What Cheese Goes on Italian Beef? The Top 10 Cheeses for Elevating This Sandwich

Italian beef sandwiches are an iconic Chicago specialty – tender, juicy beef soaked in a spicy jus, piled high on a crusty Italian roll But the right cheese choice can take this sandwich from great to extraordinary! So what cheese goes best on Italian beef?

In this article, we’ll cover the top 10 cheeses that pair perfectly with Italian beef, plus some unique alternatives to try. We’ll also give tips on picking the right cheese based on flavor, texture, melt factor, and occasion. Read on to learn how to take your Italian beef sandwiches to the next level with cheese!

How to Choose the Best Cheese for Italian Beef

With so many cheese options out there, it can be tricky to know where to start when figuring out what cheese to pair with Italian beef Here are a few tips on how to select the perfect cheese

  • Consider the flavor – You want a cheese that complements, but doesn’t overwhelm the rich, spicy jus and beef. Sharp cheddar or provolone are classic choices.

  • Focus on meltability – The cheese should fully melt into the sandwich. Great melty cheeses include mozzarella, provolone, Monterey jack.

  • Texture matters – Aim for a creamy, smooth melted texture. Avoid cheeses that separate or get greasy when melted.

  • Think about occasion – If cooking for a crowd, choose an accessible favorite like cheddar. For a special meal, go for something fancier like brie.

Keeping these tips in mind, let’s look at the top cheese choices recommended for Italian beef sandwiches.

The 10 Best Cheeses for Italian Beef Sandwiches

  1. Provolone – This mild, slightly tangy Italian cheese is the classic choice for Italian beef. It melts beautifully into the meaty juices.

  2. Mozzarella – Fresh mozzarella adds delicious creaminess and complements the sandwich’s Italian flavors. Melts smoothly.

  3. Swiss – With its mild, slightly sweet flavor, Swiss cheese is a crowd-pleasing option. Its smooth melt makes it a go-to pick.

  4. Cheddar – For those who like some sharpness, cheddar adds a nice punch of flavor and has an appealing melt.

  5. Pepper Jack – Pepper jack’s mild heat and creaminess pair wonderfully with the spicy jus on the beef.

  6. Fontina – This Italian cheese has a creamy, rich flavor. It melts well with a touch of nuttiness.

  7. Monterey Jack – With its melty, mild flavor, Monterey Jack is a smart choice for Italian beef sandwiches.

  8. Gouda – Gouda makes a great Italian beef pairing with its creamy texture and slightly sweet, nutty notes.

  9. Brie – For an upscale sandwich, melted brie provides a refined, buttery richness to the beef.

  10. Blue Cheese – The bold, funky flavor of blue cheese pairs surprisingly well with Italian beef.

7 Unique Alternative Cheeses to Try

Looking to shake things up? Here are some unexpected, but delicious cheese choices for Italian beef:

  • Havarti – Creamy with a hint of acidity

  • Muenster – Melty and mild

  • Asiago – Sharp, nutty flavor

  • Feta – Salty, tangy crumbles

  • Goat Cheese – Creamy, tangy spread

  • Pecorino Romano – Salty, hard Italian cheese

  • Smoked Gouda – Smoky flavor twist

Tips for Pairing Cheese with Italian Beef

To take your Italian beef sandwiches to new heights, keep these cheese pairing tips in mind:

  • Match stronger cheeses with hearty breads, and milder cheeses with lighter breads.

  • Play with contrasting textures like crunchy slaw or crispy onions against the melted cheese.

  • Pair spicy pepper jack cheese with sweet and tangy barbecue sauce for flavor fusion.

  • Allow simpler cheeses to let the glorious Italian beef flavors shine through.

  • Resist overloading on too much cheese, as it can overwhelm the other ingredients.

  • Get creative with cheeses outside the Italian beef norm for a taste adventure!

Elevate Your Italian Beef with Cheese

While Italian beef is delicious on its own, the right cheese choice can greatly enhance this iconic sandwich. Whether you opt for a classic like provolone or mozzarella, or get adventurous with blue cheese or goat cheese, melted cheese perfectly complements the flavors of tender beef and spicy jus. Consider the flavor, texture, melt factor, and occasion when picking your cheese. Then pile it high on Italian beef for out-of-this-world sandwiches!

Cheddar Cheese on Italian Beef Sandwich!!! Does it belong?????


Does Italian beef have cheese?

Beef is slow-cooked until fall-apart tender in a blend of broth, Italian-inspired seasonings, and pickled vegetables. Then, it’s served on a hoagie bun with melted provolone cheese. It is a very flavorful sandwhich, and the flavors can be adjusted based on the toppings.

What is Italian beef dipped in?

Some like their Italian beef “dipped,” which means the whole sandwich (bread and all) gets a gravy bath before it’s served. Some contrarians prefer a “dry” Italian beef, which squeezes out as much gravy as possible before the sandwich is served.

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