15 Italian Beef Toppings You Must Try

Did you know that Italian beef is one of the most beloved sandwiches in Chicago?

Well, I’m here to tell you about 15 mouthwatering toppings that will take your Italian beef experience to the next level.

From classic giardiniera to tangy pepperoncini and creamy provolone cheese, these toppings will add a burst of flavor to every bite.

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with these must-try combinations.

Italian Beef

Classic Giardiniera

If you’re a fan of spicy and tangy flavors, you gotta try the classic Giardiniera on your Italian beef sandwich. Let me tell you, this topping takes your sandwich to a whole new level.

The Giardiniera is a delicious mix of pickled vegetables like peppers, carrots, celery, and cauliflower, all chopped up and marinated in vinegar and spices. It adds a burst of flavor and a nice crunch to every bite.

The heat from the peppers and the tanginess from the vinegar perfectly complement the juicy beef and the soft bread. Trust me, once you try this classic Giardiniera, you’ll never want to eat an Italian beef sandwich without it. It’s a game-changer.

Tangy Pepperoncini

One topping you’ve gotta try on your Italian beef is the tangy pepperoncini. These little peppers pack a punch of flavor that perfectly complements the rich and savory taste of the beef.

When you take a bite, you’ll experience a burst of tanginess that adds a delightful zing to each mouthful. The pepperoncini’s slightly spicy and vinegary taste cuts through the richness of the beef, creating a perfect balance of flavors.

It adds a refreshing and tangy element to the sandwich that takes it to a whole new level. Whether you prefer them sliced or whole, the pepperoncini will enhance your Italian beef experience and leave your taste buds craving for more.

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Spicy Giardiniera

The spicy giardiniera adds a fiery kick to the Italian beef sandwich, elevating the flavor profile with its mix of pickled vegetables and chili peppers. I absolutely love the combination of heat and tanginess that it brings to each bite.

The giardiniera consists of crunchy cauliflower, carrots, celery, and bell peppers, all pickled to perfection. The addition of chili peppers gives it an extra punch, making it perfect for those who enjoy a little spice in their meals.

It not only adds a burst of flavor but also a delightful crunch that complements the tender beef. When I take a bite of an Italian beef sandwich topped with spicy giardiniera, my taste buds explode with satisfaction.

It’s a must-try topping for any fan of bold and vibrant flavors.

Savory Caramelized Onions

Savory caramelized onions bring a rich sweetness that perfectly complements the spicy giardiniera on the Italian beef sandwich.

When the onions are slowly cooked over low heat, they release their natural sugars, resulting in a deep and complex flavor. As they caramelize, the onions become soft and golden brown, adding a melt-in-your-mouth texture to the sandwich.

The sweetness of the onions balances out the heat and tanginess of the giardiniera, creating a harmonious combination of flavors. Each bite is a burst of savory and sweet, with a hint of spiciness that lingers on the palate.

The onions add an extra layer of depth to the sandwich, elevating it from ordinary to extraordinary. Whether you’re a fan of spicy or not, the addition of caramelized onions is a must-try for any Italian beef lover.

Creamy Provolone Cheese

Creamy provolone cheese adds a smooth and indulgent layer of flavor to the Italian beef sandwich. As I take a bite, the rich and creamy texture of the cheese melts perfectly with the tender, juicy beef. The cheese creates a delicious contrast to the savory flavors of the beef, adding a hint of tanginess.

Each bite is like a burst of flavor, as the cheese enhances the overall taste of the sandwich. The provolone also helps to bind all the ingredients together, creating a cohesive and satisfying eating experience. Its mild and slightly nutty flavor complements the robustness of the beef, making it a perfect pairing.

With each bite, the creamy provolone cheese elevates the Italian beef sandwich to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Fresh Basil Leaves

As I take a bite, the fresh basil leaves add a burst of herbal freshness to the Italian beef sandwich. The vibrant green color and distinct aroma instantly awaken my taste buds. The basil leaves bring a touch of sweetness and a subtle peppery note that perfectly complements the savory beef.

Each bite becomes a symphony of flavors, with the tender meat, tangy giardiniera, and the refreshing basil intertwining harmoniously. The crisp texture of the leaves adds a delightful contrast to the juicy beef and soft bread. It’s like a burst of summer in every bite.

The basil truly elevates the Italian beef sandwich to a whole new level, turning a simple meal into a culinary experience.

Zesty Horseradish Sauce

Now, let’s move on to another delicious topping for Italian beef that you absolutely must try: zesty horseradish sauce. This tangy condiment adds a burst of flavor to every bite, giving the beef a delightful kick.

I love the combination of the tender, juicy beef with the sharp and pungent taste of horseradish sauce. It creates a perfect balance of flavors that will leave your taste buds craving for more. Whether you prefer a milder version or a spicier one, this sauce can be adjusted to suit your taste.

The creamy texture of the horseradish sauce complements the beef beautifully, adding an extra layer of richness to the sandwich. It pairs exceptionally well with the other toppings like fresh basil leaves, creating a mouthwatering symphony of flavors.

Crispy Fried Onions

The combination of crispy fried onions and the tangy horseradish sauce adds a delightful crunch and burst of flavor to the Italian beef sandwich. When I take a bite, I can immediately taste the savory and slightly sweet notes of the onions. The crispy texture creates a satisfying contrast to the tender beef, and it adds an extra layer of depth to each bite.

