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New England Steak Bombs Recipe

Philly cheesesteaks are good, but when you’re from New England, you like your steak sandwiches a little different. Here’s how to make Steak Bombs.

A long submarine roll holds sauteed steak, peppers, onions and cheese on a turquoise plate.

Earlier this summer, I was thrilled to find shaved steak at the grocery store and bought the last package. But somewhere between the checkout and my house, it went missing. I phoned the store for help, but they didn’t know where it went either. They offered to replace it, but for weeks they didn’t have shaved steak.

Fortunately, I am resourceful and have since found it elsewhere.

Also, fortunately, the missing package didn’t turn up rotting in some dark corner of my car. That’s always a concern when a grocery goes missing. Has it happened to you too?

A brown paper wrapped bundle is shown with a red pepper, yellow pepper and onions.

In any case, I wanted this cut of meat for a specific reason: to make steak bomb-inspired dishes that my family has come to adore. Steak bombs are one of those regional foods that become beloved to certain populations. But don’t mistake it for other, similar, regional foods.

A New England steak bomb bears some similarities to a Philly cheesesteak. Both are made with shaved steak. Both have onions and cheese. Both are served on a roll. But that’s where the similarities end.

Red peppers, yellow peppers and onions are shown sauteing in a large skillet.

Steak bombs start with onions and sweet peppers — I usually use a red and a yellow one — sauteed until they begin to caramelize.

Peppers, onions and shaved steak are shown sauteing in a large skillet. Steam is rising from the skillet.

Then the vegetables are pushed to the side of the pan so the shaved steak can be added. It’s seasoned simply with salt and pepper and allowed to brown. You break it apart and flip it occasionally while it cooks.

Once the meat is browned and broken apart, mix it with the vegetables. Then remove all that from the pan (you’ll want to keep the pan hot).

A round slice of ivory-colored cheese sits on steak, peppers and onions in a skillet.

From there, I add enough meat and veggies for a single sandwich back to the pan and smother it with cheese. I try to do this in a line — like the shape of the roll — so it’s easy to transfer later. Then I cover the pan and let that cheese melt. Finally, I use a spatula to transfer the meat, veggies and cheese to the roll.

A long submarine roll holds sauteed steak, peppers, onions and cheese on a turquoise plate.

It’s totally okay if the cheese gets folded into the center of the sandwich. In fact, that’s part of the charm.

Then it’s ready to eat.

Now, if you are into mushrooms, then you might want them to get into the mix too. Add them at the same time as the onions and peppers and cook ’em good. But mushrooms are totally optional.

Some steak bombs in New England also include other meat — salami, pepperoni, bacon or even sausage. Those who grew up with salami on their steak bombs are super passionate about it and insist that all must have it. But like mushrooms, it’s a preference. If you are interested in adding additional meat such as salami or pepperoni, layer it on the roll before the steak, veggies and cheese. If you want to add sausage or bacon to the mix, add it in (cooked) with the steak and veggies.

A long submarine roll holds sauteed steak, peppers, onions and cheese on a turquoise plate.

New England Steak Bombs are a total family favorite. We eat them with roasted veggies or sometimes fries. Always a delight.

Yield: 4 sandwiches

New England Steak Bombs

New England Steak Bombs

Philly cheesesteaks are good, but when you're from New England, you like your steak sandwiches a little different. Here's how to make Steak Bombs.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion (or equivalent of smaller onions), thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb shaved steak
  • 4 slices provolone cheese (or 1 cup shredded mozzarella)
  • 4 sub rolls, cut to open


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat on the stove. Add the olive oil and swirl around the pan to coat. 
  2. Add the peppers and onions to the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes, until they begin to brown. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan.
  3. Add the shaved steak to the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper. Brown the meat, breaking it apart and flipping as needed until it’s no longer red. This will take about 5-6 minutes. 
  4. Mix the cooked meat with the veggies thoroughly. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as desired. Remove from the pan.
  5. With the pan still set on the burner set to medium heat, add enough meat and vegetables back to fill a single sandwich (add a bit more than you think you need). Top with cheese. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is melted. 
  6. Use a spatula to transfer the meat, veggies and cheese to a roll. 
  7. Repeat until all the meat and veggie mixture has been used. 


Friday 15th of October 2021

We buy steak bomb sandwiches from our local pizza joint (not a chain) and never is there salami on it. It's the recipe as posted here, or sometimes with the addition of mushrooms. I don't think you can say one is right and one is wrong. It's just a different version of a sandwich with the same name.

MB Brown

Saturday 24th of July 2021

@Sarah Walker Caron, Shellee is correct. What you are making is a steak and cheese with peppers and onion. A bomb has steak((shaved ribeye), cheese (provolone), peppers (while I prefer the red peppers myself, a classic always has at least a little of the green peppers too, it’s a very important flavor component), onions, mushrooms and thinly sliced salami under it all on the roll. Give it a try it is The Bomb! lol

Sarah Walker Caron

Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

Thanks, MB.


Saturday 3rd of April 2021

Thank you for this recipe! I’ve been looking for a recipe to re-create the famous Revere Beach (Boston) pepper steak sandwich. This looks like it might do the job. Nothing said summer like walking along Revere Beach Boulevard with the aroma of pepper steak wafting in the breeze!

Sarah Walker Caron

Tuesday 6th of April 2021

Hope you loved them!!


Monday 11th of January 2021

You forgot the salami! Steak bombs have salami in them! ;)


Wednesday 19th of January 2022

@Sarah Walker Caron, I had a steak bomb with salami in Marblehead years ago and would really love to find that restaurant again--it was amazing!

Johnny Utah

Friday 10th of September 2021

@Sarah Walker Caron,

In RI we definitely put salami on steak bombs. Without it, we’d just call it a steak & cheese.

Sarah Walker Caron

Tuesday 12th of January 2021

Hi Shellee, New England Steak Bombs generally don't have salami, but you're right that in some limited places they do. I am always so curious about where those pockets of variation are. Where have you had them with salami? And thanks for reading!


Sunday 25th of October 2020

RI/Mass girl here and this recipe is spot on! Awesome! Thank you!

Sarah Walker Caron

Sunday 25th of October 2020

Yessss! Thank you so much!!

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