Football Snacks: Pull-Apart Chopped Cheese Garlic Knots

The ubiquitous “chopped cheese” sandwich is not well, ubiquitous, in many other areas of the country outside of NYC. It’s very similar to a cheeseburger in its overall flavor profile and ingredient base, so let’s run with that.

The chopped cheese sandwich is ground beef cooked on a flat top grill, mixed with onions, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo and ketchup on a hero. I was craving one after a night of way too much champagne, but I had to find a way to make it football-ized. Aka, bite size, pop in your mouth, and ideally pairs well with a nice beer. Enter: the garlic knot.

These are…so addictive. A little bit of work but they’re worth it. Something about making garlic knots is both impressive and comforting. All the feels.

Oh and don’t worry about the dough – I always buy a small ball of dough from my local pizza shop (you can do this anywhere), but lately I’ve discovered that FreshDirect (and FreshDirect Express) has frozen pizza dough balls ready for purchase and they thaw out at room temp within a few hours! So easy.

So, here you go. I seriously need you to try these for your next game day party (or any holiday party). You will thank me later, I promise. You need a 10-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe, but I suppose you could use a standard oven-safe skillet too.

Chopped Cheese Garlic Knots

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus a little more for drizzling)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 slices American cheese, divided (and torn into small pieces for melting purposes)
  • 1 lb/small pizza dough
  • Flour for dusting
  • 2 tbsp scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup shredded Iceberg lettuce

Chopped Cheese Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp sweet relish
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in your cast iron skillet over medium heat until butter melts. Add the onions and garlic, and stir to combine. Onions should be translucent and the garlic extra fragrant. Your house will smell INCREDIBLE.
  3. Add the salt, chili flakes, and ground beef to the onions/garlic and cook until mostly cooked through (it will cook more/get browned in the oven).
  4. Add half of the American cheese (torn into pieces) and let it melt into the burger mixture. Stir to combine. Turn off the heat and transfer to a large bowl. DON’T CLEAN THE SKILLET. YOU WANT THE BURGER GREASE AND CHEESE REMNANTS IN THERE.
  5. While the burger mixture is cooling, make the knots. Roll out the dough and cut into long strips (about 12 inches). Cut the strips in half and make knots of each one. You can roll the dough strips too before tying them, I was just extra lazy. Transfer them to the bowl with the burger mixture and toss together with your hands (if the mixture is still too hot, use a large spoon or spatula) to coat every knot. If you need to add a drizzle of more olive oil to loosen the burger mixture a little, go for it.
  6. Place in the cast iron skillet in a single layer, moving around the pan in a circle. Add the other half of the cheese on top and cover with foil. Let rise a little more for 2 hours or so, if you have the time. If you don’t, you can just remove the foil and pop them in the oven for about 15-20 mins. I’ve done both and they taste great either way, but obviously the puffier option is a bit better and the dough is less dense.
  7. While they are baking, make the dipping sauce. Mix ketchup, mayo, relish and salt in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  8. When the cheese on top is lightly browned and the knots are golden, remove from oven. Brush the knots immediately with more olive oil/butter and sprinkle with the chopped tomatoes, lettuce and scallions.
  9. Serve with the dipping sauce AND SAVOR EVERY MOMENT.

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