Chopped cheese sandwiches are a delicious meal for those nights when you don’t have much time to cook. A twist on the classic cheeseburger, chopped cheese gets its name from the ground beef that is finely chopped or “hacked” on the grill or skillet. Melty cheese, onions, and other tasty mix-ins are piled high on a hero roll for a mouthwatering sandwich you can make in minutes.
While chopped cheese likely originated in New York and New Jersey, these sandwiches are becoming popular across America as a faster, more convenient cousin to the burger. Their versatility and ease to make chopped cheese sandwiches a busy home cook’s dream.
Keep reading for quick and easy chopped cheese recipes ideal for getting dinner on the table fast any night of the week.
What is Chopped Cheese Exactly?
For those not familiar, chopped cheese sandwiches consist of:
- Finely chopped or ground beef – typically chuck or another fattier cut, chopped up into small crumbles as it cooks
- Onions and seasonings – onions are a must for flavor and traditionally topped with salt, pepper and spices
- Melted cheese – American cheese is classic, but any melty cheese works
- Optional extras – peppers, salsa, etc to taste
All the ingredients get piled high on a hero-style roll that’s toasted to perfection.
The key differences from a burger are the chopped beef rather than a solid patty and melty cheese takes center stage rather than just being a topping. Flavorwise, you get all the juicy, meaty satisfaction of a burger but with more pronounced onion and cheese flavors coming through.
While you can always grill up chopped meat into patties, keeping the beef chopped makes for easier, faster cooking. Which is why chopped cheese makes such a perfect busy weeknight recipe!
Why Make Chopped Cheese at Home?
Part of the appeal of homemade chopped cheese sandwiches are:
- ** Quick cooking time** – no need to wait for a slab of meat to cook through. Finely chopped beef cooks fast.
- Less messy – no greasy burgers falling apart as you try to flip them. Chopped beef lets you easily scrape and stir while cooking.
- Flexible flavors – get creative with mixes of cheese, spices, veggies, and condiments. Personalize with your family’s favorites.
- Satisfying flavor – you still get the classic burger taste but with more melty cheese in every bite. Comfort food at its finest!
Plus it’s fun to master New York deli-style cooking in your own kitchen. You’ll feel like a pro chopsing up sizzling meat seasoned just right to pile high on cheesy bread.
Now let’s get to those easy chop cheese recipes!
Basic Chopped Cheese
This straightforward recipe builds the foundation for making perfect chopped cheese sandwiches at home in just 10 minutes.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 pound ground beef (chuck or similar)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 slices melted cheese (American, cheddar or cheese blend)
- 4 hero rolls or long sandwich rolls
- Optional: sliced tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, mustard
- Sauté onions: Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions and cook for 2 minutes until starting to soften.
- Brown ground beef: Add ground beef to the pan, breaking up chunks with a spoon or spatula. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until beef is browned and cooked through.
- Season: Sprinkle in Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for 1 more minute.
- Pile on cheese: Top meat mixture evenly with sliced cheese so it starts to melt from residual pan heat.
- Toast rolls: While cheese melts, toast hero rolls in toaster, broiler or skillet for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.
- Assemble sandwiches: Scoop chopped cheese mixture onto bottom half of each toasted roll. Top with any extra toppings and roll tops.
- Serve and enjoy!
Get creative by mixing up the cheese varieties, adding sautéed peppers and onions, or customizing with your favorite burger toppings.
Greek Chopped Cheese
Give your chopped cheese a Mediterranean flair with this zesty Greek version loaded with feta cheese, tomatoes, onions, peppers and oregano.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
- 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1⁄2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 4 slices provolone or Swiss cheese
- 4 hero rolls, split
- Sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce (for serving)
- Sauté onions and peppers in oil for 2 minutes.
- Add beef, breaking up chunks as it cooks 5 minutes.
- Stir in Greek seasoning, oregano and cayenne pepper.
- Top with both cheeses to melt, about 1 minute.
- Scoop onto toasted sandwich rolls and top with tomatoes, onions, lettuce.
The spiced meat, sweet peppers, briny feta and melty provolone take this sandwich to new, crave-worthy heights!
Frequently Asked Questions
Get to know this NYC specialty sandwich better with answers to common questions:
1. What comes on a chopped cheese?
The classic chopped cheese sandwich contains finely chopped beef, melted American cheese, onions, salt, pepper and other spices piled on a hero roll. From there you can customize with various toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, and condiments.
2. How is chopped cheese different than a cheesesteak?
Unlike thin-sliced steak used in Philly cheesesteaks, chopped cheese is made from seasoned, chopped ground beef. And the emphasis is on gooey, melted cheese mixed into every bite vs cheese and steak as separate layers.
3. Is chopped cheese just a burger?
While it’s similar, a chopped cheese uses crumbled ground beef instead of an intact patty, has more melted cheese blended in, always includes onions, and is served on a hero style roll vs burger buns.
4. What state is known for chopped cheese?
The chopped cheese sandwich originated in Harlem and the Bronx neighborhoods of New York City as well as surrounding areas of New Jersey. So the Northeast can claim this mouthwatering sandwich specialty.
Even Faster Chopped Cheese
Don’t have 10 minutes? You can cut cook times down to just 5 minutes for ultra-fast chopped cheese sandwiches on crazy weeknights with these simplified steps:
- Warm chopped meat in microwave
- Sauté onions and peppers in a skillet
- Combine meat and onions in skillet, season to taste
- Cover with sliced cheese to melt, 1 minute
- Scoop into hero rolls
It may not be traditional but it still hits the spot!
Now you’re ready to enjoy delicious chopped cheese recipes at home any busy night. Mix up fun flavor combos or add some veggies. And feel the spirit of New York delicatessens right in your own kitchen!