Do Real Philly Cheesesteaks Have Cheez Whiz? (Revealed!)

You might be surprised by how many people are wondering the same thing, do real Philly cheesesteaks have Cheez Whiz?

Surely it should have real cheese, not the fake, processed sauce that comes in a jar?

What is the traditional cheese for a Philly cheesesteak?

Do you have a choice when ordering, can you pick your preferred cheese?

Who invented the cheesesteak anyway? 

Let’s see if Cheez Whiz is part of the history of the iconic Philly cheesesteak!  

Cheez Whiz is a popular topping for a Philly cheesesteak, but other options are usually available on request. A milder-tasting cheese is preferred, such as American or Provolone. The cheese needs to melt easily on top of the other ingredients. When the recipe was first invented in 1930, it did not have any cheese, this was a later addition. There is some dispute as to who came up with the idea of adding cheese. Whether it was Pat Olivieri, the original creator of the Philly cheesesteak, or his competitor Joe Vento, who founded the rival shop of Geno’s in 1966.    

Is Cheez Whiz a Part of a Real Philly Cheesesteak?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes a real Philly cheesesteak is the only thing that hits the spot!

And, of course, that melty cheese topping is the thing that really adds to the whole taste and texture of this iconic snack!

But what are your thoughts about Cheez Whiz, should it be part of a Philly cheesesteak?

Let’s look at the history of the cheesesteak first to see if it gives us any clues!

Surprisingly, the original Philly cheesesteak didn’t have any cheese at all.

It was invented around 1930 by Pat Olivieri, who ran a hot dog stand in South Philadelphia.

Legend has it that he was cooking his own lunch, a steak sandwich, on the grill when a taxi driver was attracted by the smell and asked if he could have one too.     

Before long, Olivieri was inundated by orders and had to open a shop to accommodate all the customers.

But at this point, cheese was not on the menu, it was a later addition, and it’s unclear whether Olivieri himself thought of it or if it was his rival, Joe Vento, the founder of Geno’s shop.

So, Cheese Whiz was definitely not a part of a real Philly cheesesteak in the early days!

The original shop still exists, Pat’s King of Steaks, and is still owned by the same family.

Is Cheez Whiz the Best Topping for a Philly Cheesesteak?

Cheez Whiz has a runny texture which makes it ideal on top of a Philly cheesesteak.

But some may see it as simply a processed product or junk food and would prefer real cheese.

In fact, over the years, the actual cheese content in Cheez Whiz has been reduced.

But, with a Philly cheesesteak, you don’t want the cheese to be overpowering; it should be mild and have a lovely melting quality.

Options would include American cheese or provolone.

Both of these melt easily and would give that gooey texture we love in a Philly cheesesteak.

Occasionally, you might find pepper jack or Swiss cheese on the menu.

When ordering your cheesesteak, you would simply start your preference as Whiz, American, or provolone, so there is no confusion, and your order can be processed quickly.

Although, you do also have to mention whether you want griddled onions or not!

For me, it’s not a real Philly cheesesteak without onions, but I do understand if you don’t like them! 

The cheesesteak should be served in a long, crusty roll, and only rib-eye steak is good enough. 

And basically, that’s all that you need; crusty bread, sauteed steak, freshly griddled onions, and a generous topping of Cheez Whiz!

Oh, and a pile of napkins for that gooey mess!

Some places serve other optional toppings, too, such as mushrooms or peppers, and nobody is going to argue if you add ketchup.

The Best Philly Cheesesteak Recipe

Final Thoughts

Cheez Whiz is a popular topping on real Philly cheesesteaks.

Other cheese options include American, Swiss, or provolone.

The cheese has to be mild in flavor and be able to melt easily over the steak.

The original Philly cheesesteak, invented by Pat Olivieri in 1930, didn’t actually have any cheese on it at all.

Whether you prefer Cheez Whiz or not, you can’t beat a real Philly cheesesteak!

Of course, some cheese is too expensive to use as a topping, and in this article, you can find out why provolone costs so much.

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