Chopped Cheese Sandwich

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Easy Chopped cheese sandwich is a fun and delicious twist on your favorite cheeseburger and cheesesteak sandwiches. 

picture of a chopped cheese sandwich on a white plate in a bun
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picture of a chopped cheese sandwich on a white plate in a bun

Bodega Chopped Cheese Sandwich

These easy cheesy chopped cheese sandwiches are a delicious combination of cheeseburgers, Philly cheesesteak, and cheese sloppy joe. 

These sandwiches were developed in New York’s bodegas (small neighborhood grocery stores, as a cheaper alternative to the Philly cheesesteak, often called the “chop cheese.”  Bodega owners replaced thinly sliced ribeye with cheaper, pre-made hamburger patties, chopping them up on the flat-top to mimic the cheesesteak. 

New Yorkers in the know credit Hajji’s Deli in Harlem as the originator of this sandwich, calling it a Harlem favorite. The sandwich has gained popularity through pop culture mentions from rappers, and New York cultural figures. 

These are great sandwiches that are super easy to make, pack a ton of flavor, and don’t require lots of expensive ingredients. 

picture of a chopped cheese sandwich on a white plate in a bun

How to Make Easy Chopped Cheese Sandwich 

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Hamburger Patties – Bodega grill masters use whatever frozen, pre-formed burger patties they have on hand. Use a high-quality patty from your favorite grocery store. The great thing about using a pre-formed patty is that you already have the correct serving size already measured.
  • Bell Pepper – Green bell peppers are traditionally the cheapest bell peppers and are a standard in the “chop cheese” sandwich. Bell, or sweet peppers, are the only member of their genus that doesn’t create capsaicin, the chemical that creates the sensation of “hot” in spicy peppers. 
  • Onions– I like to use sweet Vidalia or white onions, as has a less strong onion flavor. 
  • Hoagie Roll – Hoagie, or hero, rolls are the traditional bread for this sandwich. Look for freshly baked rolls that have a nice crust and soft interior. 
  • Butter – I like to use sweet Vidalia or white onions, as has a less strong onion flavor. 
  • Cheese– Use Kraft Deluxe American Cheese. Don’t overthink it, literally nothing melts better than American cheese. Use it.
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder – Salt and pepper are indispensable seasonings for beef. Garlic powder adds a great, earthy flavor that is a great complement to the onion and bell pepper. 
  • Condiments – These sandwiches are traditionally finished with shredded lettuce and tomatoes. They’re great with your favorite hamburger condiments: ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. 

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method: 

  • Cut your onions and peppers.  For this application, I diced my onions into large dice and cut the green peppers into ½” diced squares. These cuts let them cook at a similar rate, with the onions getting soft and the green peppers keeping a bit of bite.
  • Cook your onions and peppers. Bring your griddle or flat-top up to temperature and spray with non-stick cooking spray. I use Acavodo oil spray for this. Melt the butter and saute your onions and pepper until the onions are translucent and the green peppers are softening. 
  • Add your burger patties to the griddle. Add your hamburger patties to the griddles and season them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Let them sear on one side for two minutes before you use the side of your spatula or griddle scraper to chop the meat into small pieces. Try to keep the meat from each patty separated from the other patties so you can keep your servings the right size.
  • Combine your burger patties and vegetables. Once your meat has been chopped, combine it with some of the onions and peppers so that they can finish cooking together. Spread the chopped meat, onion, and pepper mixture around the griddle surface to ensure the maximum surface area gets brown and crispy.
  • Cover your meat mixture with cheese and let melt. Once everything is cooked, and getting brown and delicious, arrange your meat mixture in the shape of your hoagie roll and put two slices of American cheese on top and let melt.
  • Add to your bun and dress with your favorite condiments. Once the cheese is melted, and bubbling on the edges, add it to your hoagie roll and top with condiments. Traditional accompaniments include shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, ketchup, and mustard. My husband likes mayonnaise on his buns. 
picture of a chopped cheese sandwich on a white plate in a bun

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Chopped Cheese Sandwiches:

These chopped cheese sandwiches are incredibly easy, but these are a few tips that will help make it even easier.

