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Making Sandwiches – 20 Tips for Making a Great Sandwich

Making sandwiches is more than just adding a piece of meat between two slices of bread. There are endless recipes and these tips for making a great sandwich will show you how to make yours special.

Every since the 18th century, when the 4th Earl of Sandwich (as legend has it) spent 24 hours at a gaming table, eating only cold slices of beef between pieces of toast, people have been on the quest of making a great tasting sandwich.

Sandwiches are enjoyed the world over in various forms.  Two things are needed – bread and something to put on it. 

What that happens to be is up to the sandwich maker. Fancy sandwich shops, and housewives alike will argue about what to put on the bread. 

But making sandwiches that taste amazing is a really quite easy, if you follow a few tried and true tips.

20 Tips for Making a Great Sandwich - thegardeningcook.com/making-a-great-sandwich

Making Sandwiches that are crowd pleasers is easy with these 20 tips

1. The spread matters in great sandwiches

Yes, you can have dry toast and ham and call it a sandwich, but will it taste great?  Maybe not… Get creative with the spread. 

Butter and mayonnaise are common spreads but if you think outside the box, you may come up with some others. How about ripe avocado for a burst of heart healthy fats? Or chutney, hummus, salsa or BBQ sauce.

Basically anything that spreads well can be the start of your great sandwich. And make the spread go right to the edges of the bread to help make a seal to combat moisture in the fillings.

the spread matters
2. Start with a great bread.

When I make a sandwich I start by thinking what will go with the bread I have chosen, not by saying what bread can I put with this roast beef. The bread should be the star. 

No pasty white bread for me! Nosiree! I love crusty whole grain breads that taste just fine with nothing on them, and taste superb with the right toppings.

A good sandwich takes great bread.
3.  Keep it fresh

You can make the sandwiches for your husband or children the night before and wrap them in saran wrap and put them in the fridge and call it a sandwich. And when they eat it, they will call it a soggy sandwich.

But make the sandwich the next morning, or right before it is served and they will ask you to make it again and again.

4. Skip the soggy ingredients

I love lettuce and tomato in a sandwich as much as the next guy, but they are really mostly water and this makes for a soggy sandwich. 

Think of other things that would give a similar great taste and texture but without all that moisture. 

Slices of avocado, roasted bell peppers, cucumbers and shredded cabbage all give a lovely taste to the sandwich without making it a soggy mess.

Tomatoes have a lot of moisture and can make a soggy sandwich
5. Keep it simple

Not all sandwiches need to be Dagwood style. You should be able to get all the ingredients into your mouth in one bite, otherwise you may as well serve it deconstructed with a knife and fork.

Aim for 4 or 5 good quality ingredients that go well together and call that good.

Limit the ingredients in a sandwich
6. Achieve Balance

Start with the bread and then choose the protein and cheese that pairs well with it and then add the other few ingredients to make the sandwich a balanced whole.

7. Compliment the bread

If the bread is mild flavored, go for bolder choices for the protein and fillings. 

If you have a hearty bread, tone down the fillings. And be careful with very spicy and bold items like hot mustard, jalapenos and olives.

These ingredients can overwhelm a sandwich in a heartbeat.

be careful using hot peppers in a sandwich. It can overwhelm the flavors
8. Add some freshness

Think of what you get on a plate when you dine out and order a sandwich.  It is anything but ordinary and always has a dose of healthy freshness.

My husband’s work partner used to always want to see what I had come up with for a sandwich for him, because as she put it “her sandwiches are always so pretty!”

Make your sandwich appealing to the eyes.

Photo credit: Flickr

9. Consider toasting the bread

If you are making the sandwich at home, consider toasting the bread in the oven.  Toasting brings out the sweetness of the bread and warms up whatever you put inside the sandwich.

Even grated cheese and ham warmed in the microwave can turn a boring sandwich into some gooey deliciousness.

toasted sandwich
10. Don’t forget the seasonings

Salt and pepper and some mild spices are not just for stove top cooking. They also do wonders for the sandwich fillings too.

One of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten was from a hole in the wall diner in Maine where the server added just the right amount of salt and pepper to an otherwise plain chicken salad sandwich. 

11. The knife matters

Why make a great sandwich and then massacre it with the wrong knife. (particularly a dull one!)  Take a minute to dig out the serrated bread knife, and use a sawing motion and let the knife do the work.

12. Go easy on the onions

Onions can add quite a burst of flavor to a sandwich but raw onions have quite a bite to them.

Tame them down a bit by tossing in kosher salt, or soaking them for about 20 minutes in water and then drying them before using.

