These California cheesesteak sandwiches bring an unexpected twist to the famed east coast classic, the Philly cheese steak. Smoky Poblano peppers, caramelized onions, pepper jack cheese, avocado, and chimichurri aioli delight the tastebuds, bringing an entirely new experience to the table. If you enjoyed this delicious west coast style sub, try our California chicken salad sandwiches or Chile corn salsa!
Why This Recipe Works
- Quick, easy, delicious: Crunched for time? No problem! This tasty cheesesteak uses few dishes, requires minimal prep, and takes less than an hour to make!
- Make it vegan/vegetarian: Make your California cheesesteak sandwiches vegan/vegetarian by using vegan cheese as a cheese substitute and faux beef crumbles, mushrooms, or even jackfruit for the meat!
- Take it on the go: Need a tasty lunch on the go? This cheesesteak hoagie has the easy-to-eat, grab-and-go convenience that will make any commute a walk in the park.
- Just like a classic: This recipe has the same show-stopping combination of thinly sliced ribeye steak, onions, peppers, and melty cheese of the popular sub that we all know and love — but with a West Coast spin.
- Ribeye steak - Ribeye is a traditional ingredient in the classic Philly cheese steak. This high-quality steak has a good amount of marbling and fat, making it super juicy and full of flavor!
- Poblano peppers - Poblano peppers have a similar taste to green peppers but add a little bit more of a kick. They are not spicy but have a lovely smokey flavor when sauteed or roasted.
- Sweet onion - Sweet onions caramelize nicely and are perfect for balancing the bitterness from the peppers.
- Adobo seasoning - Adobo seasoning is a powder that combines a mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, dried citrus, and other spices.
- Pepperjack cheese - Pepperjack is a great melting cheese that adds a nice hint of spice to the cheesesteak sandwich.
A full list of ingredients with measurements is located on the recipe card, below.
- Ribeye steak - You can still make a delicious California cheesesteak sandwich using your favorite cut of beef. Sirloin or striploin are great alternatives!
- Poblano peppers - Rather lean more toward the classic Philly cheesesteak? Green peppers will do! You can also use banana peppers, hot peppers, sweet peppers, or other bell peppers you prefer.
- Sweet Onion - Have no sweet onions at home? That's okay! Red onions will do! But any kind of onions will work just fine.
- Pepper jack cheese - Not a fan of pepper jack? Any of your favorite melty cheeses will be yummy on this sandwich! White American cheese, provolone cheese, or cheez whiz are the best cheese choices for a more traditional cheesesteak.
- Mushroom Cheesesteak: All you have to do is top your cheesesteak sandwiches with sautéed mushrooms! The juiciness of the mushrooms pairs super well with the fat of the ribeye, making it a popular option at many cheesesteak restaurants.
- The Milano: This is a nice variation if you want to try something new yet old-fashioned. Also known as a pizza steak, the Milano is topped with fried tomatoes and oregano, making the moisture of the cheesesteak sandwich next level!
- BBQ: If you are a barbeque lover, try this California cheesesteak sandwich with your favorite BBQ sauce! Just mix your preferred sauce into the steak while cooking on the skillet to add a new medley of flavor!
Prep Work Before Cooking
Collecting all your ingredients - This will make cooking so much easier. Gather all the spices you will need, and keep them nearby.
Mix the dry spices - In a small mixing bowl, mix the garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and adobo seasoning. Set aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Then pour in a tablespoon of olive oil, add the poblanos, onions, and sauté until golden brown. To get the best char, avoid overly fussing with the onions and peppers once they are in the pan. Let them sit to develop their color. [photo 1]
Once the peppers and onions are mostly browned, push them to one side of the skillet. Use tongs to add the sliced ribeye steak to the other side of the skillet. The steak will cook quickly, as it is sliced very thin. Let the sliced steak sit on one side for 1-2 minutes. [photo 2]
Next, sprinkle your prepped seasoning blend over the peppers, onions, and steak. Mix the grilled steak with the peppers and onions and turn off the heat. [photo 2]
After thoroughly combining the seasoning with the steak and peppers, divide the mixture into four sections in the skillet. Top each section with one slice of pepper jack cheese and cover the skillet for 1-2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. [photo 3]
Once you have nicely melted cheese, assemble the sandwiches by spreading the hoagie rolls with chimichurri aioli. Finally, add the meat and peppers mixture, and top with fresh avocado slices. Enjoy! [photo 4]
To slice your beef easily, put it in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to slicing. This will help you get the slices as thin as possible!
Work quickly! The steak will cook quick! Even if you like well-done steak, carry-over cooking will continue to cook the steak through.
Make Ahead & Storage
It is best to cook and prep your California cheesesteak sandwiches before storing them so you can easily toss them in the oven when ready to eat!
- Before storing, allow the meat and pepper mixture to cool to room temperature. Then equally distribute the meat mixture into your hoagie rolls.
- Next, wrap each sandwich individually in non-stick aluminum foil. To be safe, you can wrap it again with a layer of heavy-duty foil.
- Once your California cheesesteak sandwiches are all wrapped up, place the sandwiches into gallon-sized freezer-safe bags and freeze.
- These cheesesteak sandwiches are best when stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
The traditional Philly cheesesteak sandwich is topped with caramelized onions and green peppers with either Cheez Whiz or provolone as the cheese of choice. The California cheesesteak sandwich takes the liberty of topping its ribeye with spicier peppers or jalapeños and often has avocados, mushrooms, or an aioli sauce as an additional topping.
While regular french fries are the most popular side with cheesesteaks, you can up the decadence by making bacon fries! Crispy onion rings or a healthy green salad are great options as well.
Yes! The hoagie roll is the traditional type of bread, but your California cheesesteak sandwich will taste just as delicious on any thick, white bread.
More Sandwich Recipes
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California Cheesesteak Sandwiches
- Cook the peppers and onions: Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Then pour in a tablespoon of olive oil, add the poblanos, onions, and sauté until golden brown. To get the best char, avoid overly fussing with the onions and peppers once they are in the pan. Let them sit to develop their color.2 Poblano peppers, 1 Sweet onion
- Add the meat: Once the peppers and onions are mostly browned, push them to one side of the skillet. Use tongs to add the sliced ribeye steak to the other side of the skillet. The steak will cook quickly, as it is sliced very thin. Let the sliced steak sit on one side for 1-2 minutes.1 lb Ribeye steak
- Season: Next, sprinkle your prepped seasoning blend over the peppers, onions, and steak. Mix the grilled steak with the peppers and onions and turn off the heat.1 teaspoon Garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Onion powder, 1 teaspoon Smoked peprika, 1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
- Melt the cheese: After thoroughly combining the seasoning with the steak and peppers, divide the mixture into four sections in the skillet. Top each section with one slice of pepper jack cheese and cover the skillet for 1-2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.4 slices Pepperjack cheese
- Serve: Once you have nicely melted cheese, assemble the sandwiches by spreading the hoagie rolls with chimichurri aioli. Finally, add the meat and peppers mixture, and top with fresh avocado slices. Enjoy!Chimichurri aioli, 4 Hoagie rolls, ½ Avocado
- To slice your beef easily, put it in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to slicing it. This will help you get the slices as thin as possible!
- Work quickly! The steak will cook quickly! Even if you like well done steak, carry over cooking will continue to cook the steak through.