The Best Steak Toppings You'll Find At Steakhouse Chains

There's no such thing as an unappetizing menu item when it comes to popular steakhouse chains. Even those entrees featuring non-cow-derived proteins are apt to leave a customer exceptionally satisfied by the time their check arrives. Still, if we're patronizing one of the many steakhouse chains around the U.S., it's go steak or go home. And while any steak ordered from a steakhouse chain will be a beefy delight, it's difficult to dispute the notion that a plain ol' filet can be topped ... by adding one of the many available steak toppings.

Perhaps you're hoping to elevate the general flavor profile (and overall succulence) of your flame-grilled tomahawk steak by adding a sauce of some sort. Maybe you'd like to turn your filet mignon into an ad hoc surf-and-turf by topping it with a delectable pile of poached lobster. Whatever your personal preference, you're likely to find a steak topping that suits your fancy at one of the many popular steakhouse chains across America.

There's clearly a wide variety of potential steak toppings at one's disposal from nationwide steakhouse chains. If you're wondering which of these is the best of the best, though, we've got you covered (as always). Whether available at multiple restaurant chains or just one, here are the best toppings you'll find at steakhouse chains, based on how much they enhance the flavor of a steak.


There's a bit of a running theme to be found with a number of steak toppings included in this article — there are several that instantly morph any steak order into a surf-and-turf meal. Of course, as anyone who's ever ordered (and consumed) an entree consisting of both land and water-based proteins knows, there's something incomparably glorious about a surf-and-turf plate. So if you're ever presented with the opportunity to top your steak with lobster of any kind, never hesitate to do so.

To be perfectly honest, it's entirely possible that some lobster toppings available at well-known steakhouse chains — like a straightforward lobster tail offered as an enhancement at several establishments — won't necessarily be served on top of the beef itself. But from our vantage point, that's little more than a matter of semantics (and a kitchen's plating practices). You always have the power to put the lobster on top of your beef. 

Frankly, it doesn't matter if a steakhouse provides the option of poached lobster meat to top your steak or a lobster-forward version of béarnaise sauce (hold that thought). Regardless of its precise location on the plate, nothing elevates the already extravagant steakhouse experience like adding the hoity-toitiest shellfish option.

Béarnaise sauce

Could we realistically consider ourselves experts on all things related to food if we neglected to include béarnaise sauce in an article discussing the best steak toppings available at well-known steakhouse chains? Of course we could (taste is in the mouth of the beholder, after all). However, while we're never shy about our occasional desire to buck conventional wisdom, when it comes to top-notch steak toppers, it's virtually impossible to beat the liquid richness provided by béarnaise sauce.

Plenty of steakhouse chains have a standard béarnaise sauce available on the menu (though The Palm may offer the king of all varieties with its lobster béarnaise). No matter the precise preparation, béarnaise is the perfect choice for anyone eager to enhance the overall flavors of their steak when they're unconcerned about their cholesterol levels. The tarragon and shallots in the sauce make any steak feel more upscale and refined.

If you're the type of person who thinks a perfectly marbled, melt-in-your-mouth tender steak needs no additions whatsoever — and, thus, doesn't understand the appeal of béarnaise sauce on beef — well, why are you reading this article? Not to say we're unappreciative of your time, but we're here to discuss steak toppings — and any list of the best steak toppers around would be incomplete without this classic, labor-heavy, butter-and-egg-yolk-based sauce.


Now that we've arrived at the second seafood-centric steak topping on our list, we have to admit this particular shellfish option may be our favorite of the bunch). It's not merely that shrimp's uniquely delicate flavor and texture make it an unparalleled culinary partner for essentially any steak one might order. More than the taste alone (which certainly helps), it's the combination of availability and affordability of shrimp at steakhouse chains that makes this topping great.

To be clear, we're not saying we flat-out prefer shrimp over lobster, scallops, or any other available shellfish — because no one can reasonably choose an outright favorite from these options. But seeing how a shrimp steak topping (or enhancement, if you will) tends to cost far less than its lobster cousin at any steakhouse chain, it's easy to envision a scenario where a budget-conscious customer happily opts for the just-as-satisfying shrimp option.

Like any other seafood steak topping we've highlighted, the method of preparation really doesn't make much difference. Be they grilled, boiled, or fried, any occasion where there's shrimp on top of your steakhouse cut is a joyous one.

