What is traditionally on a Philly cheesesteak?

The Philly cheesesteak is not just a sandwich; it’s an emblem of Philadelphia’s culinary prowess, a dish that embodies the simplicity and richness of American street food. This article delves into the traditional components that make up a Philly cheesesteak, offering insights into its origins, key ingredients, and the proper way to enjoy one.

Traditional Philly Cheesesteak

Moreover, we’ll explore internal linking opportunities to enrich your understanding and appreciation of this iconic sandwich.

The Origin of Philly Cheesesteak

The journey of the Philly cheesesteak began in the 1930s with Pat and Harry Olivieri, who inadvertently created a legendary sandwich. Initially a variation of a hot dog, the addition of cheese in the 1950s elevated it to the cheesesteak we adore today. For those curious about its evolution, our article on the secret to a Philly cheesesteak provides a deeper exploration.

What Makes a Philly Cheesesteak Special?

A traditional Philly cheesesteak is a symphony of:

  • Ribeye steak: Thinly sliced, this cut is favored for its flavor and tenderness.
  • Cheese: Choices typically include Cheez Whiz, Provolone, or American cheese, each lending a unique creaminess.
  • Onions: Optional, but when included, they’re finely chopped and grilled until sweet.
  • Torpedo roll: The ideal vessel, soft on the inside with a slight firmness on the outside.

For a twist on the classic, consider exploring our chicken cheesesteak recipe, which substitutes poultry for beef.

How to Order a Philly Cheesesteak Like a Local

To sound like a Philly native, remember:

  • “Cheesesteak wit” for onions, “witout” for none.
  • Choose your cheese wisely; Swiss is not traditionally accepted.

The Art of Eating a Philly Cheesesteak: “The Philadelphia Lean”

Mastering the “Philadelphia lean” can enhance the cheesesteak experience, ensuring every bite is enjoyed without mess.

Differences Between a Philly Cheesesteak and a Regular Cheesesteak

The essence of a Philly cheesesteak lies in its authenticity—ribeye, specific cheeses, optional onions, and the right roll. Variations exist but staying true to the original ingredients is key.

Famous Philly Cheesesteak Shops

Iconic locations like Pat’s King of Steaks, Jim’s Steaks, and Joe’s Steaks are pilgrimage sites for cheesesteak aficionados.


  • What kind of meat is traditionally used?
    • Ribeye steak is the classic choice.
  • Can chicken be used?
  • What are the acceptable cheese options?
    • Cheez Whiz, Provolone, and American cheese are the traditional picks.

The Philly cheesesteak stands as a testament to the beauty of simple, well-crafted food. Its enduring popularity not only celebrates Philadelphia’s culinary culture but also invites food lovers to partake in a uniquely American tradition. Whether you’re a die-hard traditionalist or open to modern twists, the Philly cheesesteak offers a taste of culinary history worth savoring.

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