Chicken Philly Cheesesteak
Published Oct 20, 2023•Updated Nov 08, 2023
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Thinly sliced chicken sizzled in a hot skillet, topped with sauteed sweet bell peppers and onions, covered in melted American cheese, and served on a soft toasted Hoagie roll…it’s easy to see why a Chicken Philly Cheesesteak is always a crowd-pleaser.
No shade on the classic Philly cheesesteak made with rib-eye, but chicken makes for an awesome variation on this irresistible sandwich. Picture this: juicy chicken, sweet sauteed bell peppers and onions, super melty American cheese, all nestled in a buttery hoagie roll.
I’ve been making these sandwiches at home for years, always searching for something that comes close to the truly classic, and truly unbeatable version I’ve had in Philadelphia. There’s no getting around the fact that your skillet at home can’t compete with the flavor of years (decades?) of the flavor that comes off of a piping hot griddle when these sandwiches are made in Philly. But you can build flavor in your homemade sandwich with the addition of a few pantry staples – garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. The rest is simple!
What is a Chicken Cheesesteak?
Philly sandwiches, also known as a Philly cheesesteak, or just a “Philly” is a big, meaty, cheesy sandwich stacked with thinly sliced steak, melted cheese, sauteed onions and peppers, and served on a long hoagie roll. Melty, super creamy cheese is the final must-have addition and authentic Philly Cheesesteaks use everything from Cheez Whiz (!) to provolone to American cheese.
We can thank Philadelphia natives Pat and Harry Olivieri for creating this mouthwatering sandwich in the 1930s.
The Hoagie Roll is Key
No matter how delicious you make the fillings for this sandwich, the hoagie roll is the key. The rolls should be sturdy enough to hold the fillings but still soft enough to easily bite through. Amoroso Hoagie Rolls are the go-to hoagie roll for the most authentic sandwich, but look for other variations on good-quality soft hoagie rolls in your grocery store’s bakery.
How to Make Them
- Cut hoagie rolls open, and place cut-side up on a baking sheet.
- Mix chicken with the cooking oil, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
- Cook the chicken in two batches in a skillet until browned. Place the cooked chicken in a bowl when done cooking.
- Add the sliced bell peppers and onions to the pan, and cook until the bell peppers and onions are very tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add the peppers and onions to the chicken and stir everything together.
- Spread the insides of the hoagie rolls with butter. Add cheese slices to both sides of the rolls, and fill with chicken, peppers, and onions.
- Bake the sandwiches until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Serve warm and savor all of the delicious flavors.
- Soft Hoagie Rolls – Philly sandwiches are traditionally served on Amoroso rolls, but those can be difficult to find outside of Philadelphia. Look for soft hoagie rolls for another option that will be delicious with those flavorful fillings.
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast – This recipe calls for thinly sliced chicken, so you will want to use lean boneless, skinless chicken breast, which is easier to cut, rather than chicken thighs.
- Cooking Oil, divided – Any cooking oil will work for this recipe. Feel free to use avocado oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, or whatever you have in your pantry.
- Garlic Powder, Worcestershire Sauce – To season the thinly sliced chicken and tender bell peppers.
- Kosher Salt, Black Pepper – Basic cooking seasonings to elevate the sauteed veggies and chicken.
- Bell Pepper – Thinly slice your bell peppers so they cook evenly and get nice and tender. Red and yellow peppers are popular choices, but you could also use green bell peppers.
- Red Onion – Red onions become pleasantly sweet when sauteed. You could use white onions, but they won’t develop the same sweetness when cooking.
- Butter – To get the hoagies nice and toasted.
- White American Cheese (substitute 8 slices of Provolone) – Cheez Whiz was the original cheese in the Philly cheesesteak sandwich, but white American cheese or Provolone will give you the same melted cheesiness.
- Thinly sliced chicken breast – Chicken cooks more quickly and evenly when it is sliced thin. You can freeze the chicken breasts on a cutting board for 10 minutes to make this task easier. Very cold meats are easier to slice.
- Use leftover rotisserie chicken – The savoriness of rotisserie chicken works perfectly in this recipe, and gives you another creative way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken!
- Make it vegetarian – The meat texture of mushrooms makes them a great stand-in for a meat-based protein.
- Go vegan – Substituting mushrooms for meat, omitting the butter, and using a vegan “cheese” alternative will turn a chicken Philly cheesesteak into a vegan cheesesteak sandwich.
- Add some spice – Adding jalapeno peppers will give you the best spicy Philly sandwich. You could also add a little hot sauce.
You can store the cooked filling for Philly sandwiches in an airtight container for 3 days. Be sure to store the hoagie buns separately from the chicken mixture and veggies. If you store these together, all of the wonderful juice from your sandwich filling will make the rolls soggy.
This classic toasted sandwich goes well with just about every pub-style, diner-style, or BBQ side dish. French fries, creamy coleslaw, potato salad, or a simple salad are terrific choices.
Philly cheesesteaks don’t traditionally include sauces, because there are so many naturally savory juices from the cooked meat. In this recipe, chicken pieces are sauteed in garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce to add layers of flavor. If you’re in the mood for a little something extra on your chicken Philly cheesesteak, you could whip up a quick aioli to add.
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Chicken Philly Sandwich Recipe
- Half Sheet Pan
- Mixing Bowl
- 4 soft hoagie rolls
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
- 4 Tablespoons cooking oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced (I like red or yellow bell peppers here, but any color will work)
- 2 cups thinly sliced onion (about one medium red onion)
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 12 slices white American cheese (substitute 8 slices of Provolone)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F / 204°F
- Slice the hoagie rolls open and spread them out, cut-side up on a large sheet pan. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the chicken with 1 Tablespoon cooking oil, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add half the chicken and cook on one side without stirring until golden brown. Turn the chicken and continue cooking until cooked through. Put the cooked chicken in a large bowl. Cook the remaining chicken in the same way and add it to the bowl.
- Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add the sliced bell peppers and onions. Season the vegetables with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell peppers and onions are very tender, 10 to 12 minutes. (If the pan looks dry at any point, add a splash of water.)
- Add the peppers and onions to the chicken and stir everything together.
- Spread the insides of the hoagie rolls with softened butter. Add cheese slices to both sides of the rolls. Fill the rolls with chicken, peppers, and onions.
- Bake the sandwiches in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Serve warm.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.