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Chopped Cheese Sandwich recipe with onions

The Famous Chopped Cheese Sandwich Recipe

What is a Chopped Cheese Sandwich?

This chopped cheese sandwich recipe is a delicious combo of chopped beef and onions, American melty cheese, sliced tomatoes, and shredded iceberg lettuce, all wrapped up in a warm hoagie roll. There are lots of variations that use ground turkey, or even beef patties. However, an authentic Cardi B approved chopped cheese sandwich is made with the perfect 80/20 ratio of beef, sauteed onions, melted (American) cheese, and green peppers all served on a golden brown hero roll. This preparation with shredded lettuce and tomatoes make this my all time favorite sandwich to make – and eat! Serve with french fries or potato chips for a can’t miss lunch or add this to your list of easy dinner ideas.

The Chopped Cheese Sandwich Origins

Chopped cheese sandwich recipe from New York

Born in the bodegas of East Harlem in New York City, the chopped cheese sandwich represents an intersection of different immigrant cultures.

The form, chopped beef wrapped in bread, is influenced by the Yemeni immigrants who often work in East Harlem bodegas. As such, the Arabic sandwich called “dagha yamneeya,” which is made with chopped meat like beef or lamb and mixed vegetables is a direct influence. 

Bodegas, small grocery stores in urban areas that specialize in Hispanic groceries, have also influenced the chopped cheese sandwich. For authentic flavoring, many native New Yorkers believe that some form of adobo seasoning is a must.

Usually cooked and served straight off a flat top grill, this chopped cheese sandwich recipe is formulated with a large cast iron skillet for the average home cook.

Chopped Cheese Sandwich Recipe Ingredients

Authentic chopped cheese sandwich recipe

4 (8-inch) hoagie buns

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 yellow diced onion

1 green pepper diced

1 pound 80 to 85 percent lean ground beef

1 teaspoon Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning*

1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

8 slices yellow American cheese

2 beefsteak tomatoes, thinly sliced

2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded

1 oz hot sauce optional

Chopped Cheese Sandwich Recipe Instructions

NYC Chopped Cheese Sandwich Cardi B

The first step for recreating the famous chopped cheese sandwich is caramalizing the onions. Caramalizing onions takes time and patience but the results are well worth it. 

However, you can adjust the cooking time for your own needs.

In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering and the butter is melted, add the diced onions. Stir to coat.

Reduce heat to medium-low stirring occasionally until the onions reach desired consistency and color:

15-20 minutes for sweet blonde caramelized onions

30-40 minutes for jammier well-browned onions

60 minutes for the ultimate deeply sweet and jammy caramalized onions

If the onions start to stick, drizzle a little water into the pan to deglaze the pan. 

Turn the heat up to medium high heat and toss the diced green peppers in. Cook until they have softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the beef, adobo seasoning, and seasoned salt.

Toast a Hoagie Roll or Good Substitute

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

First, prep the hoagie rolls so that when the beef is done cooking, they are ready to go. Using a combo of mayonnaise and ketchup gives the sandwiches that “secret sauce” upgrade. 

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and ketchup. Arrange the hoagie rolls on a baking sheet and spread the mayo and ketchup mixture evenly on both sides of each roll. 

Depending on where you live, hoagie rolls might not be available or could be called something different: 

Sub rolls

Hero rolls

Hot dog bun

Hamburger bun

Brioche bun

Go for long sized rolls or buns first but hamburger or brioche buns will also work.

Cook the Beef for Your Chopped Cheese Sandwich

The Cardi B Chopped

Cook for 8 minutes, constantly breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon. The meat should be cooked through and the excess moisture cooked off.

Pro tip:

If you want to a real NYC diner experience, consider chopping your beef with the end of a metal spatula as it cooks. If you don’t have a metal spatula a spoon can work too!

Note that while the above tip is optional this one is not!. Using 80 to 85 percent lean ground beef means that there is 15-20% fat content, which will help add flavor to the filling.  You should def not go leaner than this if you want that delicious authentic flavor.

Don’t Forget to Generously Season the Beef

I like to season the patties pre and during cooking. This recipe uses Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning, which usually can be found in the international section of your grocery store.However, if you can’t find it, you can use this mix of spices:

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon onion powder

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt is also used, which can be found with other salt mixes in the spice section of your grocery store.  It’s not uncommon to throw in a dash of garlic powder as well.

Melt Your American Cheese

Chopped Cheese Sandwich 683x1024

Once the beef is done cooking, divide evenly among the rolls and layer 2 slices of American cheese over the beef on each roll. 

American cheese slices often get a bad reputation, but it’s the best option for getting that drool-worthy glossy and gooey melt.  These slices of cheese paired with diced caramelized onions and top of the beef make this NYC favorite meal a knockout.

