This Italian cheese steak sandwich on the flat top grill is one of the best griddle sandwich recipes that I’ve made in a long time… If you want a creative take on the cheesesteak, then try this easy Italian steak sandwich recipe!
Every now and then I make a griddle sandwich so dang delicious that my wife devours the entire thing, and maybe even part of mine. What you don’t see when we’re filming our YouTube videos is that she typically eats the meat out of the sandwich with a fork, and then she just throws away the bread.
But this Italian cheese steak sandwich was so good that she couldn’t resist eating one and a half sandwiches herself, grease-soaked bread and all.
From the slight tang of the banana peppers, the sharpness of the cheese, the acidity from the marinara, and the drip-down-your-arm fat of the ribeye and Italian meats, this griddle sandwich was perfect from bite one. And she’s already begging me to make it again.
So if you’re getting bored of making regular old Philly cheesesteak sandwiches on the flat top grill, then try this flavorful and easy griddle sandwich recipe!
What is the Italian Cheese Steak?
Truth be told, I have no idea… I don’t even know if it’s a real thing. Our Italian version of a regular cheese steak sandwich starts off very similarly to a traditional Philly, but then it takes a hard left and heads down to Little Italy.
For our version of the Italian cheese steak, we added pepperoni, salami, marinara, and banana peppers to the normal “Philly” cheese steak ingredients ribeye, provolone, and onions. And the result is a perfect griddle sandwich that is much more flavorful than a traditional cheesesteak.
Kind of like if an Italian pizza sub and a cheese steak sandwich had a baby and named it “Delizioso”! (Italian for “delicious”)
Is this Italian cheese steak like an Italian beef sandwich?
Absolutely not… I can say that confidently because I’ve actually eaten a traditional Italian beef sandwich in the heart of Chicago and, not to offend any of my Chi-town friends, but I wasn’t impressed.
An Italian beef sandwich has seasoned sliced roast beef simmered in and served with au jus. This Italian cheesesteak sandwich is made with sliced ribeye steak that is cooked on a griddle with diced onions and topped with marinara and provolone cheese… definitely not similar to each other.
Ingredients for my Italian Style Griddle Sandwich
This Italian cheese steak griddle sandwich is made with some basic cheese steak and Italian ingredients. Here’s what you need to make this griddle Italian steak sandwich:
Thinly sliced ribeye – I sliced two ribeye steaks myself, but you can also use pre-sliced ribeye from your grocery store’s meat case. I’ll give you some tips for slicing it yourself down below.
Sliced pepperoni and salami – You can use whichever brand or variety that you like. You’ll be chopping it up on the griddle, so the size of the slices doesn’t matter.
Sliced provolone cheese – Provolone is actually an Italian cheese, and the sharp taste of the Boar’s Head Provolone Picante that I used for this Italian cheese steak perfectly complimented the fattier ingredients like the pepperoni and ribeye steak.
Diced onion – The traditional Philly cheesesteak comes “wit” onions or without… I like mine with onions.
Jarred banana peppers and mini cherry peppers – The vinegary taste of these sandwich toppings help to cut through the grease of the fatty meats, and they add a nice tang to this griddle sandwich recipe.
Marinara sauce – You can use your favorite store-bought marinara or make your own like I did. For this recipe, I pulsed this homemade chunky marinara that I made for these chicken parmesan sandwiches in my blender a few times before heating it up in a saucepan.
*If you’re going to use a store-bought marinara, then I highly recommend this Little Italy in the Bronx marinara sauce or Rao’s marinara.
Balsamic vinegar – I added a splash of balsamic vinegar to my hoagie rolls to help cut the fat of the meats. It added a very subtle flavor that perfectly complimented the other ingredients without overpowering them, similar to the idea of an oil and vinegar blend that goes on some Italian sandwiches.
Deli hoagie rolls – I really enjoyed the soft hoagie rolls with this sandwich, but any sub sandwich or “hero” style bread would work also.
How to Make an Italian Cheese Steak on the Griddle
If you can make a cheese steak on the griddle, then you can definitely make this Italian style cheese steak. It’s probably one of the easiest warm griddle sandwiches that you can make, and it takes less time than heading out to your favorite food truck or restaurant.
