Chopped Cheese


5 from 357 votes
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Learn how to make this chopped cheese recipe at home in less than 10 minutes. Easy to make and you can customize it as per your taste! 

Looking for more delicious sandwich recipes? Try Mexican torta, Italian beef sandwich, and hot honey chicken sandwich.

chopped cheese.

Are you a huge fan of New York City’s chopped cheese sandwich? I grew up eating this as a special weekend treat, and now, I can make it at home with it just as tasty as any Bodega or sandwich shop. So, without further ado, let’s begin! 

What is chopped cheese?

The chopped cheese sandwich was first introduced in New York City
(notably Harlem and the Bronx) and sold in local small grocery stores or tuckshops, known as bodegas. Thanks to its popularity, this simple and delicious sandwich soon became incredibly popular in other areas, too.

So, what is it? Well, it’s basically a hamburger on a hero roll, featuring beef patties, American cheese, and toppings such as lettuce and tomatoes. The “chopped” part refers to the hamburger meat being finely chopped before the cheese is added on top (see my recipe video below!).

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make a chopped cheese
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Storage instructions
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. More delicious ground beef recipes
  8. Chopped Cheese Recipe (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • Quick. You can prepare it in less than 20 minutes, including the prep and cooking time.
  • It’s easy to make. The ingredients are simple, and the chopped meat can be prepped in advance. 
  • Authentic. It tastes EXACTLY like an authentic chopped cheese sandwich. 
  • Easy to customize. I mean, it is an elevated hamburger, so do as you please.
chopped cheese sandwich.

Ingredients needed

  • Beef. Either lean or standard ground beef works (85/15 or 90/10). Do not use extra lean ground beef, as I’ve found it to be a little flavorless and also quite dry.
  • Butter. To fry the hamburger.
  • Onion. Finely chopped to mix into the beef. 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper. To taste.
  • Garlic powder. Adds some garlic flavor without needing actual garlic.
  • American cheese. Traditional chopped cheese sandwiches use American cheese, but any you have on hand work. I’ve tried it with Pepper Jack cheese and gooey mozzarella cheese.
  • Shredded lettuce, mayo, ketchup, hoagie rolls, and tomatoes. Must-have chopped cheese fix-ins.

How to make a chopped cheese

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Prepare the buns. Start by dividing the buns from the middle and toasting them. Spread some mayonnaise on both sides.

Step 2- cook the ground beef. Place a cast iron skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Add butter, saute onions, and push them to the side with a spatula. Next, add the ground beef patty to the pan, and don’t break it. Season it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat both sides for 2-4 minutes. Slowly break the patty, mix with sauteed onions, and cook until there is no pink beef in the middle. 

Step 3- Chop the meat and add cheese. Now, divide the meat into four equal portions. Cover each portion with American cheese, and cook until the cheese melts.

Step 4- Assemble. Transfer each portion to toasted buns, top with tomatoes and shredded iceberg lettuce, and serve! 

how to make a chopped cheese.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Use other bread, including a baguette, crisped-up hot dog buns, or sub rolls.
  • Switch out the beef for ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork.
  • Use hamburger patties instead of making the ground beef mixture from scratch.
  • Other cheese options include mozzarella cheese, Pepper Jack, and provolone.

Storage instructions

Chopped cheese tastes the best when made fresh, but you can make the meat filling in advance: 

To Store: Place leftover cooked beef in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

To Freeze: Place the filling in an airtight container or ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to two months. 

chop cheese sandwich.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is chopped cheese the same as a Philly cheesesteak? 

No, not even close! A Philly cheesesteak features sliced beef cooked with sliced cheese (often provolone). Chopped cheese is essentially a deconstructed hamburger.

Who originated the chopped cheese?

While controversial, Blue Sky Deli (Hajji’s Deli) is the true inventor of this iconic NYC staple.

More delicious ground beef recipes

chopped cheese sandwich recipe.

Chopped Cheese Recipe

5 from 357 votes
Learn how to make a Bodega-style chopped cheese sandwich recipe at home in less than 10 minutes. It's so easy to customize. Watch how I make this in my kitchen in the video below!
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 11 minutes



  • 4 hoagie buns hot dog buns work
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef lean or standard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 slices American cheese
  • 1 cup lettuce chopped
  • 1 large tomato thinly sliced


  • Halve the buns and lightly toast them lightly. Spread one side with mayonnaise. 
  • In a non-stick pan, add the butter. Once melted, add the onion and cook until fragrant. Push to one side. 
  • Add the ground beef and do not break apart. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Sear for 4 minutes, flip, and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Slowly break apart the beef then fold through the onions. Once there is no more pink in the center, divide the portion of beef into four equal sized portions. 
  • Add 2 slices of the American cheese over each portion and cook for 2 minutes, until gooey and melted.
  • Transfer each portion into the hoagie buns, add shredded iceberg lettuce and sliced tomatoes.


TO STORE. Place leftover cooked beef in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
TO FREEZE. Place the filling in an airtight container or ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to two months. 


Serving: 1Chopped cheeseCalories: 356kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 35gFat: 12gSodium: 912mgPotassium: 705mgFiber: 2gVitamin A: 559IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 5mgNET CARBS: 23g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally published July 2022, updated and republished April 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Hi Armen, sending many warm thoughts as your fellow Australians come to terms with the awful act of last week. Like you, I cannot fathom and I can only say mental illness is such a problem in this world. Our hearts in the US here go out to all Australians and yes, I will herdyour advice and give my loved ones. Extra hugs. We’re thinking of you

  2. 5 stars
    This was the best chopped cheese sandwich recipe! I didn’t make any changes and the results were fabulous. Going to try it in different buns.

  3. 5 stars
    I saw a show with John Leguizamo and in a segment he featured a NYC bodega making a chopped cheese sandwich. I am a 67 year old Puerto Rican who never had the sandwich (honestly, the name turned me off) lol. Well I wanted to try it now that I actually know what it’s all about. I chose your recipe and it’s perfection! Next time I head into the city I’ll try it at a bodega. But this made me & my hubby really happy 😊 Since it was a brunch meal, my husband asked if I could add scrambled egg to his. He said it was fantastic.

  4. I made this tonight and it’s the best thing I’ve eaten in months. It’s now going to be weekly. Thanks so much for such a tasty meal. X

  5. 5 stars
    Why aren’t these popular all over the USA?!! These sandwiches are fantastic! It’s a burger, but it isn’t. Much faster and easier than making a patty. One skillet does it all. I started with mayo and ketchup, then saw some Thousand Island dressing, and of course, had to try it too and it was perfect. This easily customizable to suit your tastes. I left the tomato off to suit mine and it was such a great meal. This could work for a midnight snack too because it didn’t take that long from start to finish. I used a hamburger bun because it’s what I had and while it worked, a bun that still has one side attached would have been preferred to contain the filling better. The next time, I will use a bolillo and then wrap it first in foil and let it sit a minute before consuming.

    1. 5 stars
      This is a New York City thing! It appears to have originated at a bodega in Spanish Harlem called Hajji’s. From there, it spread prolifically to other bodegas throughout the boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. This recipe looks pretty authentic, by the way…

  6. 5 stars
    Never heard of this chopped cheese. I’d say it’s more like chopped burger lol.
    Nevertheless, I’ll give it a whirl!
    Thanks Arman!

  7. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try this … veganized! (Tofu crumbles in lieu of beef, cashew cheese, zero oil or butter, smoky legume spread instead of mayo … everything else same.)

    Thanks for the inspiration.