No one is quite sure who made the first club sandwich — that triple-decker stack of bread, turkey, bacon, lettuce, mayo, and tomato — but whoever it was created an icon. These days, you can find club sandwiches on the menu of restaurants both swanky and casual, and it’s even managed to spread across the world. One restaurant in Australia serves an estimated 9,000 clubs per year, and even the French have adopted it, as Town & Country explained.
As the sandwich’s popularity has grown, so has the number of variations. Today, you can find vegetarian clubs, club sandwiches made with fish, and even a PB&J club sandwich. Whether you’re a club traditionalist or are open to experimenting, here are 10 deliciously different recipes for America’s favorite sandwich.
1. Classic Club Sandwich
Before you start reinventing the club sandwich, it helps to know what goes into making a traditional one. Follow this recipe from Food Network to whip up a sandwich that will taste like it came straight from the kitchen of your favorite diner (plastic cocktail swords included). Makes 4 servings.
- 12 slices white bread
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 8 romaine lettuce leaves
- 16 slices vine-ripened tomatoes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 16 slices crispy cooked bacon
- 16 ounces sliced roasted turkey
- 16 frill picks or plastic cocktail swords
Directions: Toast the bread in a toaster, or under a broiler on both sides. Cut the lettuce leaves in half crosswise and form into eight neat stacks.
To make a double-decker club: On a clean work surface, arrange three bread slices in a row. Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise over 1 side of each bread slice. Place a lettuce stack on top of the first bread slice, top with two tomato slices, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place two slices bacon over the tomatoes, and top with one-eighth of the turkey, being careful to avoid letting it hang over the sides. Season the turkey with salt and pepper, to taste. Repeat with the second bread slice. Carefully place the second layered bread slice on top of the first layered bread, turkey side-up. Cover with the third bread slice, mayonnaise side-down.
Pin the sandwich’s layers together by piercing them with four frill picks or cocktail swords through the top bread slice, in four places in a diamond-like pattern, all the way to the bottom bread slice. Repeat entire process with the remaining ingredients to form three more sandwiches.
Using a serrated knife cut each sandwich diagonally, into four triangular pieces, then secure each quarter with a sword. Serve with potato chips and pickles.
The BLT vs. club question may be the “third-rail of sandwich politics” — at least according to Stephen Colbert — but aside from the inclusion of sliced turkey on the latter, the two are virtually identical. Try this “ultimate” BLT recipe from Bon Appétit when you’re feeling something a bit simpler than a club sandwich. For an extra tasty version, add either a spicy brown sugar rub or maple-mustard glaze to your bacon. Makes 8 servings.
- ¼ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
- 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 pounds thick-cut bacon
- 2 heads of red romaine lettuce, separated into individual leaves
- 4 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
- 16 (½-inch) slices pain de mie, toasted
- Mayonnaise, for serving
- Flaky sea salt, freshly ground pepper
Directions: Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If making brown-sugar rub, whisk brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl.
If making maple-mustard glaze, whisk maple syrup, mustard, cayenne, and remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt in another small bowl.
For plain bacon, divide between two wire racks set inside large foil-lined rimmed baking sheets. Bake, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until brown and crisp, 35 to 50 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
For flavored bacon, generously sprinkle desired amount with rub or brush with glaze about 5 minutes before it is done cooking. Rub should be melted and bubbling and glaze should look thick and caramelized.
Arrange bacon on a large platter and serve with lettuce, tomatoes, toast, mayonnaise, sea salt, and pepper alongside for building sandwiches.
3. Vegetarian Club Sandwich
With ingredients like bacon and turkey, the traditional club sandwich isn’t very vegetarian-friendly. But if you substitute meatless bacon strips and meatless chicken, even those who don’t eat animal protein can enjoy this lunchtime classic, as this recipe from Vegetarian Times proves. Serves 4.
- ½ cup vegan dressing/sandwich spread
- ¼ cup chopped arugula
- 12 slices toasted whole-wheat sourdough bread, divided
- 1 cup radish sprouts
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced ½-inch thick
- 8 slices meatless low-fat bacon strips, cooked
- 1 avocado, peeled, halved, and sliced
- 12 slices meatless deli-style smoked chicken
Directions: Combine sandwich spread and arugula in medium bowl. Spread on four slices of toasted bread.
