Here’s How To Make Your Homemade Sandwiches Taste Like They’re From the Deli
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Aren’t sandwiches just the absolute best? You can eat them whenever (did someone say breakfast sandwich?), you can whip one up quickly (PB&J, anyone?), pack them around (hard to toss last night’s lasagna in a bag, isn’t it?), and enjoy one just about anywhere. And the best thing about sandwiches is you can make incredible ones at home. All it really takes to elevate your sandwich-making skills to deli quality is a little know-how.
The helpful sandwich-making hacks, appliances and tools below are going to turn your soggy sandwiches into an NY deli-worthy experience in no time at all.
The SPY team loves sandwiches so much, that we feel like we wouldn’t be doing or readers justice without providing you with some helpful tips on how to make the best sandwiches. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of PB&Js, grilled cheeses, bologna sandwiches, wraps or BLTs, we don’t discriminate. Below you’ll find some of our favorite hacks for making mouth-watering sammies.
For Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Use Mayo Instead of Butter – Mayo is made up of oil, eggs, salt and other seasonings, and when it cooks into the bread and into the cheese, the results are the best grilled cheese sandwiches around. We know it might not seem appetizing when you’re first spreading it on the bread, but trust us, it is going to set that grilled cheese off.
Put Those Tomatoes in Paper Towels – To keep your sandwiches from getting soggy, one of the best treatments is to wrap the sliced tomato up in a paper towel to absorb all the extra moisture. Afterward, put a little salt and pepper on it to make it sing. You’ll still get all that delicious, acidic flavor from the tomato, just without all the sogginess.
Alternate “Grippy” and “Slippery” Ingredients – Remember the order of operations back in grade school? The same applies to sandwiches. To make a sandwich stick together well, alternate layering “grippy” foods (like cheese or meats) with slippery food (tomato or lettuce). The friction will help keep sandwiches together and prevent them from falling apart when you bite down.
Breakfast in the Oven – This is an absolute game-changer. Instead of opting for microwavable breakfast sandwiches that have enough salt in them to make the ocean jealous, you can make a whole bunch of them in muffin pans. Just construct the breakfast sandwiches the way you like in each muffin slot (we recommend pre-cooking any meat to be safe), toss them in the oven to cook, and freeze them afterward. Now when you microwave one up in the morning, it will be homemade, and much healthier.
Heat Up Your Tortilla – The best way to keep your tortilla from ripping when you’re trying to make a wrap is to heat it first. It doesn’t take much (you don’t want it crispy), only about 10 to 15 seconds or so on each side in a pan should do the trick. This makes your tortilla more pliable and prevents it from ripping, even when you packed that wrap just a bit too full.
Folding Round Meats Twice (Or Cutting Them in Half) – Putting round meat on square pieces of bread is fine — nobody is going to toss you in jail for it. But for cleaner-looking sandwiches, and a better eating experience, you can do two things to make round meat fit perfectly on that square bread body. First, you can fold them in half, and then half again, and put the corner of the meat to line up with the corner of the bread, so the quarter circle is in the middle. Do that with two slices of meat and your sandwich is covered.
Or you can take a pizza cutter (bonus hack: pizza cutters are great for cutting off bread crust), and cut your deli meat right down the middle, so you have a flat, straight line. Put both pieces so the semi-circle is in the middle of the bread and line up the flat ends with the edge of the bread. Viola. Who knew that 3rd-grade geometry class would become so important?!
A sandwich maker can set off a sandwich. The light grill marks on the outside provide that desirable crunch while maintaining the soft texture of the bread on the inside. Panini makers can be as simple as plugging them in, setting your sandwich in there and closing the slid. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it.
1. Cuisinart 5-1 Griddler
Versatile enough to lightly toast bread for sandwiches, and powerful enough to grill burgers, this stainless steel sandwich maker by Cuisinart is a great pick. Is a hamburger a sandwich? Who the hell cares when you can make whatever meat and veggie assortment between two pieces of bread you want. If you’re feeling extra frisky, you can also make pancakes and bacon, especially while the grease trap captures all the run-off. This is the Rolls Royce of sandwich makers.
2. Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press
The panini press by reputable brand Hamilton Beach is pretty much the gold standard of at-home sandwich making. This model benefits from a handsome minimalist design and will prove to any visitors that you weren’t joking when you said you took your grilled cheese game “very” seriously. No buttons, no frills — just great sandwiches every time. Turn this baby on, press your sammy down and toast it to your preference.
3. George Foreman Grill
We would be remiss to not include the “heavyweight champion of indoor grills.” It is one of the more expensive sandwich makers not only for its name but also for its versatility. You can cook everything from burgers to muffins on this thing, and it makes a damn fine sandwich, too. This is a newer and sleeker take on the classic red model that’s been around for years, but it still has that iconic fat-removing slope.
4. Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker
BEST FOR BREAKFAST LOVERS
Is there anything better than a well-made breakfast sandwich? Yes: two well-made breakfast sandwiches. All you need to do is layer your breakfast sandwich inside of the Hamilton Beach Sandwich maker and in about five minutes, you’ll have a delicious meal to start your morning. It doesn’t take much brainpower to make a delicious breakfast sandwich with this sandwich press.
