40 tasty sandwich fillings and recipes

The best, most delicious, and nutritious sandwich fillings to make for all occasions including packed lunches, picnics, and even tea parties...

A selection of the best sandwich fillings and recipes
A selection of the best sandwich fillings and recipes...
(Image credit: Getty / Alamy / Future)

From classic sandwiches to toasties, from wraps to baguettes, here are the best sandwich fillings and recipes to make at home - the perfect lunchtime inspiration.

Since the 4th Earl of Sandwich accidentally created the sandwich in the 1800s, sandwiches have been a staple of the British diet – in fact, we eat over 3 billion of them every year, and spend £8 billion buying and making them. 

“While most of us are introduced to sandwiches in our school lunchbox as children, they aren’t reserved only for lunchtime. The sandwich is one of the most versatile meals around and reserves its spot at some of the finest afternoon teas, as a staple element of a country picnic or over an office desk instead of dinner,” says Eileen Donaghey, afternoon tea expert (opens in new tab) and author of A Beginner’s Guide To Afternoon Tea At Home.

Our fillings include cranberry and cheese toasties, salmon, and scrambled egg bagels as well as recipes for making your own hummus, tuna and caper spread, and chicken liver paté to spread on your favourite bread – a far healthier option than many shop-bought sandwiches (opens in new tab). The fillings, which vary from baguette fillings to wraps to open sandwiches, aren’t just part of a healthy lunch (opens in new tab), they'd also go down a storm on a picnic spread and are great party food ideas.

Sandwich fillings and recipes

cheese toasties piled high

Because cranberries aren't just for Christmas

(Image credit: Future)

1. Cranberry and cheese toastie

Serves: 4  | Total time: 15 mins 

Who doesn't love a toastie? Warm and filling, this cranberry and cheese toastie seems like it should come right out of a Christmas recipe book but it's also great for summer, as the cranberry offers a refreshing kick with the cheese. It’s not a sarnie for when you’re watching the calories, but it is a great one for those days when you’re tired, maybe even a little hungover, and in need of a food hug. 

It’s also super versatile – swap out the Parma ham for smoked ham or ditch it all together for a veggie option, and if you don’t have any leftover cranberry sauce lurking, use any manner of chutney you’ve got in the fridge. The cheese doesn’t have to be Cheddar, either – try brie, goat’s cheese, or even some feta. 

Popping some tomato and rocket or watercress on the side will bring the vitamins.

Get the recipe: Cranberry and cheese toastie (opens in new tab)

Joe Wicks' fish finger sandwich

Easy home-made fish fingers with gherkins, watercress and yogurt for a healthy taste sensation

(Image credit: Joe Wicks)

2. Joe Wicks' fish finger sandwich

Serves: 2  | Total time: 25 mins 

He doesn’t just bring lunges and squats to our lives, Joe Wicks also has our lunch sorted with this fish finger sandwich, the ultimate comfort food – but with a pleasingly healthy twist. Making your own easy fish fingers means no processed nonsense, it’s protein-packed, and replacing the usual mayo with zero-fat Greek yogurt reduces the calories and fat. 

It's flavour-packed thanks to the gherkins, shallots, and watercress, too, and will be a winner with kids and grown-ups alike. Joe uses sub rolls, but you could swap for wraps if you prefer.  

Get the recipe: Joe Wicks' Fish finger sandwich (opens in new tab)

An American style Sloppy Joe sandwich

Messy, fun, and delicious, this Sloppy Joe is a refreshing change from a burger

(Image credit: Getty)

3. Sloppy Joes

Serves: 4  | Total time: 21 mins 

A classic American tradition, Sloppy Joes may have a dubious name but they definitely don’t have a dubious taste - they're delicious. Made from lean mince and vegetables you'll likely already have in your store cupboard. 

Perfect one for those summer evenings when you want something tasty, but not too difficult to make, it’s a riff on a traditional burger that, as the name suggests, is a little messy to eat (it might be a napkin tucked into the collar situation). The mince is stir-fried with a curious mix of soy sauce, ginger, and barbecue sauce, and don’t ask us why it works, because it just does. 

