An appetizer that’s crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside is always a winner in our book. That perfect texture contrast makes us want to go back for seconds (and thirds, if we’re honest!). A treat that we can’t resist: cheesesteak egg rolls. They combine two favorites in one — tender, juicy cheesesteak filling with the crispiness of egg rolls — creating a fun finger-food version of the iconic Philly sandwich. Even better? They’re surprisingly simple to make at home, and we’ve tapped a chef for tricks that make it even easier. Here are the ins and outs of cheesesteak egg rolls, plus a recipe that’s sure to satisfy your cravings.
What are cheesesteak egg rolls?
Cheesesteak egg rolls contain a mixture of sautéed beef, onions, bell peppers and cheese before they’re rolled in an egg roll wrapper and cooked. These ingredients infuse the egg rolls with a savory, pungent and cheesy flavor that mirrors a traditional cheesesteak.
The origins of cheesesteak egg rolls
While you can easily pinpoint the history of the Philly cheesesteak, these egg rolls are a different story. Several chefs and restaurateurs claim to be the inventors of this delicious snack. Yet, many believe that it’s actually Steve DiFillippo, owner of the Italian steakhouse Davio’s, as he trademarked the name “Philly Cheese Steak Spring Roll.”
According to DiFillippo, this dish was created by one of his chefs, who experimented with combining the flavors of a cheesesteak and a spring roll in 2003. This unexpected pairing birthed the cheesesteak egg roll and became a menu staple at Davio’s locations in Philly and across Massachusetts. “I get more emails about the Philly roll than I do about the restaurant,” DiFillippo says of the dish’s ever-growing popularity.
It’s clear that cheesesteak egg rolls are a beloved treat; however, you don’t have to travel far to taste them for yourself. With a few tips, you can make these egg rolls at home without hassle.
How to make the crispiest egg rolls
A crunchy cheesesteak egg roll doesn’t require deep-frying in oil for a long time. In fact, Natalie Keng, sauce maven and author of Egg Rolls & Sweet Tea: Asian Inspired, Southern Style (Buy from Amazon, $22.82), says it’s all in the preparation before and after cooking them. Below, she shares three tips for filling and wrapping egg rolls so they achieve a crispy — not soggy — exterior.
- Drain the filling. A filling that’s too moist will leak and prevent the wrapper from crisping up. So use a metal strainer to drain excess liquid from the cheesesteak filling before allowing it to cool.
- Properly roll the egg rolls. For perfectly golden brown egg rolls, roll tightly and symmetrically to create more even coloring. Otherwise, the rolls will unravel and the filling will spill out of the wrapper. (Click through for a wrapping tutorial in our egg roll wrappers story.)
- Let the cooked egg rolls rest. Egg rolls get crispier the longer they sit after cooking. The best bet: Place cooked rolls on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet and rest for at least 5 minutes prior to serving.
Note: You can buy egg roll wrappers at most grocery stores — they’re usually in the refrigerated section near the dairy.
A yummy cheesesteak egg rolls recipe
Keng describes her simple recipe for cheesesteak egg rolls as a “‘tender slender’ version of this trendy, fusion appetizer.” The reason? Rather than frying the egg rolls, she bakes them to create a crunchy exterior that’s far from greasy. Pair these egg rolls with any dipping sauce and you’ll find yourself devouring more than just one!
Cheesesteak Egg Rolls
- 1 lb. eye of round steak, thinly sliced into 1- to 2-inch long strips
- 1 Tbs. light or dark beer
- 1 Tbs. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- ½ tsp. minced ginger
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. cornstarch
- ½ tsp. Montreal steak seasoning (optional), like McCormick’s (Buy from Walmart, $2.33)
- ½ Tbs. unsalted butter
- ½ Vidalia onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
- 12 (7-inch) egg roll wrappers
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil (for baking)
- Active: approximately 1 hr.
- Total time: 1 hr. + marinate time
- Yield: 12 egg rolls
- Mix beef marinade ingredients in bowl. Pour into plastic bag containing beef strips, seal and gently massage marinade into meat. Once massaged, leave to marinate at room temperature at least 10 minutes, or overnight in fridge.
- Preheat medium-sized nonstick pan on medium heat. Place butter in skillet and once melted add onions. Sauté about 1 minute until softened.
- Add marinated beef to pan and sauté until strips are cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook about 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat. Pour filling into metal strainer placed over medium bowl to remove excess liquid. Let filling cool 15 minutes.
- To assemble each egg roll, lay wrapper on diagonal and spoon 3 Tbs. cooled filling on corner closest to you. Roll corner up and over filling snugly, then fold in left and right sides toward the center to close the ends of the roll. Continue rolling wrapper away from you. Using 1 finger, dab beaten egg to securely seal all edges. Set completed roll aside, seam-side down and repeat process until all egg rolls are assembled.
- Evenly place spring rolls, seam-side down, on parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently brush each roll on all sides with oil. Bake 15 to 17 minutes, stopping to turn rolls every 5 minutes for even golden color. Cool on wire rack over baking sheet 5 minutes before serving.
Bonus: Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice such as Keng’s Sweet Chili Peach Sauce (Buy from GlobalHearth.com, $15) or this spicy and creamy bang bang sauce!
Keep reading for more irresistible snack recipes:
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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