As a Philly native (Delco, represent!) I’m no stranger to the humble and uber-delicious cheesesteak.
While everyone has their favorite local joint from which to acquire these irresistible delicacies, it’s difficult for enthusiastic home cooks to deny the urge to try making all of their favorite foods at home, at least once.
The cheesesteak is no exception.
When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to occasionally enjoy a homemade version prepared by my grandparents, served on fresh hoagie rolls with melted provolone, and slathered with ketchup – or my personal favorite combination within the confines of our dining room, Heinz chili sauce and Marie’s chunky blue cheese dressing (don’t knock it ‘til you try it!).
Later, in high school, I discovered the seemingly odd but delicious methods of one Main Line bar that serves theirs spread with mayonnaise. Again, totally try this one and decide for yourself if it’s the way to go. It just might be for you.
[Editor’s Note: In fact, mayo also makes a delicious addition to many foods, and there are advocates for slathering it on everything from grilled cheese to steak. My favorite is using it to make quesadillas, a tip that I learned from my bestie on a hot summer day back in college with friends, partaking in one of our favorite daily rituals – eating lunch together at our non-air-conditioned apartment while we watched Jerry Springer before running back to work. Though they make a much less frequent appearance on the menu at my house these days, I’ve made them this way ever since.]
Whether you love yours “whiz wit” (served with glowing orange Cheez Whiz and fried onions), with mushrooms and peppers, with American or some other type of dairy goodness, or even cheese-free, there are many ways to serve up this delicious sandwich. But, I digress. It’s time to get to the recipe.
The fact is, I’m stalling for a reason.
In my own estimation, the flat top grill is a key feature of the cooking process if you’re going to attempt cheesesteaks at home, and even without a griddle, a well-seasoned heavy frying pan is undoubtedly a must. Or so I thought…
When I first moved to California over five years ago, I also thought I’d never consume another “authentic” cheesesteak again, unless I traveled home for a visit. But I was wrong about this as well (and if you’re in the area, check out Boo’s, a legit godsend in Los Angeles by way of Philly that has Amoroso’s rolls shipped out on the reg in for that true taste of home).
When you lay out all of the available information, the fact is, I’ve always been open to cheesesteak experimentation.
From the last cheesesteak that I ate before my first or second of several full-on ventures into vegetarianism (when I asked my new lifelong-veg boyfriend, after housing a Buffalo chicken cheesesteak eaten out of a paper wrapper on the floor of his dorm room, “Uh, is it still okay to kiss you since I just ate that?”) to the worst “cheesesteak” I have ever attempted to eat (a truly awful specimen purchased from a vegan restaurant that shall remain nameless), there’s been a lot of deviation from the standard roll + cheese + onion + steak combination in my life.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, the rewards are super sweet. Or rather, super savory, and mouthwateringly delicious. But you won’t know until you try.
It’s time to get over the hump and fully embrace this party-ready version, the ultimate game day must-have for Eagles fans and cheesesteak lovers everywhere.
For when you just can’t drag yourself down to 9th and Passyunk, when you live too far away to conceivably do so, or when you’re craving the taste of something homemade that you can prep in advance, set, and forget until it’s time to chow down, this is the answer.
I know there are a lot of slow cooker lovers out there, and this recipe is for you. Birthday parties and family gatherings at several of my aunts’ houses are never without a Crock-Pot full of meatballs and sauce, and maybe yours are no different. But if you’re craving something new for a change, give this recipe a shot.
It’s flavorful, delicious, and you can customize it to make it your own, with your favorite combo of peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Stick some rolls under the broiler with your cheese of choice for a few seconds or slap on some Whiz, and you’re good to go.Print
Sink your teeth into a bite of our Slow Cooker Philly Cheesesteaks and you’ll be adding these sandwiches to your weekly menu rotation in no time.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef steak (like top round London broil or sirloin)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 large white onion, sliced
- 24 ounces beef broth
- 4-6 slices provolone or your choice of cheese (optional)
- 4 rolls, for serving
- Thinly slice beef into long, thin strips and place in the slow cooker.
- Add garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and salt. Toss to coat the beef with the seasonings.
- Add bell pepper, onion, and beef broth, and stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until beef and vegetables are tender. For a party, switch to the warm setting after filling is cooked.
- For toasted buns and melted cheese, preheat the broiler in your oven on low. A toaster oven could also be used for this step.
