HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Help! Need fabulous tea sandwich recipes!!

I'm throwing a Mother's Day tea for the mom's in my family and need some tea sandwich recipes. I've never made tea sandwiches before - so any tips and tricks to make the recipe a success are appreciated! I'd like to do at least 4, maybe 5 varieties.

I'm looking to do...

chicken salad (found a good sounding recipe on epicurious - so I think I'm good there.)
red beet
carrot ?? (anyone know of a carrot tea sandwich recipe? - my sister says she's had something like this before in a tea house... but wasn't sure of what else was in it)

All suggestions are very much appreciated!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I made tea sandwiches for a friend's baby shower recently. One suggestion, if you can, get the bread sliced lengthwise, makes sandwich assembly faster and you waste less time cutting crusts.

    Cucumber: I just softened cream cheese and mixed in some fresh dill and topped with thinly sliced cucumbers.

    Carrot: this recipe http://whatscookingamerica.net/Sandwi... has been discussed here and works well, I add raisins for a bit of sweetness...

    Beet: I'm not familiar with, hopefully someone else chimes in (:

    btw Barefoot Contessa has an excellent smoked salmon tea sandwich recipe too. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: maplesugar

      Smoked salmon tea sandwiches....yum!

    2. Depending on how much time you want to spend, I like making bread in these shaped canape containers (hearts and flowers):


      I bought mine from Sur la Table. At the risk of sounding like Martha Stewart, you can also use those molds to cut cheese, or even use them to mold things like savory mousses. As sandwiches go, smoked salmon mousse w/ capers is popular. You could top the cucumber with that. Egg salad and watercress. Curry chicken (or something else curry since you're already having chicken, maybe curried egg salad).

      1. A really traditional cucumber salad is made with thinly sliced cucumber, butter, a little salt, and maybe some watercress. No reason you have to be traditional, of course. For example, I like to make tea sandwiches with pumpernickel bread (definitely not traditional!), which is very thin, and can support just about any filling.

        I made some tea sandwiches for a party several years ago, and a British friend told me they were good, but not authentic because there was too much filling! Just in general, Brits don't put as much stuff in their sandwiches as Americans do. And with tea sandwiches it's a good idea not to load them up with a lot of filling because it makes them harder to cut into neat pieces.

        My other main piece of advice is not to make them too much in advance. Prepare the fillings and cut the crusts off the bread, and then assemble them as near to the time they're going to be eaten as possible.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jlafler

          That's a great hint about assembling right before eating. Soggy bread is never good, plus some ingredients need to be refrigerated but never the bread.

          1. re: jlafler

            jlafler is right. We don't overstuff our sandwiches in Europe. Nor is "afternoon tea" exactly a common occurrance in the UK.

            However, my wife took me for tea to a local hotel as a birthday treat a while back. Sandwiches were:

            Smoked salmon - just one layer
            Chopped egg/mayo/cress
            Cucumber - again a thin layer
            Cream cheese - might have had thin slices of radish.

            If you needed a fifth, then I'd suggest ham and mustard (thin layer - not US proportions)

            And don't forget to cut the crusts off.

          2. Two nice ones I have done, though not for quite a while, are smoked gouda sandwiches and cucumber. I believe the gouda was just grated cheese and mayo, spread on bread, cut into triangles or rounds. Smear one edge (or all around if round) with butter and dip in finely chopped parsley. For the cucumber, peel and slice very fine; salt the slices and let them sit on a tray to drain for several hours. Once drained and patted dry, put slices on crustless bread, cut and smear one side with sour cream then dip in minced fresh chives.


            1. Not at all sure about authenticity just one who chows down:
              I adore carrots with arugala, which would add a lot of flavor to the carrot, perhaps on little raisin breads with a thin layer of cream cheese.
              Perhaps your beet could go with a mild goat cheese topped with a touch of dill weed. Best bread with that.....rye or mini-baguettes?
              How about sea-salted radishes, parsley, and feta on mini pitas? Or a more french approach - sea-salted radishes, thin spread of butter, on mini-baguettes? Actually, the little white breads would be tasty with all above I imagine. Great idea for a party and hope it goes really well!

              1. I haven't seen this in long time, but back in the day, my mother and her friends made the most beautiful tea sandwiches for showers, etc. They would special order from a local a baker large sheets of tender bread about 1" thick. The bread would then be kept moist with a damp tea towel while a filling was made....typical tea sandwich fillings. Large amounts of cream cheese were softened, and colored with pastel colors. When the bread was pliable the filling would be spread thinly and the whole thing rolled like a jelly roll and iced with the colored cream cheese.. Into the fridge it would go again wrapped in wax paper, I think, until serving time. These were made either the day of - or one day before the event.

                At the party venue, large silver trays were brought out, doilies placed on top. The sandwiches were cut into lovely, delicate circles, and arranged on the trays garnished with edible flowers of various herbs. Once in a while someone would spend the time and make square "rolls" to everyone's admiration.

                1. My only tip is to butter the bread before putting your filling on. Both inside surfaces. Helps keep the bread from getting soggy, and I absolutely love the taste of the cool butter on the cool sandwiches.

