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Chicken Cheesesteaks put a Philly style spin on the basic chicken sandwich! Served on hoagie buns and spread with homemade garlic aioli, this hearty sandwich is guaranteed to satisfy your cheesesteak cravings.
I love a good sandwich. Not a flimsy thing with a couple of pieces of meat and a leaf of lettuce but a REAL sandwich; one that's overflowing with stuffings served on crusty bread. Bonus points if it whips up quickly with very little fuss.
When it comes to satisfying stick-to-your-ribs sandwiches, you'll be hard-pressed to find one as good as a Philly Cheesesteak. Although I think my jerk chicken sandwiches are a fierce competitor!
This spin on the classic uses succulent seasoned chicken pieces topped with a homemade garlic chive aioli that completely hits the spot!
🥪What is a Philly cheesesteak?
A traditional cheesesteak has thin slices of beef piled onto a hoagie roll and topped with melted cheese. For most Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches, the beef is browned quickly in a pan with onions.
Most are served with some type of cheese. Hardcore Philly lovers say it has to be cheese whiz or provolone.
As the name suggests, Philadelphia proudly claims the Cheesesteak sandwich as its own. I'm sure in some circles, using chicken on a cheesesteak instead of beef is unacceptable, but in my circles, we give it a pass.
Why? Because substituting chicken is a delicious reimagining of the classic sandwich. It's everything we love about a chicken breast sandwich and Philly Cheesesteak rolled into one. By switching out the beef with the chicken, you are lowering the amount of saturated fat. For cholesterol watchers (looking at myself here!) that adds up!
This Chicken Philly Cheesesteak has seasoned morsels of chicken, peppers, mushrooms, and onions. If that weren't enough deliciousness, I also whipped together an amazing aioli with garlic and chives to spread on my sandwiches.
🔪 How to make chicken cheesesteaks
This sandwich recipe starts with diced chicken breast cooked in a pan with a little olive oil and some Italian seasoning. If you'd prefer chicken thighs, they can easily be swapped.
There is no need to use a marinade on the chicken pieces, but if you plan ahead and want to you could marinate the chicken in a bit of Italian dressing or a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil mixed with some Italian seasoning.
Most of the time I seem caught off guard that I suddenly have to make dinner and so I'm not thinking that far ahead. Either way, your sandwiches will still have a great flavor!
The beef cheesesteaks use very thinly sliced meat but in these sandwiches I suggest chicken breast pieces, not strips. I went back and forth on this.
You can thinly slice your chicken breast into strips, but it will cook much faster and has a tendency to dry out. While those burnt edges work with caramelizing the beef, it doesn't have the same outcome with chicken.
Once the chicken is cooked through, you use the same oil to saute onions, peppers, and mushrooms. If you prefer your peppers to be more cooked down, you'll want to cook them for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms.
Not a fan of mushrooms? You can leave them out! Don't have fresh peppers on hand? You can sub out a bag of frozen peppers or a pepper and onion mix. You don't have to thaw them, but they will take longer to cook and you may have to drain extra liquid from the pan.
Next, add the chicken back to the pan with the chicken broth being sure to scrap those bits on the bottom of the pan and allow the broth to "deglaze" the pan. This is what helps build up the flavor profile! Let it simmer until the broth becomes a thick sauce.
While the sauce is thickening, slice your rolls (I used small baguettes but hoagies are the traditional buns). Brush them with butter and toast them in the oven if you'd like them to have a bit of crunch on them.
🍞Assembling the sandwiches
- Spread the chive garlic aioli on one side of the roll you are using.
- Top with the chicken and vegetables.
- Finish off the sandwich with a handful of mozzarella cheese.
- The heat from the chicken and toasted bread will melt the cheese. If you prefer cheesesteaks with a bubbly top, put the open-faced sandwiches under the broiler for a minute or two.
- Serve immediately and enjoy this irresistible combo of crusty bread, tender chicken, and cheese.
🥣How to make homemade garlic aioli
You have to try this aioli! It's heavenly on cheesesteak but it would also be a great spread for tons of other sandwiches. Prep the aioli before you make the chicken and peppers.
