philly cheesesteak casserole

Introduction to Philly Cheesesteak Casserole

Imagine the rich flavors of a classic Philly cheesesteak transformed into a comforting, oven-baked delight. That’s the essence of Philly Cheesesteak Casserole a dish that marries the iconic taste of Philadelphia’s street food with the homely warmth of a casserole. This culinary creation is not just a meal; it’s an experience, blending tender meat, melted cheese, and savory vegetables in a way that’s both innovative and familiar.

The Origin of Philly Cheesesteak

The story of the Philly cheesesteak is as rich as its flavors. Born in the early 20th century in Philadelphia, this sandwich quickly became a symbol of the city. Pat and Harry Olivieri are often credited with inventing this iconic dish. Originally, the sandwich was just grilled beef and onions, but the cheese was later added, completing the magic trio of ingredients that define a cheesesteak. For those interested in the nuances of beef selection, exploring expert tips on selecting and cooking beef can deepen your appreciation for this key ingredient. This casserole variation is a modern twist, paying homage to the original while adding a layer of comfort-food appeal. It’s a testament to the dish’s versatility and enduring popularity, evolving from street corners to dinner tables across the country.

Essential Ingredients

To make a truly authentic and tasty Philly Cheesesteak Casserole, choosing the right ingredients is key. Every part is important to capture the classic flavor in a new way.

Beef Selection for Authentic Flavor

The heart of any Philly cheesesteak, traditional or casserole-style, is the beef. Opt for thinly sliced ribeye for its perfect balance of flavor and tenderness. Ribeye holds its own during cooking, ensuring each bite is infused with juicy, meaty goodness. The thin slicing is key; it allows the beef to cook quickly and meld seamlessly with the other ingredients, echoing the essence of the street food original.

Choosing the Right Cheese

Cheese is key for both taste and texture. In a classic Philly cheesesteak, you usually find Provolone or Cheez Whiz. For the casserole, try mixing Provolone, which melts well and is mild, with some sharp Cheddar for extra flavor. This blend gives a creamy, gooey feel and a rich taste that goes great with the beef and onions.

Bread Types: To Bake or Not to Bake

A quintessential question for any Philly cheesesteak variant is the role of bread. In this casserole adaptation, you have two paths: incorporate cubes of a sturdy bread like a baguette directly into the casserole for a built-in carb component, or serve the casserole alongside traditional hoagie rolls or crusty bread. The former option creates a more integrated, spoonable dish, while the latter keeps the bread element distinct, allowing for dipping or sandwich-making at the table. The choice hinges on your desired dining experience.


  • 1 lb. thinly sliced beef steak
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded Provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups of cooked egg noodles

Step-by-Step Cooking Guide

Embarking on the journey of creating a Philly Cheesesteak Casserole is an adventure in flavor and texture. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process, ensuring each layer of your casserole is cooked to perfection.

Sautéing the Beef

  1. Heat the Skillet: Begin by heating your skillet over medium-high heat. A hot skillet is crucial for getting a good sear on your beef.
  2. Cook the beef: Add the thinly sliced ribeye to the skillet. Sauté the beef until it’s browned and cooked through, which should take about 3–5 minutes. Remember, the beef will cook further in the oven, so avoid overcooking it at this stage.
  3. Add Onions and Seasonings: After browning the beef, add sliced onions and seasonings like salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. Cook them until the onions are soft and smell good.

Layering the casserole

  1. Prepare the base: Spread a layer of the cooked beef and onions at the bottom of your casserole dish.
  2. Add Cheese: Sprinkle a generous layer of your cheese mixture (provolone and cheddar) over the beef and onions.
  3. Repeat Layers: If you’re including bread in your casserole, add a layer of bread cubes now. Then, repeat the layers of beef, onions, and cheese until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of cheese on top.

Baking to Perfection

  1. Preheat the oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) while you’re layering the casserole.
  2. Bake the Casserole: Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for about 20–25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  3. Rest and Serve: Let the casserole rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven. This rest period allows the flavors to meld together beautifully. Serve hot, perhaps with a side of crispy salad or your favorite veggies.

Prep Time: 20 minutes; Cooking Time: 25 minutes; Total Time: 45 minutes

By following these steps, you’ll create a Philly Cheesesteak Casserole that’s not only a nod to the classic sandwich but also a new favorite in your culinary repertoire.

Preparing Your Kitchen

Before diving into the creation of your Philly Cheesesteak Casserole, setting up your kitchen with the right equipment and preparations is essential. This ensures a smooth cooking process, allowing you to focus on the flavors and textures that make this dish stand out.

Necessary Cookware and Tools

To begin, you’ll need a skillet, preferably cast iron, for cooking the beef and onions. Its ability to retain heat ensures even cooking, which is crucial for achieving that perfect sear on the beef. Additionally, a large mixing bowl is necessary for combining your ingredients before they go into the casserole dish. Speaking of which, a medium- to large casserole dish is essential. Opt for one that’s oven-safe and large enough to hold all your ingredients comfortably. Other tools include a cheese grater (if using block cheese), a sharp knife for slicing the beef and onions, and a cutting board. Don’t forget a spatula or wooden spoon for stirring and a set of measuring cups and spoons for precision.