Serve with sweet potato fries or wedges and a green salad to bring freshness.

Get the recipe: Sloppy Joes (opens in new tab)

vietnamese turkey sandwich

This banh mi is the ultimate fusion sandwich

(Image credit: Future)

4. Vietnamese turkey sandwich

Serves: 4  | Total time: 35 mins 

A 'Banh Mi', as this would be known in Vietnam, is the ultimate fusion food – a tasty filling of southeast Asian flavours in a baguette (because the French colonised in the 1800s and brought along their bread). You don’t have to use turkey, as chicken is just as good (or you could make it vegan with crispy tofu or aubergine) and it is livened up beautifully in a mix of lemongrass, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce (it’s really worth marinating it all together for as long as possible if you have time). 

Learning how to make your own easy pickle of cucumber, carrot, rice vinegar, and sugar is very satisfying, and don’t forget the Sriracha, mayo, and chopped red chilli to serve. A nutritious assault on the senses, that’s good enough to make for guests in the summer.

Get the recipe: Vietnamese turkey sandwich (opens in new tab)

Roll up sandwiches

Fun ones for kid's lunch boxes

(Image credit: Elena Elisseeva/Alamy)

5. Roll up sandwiches

Serves: 1  | Total time: 20 mins 

These roll-up sandwiches are great for fussy tummies, and they’re far more interesting on a picnic or buffet spread than boring old bread triangles, as well as in the kid’s lunch boxes. You can get little hands involved too, as the bread needs to be rolled out and then rolled up. 

Fillings can be anything from peanut butter to jam, cream cheese and cucumber to nutella and mashed banana, or hummus and carrot, depending on how much of a treat you feel like giving them that day. “These sandwiches will make you look like the host with the most. A bit like a jam penny, roll-up sandwiches are great for picnics and a firm favourite with children,” says afternoon tea expert, Eileen Donaghey.

Get the recipe: Roll up sandwiches (opens in new tab)

a wrap with grilled chicken, salad and satay sauce

Spicy marinated chicken drizzled with satay sauce and stuffed with salad in a wrap

(Image credit: Future)

6. Chicken satay lettuce wraps

Serves: 2  | Total time: 45 mins 

These chicken satay lettuce wraps are light and easy to make and just the job if you’re trying to cut down on the ol’ carbs. They're perfect lunch box fillers or picnic treats or will be a great addition to any BBQ.  

The chicken is left to marinate in a creamy coconut and Thai paste mix (shop-bought so you don’t have to slave over-prepping a ton of ingredients) to give them a spicy kick. Once they're cooked all you have to do is assemble your wrap – don't forget the satay sauce. It could be made with tofu as a vegan alternative. Add plenty of crisp cucumbers for a salad hit.

Get the recipe: Chicken satay lettuce wraps (opens in new tab)

BBQ beef brisket on a bap with coleslaw

Tender, melt in the mouth brisket with coleslaw, a taste of heaven

(Image credit: Getty)

7. BBQ beef brisket sandwich

Serves: 4  | Total time: 6 hrs 50 mins 

Sure, this sounds like a bit too long of a time to make a sarnie, but this isn’t any old sarnie, and the only reason it takes so long is that the beef needs to be slow-cooked for hours, so it’s all about a bit of low-maintenance pre-prep. And the result is the ultimate sandwich. 

Succulent pieces of melt-in-the-mouth beef brisket, melted Cheddar cheese, fresh red cabbage, coleslaw, and a tangy BBQ sauce. This recipe tells you how to make your own sauce, but you can, of course, just buy a bottle if you’d rather keep things simple.  An excellent treat for a summer dinner with sweet potato fries on the side. 

Get the recipe: BBQ beef brisket sandwich (opens in new tab)

Salt beef in a sandwich

Making your own salt beef isn't quick, but it is worth it

(Image credit: Future)

8. Salt beef brisket

It’s definitely a labour of love, but learning to make your own salt beef is highly satisfying, and will keep you going for days in the sandwich stakes. Don’t come to this recipe at the last minute as it’s basically pickled (for a week!) first but thus lasts longer, for you to pile on to fresh bagels or rye bread, with pickles, mustard, and mayo. 

