What to Serve With Philly Cheesesteak: Side Dishes You Must Try

What to Serve With Philly Cheesesteak? Discover the art of perfectly pairing sides with a Philly Cheesesteak. This guide explores a variety of dishes that enhance and complement the rich flavors of this beloved sandwich, turning a simple meal into a culinary delight.

Introduction to Philly Cheesesteak

The Philly Cheesesteak is a quintessential American sandwich, originating from the heart of Philadelphia in the early 20th century. This iconic dish was created by Pat and Harry Olivieri, who initially served chopped steak on hoagie rolls. The addition of cheese, a later innovation, transformed it into the beloved cheesesteak we know today. Its popularity quickly soared, making it a staple in Philadelphia’s culinary scene and beyond. The Philly Cheesesteak is not just about the tender slices of beef or the melted cheese; it’s a symphony of flavors that requires the perfect side dish to enhance the experience. Choosing the right sides can elevate the cheesesteak from a mere sandwich to a complete, satisfying meal, making every bite a delightful experience that tantalizes the taste buds.

Classic Side Dishes

French Fries

French fries are the classic go-to side dish for a Philly Cheesesteak. Their crispy exterior and fluffy interior make them the perfect companion to the sandwich. The simplicity of the fries complements the complexity of the cheesesteak, providing a textural contrast that is both satisfying and delightful. The saltiness of the fries also balances the rich, savory flavors of the meat and cheese, creating a harmonious blend in each bite. Whether they’re thin and crispy or thick and hearty, French fries are a staple side that never fails to please when served alongside a Philly Cheesesteak. For a unique twist, try the Delicious Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings recipe, which adds an extra layer of flavor and crunch.

Onion Rings

Onion rings offer a delightful crunch and sweet flavor that pairs wonderfully with the savory notes of a Philly Cheesesteak. There are various types of onion rings, but one standout variation is the Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings. These are a gourmet twist on the classic, where each onion ring is wrapped in bacon and cooked until crispy. This combination of sweet onion, salty bacon, and the crunchy coating provides a complex flavor profile and a satisfying texture that complements the cheesesteak beautifully. The richness of the bacon and the sweetness of the onion create a side dish that is both indulgent and irresistible.


Nachos as a side for Philly Cheesesteak open up a world of customization options. This versatile dish can be tailored to suit any palate, making it an exciting addition to the meal. You can start with a base of crispy tortilla chips, then add a variety of toppings such as melted cheese, jalapeños, olives, and salsa. For a heartier side, include beans, seasoned ground beef, or even chunks of cheesesteak meat. The beauty of nachos lies in their ability to be as simple or as elaborate as desired, allowing each person to create their perfect combination. This customizable side dish not only adds a fun element to the meal but also complements the rich flavors of the Philly Cheesesteak with its array of textures and tastes.

Salad Options

Salads offer a refreshing and diverse range of options to pair with a Philly Cheesesteak, balancing the hearty sandwich with lighter, crisp textures and flavors.

Coleslaw Varieties

Coleslaw is a classic side that brings a crunchy and creamy texture to the meal. Traditional coleslaw, made with shredded cabbage and a creamy dressing, provides a refreshing contrast to the rich cheesesteak. For a twist, spicy jalapeño coleslaw adds a kick, while a vinegar-based slaw offers a tangy alternative. These varieties ensure that there is a coleslaw to suit every palate, each adding its unique flavor profile to complement the cheesesteak.

Potato Salad

Potato salad is a hearty and comforting choice. The creamy texture and subtle flavors of a classic potato salad work well with the robust nature of a cheesesteak. Variations like a mustard-based potato salad or one with a hint of smoked paprika can elevate the dish, adding depth and a touch of spice that pairs beautifully with the sandwich.

Cucumber Salad

For a lighter side, cucumber salad is an excellent choice. Thinly sliced cucumbers mixed with herbs, a light vinaigrette, or a creamy dressing create a refreshing and hydrating side. This salad can be enhanced with additions like thinly sliced onions or cherry tomatoes, offering a crisp, clean flavor that cuts through the richness of the cheesesteak.

Tortellini Salad

Tortellini salad brings a delightful twist to the traditional pasta salad. Filled pasta tossed with vegetables, cheese, and a light dressing makes for a filling yet refreshing side. The pasta’s chewy texture and the dressing’s zestiness provide a satisfying contrast to the cheesesteak’s savory flavors.

Pasta Salad

A classic pasta salad, with its cool and creamy texture, is a versatile side dish. Ingredients like diced vegetables, sweet pickles, and a variety of dressings allow for endless customization. Whether opting for a traditional macaroni salad or a more modern interpretation with bold flavors, pasta salad is a crowd-pleaser that pairs wonderfully with a Philly Cheesesteak. For more salad ideas, explore healthy salad options.

Vegetable-Based Sides

Vegetable sides not only add a nutritional boost to your meal but also offer a variety of flavors and textures that enhance the cheesesteak experience.

Roasted Broccoli

Roasted broccoli is a simple yet flavorful side. When roasted, broccoli takes on a nutty flavor and a crisp texture, making it a delightful contrast to the softness of a cheesesteak. This easy-to-make side dish is not only healthy but also adds a pop of color and a different flavor profile to your plate.

Zucchini Casserole

A zucchini casserole is a comforting and versatile side. Combining zucchini with cheese and herbs, then baking it to perfection, results in a dish that is both hearty and flavorful. This casserole complements the cheesesteak by offering a creamy and vegetable-packed option that balances the meal.

