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Horseshoe Sandwich Recipes and History

Updated on July 8, 2018

The Horseshoe Sandwich

Growing up in the Midwest, I have always been a big fan of the horseshoe sandwich. The horseshoe was invented in Springfield, Illinois, in the late 1920s, and has been a local favorite ever since. There are many different variations of the horseshoe, and while almost all are quite delicious, none can be considered "light" or "heart healthy". That being said, bring on the grub!

Creative Commons photo courtesy Wikimedia/Miss O'Crazy


The original Horseshoe Sandwich was created in the late 1920s by chef Joe Schweska at the Leland Hotel in Springfield. Built in 1867, the historic Leland was the leading hotel in Springfield, and housed hundreds of prominent Americans.

The first horseshoe was made from ham cut from the bone in the shape of a horseshoe, and placed on top of two thick slices of toast. The potato (the nails) were cut into eight wedges. A Welsh rarebit cheese sauce made of white sharp cheddar was poured over the meat and bread, and the potato wedges were placed on top instead of sauce being poured over the entire platter.

The "modern" horseshoe comes in a wide variety of variations. They all begin with the toast on the bottom. Then, most commonly, the meat used is either is two hamburger patties or fried ham steak. Other meats often utilized are; sliced turkey, and/or roast beef, grilled or fried chicken breast, and fried fish filets. The meat is then covered in french fries and cheese sauce covers the entire dish. Today, every restaurant and chef serving this sandwich, seems to have his or her own "secret" cheese sauce recipe.

Clip Art courtesy Openclipart/johnny_automatic

Horseshoe with white sauce
Horseshoe with white sauce

The actual idea for the Horseshoe Sandwich came from Elizabeth Schweska, Chef Joe Schweska's wife.

Public domain photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Easy Horseshoe Sandwich Recipe

How to construct a Horseshoe Sandwich.


1-2 lbs. Frozen French fries

Cheese Beer Sauce (see recipe right)

8 slices toasted white bread

2 lbs. sliced baked ham or other deli meat or 8 cooked hamburger patties

Dash of ground paprika

Prepare frozen French fries according to package directions.

Prepare Cheese Beer Sauce.

To Assemble Sandwich:

Place 2 slices of toasted bread side by side on individual serving platters.

Top with deli meat slices or cooked beef patties.

Cover with Cheese Beer Sauce and mound a large amount of French fries on top and along the sides.

To garnish, sprinkle with paprika. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings, each serving contains approx. 1300 calories and 72 grams of fat.

Cheese Beer Sauce:

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup beer

2 tablespoon butter

3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper

In a small bowl, combine egg yolks and beer until mixed; set aside.

In the top of a double boiler over hot water, melt butter and Cheddar cheese. Add Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper; stir until well mixed.

Add egg mixture, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture thickens and begins to bubble around the edges.

Remove from heat and keep warm until sandwiches are assembled.

Recipe adapted from

Horseshoe Poll

What type of meat do you want on your horseshoe?

See results

Sandwich Recipe Books


Chef Joe Schweska's Original Sauce Recipe

horseshoe sandwich cheese sauce
horseshoe sandwich cheese sauce

Ingredients and Instructions

1/2 pound butter

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 to 1/2 pound all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 quart plus 1 cup milk

3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce

2 1/2 to 3 pounds chopped Old English Cheddar cheese

1 pint beer

Melt butter, add flour and milk. Add rest of ingredients except beer. Stir constantly, while cooking, to a smooth cream sauce. Stir in beer to sauce just before serving.

Makes 2 1/2 to 3 quarts.