A staple of Jewish cooking, make sure you pile it on high like they would in the finest of New York delis.

Get the recipe: Salt beef (opens in new tab)

Prosciutto and fig on an open sandwich

Simple but posh, a good choice to impress your lunch guests 

(Image credit: Getty)

9. Prosciutto and fig open sandwich

Serves: 2  | Total time: 10 mins

Sounds posh, doesn’t it? Alas, it’s pretty simple, but would be just the job of pimping up a humble sandwich when you’ve got people over for lunch. The sweetness of the fig in this prosciutto and fig recipe makes this sandwich extra special along with the creamy, goat's cheese. Serving it as an open sandwich gives full marks for the presentation and also means cutting down the carbs and calls. 

Rye bread is a great alternative to the granary loaf if you’re gluten-free or just fancy a change. “Open sandwiches are a good way to cut down on carbs and an impressive way of showing off some of your nicest recipes. Fig and prosciutto not only taste great, but they also look wonderful,” says Eileen.

Get the recipe: Prosciutto and fig open sandwich (opens in new tab)

Salmon and scrambled egg bagels

These souped-up scrambled eggs have mascarpone added to make them extra creamy and delicious

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

10. Salmon and scrambled egg bagels

Serves: 2  | Total time: 15 mins

Perfect to impress your overnight guests at breakfast, or for a delightful Sunday brunch, though scrambled eggs are not just for breakfast, you can have them for lunch too, or even dinner, frankly. These ones are indulgent with a dollop of mascarpone cheese to make them feel extra luxurious and livened up further with a sprinkling of chives. 

Pile on to a bagel of your choice (we’d go for a seeded variety) and top with a slice of smoked salmon. 

Get the recipe: Salmon and scrambled egg bagel (opens in new tab)

falafel and salad on pitta

Homemade falafel is so much tastier than buying it from the supermarket

(Image credit: TI Media Ltd)

11. Falafel pittas

Serves: 4  | Total time: 55 mins

Sometimes it’s worth going that extra mile and making something from scratch, and that’s definitely true in the case of a good falafel (those supermarket ones can be pretty flavourless, after all). This recipe guides you through how to make it from scratch, so you can cook up a big batch and save some for another lunch, another day (you can freeze them too). 

The ingredients are cheap and likely to already be lurking in your cupboards (basically chickpeas and spices), and it’s plant-based, nutritious, and perfectly stuffed in a pitta or wrap. Serve with a carrot, cabbage, and pepper salad, plain yogurt, and a drizzle of tahini or hummus. You could add a good dollop of chilli sauce to spice things up too if you fancy.

Get the recipe: Falafel pittas (opens in new tab)

Hot cheese and chutney sandwich

How deliciously oozy and rich does this glorious toastie look?

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

12. Hot cheese and chutney sandwich

Serves: 2  | Total time: 9 mins

This is not just any old cheese toastie, this is a next-level cheese toastie, the sort where you butter the outside of the bread, and grate the cheese together with its best food friends – onions and mustard and tangy tomato chutney. Ooof, we are salivating just thinking about it. 

Play around with the ingredients – you could switch up the chutney for a mango one, to bring some Indian fusion into the mix, for example. It hits the spot and is ever so slightly naughty like all the best things are. 

Get the recipe: Cheese and chutney sandwich (opens in new tab)

lamb meatballs in a wrap with red onion and salad

Flavours of Mexico with the guac in this tasty lamb wrap

(Image credit: TI Media Ltd)

13. Lamb and guacamole wraps

Serves: 4  | Total time: 25 mins

Who doesn’t love a good bit of guac? And it pairs brilliantly with lamb meatballs in this wrap, packed with red onion and plenty of shredded veggies. The lamb could easily be swapped for beef (which generally has a lower fat content) or veggie mince, and you could also add salsa and grated cheese, for what’s basically a twist of a fajita. 

