Take your Italian beef sandwich game to the top with these 32 flavor-packed toppings.
From traditional Italian favorites like roasted peppers and melted mozzarella cheese, to creative new ideas like giardiniera relish and crispy fried onions, you’ll be sure to find something that fits everyone’s tastes.
Add some zip to your lunchtime routine with these easy-to-add yet flavorful Italian beef sandwich toppings!
Related: What Side Dishes Go with Italian Beef Sandwiches?
32 Best Italian Beef Sandwich Toppings
Italian beef sandwiches are a classic lunchtime favorite. But don’t settle for the same boring toppings every time!
Here we look at 32 great Italian beef sandwich toppings that will take your meal to the next level:
- Fried Onions – For a flavorful charred taste, fried onions are the perfect topping for Italian beef sandwiches. Use fresh white onions, cut them into thin slices, and flash-fried in hot oil until lightly golden and crisp on the outside. The sweet, caramelized onion flavor pairs perfectly with the tender beef!
- Crispy Pickles – A zesty and crunchy accompaniment to Italian beef sandwiches, pickles offer an acidic pop of flavor that enhances all the rich flavors of your sandwich. Try crispy battered dill or bread-and-butter pickle chips to take your sandwich experience up a notch!
- Potato Chips – Give your sandwich some extra heft by adding crushed potato chips as a topping! These salty companions won’t compete with the beef but will provide texture contrast and extra crunch.
- Crispy Bacon – A true classic pairing: bacon goes hand in hand with any type of Italian beef sandwich especially when it’s fried or baked until it’s nice and crispy! It adds a smoky sweetness that brings out all layers of flavor even more from this savory delight.
- Giardiniera Relish: For a zesty topping that delivers a punch of flavor, top your Italian beef sandwich with some giardiniera relish. This classic Italian condiment contains finely chopped pickled vegetables such as carrots, celery, and peppers in an acidic brine. The crunchy texture and bright flavors will add a spark to your sandwich.
- Pickled Red Onions: Adding pickled onions to an Italian beef sandwich brings out the nuanced sweetness of the meat and plays nicely off of other bold ingredients like giardiniera relish and pepperoncini peppers. It also lends visual appeal to the meal!
- Pepperoncini Peppers: Briny, tangy pepperoncini peppers are another great topping for Italian beef sandwiches — they bring acidity to balance out the richness from all of the other components in this dish as well as provide additional spice. Sweet/hot varieties work especially well here too!
- Horseradish Sauce: To really dial up the piquancy of your Italian beef sammie, you can spread some horseradish sauce onto the bun before adding anything else — just make sure it’s freshly made or high-quality store-bought (avoid generic brands) because grainy or overly vinegary sauces won’t do this dish justice!
- Provolone Cheese – For a classic, robust flavor to your Italian beef sandwich, try topping it with provolone cheese. This semi-firm and stretchy cheese has a mild smoky tone and can bring out the best in the sandwich’s flavors.
- Mozzarella Cheese – To take your Italian beef sandwich up a notch, add some mozzarella! With its distinct milky taste and soft texture, mozzarella will melt deliciously on top of your Italian beef for an irresistible combination that’ll have you coming back for more.
- Parmesan Cheese – Give your Italian beef sandwich some sharpness with parmesan! Sprinkle over finely grated pieces of parmesan cheese to provide tartness plus added layers of complexity to the taste of this delicious snack food.
- Gorgonzola Cheese – For an extra “wow” factor when having an Italian beef sandwich, top it off with gorgonzola cheese! Its salty creaminess will work perfectly with other toppings such as pickled vegetables or sliced peppers for a delightful flavor experience that’ll keep you full all day long!
- Tomato Sauce: A classic topping for an Italian beef sandwich, tomato sauce adds a much-needed acidic element and can help balance out the strong taste of the beef itself. Plus, it’s super easy to make your own at home if you don’t have any store-bought.
- BBQ Sauce: Adding a sweet and smoky kick to your Italian beef sandwich, BBQ sauce is perfect when combined with a tangy tomato base or a dollop of garlic aioli. Choose from mild or spicy sauces depending on your preferences!
- Pesto Sauce: Swapping tomato for pesto will bring in a delightful blend of earthy pine nuts and fragrant basil that pairs perfectly with juicy slices of roast beef and melted cheese. Add some sautéed onions if you’re feeling adventurous!
- Garlic Aioli: Give your sandwich texture as well as flavor by adding garlic-infused mayonnaise – also known as ‘aioli’ – over the layers of shredded roast beef, cheese, and veggies before popping into the oven until golden brown perfection is achieved!
