Sandwiches are one of the most infinitely versatile foods in the world. Basics like the PB&J or ham and cheese are a starting point, but there are so many more ingredients that you can stick between two pieces of bread. We went to the experts for sandwich-making advice, and if you follow their lead you'll be able to improvise awesome sandwiches with whatever ingredients you'd like. But there's no shame in needing some inspiration, so we've got 20 recipes to get your creative juices flowing. With mouthwatering options like the ultimate BLT and fried chicken sandwich, vegan banh mi, and tuna salad two ways, I hope you're hungry.
Pork Cuban Sandwiches
This South Florida favorite uses three kinds of pork: ham, roast pork, and salami. The salami is specifically a Tampa addition, and we're big fans of the extra funk it brings to the table. To assemble the sandwich we layer the meat onto Cuban bread with Swiss cheese, dill pickles, and yellow mustard and then put it in a panini press to crisp up the bread and melt the cheese.
The Ultimate BLT Sandwich
This is in the pork section, but to be honest a BLT should be all about the tomato—if you don't have access to great vine-ripened tomatoes, don't even bother. Salt the tomato liberally to bring out its flavor, then add just enough crunchy bacon, sweet iceberg lettuce, and creamy mayo to help it shine.
The Ultimate Homemade McRib
I'll be honest: This recipe is a ton of work. You're going to spend hours smoking the ribs, grinding them up with pork shoulder, and forming and grilling the patties. We also use homemade barbecue sauce, pickles, and buns—if you're putting so much effort into the meat you might as well go all the way.
Grilled Pork Sandwiches With Grilled Plum Chutney and Cabbage Slaw
If you're looking for a more manageable grilled pork sandwich, this is for you. It's made with grilled pork loin, which we serve with a miso slaw and plum chutney on sandwich rolls. The grill isn't just for the pork—we also use it to toast the bread and char the plums, scallions, and jalapeños for the chutney.
Chorizo-Spiced Pulled Pork With Mexican Street Corn Slaw
This recipe combines Mexican chorizo with barbecue from the Southern US. We braise the pork with a slew of spices you'd find in chorizo: paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, and more. Once it's done we serve it with an elote-inspired slaw made with corn, mayo, and cotija.
Classic New Orleans Muffuletta
Our version of this New Orleans favorite features alternating layers of soppressata, capicola, mortadella, and provolone, plus a briny olive salad made with capers, roasted red peppers, giardiniera, garlic, and a mix of oil-packed olives. The sandwich requires a little forethought—it's quick to assemble, but you'll want to let it sit at least an hour before eating so that the juices from the salad soak into the bread.
Vegetarian Fried Shiitake Po' Boys With New Orleans-Style Remoulade
The po'boy is the other favorite sandwich of New Orleans. Fried seafood is a traditional filling, but this vegetarian version subs in meaty, tender shiitakes fried in a cornmeal breading. We put the sandwich together by laying the mushrooms onto a soft baguette with lettuce, tomatoes, and a tangy remoulade.
Grilled Lemongrass- and Coriander-Marinated Tofu Vietnamese Sandwiches
These vegan banh mi are stuffed with grilled tofu, which we get extra crispy by drying well and cooking slowly over indirect heat. We marinate the tofu in garlic, coriander root, and lemongrass and spoon on more marinade once it comes off the grill, then serve with vegan mayo, pickled carrots and daikon, and fresh cucumber, jalapeño, and cilantro.
Roasted Beet Sandwiches With Ginger, Fennel, and Goat Cheese
Sandwiches aren't the most common use for beets, but we think it's a wonderful use for the tender, juicy, flavorful vegetable. For this recipe we roast the beets, toss them in a ginger vinaigrette, and serve them with goat cheese, blanched beet greens, and raw fennel bulb and fronds.
Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
We've written whole odes to the perfect grilled cheese, and you'll find plenty of recipes in the archives. For now, let's focus on this one, made with shredded cheese and homemade spinach and artichoke dip. Make sure the the dip is hot before you put it into the sandwich—it won't have time to warm up before the bread toasts and the cheese melts.
Sabich Sandwiches (Pitas With Eggplant, Eggs, Hummus, and Tahini)
Forget falafel, sabich is our favorite Israeli pita sandwich. It's made with fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, hummus, Israeli pickles, Israeli salad, tahini, and a pickled-mango sauce called amba. We salt the tomatoes to draw off excess moisture, but make no mistake: This is one messy sandwich.
Mexican Fried Eggplant Sandwich (Vegan Tortas and Pambazos)
Another fried eggplant sandwich, this one goes Mexican-style and pairs the vegetable with refried beans, roasted chilies, and pickled red onions. If you just want to make tortas you can load everything up onto rolls and call it a day, but even better is to douse the sandwiches in enchilada sauce and grill them into toasty pambazos.
Chicken 5-Ingredient Fried Chicken Sandwiches
They're not quite our ultimate fried chicken sandwiches, but these are still delicious and have the distinct advantage of needing only 5 ingredients (including the bread and pickles). The secret is self-rising flour, which puffs up nicely when it fries because it contains baking powder. The pickles do double duty—we use them as a garnish and brine the chicken in the juice.
The Best F&$king Grilled Chicken Sandwich Ever
Even when perfectly grilled, chicken breasts are a little boring. This sandwich is anything but boring, though, thanks to all sort of other ingredients: mayonnaise, crushed potato chips, jalapeño-avocado sauce, lettuce, and tomato. The result is a super satisfying sandwich packed with a range of flavors and textures.
Party-Sized Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches
Our ultimate chicken Parmesan is too hefty for just any old sandwich, so we serve it party-style on whole ciabatta loaves. The chicken itself is super tender, thanks to a Southern-style buttermilk brine, and it's coated in a flavorful mixture of fresh breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese before being blanketed in red sauce and mozzarella.
Beef Steak Sandwiches With Roasted Tomatoes, Parmesan, and Radicchio
A good steak sandwich starts with a tender, properly cooked piece of beef, but it's the condiments that make it interesting. In this case that means roasted cherry tomato jam, a creamy-tart anchovy-spiked sauce, a bright radicchio salad, pickled red onion, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Classic Reuben Sandwich (Corned Beef on Rye With Sauerkraut and Swiss)
It only takes a couple components to make a classic Reuben: rye bread, corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing. To assemble, we like to toast the bread and then warm up the beef and sauerkraut individually, cooking the finished sandwich just long enough to melt the cheese.
Classic Mayo-Dressed Tuna Salad Sandwiches
Our take on the tuna salad sandwich is made with diced onion and celery, parsley, mayo (store-bought is fine) and oil-packed tuna. We also mix in a couple finely minced anchovy fillets to up the savoriness. Because you're mixing it with mayo and other ingredients, don't spring for top-shelf tuna here.
Mayo-Free Mediterranean Tuna Salad Sandwiches
If you don't like mayo or just want a lighter tuna salad sandwich, this Mediterranean-inspired version is the way to go. We still use the tuna, anchovies, celery, and onion, but also throw in fennel, capers, and olives and dress it all with extra-virgin olive oil. Unlike with the mayo-dressed version, this recipe is where you want to break out the high-quality fish.
Sautéed Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches With Pickled Vegetables, Cilantro, and Ginger-Chili Mayo
This sandwich draws inspiration from both Cantonese sautéed crabs and Vietnamese banh mi. The crabs are dredged in cornstarch before sautéing, which gives them a crisp crust and doesn't cover up their flavor. Ginger-chili mayo, quick-pickled carrots and cucumbers, fresh scallions, and cilantro finish it off.