A perfect one for the whole family, you could also add some jalapenos to spice things up, and a side of refried beans

Get the recipe: Lamb and guacamole wraps (opens in new tab)

Children's club sarnie

Kids will love these triple decker toasties

(Image credit: Food and Drink/REX/Shutterstock)

14. Children's club sarnie

Serves: 1  | Total time: 10 mins

A classic club sandwich is a winner at any age, and the novelty of this triple-deckered sarnie will get the kids eating things they wouldn’t usually go near. This one sneaks plenty of tomatoes in with a tasty salsa, as well as grilled lean bacon, cream cheese, lettuce and if you’re feeling bold, some red onion. 

A good one for lunch boxes, picnics, and a family dinner with a side of fries.

Get the recipe: Children's club sarnie (opens in new tab)

Tuna mixed with crunch veg in a pot

A healthy, veg and protein packed filling 

(Image credit: Unknown)

15. Crunchy tuna filler

Serves: 2  | Total time: 10 mins

Pimp up your tuna butty while keeping it pleasingly low cal and low fat, by ditching the mayo and adding small pieces of chopped pepper, onion, and cucumber to the mix. A dash of lemon juice and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar replaces the creamy dressings, and it’s perfect on a wholemeal roll or in a wrap or pitta bread. 

You could also add some olives in the mix or on the side, and a hard-boiled egg for extra protein. A perfect light lunch for those healthy, lean days before and after holidays.

Get the recipe: Crunchy tuna filler (opens in new tab)

roasted veg on pitta bread

All the flavours of the Med in this pitta wrap

(Image credit: Future)

16. Roasted vegetable pittas

Serves: 2  | Total time: 30 mins

A great picnic choice you could make in bulk, these veggie pittas are a perfect option if you’re hankering after a pizza but trying to be healthy. Griddle courgettes, peppers and pair them with mozzarella and fresh basil and rocket, and stuff them all into a pitta pocket. 

You could also try toasting the mozzarella first, and other fabulous additions would be chopped black olives or some sliced avocado.

Get the recipe: Roasted vegetable pittas (opens in new tab)

Tuna and cheese ciabatta melt

Who doesn't love a tuna melt? This one works brilliantly on ciabatta bread

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

17. Tuna and cheese ciabatta melt


Who doesn’t love a tuna melt? It’s an easy lunch and a bit of a treat when you need pepping up, and the kids will love them too. Just mix up the tuna and mayo, add olives, red onion, and basil, top it with cheese, and stick it under the grill. 

Instead of ciabatta, you could slice a baguette in half, or even use bagels, if you prefer, or a nice seeded granary loaf. Serve with a big green salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Yum.

Get the recipe: Tuna and cheese ciabatta melt (opens in new tab)

Homemade hummus

Making your own hummus will save you money on lunches with its versatility 

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

18. Homemade hummus

Serves: 4  | Total time: 15 mins

Making your own hummus is always worth it. The ingredients are cheap, you’re likely to already have most of them in your cupboard, and it will work for so many lunches throughout your week. It’s super versatile, so the kids can have it in sarnies with grated carrot, you can add it to wraps with falafel or just a mix of salads and, if you’re a meat-eater, it can pair perfectly with your leftover roast lamb or chicken. 

This recipe, which is pimped up with the addition of paprika and cumin, is vegan, nutritious, delicious, and perfect for picnics. “If you’ve got any dairy-free dietary requirements, why not replace the butter or mayonnaise that you’d normally use with hummus? It goes great in bread but my tip would be not to prepare them too soon before you plan to serve otherwise the bread could be slightly soggy. It works best on a firmer bread roll,” says afternoon tea expert, Eileen. 

Get the recipe: Homemade hummus (opens in new tab)

tuna and caper spread in a glass dish

A tangy, delicious spread that is super versatile for lunches

(Image credit: Getty)

19. Tuna and caper spread

Serves: 2  | Total time: 15 mins

A simple fish paté, this tuna spread is worth making in a big batch to see you through the week. Great spread on a crusty bap or baguette with some sliced tomato and cucumber, all you need to make it is canned tuna, butter, lemon juice, and capers.