Pre-Cooking Preparations

Before you start cooking, a few preparatory steps can make the process more efficient. Preheat your oven to the required temperature so it’s ready to go once your casserole is assembled. Slice your beef and onions, and grate your cheese if it’s not pre-shredded. If you’re including bread cubes in your casserole, cut the bread into even, bite-sized pieces. Having all your ingredients prepped and within reach (a technique chefs call mise en place) streamlines your cooking process, ensuring you’re not scrambling for ingredients at the last minute. This preparation sets the stage for a more enjoyable and stress-free cooking experience.

Variations of the Classic Recipe

The beauty of the Philly Cheesesteak Casserole lies in its versatility. Whether you’re catering to specific dietary needs or simply experimenting with different flavors, there are numerous ways to adapt this classic recipe. Here are some variations to consider:

Gluten-Free Alternatives

For those avoiding gluten, transforming this casserole into a gluten-free delight is straightforward:

  1. Gluten-Free Bread: Replace the traditional bread or hoagie rolls with a gluten-free alternative. Many stores offer a variety of gluten-free bread that can mimic the texture and taste of regular bread.
  2. Thickeners and Binders: If your recipe calls for flour as a thickening agent, opt for gluten-free flour blends or cornstarch.
  3. Check Your Cheese: While most cheese is naturally gluten-free, it’s important to check labels for any gluten-containing additives, especially in pre-shredded cheese.

Vegetarian Adaptations

Making a vegetarian version of this casserole can still taste great.

  1. Meat Substitutes: Swap out the beef for a plant-based meat substitute. There are numerous options available that mimic the texture and flavor of beef.
  2. Mushrooms as an Alternative: For a whole-food approach, thickly sliced mushrooms, like portobellos, can be a great substitute for beef. They offer a meaty texture and a rich, umami flavor.
  3. Additional Vegetables: Enhance the casserole with bell peppers, spinach, or other vegetables for added nutrition and flavor diversity.

These variations ensure that the Philly Cheesesteak Casserole can be enjoyed in numerous forms, catering to different dietary preferences while maintaining its delicious essence.

Nutritional Information

Understanding the nutritional content of your Philly Cheesesteak Casserole is key for those mindful of their dietary intake. Here’s a breakdown of the calorie count and nutritional components, along with suggestions for healthier ingredient swaps.

Calorie Count and Nutritional Breakdown

A typical serving of Philly Cheesesteak Casserole contains:

  • Calories: approximately 400–600 calories per serving, depending on the ingredients used.
  • Proteins: A good source of protein, thanks to the beef and cheese, contributes about 25–35 grams per serving.
  • Fats: Contains around 20–30 grams of fat, with a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats.
  • Carbohydrates: vary based on the inclusion of bread or bread alternatives, ranging from 15 to 30 grams per serving.

It’s important to note that these values can vary significantly based on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used.

Healthier Ingredient Swaps

To keep your Philly Cheesesteak Casserole tasty but healthier, try these simple changes:

  1. Leaner Meat: Opt for lean cuts of beef, like sirloin, or even consider using chicken or turkey as a lower-fat alternative to ribeye.
  2. Low-Fat Cheese: Use reduced-fat versions of Provolone or Cheddar to cut down on saturated fat while still enjoying the cheesy goodness.
  3. Whole-Grain Bread: If including bread, choose whole-grain options for added fiber and nutrients.
  4. Increase Vegetables: Amp up the nutritional value by adding more vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. This not only adds vitamins and minerals but also increases the dish’s fiber content.
  5. Portion Control: Serve smaller portions alongside a large, leafy green salad to balance out the meal.

Storing and Reheating Tips

To enjoy your Philly Cheesesteak Casserole to its fullest, proper storage and reheating are key. Here’s how to keep your casserole delicious and safe to eat in the days following its preparation.

Refrigeration Guidelines

  1. Cool Before Storing: Allow the casserole to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. This prevents condensation inside the container, which can make the bread soggy.
  2. Airtight Containers: Store the casserole in airtight containers to maintain freshness and prevent it from absorbing odors from the fridge.
  3. Duration: Properly stored, the casserole can last in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days.
  4. Label and Date: It’s a good practice to label your storage containers with the date, so you know how long the casserole has been refrigerated.

Best Reheating Practices

  1. Oven Reheating: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the casserole in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil to prevent the top from burning. Heat it for about 15–20 minutes, or until it’s thoroughly warmed through.
  2. Microwave: For a quicker option, you can reheat individual portions in the microwave. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, leaving a small vent for steam to escape. Heat on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even warming.
  3. Avoid overheating: Be careful not to overheat the casserole, as this can dry out the meat and make the cheese oily.
  4. Add Moisture if Needed: If the casserole appears dry when you reheat it, you can add a bit of beef broth or water. This step, before placing it in the oven or microwave, helps to rehydrate the ingredients, ensuring the dish remains moist and flavorful.

By following these storage and reheating tips, you can ensure your Philly Cheesesteak Casserole stays delicious, just as it was when freshly made. Consequently, this allows you to savor a flavorful meal even several days afterward.


Leave a Comment