Creative Commons photo courtesy Flickr/thepinkpeppercorn

Recipe adapted from Whatscookingamerica

Man vs. Food Visits Springfield, IL - Season #2; Episode #10

Photo courtesy

Adam Richman traveled to Springfield, Illinois, the state capital, to try the horseshoe sandwich at D'Arcy's Pint, a deep-fried battered hot dog on a stick at the Cozy Dog Drive In, and the Firebrand Chili Challenge at Joe Rogers' Original Recipe Chili Parlor. The Cozy Dog Drive In claims to be the first place to serve the corn dog, which there they call the "Cozy Dog". Adam also went to D'Arcy's Pint to experience the classic "Horseshoe" sandwich, which is meat (any kind may be used), cheese sauce, and crinkle-cut fries served open-faced on Texas toast. The Spicy Supreme horseshoe sandwich Richman ate contains two pounds of "ground beef, bacon bits, tomatoes, scallions and a spicy cheese sauce." In this week's challenge, Richman attempted to eat six bowls of extra-spicy Firebrand chili at Joe Rogers' Chili Parlor, a new record for that restaurant and one more than the current record. Each serving of the chili weighs 12 to 16 ounces. Anybody able to finish even one bowl of the extra-spicy Firebrand variety has their names posted on the restaurant's wall. Richman fought through the pain and ate five bowls of the chili, tying the record. The show taped at D'Arcy's Pint on Friday, July 17, 2009 at the Cozy Dog Drive-In on Saturday, July 18, and Joe Rogers' two days later.

Cheese Sauce Recipe - Another quick and easy cheese sauce recipe

Any Thoughts on the Hub? - Feel free to leave a comment here.

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    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 

      5 years ago from Naperville, IL

      The Horseshoe (and Pony Shoe) are delicious! We live in Illinois (Chicago area) and enjoy them when we are downstate. You have some very interesting lenses on a wide range of subjects. Just visited your Zoo lens...we love Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoos. We've been to quite a few of those on your list.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I can't believe I grew up in IL and never heard of these - maybe bc my mom won't eat cheese, haha.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I can't believe I grew up in IL and never heard of these - maybe bc my mom won't eat cheese, haha.

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      I've seen these sandwiches on the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives TV show but never knew they were called Horseshoe sandwichs. I've never had one. Guess I should put this on my bucket list.

    • dawnsantiquesan profile image


      5 years ago

      Very interesting never heard of a horse shoe sandwich before.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I maybe grew up too far up in the midwest because I had never heard of a horseshoe sandwich before and you drew me in. I'd have to try the original first with plenty of your beer cheese sauce and go deliciously from there!

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 

      5 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      Being from Indiana, I have yet to eat one of these. May have to take a road trip across state lines!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great for tastebuds, disastrous for my diet! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice sandwich lens, great job!

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 

      6 years ago from Missouri

      I had to come back and spread some angel dust. Blessings!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I'm from Illinois and have eaten many a horseshoe, though I usually go for a ponyshoe (it's smaller). They are so bad for you but so tasty!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I've never heard of a horseshoe sandwich before. I love french fries but am not sure if I want them on top of bread? Aw heck bring it on and I'll give it a try. If it is grilled or toasted it may be quite tasty. Very unique recipe.

    • ToyTown profile image


      6 years ago

      I had never heard of this Horseshoe sandwich... but it sure sounds pretty good. I'll have to start looking for a place that makes it here.

    • PennyHowe profile image


      6 years ago

      A first for me. Never heard of a horseshoe sandwich before today. Thanks for my learning lesson of the day.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Looks tasty for sure.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've eaten the breakfast horseshoe, but not the horseshoe sandwich.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Yummy. I would love a Horseshoe Sandwich, please!

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 

      6 years ago from Missouri

      Fun lens! I couldn't the horseshot due to dietary contraints, but it looks delicious!

    • Cinnamonbite profile image


      7 years ago

      probably tastes great but would make me sicker than a dog! LOL I can't do dairy so all I can do here is look at the pictures

    • jvsper63 profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the recipes, nice lens:)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      amazing recipes! love your lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I grew up in Illinois and never heard of this sandwich! Did I grow up in cave? I want one of these!!!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      8 years ago

      I also grew up in the Midwest but I've never heard of the horseshoe sandwich. Sounds good!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow, these sound really naughty and really yummy. Great comfort food on a cold winters day.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The name is quite unique , never heard of in any restaurants- must be a masterpiece. Need to try it out.

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 

      8 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      I thought you'd want to know that RecipeZaar is no more. It used to be my favorite place! Now it is About the Horseshoe Sandwich, I have never seen or heard of it before now, but I now know it is famous. I hope to try one someday!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 

      8 years ago

      In the south we would probably just use "Velveta" cheese and drink the beer.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Never heard of this yummy sandwich before. I can't wait to try one. Lots of good information and history makes it better.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I had never heard of the Horseshoe Sandwich before but now its history and different variations. Sounds right up my alley. Blessed by an angel today

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 

      8 years ago

      Yummy looking article. I have a tomato sandwich article here on Squidoo and am lensrolling this recipe to it!

      I am also giving you an Angel Blessing Today.


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