Bake in the oven until the bread is warm and the cheese is melted about 5 minutes. 

Take the rolls out of the oven and layer tomatoes and lettuce over the cheese on each roll. Carefully close each sandwich. Pop the sandwiches back in the oven for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the filling to meld together. 

Take out of the oven and let the sandwiches sit for 1 minute before cutting in half to serve. 

Get the Bodega Deli Style Experience

This is a pro tip, yet optional extra step. For a real bodega, deli shop feel and a filling that melds together perfectly, carefully close the sandwich after the tomatoes and lettuce have been added and wrap tightly in parchment paper.

There’s no need to pop the sandwiches back in the oven if you’re using this method. The insulation from the tightly wrapped parchment paper helps the ingredients meld together. To serve, cut the sandwiches in half. 

Commonly Asked Questions

Where does Cardi B get her Chopped Cheese Sandwich from?


According to the best selling female rapper the best chopped cheese is from the Bronx from New York .

What comes on a Chopped Cheese?

The chopped cheese, also known as the chop cheese, is a type of sandwich originating from New York City. Found in bodegas throughout Upper Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens it is made on a grill with ground beef, onions, and mixed in melted cheese and served with lettuce, tomatoes, and condiments on a hero roll.

Is a Chop Cheese Sandwich the Same as a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich?

While there are similarities between the two, Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches originated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and use thinly sliced steak and provolone cheese. 

What’s the best cheese to use on a Chopped Cheese Sandwich?

Believe it or not Kraft American cheese singles are the best option to get the classic look and taste. If you aren’t a fan (which you should be) consider pepper jack or colby cheese as a good alternate.

Where did the Chopped Cheese Sandwich originate?

There is a general consensus among New Yorkers that bodega Blue Sky Deli (formerly Hajji’s) is the birthplace of the chopped cheese, but exactly who invented it and why is less clear.

Does a Chopped Cheese have ketchup?

According to an article by online magazine First We Feast, a classic chopped cheese sandwich consists of ground beef, peppers, onions, cheese, and typical condiments like ketchup and mayo, all prepared on a flat-top grill.

Chopped Cheese Sandwich recipe with onions

Chopped Cheese Sandwich Recipe

This chopped cheese sandwich recipe is a delicious combo of chopped beef and onions, American melty cheese, sliced tomatoes, and shredded iceberg lettuce, all wrapped up in a warm hoagie roll. There are lots of variations that use ground turkey, or even beef patties. An authentic chopped cheese sandwich made with just the perfect 80/20 ratio of beef, sauteed onions, melted cheese, green peppers served on a golden brown hero roll makes this my all time favorite sandwich to make – and eat! Serve with french fries or potato chips for a can't miss lunch or add this to you list of easy dinner ideas.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 4 8-inch hoagie buns
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbps ketchup
  • 1 pd 80 to 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 1  yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning* See ingredients below
  • 1 tsp  Lawry’s Season Salt
  • 8 slices yellow American cheese
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded

Instructions
 

  • The first step is to caramelize the onions.
  • In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering and the butter is melted, add the diced onions. Stir to coat.
    Reduce heat to medium-low stirring occasionally until the onions reach desired consistency and color:
    15-20 minutes for sweet blonde caramelized onions, 30-40 minutes for jammier well-browned onions, 60 minutes for the ultimate deeply sweet and jammy caramelized onions
    If the onions start to stick, drizzle a little water into the pan to deglaze the pan. 
  • Turn the heat up to medium high heat and toss the diced green peppers in. Cook until they have softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
    Add the beef, adobo seasoning, and seasoned salt.
  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and ketchup. Arrange the hoagie rolls on a baking sheet and spread the mayo and ketchup mixture evenly on both sides of each roll. 
  • Combine the beef, onion, adobo seasoning, and seasoned salt in a large 12-inch skillet set over medium high heat. Cook for 8 minutes, constantly breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon. The meat should be cooked through and the excess moisture cooked off.
  • Divide the cooked beef evenly among the rolls and layer 2 slices of American cheese over the beef on each roll. 
  • Bake in the oven until the bread is warm and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. 
  • Take the rolls out of the oven and layer tomatoes and lettuce over the cheese on each roll. Carefully close each sandwich. Pop the sandwiches back in the oven for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the filling to meld together. 
  • Take out of the oven and let the sandwiches sit for 1 minute before cutting in half to serve. 
  • Optional Pro Tip: For a real bodega deli shop feel and a filling that melds together perfectly, carefully close the sandwich after the tomatoes and lettuce have been added and wrap tightly in parchment paper. To serve, cut the sandwiches in half. 
  • Optional: *Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning Substitute:
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    ¼ teaspoon oregano
    ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
    ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
    ¼ teaspoon onion powder
Keyword chopped cheese sandwich, sandwich

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