Here’s how to make this awesome cheesesteak sandwich in about 10-15 minutes flat:
Step 1: Heat up the marinara sauce and prep your ingredients.
Griddle cooking is all about sequence and cooking your ingredients in the proper order. And this griddle sandwich recipe is no different.
To start, place a saucepan on your heated griddle surface and add the marinara sauce so it can begin heating up while you cook the other ingredients:
Then, prep the ribeye, banana peppers, sweet cherry peppers, and onions so they’re ready to go on the griddle. *See tips for slicing your own ribeye steak at the end of this post.
Here’s what your prepped ingredients should look like:
CHEF’S TIP – Instead of adding oil or butter to my griddle for this recipe, I took advantage of the excess fat in the ribeye to add extra flavor. Just cut off the large chunks of beef fat as you’re slicing the ribeye, and add them to the heated griddle top, moving them around the griddle surface as they cook. When the fat pieces get dark and crispy, just discard them or pop them in your mouth for a sinful snack.
This simple step will add extra beefy flavor to your cheesesteak sandwiches without any extra effort.
Step 2: Cook the diced onions, ribeye, and Italian meats on the griddle.
When the cooking surface is hot (about 400 to 450 degrees F), start by adding the diced onions to the griddle because they will take the longest to cook. Then, after the onions have a minute or two head start, add the sliced pepperoni and salami to the griddle. You can use your bench scraper to chop the Italian meats directly on the griddle top, or cut them into smaller pieces before you add them to the griddle – your choice.
Add the sliced ribeye steak to the flat top as soon as you add the pepperoni and salami. Your griddle should look something like this at this point:
After about 5 minutes, combine the meat and diced onions, and briefly sauté everything together like this:
Step 3: Add marinara and cheese to the meats and onions.
These Italian cheesesteak sandwiches are almost done!
Next, portion the meat mixture into long piles that are about the same length as your hoagie or sub rolls. Then, add about 1-2 tablespoons of marinara on top of each cheesesteak portion like this:
Next, place 2 slices of provolone cheese on top of each Italian cheese steak portion on the griddle.
Step 4: Build your Italian Cheese Steak sandwich.
Right after you add the provolone to the cheesesteak portions, place the cut hoagie rolls upside down on top of the cheese like this:
The bread acts as a melting dome, trapping in the steam and helping to melt the cheese. After about 1-2 minutes, the cheese should be melted into the other sandwich ingredients and your Italian cheese steak is just about done!
There is a bit of an art to transferring the meat, cheese, and all of that griddle grease-goodness to your sandwich bread. This is what works best for me after making almost a hundred cheesesteaks on the griddle:
- Place one hand on top of the bread, and use your other hand to get your griddle spatula underneath the cheesesteak ingredients. *If you’re in need of some good griddle spatulas, these are my favorite!
- In one fluid motion, use the spatula to lift the cheese steak ingredients from the bottom (griddle-side) and use your other hand to turn the sandwich bread right-side up at the same time.
- Scrape the spatula upside down across the bread to transfer the cheesesteak mixture from the spatula to the bread, like this:
*NOTE – When you’re doing this, be very careful! The steak and cheese mixture will be very hot, and some of the ingredients may fall on your hand as you’re making your sandwich.
Once you’ve added the cheesesteak mixture to the sub roll or hoagie bread, just top with your favorite Italian sandwich ingredients.
I added another small spoonful of the marinara sauce and a mixture of chopped pickled banana peppers and mini sweet cherry peppers… I HIGHLY recommend both for a flavorful and tangy sandwich topping!
And here’s my finished Italian cheese steak before I devoured it:
FAQ’s about Making Italian Cheesesteaks
What kind of bread should I use for cheese steak?
The traditional Philly cheese steak sandwich has an Italian hero style bread that you can only find in Philly. But this Italian version is anything but traditional, so I say use whatever hoagie or sub sandwich style bread that you prefer.
