America's Top 10 Favorite Sandwiches

sloppy joe with curly fries
You can't get much messier -- or more American -- than a big sloppy joe. See more pictures of healthy soups and sandwiches.

What we now widely recognize as a sandwich is thought to have originated in England during the 18th century. Colonial Americans weren't too fond of imitating anything British, so it wasn't until well after the Revolutionary War that new settlers started using this term to describe bread and meat combinations. Our country's founding generations brought customs and cuisine to all corners of the United States, just as new immigrants continue to do today. American fare tastes different depending on the region you live in, and as it turns out, so do sandwiches. Here are 10 of America's most beloved sandwiches -- and a few of our variations on the classics.


10: English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich

Different regions of the country put their own unique spin on food. This classic breakfast sandwich is one favorite that knows no regional boundaries. Poached eggs, Canadian bacon, cheese and an English muffin are staple ingredients of this popular sandwich. You can adapt it by substituting ingredients. For example, swap out slices of Swiss for the typical cheddar, or use bacon strips instead of Canadian bacon. If your mornings are hurried and there's no time to heat this sandwich under a broiler, just use a toaster to brown the bread, prepare the slices with all ingredients, then warm in a microwave to melt the cheese.


9: Smoky Barbecued Beef Sandwiches

barbecue sandwich with baked beans
In the South, barbecue is king when it comes to meaty sandwiches.

Don't pay too much attention to the name here. The Smoky Barbecued Beef Sandwich tastes like barbecue, but there's no grill involved. This recipe is inspired by cuisine in the South, where barbecue is a particularly beloved flavor. Enjoy the essence of barbecue without firing up the grill by baking meat in an oven instead. The beef takes on that familiar barbecue tang from a number of unusually paired ingredients that it cooks in: beer, brown sugar, adobo sauce, cloves, Worcestershire sauce and more. Slice the meat thinly to make it go farther. To prevent rolls from becoming soggy from the moist beef, toast them well before serving.


8: Hot Beef Sandwich

Here's a dynamite recipe for an Italian-style hot beef sandwich. But don't let the name fool you: The sandwich doesn't come from Italy, as you might guess. While the origins are debated, one thing is certain -- Italian hot beef sandwiches are supremely popular in the Chicago area where there's ample supply of imported Italian meats. By pulling the beef so it takes on a shredded consistency, you can stretch your supply quite easily in order to feed a lot of people at large-scale events. Plus, it's easy to prepare the beef in a slow cooker, where it cooks for about 10 hours, taking on delectable flavors like garlic, mustard seeds and dill pickles. Serve the beef on a toasted bun and garnish with your favorite fixings, such as tomatoes, onion and lettuce.


7: Ham and Cheese Stromboli

ham and cheese with tomato
To make good stromboli, you've got to have the best ingredients. Use quality cheeses and ham for this recipe.

This Northeastern standard is thought to have originated in the Philadelphia area. Stromboli is a flavorful twist on a traditional sandwich. It's similar to a calzone -- a pizza crust folded in half and stuffed with meats, cheeses or vegetables. Stromboli is rolled into a log shape, and it's just as easy to make as it is tasty. Simply unroll a premade pizza crust and stuff it with ham, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Roll up the sides and pinch together, forming a middle seam before cooking. Feel free to experiment with your favorite spices and mustards to give your palate a little kick.


6: Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Cooking doesn't get much easier than this. It only takes about 15 minutes to make, but effortless doesn't mean tasteless. Often found on kids' menus, the Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich is adored by children and adults alike for its mild flavors and ooey-gooey goodness. It's usually made with American or cheddar cheese and white bread. For a healthier version of this comfort food, substitute butter with olive oil or margarine. Or you can skip it altogether; just toast the bread in a skillet on a lower temperature so it doesn't burn. You may also want to use whole-grain or wheat bread rather than white.


5: Grilled Reubens with Coleslaw

Reuben sandwich
Reubens taste great with either sauerkraut or coleslaw.