I only use four ingredients in my garlic aioli:
- Lemon juice
Mix everything together in a bowl and then set it aside while you make the chicken. So easy and flavorful! Once you start making your own garlic aioli you're going to want to add it to everything!
With the bread being toasted and the melted cheese, it's best to serve these right away. However, if you are waiting to save time during the dinner rush, you can prep the chicken and aioli ahead of time.
When you are ready to serve the cheesesteaks, reheat the chicken and veggies on the stovetop just until warmed through. Then toast your bread and assemble the sandwiches as directed.
Great question! The chicken and pepper filling is naturally gluten free (double check your chicken broth to be on the safe side). The issue is the bread. I've not had any luck finding gluten free hoagie buns, so in this situation, I would substitute Udi's GF hot dog buns.
No problem! The Philly chicken filling is great on a bed of salad greens! Top with cheese if you like and use the garlic aioli as a dressing. Feel free to thin it out with a bit of milk or half and half to give it more of a salad dressing consistency.
Any bread will do if you are in a pinch. Classic sandwich recipes call for hoagie buns, but demi baguettes, ciabatta rolls or full-sized baguettes cut in half are all strong enough to hold up to the juiciness of the chicken and pepper mixture. Hawaiian rolls won't be as sturdy, but they add a touch of sweetness.
As mentioned above, cheese whiz or provolone are the cheeses of choice for traditional cheesesteaks. For this recipe, I used mozzarella because it pairs well with the Italian seasoning. Substitute another white cheese if you'd like or a mixture like gouda and parmesan.
📖 More tips and tricks
- Avocado mayonnaise - Avocado mayo is delicious in the aioli as an alternative to regular. Try it both ways.
- Greek yogurt - Replace ½ of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt to cut down on the fat without killing the flavor.
- For bubbly cheese - Placing the chicken sandwiches under the broiler before serving will melt the cheese fully and make a bubbly browned layer on top. If you do use the broiler, keep a close eye on the sandwiches so the cheese doesn't burn. A minute or so will do the trick.
- Pepper substitutions - I love the colors of the red, orange, and yellow bell peppers combined with the chicken. Green bell peppers can easily be substituted for either or both. Pepperoncini can give a tangy pickled flavor. Banana peppers will do the same minus some of the heat. If you are after heat throw on some jalapeno slices.
- Mushroom substitutions - Cremini mushrooms or baby bella mushrooms can be substituted for the buttons if you prefer. You can also leave them out if you are not a fan.
- Lemon juice - Fresh lemon juice for the aioli is recommended. If you don't have any substitute with red wine vinegar. If you don't have that either then jarred lemon juice will also work.
Philly Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwich
For the cheesesteaks:
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
- 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning, divided
- 1 yellow onion sliced in strips
- 1 red bell pepper sliced in strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper sliced in strips
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms washed and sliced
- ⅓ cup chicken broth
- 4 hoagie rolls or demi baguettes
- 4 tablespoon olive oil or butter for brushing buns
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
For the garlic aioli
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 4 tablespoon chives fresh and diced
To make the aioli:
- In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, lemon juice, minced garlic and diced chives.
- Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
- Stir well to combine and set aside.
To make the chicken Phillies:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees for toasting the sandwich bread.
- Prepare the aioli.
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Pat the diced chicken dry and season with salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the Italian seasoning.
- Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Set chicken aside on a plate.
- Toss in the sliced onions and peppers, cooking for 4-5 minutes.
- Add in the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes until veggies are softened and lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the chicken back to the pan, along with the remaining 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning and chicken broth.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer until broth has reduced and thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, place the sliced hoagie rolls or baguettes onto a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter on the inside of each roll. Place in the pre-heated oven for 2-3 minutes on the middle rack to toast.
- Once the bread is toasted, remove from the oven and assemble your sandwiches.Spread the chive aioli onto the inside of each side of bun. Top with the chicken vegetable mixture and a layer of shredded mozzarella. Enjoy