I used fresh soft hoagie rolls that I found in the bakery section of my local grocery store. The hoagies that I used measured about 7-8″ long… If you’re going to use a bread that is longer than that, you’ll definitely want to cut your sandwich in half so that it doesn’t fall apart. The grease from the ribeye and Italian meats makes this sandwich messy!
But overall, I would suggest a softer style deli hoagie bread, rather than a hard crusty bread.
What are some other cheese options for the Italian cheese steak sandwich?
The Provolone Picante that I used for my sandwich was perfect, but if you’re not a provolone fan, you can substitute mozzarella cheese or a shredded Italian blend.
If you’re skipping the sliced provolone, then this is one of the very few times that I would actually recommend a pre-shredded bagged cheese. The Creamy Melt versions of the Kraft mozzarella or Italian blend would be a good choice. Just add about 1/4 cup of the cheese on top of the marinara sauce before placing the bread on top of the meat mixture to steam.
Any other topping suggestions for my Italian griddle sandwich?
I’ve got to be honest, I feel like my version of the Italian cheese steak was perfect as is. But if you want some additional topping ideas for your sandwich, you could try:
- giardiniera – You can buy some good jarred giardinieras at the grocery store, usually near the pickles and olives. A giardiniera is a spicy, Italian-style relish with a mix of different pickled vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, and celery.
- a spicy sandwich relish-style spread – like Wickles Spicy Red Sandwich Spread
Any tips for slicing the ribeye steak for cheesesteak sandwiches?
My best tip for slicing your own ribeye for cheesesteak sandwiches is to put the steaks in the freezer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour before slicing them. Your ribeyes will firm up a bit in the freezer, making them easier to slice into thin strips.
You can also cut your ribeye in half length-wise, and then cut against the grain in thin slices. This allows you to cut more narrow slices instead of longer slices, which is easier if you’re cutting your steak by hand.
Italian Cheesesteak Sandwiches Recipe
Trust me, you’re going to want to print out this Italian steak sandwich recipe and add it to your list of griddle recipes that you must make:
Italian Cheese Steak Sandwiches
- ½ – 1 cup marinara sauce
- ¼ medium sweet onion diced
- 12 large slices pepperoni
- 12 slices salami
- about 24-28 oz ribeye steak sliced thin
- steak seasoning of your choice like an all-purpose salt, pepper, garlic blend
- 8 – 12 slices provolone cheese
- 4 hoagie rolls
- few splashes balsamic vinegar optional
- pickled banana peppers optional – for topping
- jarred mini sweet cherry peppers optional – for topping
- Heat griddle until it reaches about 400-425 degrees F.
- While griddle is heating up, add marinara sauce to a small saucepan and place it on the griddle surface to warm.
- Add a small amount of oil or beef fat to the griddle and use a spatula to spread it around the surface. Then, add the diced onions and saute for about 1 minute. Move the onions to the side of the griddle to continue to cook.
- Add the pepperoni and salami to the griddle. Then, add the ribeye to the griddle in a thin even layer, keeping the sliced Italian meats and ribeye steak separated. Use your bench scraper to "chop" the pepperoni and salami on the griddle until it is in bite-sized pieces (or you can chop the Italian meats before adding them to the griddle). Season the ribeye with an all-purpose seasoning or a mix of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- While the meat and onions are cooking, prepare the hoagie rolls. Cut the rolls in half, but not all the way through. You want the two sides of the bread to be attached on one side, similar to a hot dog bun. Add a small dash of balsamic vinegar in to the cut side of the bread (optional). Set the bread to the side.
- Combine the ribeye, pepperoni, salami, and diced onions on the griddle. Saute for about 2 minutes. Then, portion out the meat mixture into 4 long piles, about the same length as your bread rolls.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of marinara sauce to the top of each cheesesteak portion. Top each with 2-3 slices of provolone. Then place a prepared bread roll opened up, and cut side down on top of each portion of cheesesteak. Allow the bread to steam and help melt the cheese for about 1-2 minutes.
- Using a griddle spatula, transfer the cheesesteak portions to the hoagie rolls. Add your sandwich toppings and serve warm.
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