The Mistake To Avoid When Prepping Onions For Cheesesteaks

All of the elements that comprise a traditional Philly cheesesteak are important, but the real secret to getting this sandwich just right is all about those onions. A classic cheesesteak, which generally consists of ultra thinly sliced ribeye steak, fried or sauteed onions, and either melted provolone cheese or some iconic Cheez Whiz piled onto a hoagie, is one of those sandwiches you want to master, or you will forever be known as the person who makes these Philly favorites wrong.

Onions are a key component of a cheesesteak sandwich because they tend to sweeten up when you cook them. The sugary and nutty taste complements the rich flavors and textures of the other ingredients. But to do them right, it's mission-critical that you avoid an all-too-common mistake when it comes to chopping them up. You don't want chunky pieces of this bulbous food. Like the steak, your onions should be thinly sliced to really enhance your cheesesteak experience.

Onions cook faster when cut thin

Why do you want the onions so thin? When it comes to the cheesesteak, the whole is greater than the sum. You want to get a little bit of bread and cheese and a little bit of steak and onion with each bite. When you slice your onions up so they are thin, you're able to get a more even distribution.

Additionally, remember, the whole point of this steak sandwich is how quickly it cooks. The thinly sliced steak doesn't take long to brown and sear, which makes it even more important that the onions are also sliced thin so they can cook faster and become slightly caramelized. Nobody wants raw onions on their cheesesteak. You can achieve that paper-thin width by using a mandoline, but if you don't have one of those gadgets, for super-thin onion slices, you can try shaving them with a vegetable peeler. Either one of these kitchen tools will help you get the job done.