One for the kids too, it could also be used for finger sandwiches for an afternoon tea or picnic.

Get the recipe: Tuna and caper spread (opens in new tab)

sweet potato and bean wrap

Nutritious root veggies like sweet potatoes can work wonders in a wrap

(Image credit: Getty)

20. Mexican sweet potato and bean wrap

Serves: 4  | Total time: 30 mins

You might not think about using up your leftover root veggies in a sandwich but this vegetarian wrap makes genius use of that sweet potato you’ve got lurking in the bottom of the veg box. Just bake it whole, leave it to cool and then mix it with a tin of mixed beans, a sprinkling of Mexican seasoning, and some cheese. Make it vegan by ditching the cheese or opting for a plant-based version. 

You could also add some chopped red onion, chopped red chilli, and some guacamole, as well as natural yogurt or mayo. Excellent in a tortilla wrap or stuffed in toasted pitta bread, it could be sliced as part of a picnic or afternoon tea platter and is great in a kid’s – or grown-up’s – lunch box.

Get the recipe: Mexican sweet potato and bean wrap (opens in new tab)

smoked salmon and avocado and brie on rye bread

Instead of the usual cream cheese, why not try brie with your salmon and avocado?

(Image credit: Gizzi Erskine)

21. Gizzi Erskine’s smoked salmon avocado and brie on rye

Serves: 1  | Total time: 5 mins

We all know how well cream cheese goes with salmon, but we don’t often put it with brie, but we should because this is a winner of a filling, from a well-known chef who knows a thing or two about flavour. 

An easy one to prep in advance and eat on the move, the creaminess of the avocado, the warm flavour of the smoked salmon, and the soft rich brie work wonders together. If rye bread isn’t your bag, swap it out for a poppy seed bagel or a crusty roll.

Get the recipe: Gizzi Erskine’s smoked salmon, avocado, and brie on rye (opens in new tab)

Piccalilli

This curried veggie pickle will liven up your sarnies no end – and can work as a present for others too

(Image credit: TI Media Ltd)

22. Piccalilli

A kind of British riff on an Asian pickle, piccalilli has been jazzing up our sandwiches for generations. A wonderful complement to ham or cheese, it’ll turn a dull sarnie into a thing of wonder. Batch cooking is the way forward (you could give some out as presents in mini Kilner jars) and it’ll keep for up to three months. 

Cauliflower, beans, courgettes, and onions are pickled with spices including ground ginger, mustard powder, and turmeric, which will explain the yellow colour.

Get the recipe: Piccalilli (opens in new tab)

A baguette stuffed with veggies

This stuffed baguette is more exciting than your average lunch

(Image credit: Future)

23. Stuffed baguette sandwich

Serves: 1  | Total time: 20 mins (plus 2 hours chilling time)

Ripping the center out of a baguette and keeping it for breadcrumbs (or just eating it as you go, frankly) makes space for a delicious filling that, when thinly sliced, looks kinda like a savoury swiss roll, and is so aesthetically pleasing it could be part of a posh afternoon tea or picnic spread. 

And better still, the kids will lap it up. Looks fancy when it isn’t, really – it’s purely cream cheese mixed with pepper, cucumber, and sweetcorn. Nothing not to love about that. 

Get the recipe: Stuffed baguette sandwich (opens in new tab)

Classic BLT

A more nutritious version of a classic, thanks to the addition of avocado

(Image credit: Food and Drink/REX/Shutterstock)

24. Classic BLT

What’s not to love about this icon of sandwiches? A brilliant brunch option for a weekend - that packs more of a nutritional punch than your average bacon sarnie, especially with the addition of avocado in this one. This BLT could also be served cold as a lunch box option, or as a dinner with fries on the side. 

Get the recipe: Classic BLT (opens in new tab)

chicken and pesto panini

(Image credit: Getty)

25. Chicken pesto panini

Serves: 2  | Total time: 15 mins

Chicken and pesto is a classic combination and, if you've got any leftover chicken from your Sunday roast, it’s an excellent use for it in this toasted panini. Add sliced plum tomatoes and fresh basil and some mozzarella and this is one seriously tasty lunch that can be served hot or cold. 