Blue cheese sauce or crumbles

Not every potential topping available at your favorite steakhouse chain provides an increase in opulence. In fact, some of the greatest steak toppings at a customer's disposal can be found for less than five bucks at your local grocery store. Then again, the blue cheese topping you'd order for your steakhouse meal isn't necessarily just pulled from a supermarket shelf and tossed atop your steak (though we're not sure anyone would complain if it was).

Actually, one of the more interesting aspects of blue cheese as a steak topping is the various ways in which it can be transformed prior to serving. After all, many blue cheese toppings offered by popular steakhouse chains combine the central component with complementary ingredients, creating an unfathomably rich and creamy final product for diners.

It doesn't matter if you're receiving a blue cheese butter topping, a blue cheese crust, or a cheese-ariffic fondue made with gorgonzola. If you're a fan of the mold-friendly dairy derivative, you're likely to immensely enjoy any steak topping starring blue cheese. Its sharp, umami flavor increases the savoriness of any steak.

Oscar-style topping

Anyone who's been to a high-end steakhouse — be it a chain or a standalone location — has encountered a number of entree options sans sides. It may not be true of every steakhouse chain, but certain restaurants (like Morton's or Del Frisco's) generally only offer sides intended to be shared by the table. In that regard, some of the best toppings you'll find for your steakhouse filet can act as an add-on side of sorts — like the commonly offered, usually asparagus-and-shellfish-focused Oscar-style topping.

Whether it's listed as an Oscar topping on a menu, or simply as steak Oscar, there are a number of steakhouse chains known to offer Oscar-style steak toppings to interested patrons. Of course, despite its widespread availability, it doesn't seem as though there's a uniform expectation for what's included (or found) in an Oscar-style steak topping. In fact, some versions use crab, but some use lobster — though every version of this decadent shellfish topping seemingly features a heavy dose of butter and herbs, as well.

With a long track record as a steakhouse favorite — and a history rooted in Swedish royalty — there's a decent chance you've seen an Oscar-style steak topping listed on a menu before. But if you've never taken the plunge and topped your steak with this all-time classic, take our advice and order it with confidence on your next steakhouse chain visit.

Black truffle butter

If you've ever been bitterly disappointed by a restaurant using truffle oil in its menu items rather than actual truffles, you may not immediately understand the appeal (or hullabaloo) surrounding black truffle butter. Of course, compared to a mass-produced, likely artificially-flavored truffle oil product — one which does not contain any authentic truffles among its ingredients — the black truffle butter offered at various steakhouse chains is like literal night and day.

The legitimately unmatched earthy flavor of black truffles results in an incomparably decadent butter product. More than that, the presence of black truffles will likely ensure that the melted butter doesn't turn your steak into an overly rich nightmare; rather, it will simply enhance the level of succulence and depth of flavor.

Regardless of the precise explanation for black truffle butter's common presence on steakhouse chain menus as a steak topping, the bottom line remains the same. After all, few food items are known to elevate a dish's overall flavor profile (and public perception) like the stunningly expensive black truffle — meaning it's well worth the price of admission to top your steak with black truffle butter.


Before you accuse us of bias towards ocean-centric food items on this list, we readily confess to the crime of preferring seafood to, uh, landfood (why isn't that a word?). There's little confusion as to why we'd include scallops among the best steakhouse chain steak toppings at your disposal.

Not unlike lobster, it's entirely possible that the scallops you order to top your steak won't literally be placed over the beef. But a scallop placed anywhere else on a plate will taste just as subtly sweet and briny as one that actually rests above your steak. Whether it's pan-seared, deep-fried, or wrapped in bacon (everything's better with bacon, right?), there's no way you'll be disappointed by the addition of scallops to your steakhouse chain order.

Obviously, if you're allergic to shellfish items, you won't find scallops — served in any context — as enjoyable as we do. But if you're a fan of seafood who's eager to pivot away from the more common shrimp or lobster as a steak topping, you'll be hard-pressed to top scallops in the steak topping pantheon.

Melted cheese

Any red-blooded American who truly loves the stars and stripes knows two food items make anything better: bacon and melted cheese. We can't say why bacon is essentially absent from many menus as a steak accompaniment. But while the fatty pork product isn't commonly offered, its artery-clogging compatriot, melted cheese, is widely available at steakhouse chains as a topping — by itself, or in concert with other ingredients.

