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A close up, straight-on shot of a papermoon cheesesteak sandwich sliced in half showing ooey gooey cheese melting in the middle.

papermoon cheesesteak sandwiches

The Practical Kitchen
Inspired by the Papermoon Diner in Baltimore, MD, these cheesesteak sandwiches are served on chewy, floury ciabatta rolls with thick-sliced sandwich steak, caramelized onions, and buttery, melty, slightly sweet Havarti cheese. This might not be a traditional cheesesteak, but it are one of the best interpretations of one you'll ever have the pleasure of eating.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 sandwiches


  • 2 TBSP butter
  • ½ white or yellow onion (thinly sliced from root to tip)
  • 1 poblano pepper (thinly sliced, seeds and ribs removed)
  • ½ pound sandwich steak (or stir fry steak or flap steak)
  • havarti cheese (sliced thin or shredded)
  • 2 ciabatta sandwich loaves (sliced in half)
  • whole grain mustard
  • 1 TBSP mayonnaise (or butter, for toasting)


  • Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350°F.
  • Heat 2 TBSP butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add thinly sliced onions and stir until soft and translucent (2-3 minutes). Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
    Reduce heat to medium low and continue stirring occasionally, about 20-30 minutes.
    NOTE: If the bottom of the pan begins to brown as the liquid cooks away, add a splash of water or chicken stock as you stir and scrape the browned bits off. Those brown bits are full of flavor that the onions will reabsorb.
  • While onions cook, season the steak with salt and pepper.
  • Heat 1 TBSP oil in large skillet (cast iron if you have it) over medium-high heat. When oil is shiny and coats the pan, cook steak to desired doneness. It's thin, so it will cook fast — approximately 4-6 minutes total.
    Remove from skillet and let rest 3-5 minutes on a cutting board.
  • Add thinly sliced peppers to onions in skillet. Stir occasionally to soften, approximately 10 minutes.
  • On a sheet tray lined with aluminum foil, arrange the two split ciabatta rolls so the insides are facing up. Spread the insides with butter or mayo (and whole grain mustard, if you're using it).
    On the bottom halves of the ciabatta rolls layer approximately ⅓ of the Havarti cheese. On the top halves, layer the remaining ⅔ cheese.
    Toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and melty.
  • Remove the ciabatta halves from the oven. Layer the bottom half of each sandwich with the sliced steak and as much of the onion/pepper mixture as you want. Then immediately close the sandwiches, pressing down so the melty cheese seals the bread together.
    Serve warm.


  • If you're feeling exceptionally lazy or don't feel like taking the extra step, you can cook the peppers and onions all at once in step 1.
  • Add a bit of extra flavor to your onions and peppers by finely grating a clove of garlic and tossing it in with them halfway through the cook time.
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