5. OSTBA Sandwich Maker
BEST BUDGET PICK
For under $20, this sandwich maker by OSTBA has non-stick plates, so you don’t have to worry about wiping off residue. A cool-touch handle acts as a safety precaution, ensuring you never get burned, while LED indicator lights allow you to know when your surface is preheated and ready to cook with. For anyone on a budget or those that burn themselves trying to make toasties on a skillet, this is the affordable device for you. It can even grill omelets.
6. Metine Sandwich and Waffle Maker
Whether you like to make a chicken and waffle sandwich or a classic Caprese panini, this press has your back. It has anti-skid feet to sit still on your counter, and three sets of removable plates that can be easily cleaned — they’re even dishwasher friendly, making it even more low-maintenance. Rather than buying a separate waffle, grill, and panini press, save on costs and space with this multi-tasking three-in-one gadget.
7. Cuisinart Cast Iron Grill Press
BEST OLD SCHOOL PICK
If you like to keep things traditional and don’t need a whole clunker of an electric machine to deliver your panini, consider a classic cast iron grill press with a wooden handle, like this foolproof one by Cuisinart. Make a mouthwatering Cubano with this manual press, or restaurant-quality grill marks to any meat or seafood you like. Many buyers use it to make the perfect smash burger. While it’s not dishwasher-friendly, it’s a lot easier to clean than a full-on machine.
8. Nostalgia MyMini Personal Sandwich Maker
BEST RETRO PICK
This adorable, retro-inspired personal sandwich maker is ideal for small apartments, dorms or travel, given its tiny footprint. Just like full-sized versions, there are indicator lights and a cool-touch handle to help you speedily whip up French toast, eggs, or the ultimate grilled cheese. This sandwich maker has a unique color scheme that acts as a kitchen decor pop of color and offers a welcome alternative to the usual boring black and silver look of appliances.
9. Proctor Silex Sandwich Maker
BEST FOR MULTIPLE SANDWICHES
This no-frills, extra-long sandwich maker from Hamilton Beach can toast multiple thick sandwiches at once, so you can make lunch for two at the same time. The floating lid with a lock uses just the right pressure, so that your sammies never come out under-toasted, or overcooked and smashed. Since you can make two at once, it saves on time. This model isn’t as versatile as alternatives with multiple plates, but as a sandwich and wrap maker, it performs flawlessly.
Whether you have fussy eaters in the house, or you’re just striving to make the best-toasted sandwich on the planet, these helpful kitchen tools can assist you like your own personal sous chef. And best of all, these helpful little tools that you’ll use on the daily clock in at a very affordable price.
1. Bites & Pieces Puzzling Crust Cutter
Got a little one in the house that hates bread crust? With the Bites & Pieces Puzzling Crust Cutter, you can make their sandwich without crust, and create a fun little Tetris-style puzzle for them in the process. This fun little sandwich cutter only runs about $6, so if they still won’t eat their sandwiches after, no harm, no foul.
2. Jean-Patrique Toasted Sandwich Maker
You don’t need an “appliance” to create a delicious grilled sandwich. Place that sammy right in the plate, close it and throw it on your stove. Open it up periodically to see how your sandwich is grilling. If you’re more of a hands-on chef, you’ll appreciate the manual control of this sandwich maker.
3. Reusable Toaster Bags
Turn your regular classic toaster into a de facto panini press with these reusable toaster bags. They’re made of heat-resistant, BPA-free and PFOA-free materials, and come with their own non-stick coating.
4. Crckt Sandwich Cutter and Sealer 6pc Set
When you’re prepping sandwiches for kids, finding a way to make their meal interesting can be tough. Rather than making messy carrot and hummus smiley faces in their lunchbox, make sandwiches out of fun shapes like stars and de-crust or seal them in the process. Also ideal for any adult who doesn’t like crust (no judgment) or making tea sandwiches. The plastic is non-toxic and doesn’t have any sharp edges, which means that your kids can even take part in the sandwich-making fun if they want to.
5. How to Make Perfect Panini by Catherine Atkinson
BEST SANDWICH MAKING LITERATURE
While this might not exactly be a tool to make sandwiches with, it’s certainly an important resource. This book will teach you how to turn a regular sandwich into a drool-worthy, crispy panini with a flavourful filling. From classic picks like grilled cheese to more contemporary and multi-layered paninis, there’s something in here for everyone.
6. Toas-Tite Pocket Style Sandwich Grill and Pudgy Pie Iron
BEST FOR CAMPING
What do you do when you’re off camping but want the comfort of a delicious toastie to fill you up and keep you warm? Invest in one of these classic tools which have been around for years. Dubbed a “pudgy pie iron,” this pocket-style sandwich grill is ideal for camping or anyone who owns a fire pit. You can make everything, including “mini meatball parm bites, cheese melts to fruit-filled pastry” as one buyer puts it. We’re drooling just thinking about it!
7. Zyliss E920250 Comfort Spreading Knife
BEST FOR CONDIMENTS
Using the wrong utensil to spread your sandwich toppings can cause mayhem or ruin your bread. This stainless steel sandwich spreading prep tool features a wide and scalloped blade to easily hold and spread your condiments, as well as a sharper edge to cut your bread. The special blade adds flex where you need it, helping spread jellies and peanut butter more easily than your average butter knife. Use the serrated edge to cut anything you need, while the other edge can be used for all your spreading needs.