The onions also bring a subtle smokiness that complements the rich flavors of the beef and the tangy horseradish sauce. It’s like a symphony of flavors in my mouth. The onions provide a satisfying crunch that elevates the overall experience of enjoying an Italian beef sandwich.

Smoky Chipotle Peppers

I love the smoky kick that chipotle peppers bring to any dish. Whether I’m making tacos, burgers, or even pasta, adding chipotle peppers elevates the flavor to a whole new level.

The smoky heat from these peppers adds a depth that is simply irresistible. I love how they balance the sweetness of other ingredients and create a perfect harmony of flavors.

The versatility of chipotle peppers also amazes me. I can use them in salsas, marinades, or even as a topping for my Italian beef sandwiches. The smoky flavor pairs perfectly with the rich, savory beef, creating a mouthwatering combination that leaves me craving for more.

Chipotle peppers are truly a game-changer in the culinary world, and I can’t imagine cooking without them.

Tangy BBQ Sauce

To enhance the smoky flavor of your dishes, try adding tangy BBQ sauce for an irresistible combination. I absolutely love BBQ sauce on just about anything – burgers, chicken, and especially Italian beef.

The tanginess of the sauce pairs perfectly with the savory beef, creating a mouthwatering sensation with every bite. The smokiness of the meat is enhanced by the rich flavors of the BBQ sauce, creating a deliciously bold taste that is hard to resist.

Whether you’re making a classic Italian beef sandwich or using the beef in a pasta dish, the addition of tangy BBQ sauce takes it to a whole new level. Trust me, once you try this combination, you’ll never want to eat Italian beef without BBQ sauce again.

Sharp Provolone Cheese

For an added burst of flavor, melt some sharp provolone cheese on top of your Italian beef sandwich. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.

The sharpness of the provolone perfectly complements the tender beef and tangy au jus. As the cheese melts, it creates a creamy and gooey layer that adds an extra richness to every bite.

The slight saltiness of the provolone enhances the savory notes of the beef, making each mouthful even more satisfying. Plus, the melted cheese creates a wonderful contrast in texture, adding a velvety smoothness to the sandwich.

It’s the perfect finishing touch to take your Italian beef sandwich to the next level. So go ahead and give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

Roasted Red Peppers

When roasting red peppers, be sure to place them directly on the flame for a smoky charred flavor. I love the way the flames dance around the peppers, creating a beautiful blackened skin.

The heat intensifies the sweetness of the peppers, giving them a rich and robust taste. Once charred, I like to place them in a bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap, allowing the peppers to steam and loosen their skin.

After a few minutes, I peel off the blackened skin, revealing the vibrant red flesh underneath. The roasted red peppers add a burst of flavor to any dish, whether it’s a sandwich, pasta, or salad.

They bring a subtle sweetness and a hint of smokiness that elevates the overall taste.

Garlic Aioli

Mixing crushed garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt together creates a creamy and tangy garlic aioli that is perfect for adding a burst of flavor to any dish.

I absolutely love making this aioli at home because it is so simple yet incredibly delicious. The combination of the garlic and lemon juice adds a zesty kick, while the mayonnaise brings a rich and creamy texture.

It’s the perfect condiment for spreading on sandwiches, dipping fries, or even drizzling over roasted vegetables. Whenever I serve garlic aioli to my friends and family, they always rave about how flavorful and versatile it is.

Trust me, once you try this homemade garlic aioli, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought again.

Tangy Pickled Banana Peppers

The tangy pickled banana peppers add a flavorful kick to any dish without overpowering the other ingredients. I love how these peppers bring a burst of tanginess and spice to my meals. Whether I’m adding them to a sandwich or sprinkling them over a pizza, they never disappoint.

The pickling process not only enhances their flavor but also gives them a delightful crunch. With just the right amount of heat, they add a zesty punch that complements the savory flavors of Italian beef perfectly.

The tangy pickled banana peppers are a must-try topping for anyone who enjoys adding some excitement to their meals. Trust me, once you try them, you’ll be hooked on their vibrant taste.

Fresh Arugula Leaves

After enjoying the tangy kick of pickled banana peppers on my Italian beef, I like to add a fresh and peppery twist with some arugula leaves.

The vibrant green color and slightly bitter taste of arugula perfectly complement the rich flavors of the beef. I love the contrast it brings to the sandwich, adding a refreshing crunch and a hint of spiciness.

The arugula also adds a touch of elegance to the dish, making it feel more gourmet and sophisticated. Whether I’m enjoying my Italian beef sandwich at home or at a restaurant, I always make sure to include a handful of fresh arugula leaves.

Trust me, once you try this combination, you’ll never want to have Italian beef without it.


In conclusion, trying out different toppings for Italian beef is a tasty adventure that will take your sandwich to new heights.

From the classic giardiniera to the tangy pepperoncini, each topping brings its own unique flavor to the table.

So why not step outside your comfort zone and give your taste buds a treat? Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

So go ahead, indulge in the deliciousness and let your sandwich experience an explosion of flavors.

Bon appétit!

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Ben, a culinary enthusiast and owner of RelishedRecipes.com, shares his passion for food and cooking through delectable recipes and valuable tips. Ben delights in exploring international cuisines and inspiring home cooks on their culinary journeys.

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