Divide radish sprouts over sandwich spread. Top each with one tomato slice and two bacon strips. Add a second layer of toast to each sandwich, and top each with one more tomato slice, then avocado and smoked chicken. Spread remaining sandwich spread over remaining four toast slices, and place over chicken. Secure sandwiches with decorative toothpicks, and cut into four triangles.
4. California Club Sandwich
Californians love avocados, so it’s no surprise to see they’re the ingredient that distinguishes a regular old club sandwich from a California club. In this version of the sandwich from The Baking Fairy, the bread is also replaced by a croissant. The result may be high in fat, but it’s also loaded with flavor. Serves 2.
- 2 croissants
- 4 bacon slices
- 1 ripe avocado
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ pound thinly sliced smoked turkey
- 2 slices provolone cheese
Directions: Cook the bacon. As the bacon cooks, slice the croissants in half, then lightly toast.
Slice the avocado in half. Scoop out the filling and mash, then spread half inside each croissant. Top with the garlic salt and arugula. Lay the turkey on top. Then add the bacon and cheese. Serve.
5. Tuna Club Sandwich
You might not expect it from a humble tuna sandwich, but according to The New York Times, this version of the classic club is “picnic food for the gods.” Made with yellowfin tuna, slab bacon, and lemon-pepper aïoli, it’s a dressed up take on a traditional recipe that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to serve to company. Makes 4 servings.
For the lemon pepper aïoli
- 2 egg yolks
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ cups olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
For the poached tuna
- ½ cup coarsely chopped onion
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped carrot
- ⅓ cup sliced celery
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 whole black peppercorns
- 1 pound yellowfin tuna, skinless, cut into 2-inch pieces
For the tuna salad
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons diced yellow bell pepper
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- 1 tablespoon julienned fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Fresh lemon juice to taste
For the sandwich
- 12 slices sourdough, white or whole wheat bread, lightly toasted
- 2½ cups arugula, trimmed, washed and dried
- 8 (¼-inch-thick) slices slab bacon, cooked until crisp
Directions: First, make the aïoli. Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream through the feed tube until all the oil is absorbed and the mixture has the consistency of mayonnaise. Add pepper and mix 10 seconds. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Combine 4 cups water, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the tuna pieces and simmer until they are barely cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Remove the cooked tuna from the cooking liquid to a bowl using a slotted spoon. While the fish is still warm, flake it into small pieces with a fork or your fingers. Cover loosely and let cool.
Crush the fennel seeds between two sheets of waxed paper; dry fry in a small skillet until fragrant. Place in large bowl; add ½ cup aïoli, the red and yellow peppers, onion, herbs, and salt and set aside.
Mix the flaked tuna into the fennel mixture. Combine well and taste for seasonings, adding salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed.
Spread a slice of sourdough bread with the aioli, then with a spoonful of the tuna salad. Top with a few leaves of the arugula and one slice of bacon. Repeat with a second slice of sourdough. Stack one layer on top of another and finish by topping with a third slice of sourdough. Repeat to make three more club sandwiches. Slice each sandwich into halves or thirds and secure each piece with a toothpick.
6. California Club Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Combine a melty grilled cheese sandwich with traditional club sandwich ingredients like turkey, bacon, and tomato, plus a little avocado, and what do you get? Pure lunchtime perfection, as this recipe from Lauren’s Latest shows.
- ¾ inch slices fresh French bread
- Softened butter
- Tomato slices
- White cheddar cheese slices
- Cooked bacon slices
- Thin slices deli pepper turkey
- Ripe avocado, mashed
Directions: Preheat griddle to medium low. As the griddle warms, butter the outside of two slices of bread. Place a cheese slice on the un-buttered side of each piece of bread. Then, top one slice with the mashed avocado, turkey, cooked bacon, and tomato. Cover with the second slice of bread and cheese and then cook on the griddle until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve.
7. Bacon, Egg, and Tomato Club Sandwich
Instead of sliced turkey, why not make your club sandwich with hard-boiled eggs? This sandwich recipe from Epicurious also includes a homemade chive mayonnaise and is topped with fresh herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, or basil) rather than lettuce. Serves 8.
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- 12 slices sandwich bread, toasted
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced and seasoned with salt
- 3 to 4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 pound sliced bacon, halved and cooked until crisp
- 2 cups loosely packed mixed herb leaves such as flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, and basil
Directions: Stir together mayonnaise, chives, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread four slices of toast with some of the mayonnaise and top with half of egg, tomato, bacon, and herbs. Spread both sides of four more slices of toast with mayonnaise and place on top. Cover with remaining egg, tomato, bacon, herbs, and toast. Secure sandwiches with picks and cut as desired.