If you don’t fancy a panini, just toast slices from a white or granary bloomer instead. And, for veggies, just skip out the chicken and add some extra cheese.

Get the recipe: Chicken pesto panini (opens in new tab)

a crusty roll with egg mayo

Sometimes you can't beat a classic filling like egg mayo

(Image credit: PS-I/Alamy)

26. Egg mayo rolls

Serves: 4  | Total time: 10 mins

An oldie but a goodie, sometimes a classic egg mayo sarnie just really hits the spot. Crusty brown rolls are a perfect companion to creamy egg mayo, especially when paired with some crispy lettuce. Ideal for kid’s lunch boxes or as part of an afternoon tea, egg sandwiches are simple, protein-packed, and delicious. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

“Rolls are a brilliant way of making sure your sandwiches travel well if you are having a picnic or afternoon tea outdoors. I always serve an egg roll at my afternoon tea as it’s one of the most popular choices for all ages,” says Eileen.

Get the recipe: Egg mayo rolls (opens in new tab)

coronation chicken sandwich

Revived by the Platinum Jubilee, coronation chicken is a curried classic

(Image credit: Getty)

27. Coronation chicken and fresh coriander salad sandwich

Serves: 2  | Total time: 10 mins

It’s an iconic filling that has garnered some new attention lately thanks to the Queen’s jubilee. Make your own curried mayo, a nod to Anglo-Indian relations, by adding mango chutney, garlic, and Madras powder to classic mayonnaise, and popping in some fresh coriander for taste and texture too. 

“What better sandwich to serve than the filling that was invented for Her Majesty’s coronation. Make yourself feel like a queen at lunchtime and why not have a cup of Earl Grey tea to go with it, rumored to be the Queen’s favourite,” says Eileen.

Get the recipe: Coronation chicken and fresh coriander salad sandwich (opens in new tab)

Ham and Tewkesbury butter sandwiches

These ham sandwiches with a spicy butter are perfect on a platter with other classics

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

28. Ham and Tewkesbury butter sandwich

Serves: 12  | Total time: 10 mins

A classic ham sandwich is a thing of comforting beauty. Even more so if it’s accompanied by proper butter and a bit of mustard. And this homemade Tewkesbury butter, which is infused with mustard and horseradish for a punch of flavour, makes a simple icon of sandwiches even better. 

You could also swap the lamb for sliced roast beef, another meat that pairs marvelously with such flavours. Definitely, one to make big batches of and add to the afternoon tea spread or a classic buffet.

Get the recipe: Ham and Tewkesbury butter sandwich (opens in new tab)

Chicken liver pate

This homemade paté will make for a luxurious sandwich filling

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

29. Chicken liver paté

Serves: 4  | Total time: 35 mins

One that feels special, to add to a posh picnic or buffet spread, making your own paté is a good one for bulk cooking, then it can be frozen for another day. Delicious spread on a crusty loaf with some peppery watercress, this chicken liver paté is a proper classic. 

Sherry, shallots, and capers all add to the flavour and, if you’re really treating yourself, add a good layer of butter to the bread first. If you’d rather not use the alcohol, swap the sherry for orange juice. 

Get the recipe: Chicken liver pate (opens in new tab)

Blue cheese and avocado sandwich

(Image credit: Getty)

30. Blue cheese and avocado panini

Serves: 1  | Total time: 5 mins

Brie is a popular posh sandwich filling, but why not swap it for a punchier creamy blue cheese, like dolcelatte or cambozola? Toast the bread first (or warm it in the oven) and drizzle with olive oil, then add grilled plum tomatoes, rocket, and avocado. 

So much flavour, so much texture, and it’ll be nearly as good cold if you want to pop it in a lunchbox for later.

Get the recipe: Blue cheese and avocado panini (opens in new tab)

Mediterranean layered sandwich

These cutely packaged sandwiches will have a big impact on a picnic or buffet spread

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)