                  I also agree that you shouldn't fill them too full. Not only are they hard to cut in pretty triangles or squares, but they're harder to eat gracefully. Ever take a big bite out of a chicken salad sammy and have all the insides spill out the opposite end? Not pretty. And that may be fine at the diner, but not at a nice tea.

                  I also love thinly sliced ham with buttered white or wheat bread. No cheese, just simple slices of ham and good butter.

                  Oh, and your bread needs to be sturdy. Don't use anything that even hints it might moosh down when you go to cut the crusts off or cut into shapes. Don't use anything with a coarse or crisp crust, but make sure that crumb is nice and "firm."

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: k_d

                    I was planning to just buy white (like Wonder Bread) or different kinds of sandwich bread (wheat, etc.)... is that the wrong way to go?

                    1. re: The Oracle

                      I would use a firmer bread such as Pepperidge Farm white bread, regular (which is pretty thin all ready) or thin slice.

                      1. re: gourmanda

                        I agree - it's the perfect kind of bread. Also, if you can get whole loaves sliced lengthwise, putting together the filling/sandwiches is much quicker.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          I don't know if it's the case anymore but I couldn't find Pepperidge Farm white bread in California. I was going to make scallop puffs and looked everywhere for it.

                      2. re: The Oracle

                        Whatever you do, don't use Wonder Bread! It's too squishy.

                    2. Turkey with apricot chutney and cream cheese on wheat cut into fingers.

                      1. my sisters and I made hundreds of tea sandwiches for our parents' 60th wedding anniversary. Favorites were

                        pimento cheese with olives (cream cheese, pimento stuffed green olives, shredded yellow cheddar cheese mixed in food processor)

                        chicken salad (poached chicken breast finely chopped with celery, green onion, lemon zest and mayo)

                        ham salad (ground ham, sweet pickle relish, onion and mayo)

                        cucumber, butter, watercress

                        roast beef, butter, spinach, mustard

                        thin sliced tomato, thin sliced fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, butter

                        1. I don't know which recipe you're using from Epi for the chicken salad, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this one. And I've used it a number of times for tea showers.


                          1. The Empress(now a Fairmont), in Victoria(V.I.), British Columbia has a nice old tea room. The Carrot-Ginger Sandwich is a standard - do a search, recipes for this simple recipe abound on the net

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: malabargold

                              Honeybaked ham has wonderful ham salad, I use that on a wheat nut bread.
                              Also, I spread a little mayo on the edges of the cut sandwiches and roll them in a little finely cut parsley.

                              1. re: grapevine

                                I thought you're supposed to use something like a Wonder Bread and then roll it out to flatten. Then again, this would be making the pinwheel type sandwiches.

                            2. My friend and I donated a tea party to a church auction and she made homemade mayo for the cucumber sandwiches - it was a big hit. Used it for the smoked salmon sandwiches too.

                              1. Don't forget asparagus sandwiches -- just spread a bit of mayo/cream cheese on a flattened, de-crusted slice, roll it up and slice it into little wheels. In my mother's day in our part of the world the asparagus was canned, but fresh, lightly steamed and chilled asparagus would be incredible!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mwright

                                  If you cut the bread with a circular cutter, butter or boursin cheese spead on the round and then put an asparagus tip across the middle, you can fold the sides in so it looks like a lily. Very pretty.

                                2. I second the recommendation for the Thin Slice Pepperidge Farm white and wheat breads. I've used both and they work well and hold up to the trimming and cutting. Using the "party rye" or pumpernickel is not authentic, but gives you a nice contrast of colors on the platters and can be used to differentiate filling types. I've found that most bakeries around me can't do the vertical slicing or make thin slices-- the bread slicers are not as adjustable as they used to be.

                                  For serving, it can also help to slice the sandwiches in different (simple shapes) to identify fillings -- rectangular strips for one, squares for another, triangles for another, etc.

                                  Many of the fillings I've used have already been suggested. But they all work well. The smoked salmon with dill cream cheese works well.

                                  If you are having any small children, don't forget to include some fillings for them. I've done a birthday tea party for my daughter with pink lemonade, strawberry tea, and "tea sandwiches of: PB&J, turkey, ham, cheese, and rolled-up spirals with strawberry cream cheese. They loved them -- as long I kept each item separate (for the picky eaters)!

                                  1. You absolutely can make these a day ahead. Pack them into a large Tupperware container in layers, with sheets of wax paper and a barely damp paper towel between each layer. Let them come to room temp before serving. Also, to keep them from getting soggy, you must lightly butter the insides of both slices of bread. My favorites: cream cheese with crushed pineapple (well drained), watercress or cucumbers with an herbed Boursin-type cream cheese, a simple egg salad (just eggs very finely minced and mayo), a simple chicken salad (also finely minced), and a smoked salmon/cream cheese blend. I cut my bread ahead of time with cookie cutters to get perfect, pretty shapes... hearts, diamonds, circles, squares (cut diagonally for triangles) and any other simple designs. I save the crusts for bread crumbs or bread pudding. I think your beets might bleed into the bread, but experiment a little... with a good smear of butter, and paper thin beet slices, they might not. Or mince the beets then mix with cream cheese maybe. Good luck! Wish I could come to your party!