Use steam and a basting cover to perfectly melt the cheese. Whenever I use the griddle, I keep a squeeze bottle full of water and a basting cover handy. Spray a little water on the hot griddle around the meat to create steam and cover with a basting cover while the steam melts the cheese into gooey deliciousness. 

Spice them up if you like heat. While these sandwiches are traditionally made with basic and inexpensive ingredients, you can spice them up by adding a few chopped pickled jalapenos to the peppers and onions on the griddles. For even more heat, I like to add in an Anaheim or poblano pepper for deeper heat. 

Change up the cheese. If you want to get extra cheese into your chopped cheese, you can add Cheeze Whiz to the meat before you add the American cheese. Want a more gourmet version? You can add mild provolone instead of American cheese like they do on Philly cheesesteaks. 

FAQ:

What if I don’t have hoagie rolls?

The great thing about these sandwiches is that they’re endlessly adaptable. Can’t find good hoagie rolls? Use a brioche hamburger or split-top hotdog bun. Don’t overthink these sandwiches!


Can I use regular ground beef?

Don’t like using pre-made burger patties? You can easily substitute 3.5-5oz of fresh 80/20 ground beef for each patty. That ratio indicates the meat-to-fat ratio of that particular blend of ground beef. The first number is the percentage of beef, the second number is the percentage of fat included in the blend. 80/20 ground beef is the classic burger blend because it includes enough fat to provide rich beef flavor and keep your burger moist.

What if I don’t have a flat top?  

You can make these in a large (12”+) cast-iron skillet. You’ll need to do it in batches, cooking the onions and peppers first, and then the patties. You’ll probably need to cook the patties two at a time to ensure you have enough room in the pan to ensure proper browning.

picture of a chopped cheese sandwich on a white plate in a bun

What to Serve With Chopped Cheese

The easy chopped cheese sandwich goes great with traditional sandwich sides like potato chips, baked beans, and coleslaw – or of course, our top-rated air fryer french fries!

My Best easy coleslaw is an excellent, fresh side dish for your chop cheese. 

My bean bake also makes a hearty and filling side dish for these tasty sandwiches.

If you want something a little lighter, my baked sweet potato chips are a great option.

You can find more of our favorite side dishes:

picture of a chopped cheese sandwich on a white plate in a bun

Easy Chopped Cheese Sandwiches

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Chopped Cheese Sandwiches

Delicious meaty cheesy griddled sandwich just like the bodega style classic.
Course Burgers & Sandwiches
Cuisine American
Keyword beef, bodega sandwich, chopped cheese, main dish, sandwich
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 sandwiches
Calories 503kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 4 pre-formed Hamburger Patties
  • 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Green bell pepper
  • White Onion
  • 4 Hoagie Rolls
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4-6 slices American cheese

Instructions

  • Cut your onions and peppers.  For this application, I diced my onions into large dice and cut the green peppers into ½” diced squares. 
  • Melt the butter and saute your onions and pepper until the onions are translucent and the green peppers are softening. 
  • Add your hamburger patties to the griddles and season them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Let them sear on one side for two minutes before you use the side of your spatula or griddle scraper to chop the meat into small pieces. Try to keep the meat from each patty separated from the other patties so you can keep your servings the right size.
  • Once your meat has been chopped, combine it with some of the onions and peppers so that they can finish cooking together. Spread the chopped meat, onion, and pepper mixture around the griddle surface to ensure the maximum surface area gets brown and crispy.
  • Once everything is cooked, and getting brown and delicious, arrange your meat mixture in the shape of your hoagie roll and put two slices of American cheese on top and let melt.
  • Once the cheese is melted, and bubbling on the edges, add it to your hoagie roll and top with condiments. Traditional accompaniments include shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, ketchup, and mustard. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 1306mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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