Soy Mushrooms and Onions

Sautéed mushrooms and onions, especially when flavored with soy sauce, make for a rich and savory side. This combination enhances the umami flavors in the cheesesteak, adding depth and a delightful contrast with its slightly tangy and salty notes.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

For those who enjoy a bit of spice, buffalo cauliflower bites are an excellent choice. These bites bring heat and crunch, offering a spicy contrast to the cheesesteak. The cauliflower’s texture and the buffalo sauce’s bold flavor make this a fun and tasty side dish.

Fried Zucchini and Onions

Fried zucchini and onions add a warm, crunchy element to your meal. This simple yet delicious side dish is easy to prepare and brings a different texture to the table. The crispiness of the fried vegetables pairs perfectly with the tender cheesesteak, making each bite a delightful experience.

Philly Cheesesteak Ingredients

The magic of a Philly Cheesesteak lies in its simplicity and the quality of its ingredients. Each component, from the bread to the cheese and meat, plays a pivotal role in creating this iconic sandwich.

Bread Choices

The foundation of any great cheesesteak is the bread. The ideal choice is a long, soft, yet sturdy roll that can hold the filling without falling apart. A classic option is a crusty Italian baguette or a hoagie roll, which offers a slight chewiness complementing the tender meat. The bread should be fresh, with a slightly crispy exterior and a soft interior, providing the perfect canvas for the cheesesteak.

Cheese Selection

Cheese is what brings the Philly Cheesesteak together, melting into the meat and adding creamy richness. The traditional choices include:

  • Provolone: A mildly tangy cheese that melts smoothly, adding depth to the sandwich.
  • American Cheese: Known for its creamy texture and mild flavor, it melts beautifully, creating a gooey and indulgent experience.
  • Cheez Whiz: A guilty pleasure for many, this processed cheese spread offers a distinct tangy and salty flavor, synonymous with classic Philly cheesesteaks.

Meat Options

The star of the cheesesteak is, undoubtedly, the meat. Thinly sliced ribeye is the traditional choice, prized for its rich flavor and tender texture. However, other cuts like flank, top round, or sirloin can also be used effectively. The key is to slice the meat thinly and cook it to a tender, juicy perfection, ensuring it melds seamlessly with the cheese and bread. For more information on selecting meats, check out this guide to choosing the best meats for different dishes.

Serving Ideas

Variety in Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Offering a variety of cheesesteak sandwiches can cater to different taste preferences and make the meal more enjoyable. Experiment with different cheeses, such as pepper jack for a spicy kick or mozzarella for a milder option. Toppings like caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, or bell peppers can add new dimensions of flavor.

Catering to Different Taste Preferences

Understanding your guests’ preferences is key to a successful cheesesteak meal. Some might prefer a classic setup with no frills, while others might enjoy adventurous combinations. Offering a range of toppings and sides allows everyone to customize their sandwich to their liking. This approach not only caters to individual tastes but also turns a simple meal into a more interactive and personalized experience.

FAQs About What to Serve With Philly Cheesesteak

What are healthy side options for a cheesesteak meal?

For those looking to enjoy their Philly Cheesesteak with a healthier twist, there are plenty of side options:

  • Grilled Vegetables: A mix of grilled bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant offers a nutritious and flavorful side.
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Baked sweet potato fries are a healthier alternative to traditional fries, providing a sweet and savory balance.
  • Quinoa Salad: A light quinoa salad with fresh vegetables and a lemony dressing can add a refreshing touch to the meal.

Which vegetable sides pair well with Philly cheesesteak?

Vegetable sides can add a fresh and nutritious element to your cheesesteak meal:

  • Roasted Asparagus: Its earthy flavor complements the richness of the cheesesteak.
  • Sautéed Spinach: A simple sauté of spinach with garlic adds a healthy and flavorful side.
  • Steamed Broccoli: Lightly steamed broccoli seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper is a classic and healthy choice.

What salads complement a steak sandwich?

Salads can provide a light and refreshing contrast to the hearty cheesesteak:

  • Arugula Salad: With its peppery notes, arugula salad dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette pairs well.
  • Caprese Salad: The freshness of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a Caprese salad offers a nice balance.
  • Greek Salad: A Greek salad with feta cheese and olives adds a Mediterranean twist.

What are some keto-friendly side dishes for Philly cheesesteaks?

For those following a keto diet, there are several low-carb side options:

  • Cauliflower Mash: A great substitute for mashed potatoes, offering comfort without the carbs.
  • Zucchini Noodles: Light and versatile, they can be seasoned to match the flavors of the cheesesteak.
  • Avocado Salad: Rich in healthy fats and low in carbs, it’s a satisfying keto-friendly side.

Which dessert and beverage pairings go well with a cheesesteak meal?

To round off the meal:

  • Desserts: Light desserts like fruit sorbets or a berry parfait can cleanse the palate after a rich meal.
  • Beverages: A cold beer is a classic choice, but for non-alcoholic options, iced tea or a fizzy lemonade complements the meal well.

In conclusion, the perfect Philly cheesesteak experience is about more than just the sandwich. It’s about the harmony of flavors and textures that come from pairing it with the right sides. Whether you prefer classic fries or a fresh salad, there’s a side dish that will elevate your cheesesteak meal to new heights.

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