A Detailed Guide to The Chopped Cheese Sandwich

The chopped cheese sandwich isn’t the only sandwich that goes by that name, but it’s certainly the most famous. Originating in New York, this sandwich has been popular in other areas as well, including Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn.

The ingredients may vary slightly depending on where you order one, but they are generally the same no matter where you go. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the chopped cheese sandwich, including who invented it, what ingredients to expect, and the cost of this delicacy.

What Is Chopped Cheese?

So what is chopped cheese? It’s a simple, tasty sandwich. It’s a sandwich with no name. It’s a sandwich that evolved in the tenements of New York City in the first half of the 20th century. It’s also a sandwich that’s still evolving today. The chopped cheese is made up of bread, American cheese, and chopped meat — usually beef or chicken, sometimes pork — plus some vegetables and other things if available, but you can eat it without them.

The chopped cheese’s exact origin is unknown because there are many stories about it: some more credible than others. Some claim that Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe brought over the technique of roasting beef to preserve it during their journey to Ellis Island.

A true New York City street food, found in nearly every neighborhood and at any hour, is a chopped cheese sandwich. What makes it different from other sandwiches is that it doesn’t use bread: it uses a hamburger bun.  That’s right—what you may think of as bread when you think of grilled cheese or burgers as opposed to sliced bread) is being used as a bun for an entirely different type of sandwich.

While there are many, many different variations on what can go into a chopped cheese there are even frozen chopped cheeses sold in bodegas.

Why Is It Called Chopped Cheese?

Have you ever wondered why one of the greatest sandwiches to ever grace this Earth is called Chopped Cheese? It’s known as a chopped cheese sandwich. It’s just that. But why is it called chopped cheese? So, where did the chopped cheese sandwich get its name? These are the questions every chopped cheese sandwich lover wants to know.

chopped cheese got its name from being chopped, not minced or ground, into bite-size pieces and eaten without utensils as if it were a melted slice of cheese on bread. This tradition goes back years in New York City street food culture. According to some accounts, chopped cheese was first created by vendors who sold their goods out of trunks with no place for guests to sit. As a way around that problem, they’d pile everything—including sliced deli meat—into two slices of bread held together.

 It’s unclear whether there is any particular reason why chopped cheese came about in its present form. Some believe it was a way to make cheap ingredients taste better, while others simply see it as efficient use of chopped meat leftover from larger dishes, such as steak or chicken. It’s also possible that sliced deli meat started being used only in sandwiches around that time and the sandwich somehow evolved from there.

What Is Chopped Cheese and A Lucy?

Also known as a chopped cheese or Lucy, it is chopped steak, lettuce, and onions between two slices of cheese on a hamburger bun. It’s an iconic Philly-bred sandwich that can be found in many delis and corner shops throughout New York.  Some would even say that cheesesteak purist are against chopped cheeses – those who believe there is only one true way to make a cheesesteak sandwich.

So what is a chopped cheese and what is a Lucy? A slice of chopped cheese is simply a sandwich made of two preferably three slices of cheese, usually on white bread, with one slice of tomato and some mustard or mayo. A “Lucy” adds lettuce, onions, and/or pickles. Sometimes the bread is replaced by a bagel or toast.

Others claim there are no rules when it comes to creating new cheesesteak recipes, for example, you will find plenty of versions using chicken.  Regardless of what variety your like, a chopped cheese sandwich is one that never disappoints and is always easy to eat.

When purchasing your next sandwich be sure to ask them how they’d prefer their chopped cheese made – plain with just steak and onions, or wet where they add marinara sauce on top? No matter how you slice it, a chopped cheese sandwich is truly one thing: delicious!

Ingredients for A Chopped Cheese?

People have been getting creative with chopped cheese since New York rappers were rapping about it, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to make one.  You might be wondering about the ingredients of a chopped cheese sandwich or what goes into a chopped cheese, so here are your options: Some of the most common ingredients for a chopped cheese include;

Chopped Cheese Ingredients:

  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato & Onion
  • Pickles, olives, and mustard
  • Ketchup, mayonnaise & mustard

There are only certain types of sandwiches; the numbers of those types may vary slightly, but not by much. You have your simple sandwich types (ham and cheese), and then you have your fancier ones with spreads or baguettes or both. Are you looking for a classic and traditional NYC chopped cheese sandwich recipe? The following is a simple recipe for a single chopped cheese sandwich.

  • 1 lb. chopped steak (or ground beef)
  • 8 slices American or cheddar cheese (your choice)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 4 hamburger buns

However, when it comes to chopping up those ingredients you can do whatever you want as long as they fit in between two slices of bread and will fit in your mouth comfortably without falling out or spilling on yourself. Some people prefer thinner slices while others prefer thicker pieces – just try a bunch of different combos out until you find something that sounds good.

Who Invented the Chopped Cheese Sandwich?

This tasty Philly delicacy has been around for years. However, no one knows who invented it. If you’re from New York, you know how addictive and delicious chopped cheese sandwiches are—Several theories explain where chopped cheese sandwiches came from. One is that they were first created by accident when someone dropped a grilled cheese sandwich into a super-hot open flame grill with melted cheese between two slices of bread.