Go easy on the onions in a sandwich
13. Maximize your left overs

Sandwiches are not just for cold cuts and cheese.  Some really wonderful ones are made by using last night’s left overs.

Left over roast beef, meatballs, home made turkey and roasted vegetables all make great sandwich fillings.

14. A little crunch goes a long way

There is nothing quite like a sandwich with crunchy fillings.

Get these by washing and storing your greens and veggies in the fridge prior to making the sandwich, using extra crisp lettuce and shredded carrots and other crisp veggies to the mix.

15. Layer it well

We all have our own way of layering a sandwich, but if you put the meat and cheese on the bottom, it helps to combat sogginess.

Add watering veggies such as sliced tomatoes in the center and then add the crisper ones on the top layer.

Layering is important for a great sandwich
16. Wrap Properly

Sandwiches are best eaten right after they are made for maximum flavor. But if you must pack one, please do it properly.

Greaseproof paper, or baking paper, such as parchment paper, is ideal for helping to keep a sandwich at its best.

17. Tips for kid’s sandwiches

Keep their appetite in mind and make them a smaller sandwich than one you would make for an adult. Kids get very frustrated if the sandwich they are eating is messy and hard to manage.

Make the ingredients colorful and cut the sandwiches into fun shapes before wrapping. This adorable school bus sandwich is shared from Three Boys and a Dog.  Get her recipe here.

 

18. Think like a restaurant

Serve warm sandwiches on hot plates and cold sandwiches on chilled plates for the optimum dining experience.

19. Think in waves for your protein

A great looking, and tasting, sandwich have the protein placed on the bread in a wavy motion, instead of flat on the bread.

Eating it just seems more pleasurable and the other flavors seem to mix better than a flat chunk of protein all glued together.

Add protein in a wave fashion
20. Match ingredients to the bread

If you have thin slices of bread, don’t overload them with ingredients. By the same token, very hearty bread needs more than just a slice of cheese or you will have a dry mouth feeling that is not great at all.

Now that we have talked about how to make a great sandwich, why not test this with some scrumptious sandwich Sandwich Recipes ?

Sandwich Recipes

Now that we know what works best when making sandwiches, let’s make one! Why not try one of these recipes?

20 Fabulous Sandwich Recipes

20 Tips for Making the Perfect SandwichTell us about your favorite sandwich in the comments below. What do you add that makes your family say “this is a great sandwich?”

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Matt

Monday 14th of March 2022

Great tips. Made a fantastic steak sandwich from 1/2 portion of rib eye steak. Toast ciabatta roll and slather with comeback sauce. Add thinly sliced (about 1/8") & heated steak, cover with warm grilled onions (mushrooms would be good) cooked with a bit of salt and finished with sherry vinegar. Add large piece of roasted red pepper and finish with butter leaf lettuce. Slice on the diagonal with serrated knife. Serve with choice pickles.

The comeback sauce adds a bit of spiciness. Sandwich stayed together well. Maybe try hollowing out the top bread a bit. Avocado would be good on it. I opted to go without cheese.

Prepare ahead (or buy): comeback sauce, grilled onions, roasted red pepper.

Bread provides crunch, beef always calls for onions, pepper brings a subtle flavor, lettuce brings a subtle crunch, comeback sauce provides a bit of spicy heat. Hot sandwich is awesome if I do say so myself.

Carol Speake

Monday 14th of March 2022

Sounds fantastic!

Joy Butler

Wednesday 6th of June 2018

It's so awesome that I stumbled upon your post on making great sandwiches. I am about to prepare some snacks for the kids prior to this reading. However, I was the one got hungry because of these all delicious sandwiches, hahaha! Hang on I am going to get mine!

Susmita Khan

Saturday 3rd of March 2018

I like sandwich very much and I was looking for such tips for a long time.Thanks for sharing.

Larry Weaver

Monday 25th of September 2017

I never took into account the fact that lettuce and tomato are mostly water and makes for a soggy sandwich. Using slices of avocado or roasted bell peppers instead is a great idea to prevent sogginess. One of my favorite places to eat out, Casapullas, always makes great sandwiches, and I would love to make some good sub sandwiches myself.

Luke Smith

Wednesday 29th of March 2017

I love your very first tip about how important the spread is in a sandwich, and your thoughts for how to get creative! I feel like using a ripe avocado would be amazing on a turkey bacon sandwich, for example. I bet you could probably order some creative and healthy alternatives to mayonnaise online.

Carol

Wednesday 29th of March 2017

Thanks Luke. I've been using avocado for quite a while and now it is one of my favorite sandwich spreads! Carol

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