Where the Reuben Sandwich comes from is up for debate. It is, however, one of America's most popular sandwiches, as it's served in restaurants from the Southwest to Northeast. Main ingredients include corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut served on rye bread with Russian dressing. Some recipes call for coleslaw instead of sauerkraut. If you prefer to make your own Russian dressing, you'll need mayonnaise, ketchup, minced onions or chives, horseradish, lemon juice, paprika and parsley or dill and salt and pepper. If you don't have an indoor grill, like the one used for this recipe, you can use a skillet over the stove to toast the bread and warm the sandwich through.


4: Philly Cheese Steak

The great Philly cheese steak. You've probably seen it on menus outside of Pennsylvania, but you have to go to Philadelphia to eat the real thing. There's a reason this sandwich is imitated around the world. Rib eye beef that has been sautéed then thinly chopped gets heaped onto a long, crusty roll. Cheez Whiz, provolone or white American cheese is then layered on top. This recipe features other flavors, too, including onion, green pepper and red pepper flakes. The steak doesn't take long to cook since it's sliced so thin. Simply pile it onto a Kaiser bun or Hoagie roll, and add the ingredients for the next best thing to an authentic Philly cheese steak sandwich.


3: Chicken Salad Sandwich

chicken salad sandwich
There's nothing more American than packing a chicken salad sandwich for a picnic or al fresco lunch.

Chicken salad's creamy coolness and crisp celery crunch make it a classic American lunch staple. We have a recipe that offers a creative adaptation of a traditional chicken salad sandwich with its use of curry and a medley of other flavors. Featuring an array of unexpected ingredients -- including green apples, coconut, honey and lime -- this meal is sure to delight your taste buds. There are a number of easy ways you can modify it to meet your needs when it comes to diet or prep time. Using light mayonnaise or bagels or other breads instead of croissants are lower-calorie alternatives that don't affect the overall taste much. Consider doubling the amount of curry used if you prefer extra bite. To save time chopping, use boneless chicken rather than pieces on the bone.


2: Sloppy Joes

Get some beef, tomatoes and buns, and you're ready to make America's favorite messy sandwich: sloppy joes! But if you enjoy a little more depth when it comes to flavor combinations, bring on some heat with Southwestern Sloppy Joes. Green chilies give this special sandwich a kick. If you're not ready for it, cook a milder version sans chili peppers. The meat mixture features chunks of onion, celery and tomatoes flavored with cumin, brown sugar and other ingredients. Use lean beef that's rich in iron, zinc and B vitamins for maximum nutritional value. Coming in at only 190 calories per serving, this recipe is relatively healthy, feeds a sizeable group and only takes 20 minutes to make, so go ahead invite guests! Serve on whole-wheat buns or your favorite alternative bread.


1: Po' Boys

Maine lobster rolls
If you like a po' boy stuffed with seafood, you may like this closely related sandwich: the Maine lobster roll.
Alexandra Grablewski/Lifesize/Thinkstock

Made with French bread that's crusty on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, the po' boy sandwich is a New Orleans icon. This special sandwich is always served on French bread; however, what's featured on it can vary from roast beef, meatballs, sausage, crab, fried oysters, shrimp, fish or more. With this recipe for Burgundy Beef Po' Boys, red wine, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce infuse the meat with considerable oomph during the slow cooking process. When the beef is done cooking, remember to let it cool down long enough to make it easier to touch when shredding with a fork.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Lynne, Olver. The Food Timeline: FAQs: Sandwiches. April 3, 2010. (May 7, 2010).
  • Philadelphia and the Countryside: Authentic Philly Cheese steaks. 2010. (May 7, 2010).
  • Stradley, Linda. What's Cooking America: History of Hoagies, Submarine sandwiches, Po' boys sandwiches, dogwood sandwiches, and Italian sandwiches. 2010. (May 7, 2010).
  • Linda. What's Cooking America: History of Reuben Sandwich. 2010. (May 7, 2010).