- Slice the rolls with a serrated knife and place them open-faced on a baking sheet under the broiler until lightly toasted, approximately 2-3 minutes. You can toast with the cheese on the buns if you like, or wait until after you fill with the beef mixture and place back under the broiler until cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes. Serve warm.
Keywords: cheesesteak, steak sandwich, game day, steak, cheese
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Slice Beef, Prepare Vegetables, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Thinly slice beef against the grain, as thinly as you can slice it. The thinner you slice the meat, the better.
Be sure to slice it against the grain, because you are cutting through the muscle fibers in the meat and shortening them. If you cut in the same direction that they run, you’ll end up with a chewier piece of meat. Simply cutting it against the grain makes it more tender.
You can use top round as noted in the ingredients, but there are other meats you can use. See below for the full breakdown:
- Ribeye- the preferred meat for the traditional sandwich, but it can be a bit pricey. Still a valid option, but you may want to reconsider for slow cooker preparation.
- Sirloin or Skirt Steak- more reasonably priced, with a good amount of fat.
- Boneless Short Ribs- another reasonably priced meat with a good fat quotient, available in compact pieces that are easy to slice.
- Top Round (London Broil)- also reasonable and great for this recipe, since it’s made in a slow cooker. The meat is cooked slowly to break down the inherent toughness of this cut of meat, so it’s just as good as sirloin or skirt steak with this preparation.
Remove the seeds and stem, and thinly slice the green pepper.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed in the ingredients list.
For the beef broth, homemade is the way to go if you’re looking for the most flavorful option, but a store-bought variety of your choosing will do.
For the buns, an Italian or hoagie roll is your best bet, though you could even go gluten-free if you are so inclined, or serve the meat and vegetables over rice as a tasty alternative. Mini rolls also make a nice option for parties and potlucks.
Step 2 – Cook Beef and Vegetables
Place the beef in the slow cooker with the garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and salt.
Toss to coat the beef evenly.
Add the bell pepper, onion, and beef broth, and stir to combine.
If you want to make this recipe ahead of time, you can place all of the ingredients together in an airtight container at this point, and refrigerate them for a day of two before you’re ready to cook.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Step 3 – Toast Buns
Some like their buns fresh and squishy, others prefer a toasted roll.
If you’re in the mood for melted cheese and a toasted bun, preheat the broiler in your oven to low. A toaster oven can also be used for this step.
Slice the buns and place them open-faced on a baking sheet. Place under the broiler, with or without cheese on top, for 2-3 minutes.
Step 4 – Melt Cheese
If you’d prefer for your cheese to be on top of the meat, fill a sliced roll with the cooked beef mixture. Cover with a slice or two of cheese. Place on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese is melted, for about 3-4 minutes.
The hot beef might actually melt your cheese on its own, but it all depends on what variety you choose. American will melt a lot more readily than provolone.
If you’re new to this whole cheesesteak thing, please keep in mind that there is no need to melt Cheez Whiz. We’re actually not sure what will happen if you opt to try it, but it will probably result in an unsatisfying mess (like [INSERT TEAM NAME HERE] this season, am I right? Lol, jk.)
If you are not using cheese, simply add the beef mixture into each bun and serve immediately.
What Do You Like to Serve With Your Philly Cheesesteaks?
Some say sandwiches go with chips, but I’m a cheese fries kind of girl myself. With whiz. So much whiz. And ketchup, for the sandwich and the fries, Heinz only. I accept no substitutions.
Well, unless crab fries are available, and then all bets are off. For those not in the know, these are fries spiced with Old Bay seasoning, with a tasty white cheese sauce on the side. No ketchup required for these (though I do still need a good squeeze or two for my cheesesteak)!
Make sure you have plenty of tasty beverages on hand, because all of the above-mentioned stuff is salty!
But again, we’re all about variety and experimentation here, so here are a few alternative that you might enjoy:
- If you’re obsessed with root vegetable chips, try this homemade version. They are crisp and flavorful, providing the crunch you so love.
- If you are more of a fry person for your sandwiches, check out these healthier butternut squash fries.
- If you don’t love squash, you can turn to deep-fried zucchini fries or even crispy baked green bean fries for a veggie side that is anything but ordinary, and super snackable.
Whatever you choose to pair with your steaks, tossing a few of these sides down will help to prevent the nail-biting that you might otherwise engage in while you’re watching the big game. And they’re so delicious!
What’s your favorite way to enjoy a cheesesteak? Tell us in the comments below. And be sure to come back and rate the recipe once you try it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on February 5, 2015. Last updated: December 29, 2018 at 10:00 am. With additional writing by Meghan Yager.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.