8. Salmon Club Sandwiches
Health experts are always urging Americans to eat more fish — at least 8 ounces per week, according to the latest dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To get your fishy fill, try this salmon club sandwich recipe from Food & Wine, which includes a delicious tamarind sauce. Serves 4.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 dried chipotle chiles, stems and seeds discarded
- ¾ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup agave syrup
- ½ teaspoon pure chile powder
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 skinless 4-ounce salmon fillets, halved crosswise
- 12 thin slices of whole-wheat toast
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup arugula leaves
- 4 large slices of beefsteak tomato
Directions: In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the tamarind, garlic, chipotles, raisins, tomato paste, agave, and chile powder. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat until thick, 20 minutes. Let cool, then puree in a blender. Season with salt and pepper.
Set the salmon in a large, shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Coat with ½ cup of the sauce; refrigerate for 1 hour.
Light a grill and oil the grates. Grill the salmon over high heat, turning once and basting with another ½ cup of the sauce, until just cooked through, 4 minutes.
For each club sandwich, use three slices of toast; spread each with 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise and layer with the arugula, tomato and fish. Serve.
9. Chicken Salad Club Sandwich
Turn leftover cooked chicken into a whole new meal with this chicken salad club sandwich recipe from Betty Crocker. Placing a single sweet gherkin or tiny dill pickle on top of each sandwich gives this meal some extra flair. Makes 4 servings.
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon honey mustard
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
- ⅓ cup finely chopped celery
- 6 slices whole-grain bread, toasted
- 8 slices tomato
- 4 slices bacon, cooked, drained
- 4 leaves romaine or leaf lettuce
- 4 tiny dill or sweet gherkins
Directions: In medium bowl, mix mayonnaise and mustard well. Stir in chicken and celery until well mixed.
Spread ½ cup chicken mixture on one side of two bread slices. Layer each with two tomato slices, two half slices of bacon and one lettuce leaf. Top each with another bread slice. Repeat layers, starting with chicken mixture. Top each with third bread slice.
Place pickle on each of four toothpicks; insert two into each sandwich. Cut sandwiches into halves.
10. Triple-Pork Club Sandwich
If the bacon on a traditional club sandwich isn’t enough pork flavor for you, try this recipe from Chowhound, which also includes sliced ham and a homemade bacon mayo. And rather than topping the sandwich with the usual suspects (lettuce and tomato) crisp Granny Smith apples are used instead. It may not look much like a regular club sandwich, but it’s undeniably delicious. Serves 4.
For the bacon mayonnaise
- 16 thick-cut bacon slices (about 20 ounces), cut in half crosswise
- Vegetable oil, as needed
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the sandwich
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 12 slices light rye bread
- 1 pound thinly sliced ham
Directions: To make the bacon mayonnaise, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds.
Arrange the bacon pieces in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans between the oven racks and continue baking until the bacon is crisped and brown, about 5 to 10 minutes more.
Transfer the bacon pieces to a large paper-towel-lined plate, placing additional paper towels between each layer of bacon. Carefully pour the ⅔ cup bacon fat from the baking sheets into a heatproof measuring cup. Add canola oil if you’re a little short. Discard any excess bacon fat. Let the measured bacon fat cool for 15 minutes.
Place the egg yolks, vinegar, and mustard in a medium bowl and whisk until combined. While whisking constantly, very slowly add the bacon fat or bacon fat/oil mixture in a thin stream until it’s completely incorporated and the mixture is thickened and creamy. Add the salt and pepper and whisk to combine; set aside.
To assemble the sandwiches, increase the oven temperature to broil and keep a rack in the top third of the oven.
Halve, core, and cut the apple into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Place the slices in a medium bowl, drizzle with the vinegar, and toss to coat.
Place six of the bread slices in a single layer on a clean baking sheet. Toast in the oven, flipping once, until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a work surface and repeat with the remaining bread slices.
Spread 1 tablespoon of the bacon mayonnaise on each bread slice. Equally divide all of the apple slices among four of the bread slices. Top the apples with the ham and another slice of bread. Top with the reserved bacon slices and finish with the remaining 4 slices of bread, mayonnaise-side down. Slice each sandwich into quarters and serve.