Chefs still scramble to recreate that accidental masterpiece by taking fresh buns and melting mozzarella cheese inside with tomatoes and other toppings then flattening them out onto grills until both sides are golden brown and crispy.

Another theory is that chopped cheese sandwiches are a variation of Philly Steak-umms or Steak-Umms. After rolling out a piece of beefsteak, then putting slices of beefsteak on top and covering it with mozzarella cheese they would grill both sides until they were golden brown. Then they would slice them up into small squares and call them Steak-Umms. It could have evolved into what is now known as a chopped cheese sandwich.

Another theory of the invention of a chopped sandwich is that a truck driver sliced up some cheese and threw it in his pocket as he drove. When he got hungry later on, he put a hot dog in his pocket with some mozzarella cheese. He said, later on, this is great; I’m going to go make more. He may have sold them for five cents each at lunchtime for two or three days until word spread and others started selling them too.

All these theories are just that, theories. Who knows who invented it. It is believed by many though that Cheesesteak sandwiches and Steak-Umms inspired chopped cheese sandwiches. However, chopped cheese sandwiches have their distinct taste and many people like them better than other cheesesteaks. So if you are ever in New York, stop into any corner store and grab yourself a delicious chopped cheese sandwich on your way home from work or school for lunch or dinner.

Is Chopped Cheese a New York Thing?

While chopped cheese is most associated with New York, it’s also popular in Philadelphia and Miami.  It’s a frequent topic of debate as to whether or not chopped cheese originated in any of these cities or if it simply spread from one city to another by way of immigration patterns.  Regardless of its origin, chopping cheese has become an iconic part of NYC food culture.

Chopped Cheese is gaining popularity in other parts of North America: It’s common for large cities across Canada and in parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, and Illinois to have chopped cheese shops. Some popular variations on chopped cheese include lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, pickles, and hot sauce. Others include different types of cheese or even ham.

Although its roots are still embedded in New York City culture it appears that chopped cheese is making its way across the country. It’s an inexpensive, tasty, and convenient option for a fast bite, especially when on the go or late at night.

The ease of buying chopped cheese from a deli, convenience store, or gas station makes it a welcome addition to any city’s food landscape. Chopped cheese is super easy to make at home too; all you need is bread, cheese, and some type of topping like lettuce and tomato! It’s perfect for anyone looking for an inexpensive snack that can be enjoyed on its own or alongside another dish.

How Much Does Chop Cheese Cost?

The chopped cheese is a sandwich, usually on a hard roll, with melted American cheese and various toppings including pickles, jalapenos, and onions. Due to these varied ingredients, one chopped cheese will cost differently depending on what’s in it. Generally speaking, though, you can expect anywhere from $5-7 for a chopped cheese at your local bodega or corner store.

 Traditionally, chopped cheese consists of American cheese, jalapenos, and onions. Other toppings may be added depending on your favorite bodega’s take on it—and that’s where you’ll find variety in price. In some bodegas, a plain chopped cheese will run around $5-6, while in others more toppings jack up cost for a few extra bucks.

Overall, you can expect chopped cheese to cost anywhere from $5-7. That’s right in line with most other sandwiches of its ilk—like a chicken cutlet or roast beef and cheddar. But if you want it on a white roll instead of hard, that might tack on another dollar or two.

Who Made the First Chopped Cheese?

It is still unclear as to who made the first chopped cheese, but it was someone in West Philadelphia. There are several claims to being pioneers of such an iconic sandwich. Even with these varying accounts on its origin, what we do know for sure is that people have been enjoying chopped cheeses for decades upon decades and their popularity has not slowed down one bit!

 What we do know for sure is that people have been enjoying chopped cheeses for decades upon decades and their popularity has not slowed down one bit. When you visit any Philly Cheesesteak shop you will probably see someone eating one. Of course, once you pop into Wawa or your neighborhood gas station or convenience store and walk up to their deli counter, you will see it.

Nowadays, you can even get chopped cheese as an entire meal at many places throughout New York and in most of its surrounding suburbs.  From how it’s made to what is actually in it there is much more to know about it than anyone ever expected when they first came up with combining cold cuts with bread and cheese together, but luckily for all of us today we live in a time where we have access to everything we need to be able to find out absolutely anything we want if for some reason or another we just don’t know about it yet or have no one around that does.


Now that you know why The Chopped Cheese Sandwich is such a thing, how it came to be, and the differences between it and a regular cheeseburger, give it a shot. The chopped cheese sandwich is one of a kind. There are many unique aspects to this wonderful creation. For many, chopped cheese is not just a sandwich—it’s a way of life. It’s something to experience. It fills you up in a way that nothing else can, and it’s unlike any other sandwich you’ll encounter in your life.

There you have it, a detailed overview of the chopped cheese sandwich. This has been a well-rounded look at the sandwich. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your chopped cheese.

Categories: Food

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I’ve been writing articles for more than 10 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I’m currently writing for many websites and newspaper. All my ideas come from my very active lifestyle. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. In all my years as computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. I believe that any information should be free, we want to know more every day because we learn everyday. You can contact me on our forum or by email at: [email protected].