- Jalapenos: Adding some pickled jalapeno slices to your Italian beef sandwich will give it the perfect level of heat and spice. Their texture is a great contrast to the melt-in-your-mouth shreds of slow-roasted beef, plus their vibrant green color will add an extra pop of flavor on top!
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: A sprinkle of these spicy flakes is sure to turn up the heat on your sandwich! They are milder than jalapenos, so they won’t overpower the other flavors too much, but they’ll still provide a nice kick that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.
- Hot Sauce: Choose your favorite hot sauce for this topping – anything from classic Tabasco or Sriracha to something teriyaki or Cajun flavored would be great with Italian beef sandwiches. These sauces will help further amplify the taste of the sandwich filling as well as tie all other toppings together seamlessly in one delicious bite!
- Sliced Serrano Peppers: For those who like their sandwiches even spicier, Serrano peppers add another layer of intense heat with their bright green hue and crunchy texture – perfect for slicing down and then adding straight onto those freshly baked baguette rolls!
- Basil Leaves: This classic Italian herb adds a sweet, aromatic flavor to the sandwich and pairs perfectly with savory beef. Basil leaves can be torn or chopped finely before being sprinkled on top of the sandwich.
- Arugula: Arugula is popular in Italian cuisine due to its strong, peppery taste. It provides a perfect balance of bold flavor and freshness that complements the intense flavor of beef sandwiches exceptionally well.
- Cilantro: This fresh herb brings tangy, earthy notes to the sandwich while simultaneously giving it an added hint of complexity thanks to its zestiness and citrus-like aroma. Simply cut some cilantro into thin strips for garnish on your Italian beef sandwich!
- Oregano: The pungent herbal notes of this Mediterranean plant elevate any Italian dish–whether it’s pizza, spaghetti sauce, or an Italian beef sandwich! Sprinkle oregano before serving for a flavorful addition with bright warmth from dried peppers like chili flakes or paprika within it as well!
- Caramelized Onions – These give a sweetness to the sandwich, pairing perfectly with the savory flavor of the beef. They are easy to make, just cook sliced onions in olive oil over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until softened and golden brown.
- Roasted Red Peppers – Tangy and bright from roasting, these slightly sweet peppers balance out the rich flavors of Italian beef. Easily roasted in an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes before being cooled and peeled off their outer shell.
- Honey Mustard – Not too mustardy or sweet but be sure to choose one that is made with real honey instead of high fructose corn syrup which will change up all those delicious flavors on your sandwich!
- Pineapple Slices – Sweetness balanced by acidity can take any ordinary sandwich up a notch—adding texture and tropical aromas as well! Plus it pairs so nicely not only with red pepper but also with bold spices like coriander found in Italian beef seasoning blends. Simply slice and grill or sauté until lightly charred.
- Sliced Tomatoes: Adding fresh, juicy slices of tomato elevates the classic Italian beef sandwich to a whole new level with its bright, acidic flavor.
- Red Onion Slices: Thinly-sliced red onion provides an intense, sharp kick that can cut through any flavorful beef fillings and create unique taste combinations on your Italian beef sandwich.
- Romaine Lettuce: This crunchy leaf makes for a pleasant contrast to the soft bread, allowing each bite to hit home with light yet savory notes of lettuce goodness in every bite!
- Cucumber Slices: Another cool complement to an Italian beef sandwich is crisp cucumber slices! They add a nice crunch while adding moisture to keep things from getting dry or tough as you eat it all up!
In conclusion, Italian beef sandwiches are a delicious and versatile meal that can be topped with a variety of flavorful ingredients.
From crunchy fried onions to creamy gorgonzola cheese, there are plenty of toppings to choose from.
The best toppings for Italian beef sandwiches include crunchy toppings such as:
- Fried onions
- Crispy pickles
- Potato chips
- Crispy bacon
- Giardiniera relish
- Pickled red onions
- Pepperoncini peppers
- Horseradish sauce
- Provolone cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
32 Best Italian Beef Sandwich Toppings
- Fried Onions
- Crispy Pickles
- Potato Chips
- Crispy Bacon
- Giardiniera Relish
- Pickled Red Onions
- Pepperoncini Peppers
- Horseradish Sauce
- Provolone Cheese
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Gorgonzola Cheese
- Tomato Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Pesto Sauce
- Garlic Aioli
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Hot Sauce
- Sliced Serrano Peppers
- Basil Leaves
- Caramelized Onions
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Honey Mustard
- Pineapple Slices
- Sliced Tomatoes
- Red Onion Slices
- Romaine Lettuce
- Cucumber Slices
- Select your favorite sandwich toppings from this article.
- Prepare the selected toppings according to your preference.
- Prep your sandwich in 30 minutes or less.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.