How to Make the Perfect Philly Cheesesteak

Nicole McLaughlin schools us on the right approach to an authentically delicious Philadelphia mainstay.

A Philly cheesesteak is the ultimate indulgence — thinly sliced steak, melted cheese, and sauteed onions come together for a crazy-delicious bite packed with rich, savory flavor. Nicole McLaughlin breaks the process down into a few, easy steps that guarantee the good stuff every time.

Meat Matters

"The most authentic cheesesteaks start with a ribeye steak," explains McLaughlin. "It's super hearty with just enough fat to deliver the best flavor." Start by freezing your steak for 30 minutes to an hour — this makes for easy and precise slicing. If your knife skills are subpar, ask your butcher to slice your meat paper-thin for an effortless meal.

Budget-conscious buyers can use top sirloin for another delicious, yet less pricey, option. Some cheesesteak enthusiasts choose meat that's simply sliced, while others prefer chopped steak. Either way, place your meat on a hot griddle or skillet and cook until evenly browned.

With or Without

If you're ordering an authentic Philly cheesesteak, it's important to know the lingo. "Wit or witout" refers to your choice of onions being mixed in with the steak. As far as McLaughlin is concerned, "'s 100% wit all the time. They add great flavor and soften as they cook; to me, it's a crucial ingredient."

Dice your onions and add them to the skillet first — they'll take the longest to develop flavor, tossing frequently for even caramelization. While not a traditional ingredient, bell peppers are often added as well. While the onions cook, it's a great time to prep the cheese component.

The Cheeses

"There are only three types of cheese you should use: provolone, cheese wiz, or American cheese," instructs Nicole. "They're all authentic so it's a matter of taste." Warm your chosen cheese until it's a molten consistency.

The rich creaminess of hot cheese paired with sweet tender onions and smoky steak is just what you need to satisfy your craving for something special. Whether you place the provolone on the griddle to melt, or pour cheese wiz directly onto your sandwich, this step is a sacred act.

Bring on the Bread

"You want a sub-size roll that's split," says McLaughlin. "Something with a bit of crust on the outside with a soft interior." Lightly toast your bread, being careful to keep both halves connected. This connection makes it easy to neatly scoop the meat and other toppings into the roll.

Proudly hold your cheesesteak whole or slice in the center to reveal the richly delicious layers. Soft, toasted bread that's sturdy enough to hold all of that hearty, cheesy goodness makes for the perfect bite.

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