

Philadelphia’s Take on Sauces

When it comes to Philadelphia’s iconic Philly cheesesteak, a variety of sauces can be used to elevate your sandwich experience. In the City of Brotherly Love, some establishments pride themselves in offering their unique takes on the classic condiments. This section provides a confident, knowledgeable, and neutral insight into some of the best sauces that complement a Philly cheesesteak.

Provolone Sauce: A popular and traditional option in Philadelphia is the creamy and flavorsome provolone sauce. This cheese sauce is rich, smooth, and adds a tangy depth to your sandwich. To make your own at home, simply melt provolone cheese with a bit of milk or cream in a saucepan and whisk until smooth. You can also enhance the flavors by adding seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder, or a dash of black pepper. Make sure to portion your sauce moderately to avoid overpowering the classic taste of your Philly cheesesteak.

Marinara Sauce: For a hearty and robust experience, consider adding marinara sauce to your Philly cheesesteak. The bold tomato-based sauce pairs well with the rich flavors of the sandwich, offering a zesty and satisfying contrast. You can find marinara sauce at local delis and sandwich shops or make your own by simmering crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, and herbs like basil and oregano. A few spoonfuls of marinara sauce can take your Philly cheesesteak to an entirely new level of deliciousness.

In addition to provolone and marinara sauces, Philadelphia also boasts a plethora of other options to satisfy your taste buds. While some may lean towards classic cheese sauces, others prefer unconventional pairings like spicy mustard, barbecue sauce, or even horseradish sauce. Ultimately, it’s all about experimenting and finding the right blend that suits your palate best. So, next time you indulge in a mouthwatering Philly cheesesteak, don’t be afraid to try out various sauces for a uniquely delectable experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular sauces to complement a Philly cheesesteak?

Popular sauces to complement a Philly cheesesteak include cheese sauce, typically made with Provolone or Cheese Whiz, garlic aioli, marinara sauce, and even horseradish sauce. Additionally, you may find variations like BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, or spicy mustard to suit your personal taste preferences.

How can I make a Provolone cheese sauce?

To make a Provolone cheese sauce, start by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour and continue to whisk for 2 minutes to form a roux. Gradually add 1 cup of milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Once the sauce thickens, reduce the heat to low and add 1 cup of shredded Provolone cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

What are some variations of Aioli for a Philly cheesesteak?

Variations of aioli for a Philly cheesesteak can include garlic aioli, lemon-herb aioli, or chipotle aioli. To make any of these, start with a base of 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. For garlic aioli, add 1-2 minced garlic cloves; for lemon-herb aioli, add the zest of one lemon and 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or chives; for chipotle aioli, add 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers, and adjust the spiciness to your liking.

Can horseradish sauce be used with Philly cheesesteaks?

Yes, horseradish sauce can be used with Philly cheesesteaks. A tangy and spicy horseradish sauce can add an extra layer of flavor, especially for those who prefer a bit of heat.

Does a red sauce pair well with cheesesteaks?

A red sauce, such as marinara, can be a delicious pairing with cheesesteaks. Adding a warm, tangy tomato sauce can enhance the flavor of the meat and cheese, make sure not to overpower the main flavors of the sandwich. Adjust the sauce amount to your liking.

Are there any recommended sauces for steak and cheese sub?

A steak and cheese sub can be complemented by a variety of sauces. Some popular choices include cheese sauce, garlic aioli, and horseradish sauce. Other options include BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, or honey mustard, depending on your personal taste preferences. Feel free to experiment and find the perfect sauce that suits your taste buds.

Sauces That Go with Philly Cheesesteak

Here's a recipe for a classic cheese sauce that is perfect for Philly cheese steak:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 299 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and bubbly.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened.
  • Add the shredded provolone cheese and grated Parmesan cheese to the saucepan and whisk until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.
  • Season the sauce with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Serve the cheese sauce over sliced steak and sautéed onions and peppers in a hoagie roll.


Enjoy your delicious Philly cheese steak with homemade cheese sauce!


Calories: 299kcal
Keyword sauces that go with philly cheese steak
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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