If you'd like to enhance your Texas Roadhouse sirloin with a handful of shredded jack cheese that will melt into the beef, you're more than welcome to do so. Similarly, if you're interested in smothering your Outback T-bone with melted cheese and a heaping serving of sauteed vegetables, the chain allows you to indulge as your heart desires.

It doesn't matter what type of cheese is melted on top of your steakhouse chain steak, how exactly it's served to you, or whether it's combined with additional toppings or not. It's difficult to beat the simplicity of gooey melted cheese when it's on top of any food, so why would steak be any different?

Chimichurri sauce

The popularity of fatty, super-rich sauces as steak toppings may seem counterintuitive to the more health-conscious among us. Yet the steak topping game isn't the exclusive purview of creamy, dairy-forward sauces. In fact, one of the greatest steak toppings you can order at several steakhouse chains is the South American-born chimichurri sauce.

A fairly simple sauce created with fresh herbs, the bright-tasting — and usually bright green-colored — chimichurri is a favored topping at many steakhouses for a reason. An almost perfect addition to any grilled meat (even ones not butchered from a cow), the light sauce provides a phenomenal contrast to the many creamy (and cream-based) sauces offered by steakhouse chains. The freshness of the herbs and citrus juice cuts through the fat in a grilled cut of meat, balancing out its flavor.

Chimichurri sauce may be the best steak topping for the nutritionally-focused diner available at steakhouse chains. But the fact that it's often as tasty as it is healthy makes it a fantastic selection for any steak.

Toowoomba topping

Given all but one steak topping we've included in this article can be found at multiple steakhouse chains, it goes without saying any exceptions to that rule must clear an exceptionally high bar. With that in mind, the Toowoomba topping — offered exclusively by Outback Steakhouse — isn't your average, run-of-the-mill sauce. Rather, it's a (supposedly) Australian concoction that expertly combines shrimp and mushrooms in a creamy tomato-based sauce.

Also offered in a pasta dish, the Toowoomba topping likely earns the title of most intriguing name among steak toppings you'll find at steakhouse chains — or chain, singular. But it's not merely the fun-to-say name that earns this interestingly-titled sauce a spot on our list (although it doesn't hurt).

Given that anything with shrimp as a core ingredient is apt to appeal to us, it's no wonder we chose to highlight the Outback Steakhouse-exclusive steak topping. Add in the fact this alfredo-adjacent sauce is a standout among customers, as well, and it's crystal clear why this Outback topping is a must-have from the steakhouse chain.

Sautéed mushrooms and onions

Simplicity is an asset in many instances — and that fact doesn't seem lost on the vast majority of steakhouse chains operating around the U.S. After all, while the desire to offer top-drawer menu items like lobster and black truffle butter makes sense, sometimes a customer wants to get back to basics with their steak toppings. In that regard, nothing offered by steakhouse chains may be more pleasurable than a simple serving of sauteed mushrooms and onions.

It may seem odd to some that this classic steak topping — one available at numerous steakhouse chains — doesn't generally include peppers as an additional vegetable alongside the previously-mentioned mushrooms and onions. We can't say why peppers aren't often incorporated into this steak topping — but we can't say their absence harms the overall experience provided by mushrooms and onions when the two are tossed over one's steak either.

This simple combination remains one of the all-time best steak toppings — even when you're preparing your own smothered steak at home. The mushrooms have an almost beefy flavor that makes a steak taste even more like beef, while the onions lend a sweetness that complements all of the savory flavors in the dish.

Peppercorn sauce

There may not be any hard and fast rules when it comes to what, exactly, makes for a top-notch steak topping. But if there's one basic element that almost always increases the overall flavor of a piece of beef, it's the presence of some sort of pepper-based seasoning. With that in mind, it's rather elementary why peppercorn sauce is such a common — and popular — steak topping at many nationwide steakhouse chains.

Of course, the logic behind serving a creamy and peppery sauce over any type of steak is straightforward — just as there's little uncertainty whether a quality peppercorn sauce from any chain will be a delicious addition. The sharp bite of the pepper cuts through the savory fattiness of seared beef beautifully. But if there's one aspect of peppercorn sauce you'll never want to ignore, it's the possible presence of whole peppercorns.

An unground peppercorn may look like visual poetry when mixed in a cream-based sauce and poured over a cut of steak. But if you've never endured the pain of biting into (and chewing on) an actual whole peppercorn, you'll want to continue to stay away from that experience. We have no doubt most steakhouse chains' peppercorn sauces will taste exquisite; just be sure to eat around any uncracked peppercorns remaining on your plate.