                                    1. I like curry, and found this recipe to be different and yummy.
                                      CURRIED TUNA
                                      7 ounces tuna in water, drained and flaked
                                      1/4 cup currants
                                      1/2 cup mayonnaise
                                      1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
                                      2 tablespoons chopped chutney
                                      curry powder, to taste
                                      1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
                                      2 seedless English cukes

                                      Drain tuna well and put in mixing bowl. Break up well with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate. Cut cukes in 1/4" slices. Drain on paper towel. Spoon mixture on top of cukes. Place these on buttered bread rounds.

                                      1. instead of chopped egg, i like to do a thin spread of butter or mayo, a slice of hardboiled egg, cut mini slice of bacon if desired, mini tomato slice (Romas work well), sprinkle of chives

                                        butternut squash puree spread, slice jarlsberg, julienned sundried toms, slice sage

                                        brie and raspberry jam/preserves

                                        balsamic vinegarette drizzled on bread, slice of apple, slice of optional cheese muenster or gouda, raisins, chopped walnuts

                                        1. I had a tea party a while ago and made Minted Radish Tea Sandwiches with Lemon Mayonnaise from Epicurious (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...). They sound strange, but were absolutey fantastic. I had leftovers of every sandwich except this one.

                                          1. The favorite this year at my annual tea party were the radish sandwiches: sourdough bread, european style (Plugra) butter, radishes, arugula (couldn't find watercress), thin radish slices, and fluer de sel.

                                            An alternate, and easy, egg sandwich I make inspired by the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco: round slice of wheat bread, round slice of egg, small dollop of remoulade (I like it a little spicy), and finely chopped chives. It's great, b/c you can prepare everything ahead of time and assemble at the last min.

                                            Don't forget to have your food proscessor out. My friends were all excited to have fresh bread crumbs to take home.

                                            1. Going back in time to my Mother's tea parties. I always remember the cream cheese and olive. Everyone loved them. Another one for the sweet tooth is cream cheese and orange marmalade on raisin bread. Blended in a food processsor and add a little orange zest.....wonderful. Have fun!

                                              1. A lot of the sandwich combinations really lend themselves to being served open-faced. You might consider serving one sandwich that way for a variety on presentation.

                                                Although not traditional, I like a simple shrimp salad. Rinse and drain some bay shrimp, mix with a bit of store bought mayo or homemade aioli, a bit of fresh, chopped dillweed and spritz of fresh lemon juice. Garnish with a sprig of dill. You can also put a layer of thinly sliced cucumber on the bread then the shrimp.

                                                Another sandwich is softened cream cheese and canned anaheim green chiles shredded into strips. Lay some of the chile over the cheese. Take a thin slice of salami and make a cut from the center to the outer edge. Twist the cut end in opposite directions so it will stand upright on top of the filling.

                                                Variety on egg salad: open-faced, chopped walnut or pecan sprinkled on top.

                                                1. just did a tea sandwich last weekend that went over pretty well:

                                                  imitation crab meat chopped and mixed w/ mayo, thin slices of salted cucumber and salted red onion on whole wheat bread. cut into triangles of course.

                                                  1. Thank you all SO much for all the tips!! It was very helpful and after a very long day of making sandwiches and scones, I feel like I'm a pro! ;)

                                                    I ended up making WAY too much (lots of leftovers) and tried several variations of sandwiches and scones.

                                                    My favorite was a combination of...
                                                    Cucumber mint (1/4 c. butter, 1/4 c. cream cheese, chopped mint) - spread the mixture on both sides of bread and put thin slices of cucumber... and a layer of the carrot-ginger salad (shredded carrots, mayo, cream cheese, grated ginger, and a little sugar) and a few sprouts. These were heavenly! They started out as 2 different sandwiches, but I ended up combining them, because they were such a great combo!

                                                    I wasn't crazy about the eggs salad ones I made, but everyone said they were their favorites (eggs, dill, mayo). http://whatscookingamerica.net/Sandwi...

                                                    I've decided the key is to great tea sandwiches is to use fresh herbs... which I was fortunate to find at the farmers market the day before.

                                                    I also made a chicken and fennel salad sandwich (epi recipe) and put it in bread puffs that worked out really well and had everyone raving. I didn't use the roast chicken it called for - but just poached it in water with some vinegar and pepper. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                    The other sandwiches (another chicken salad, egg curry) turned out ok, but were not the fav's. I never got around to the sweet onion or apple/boursin I had planned... but next time....

                                                    I also managed to get the beet sandwiches recipe I was hunting for - although, I didn't make them. The spread is butter and parmesan mixture. Made with canned beets and carrots - drained and paper towel dry and then cut into thin slices. It's a double decker sandwich, one layer of beets, a layer of bread, and a layer of carrots. I'm sure you can use fresh instead of canned - just steam the veggies and drain excess water. (on white bread


                                                    I had no idea how easy and fun it is to make tea sandwiches!! They always seemed so intimidating to me... but no more! I can't wait to experiment with more flavors and herb combinations.

                                                    Thanks again for all your help!