Afternoon Tea Sandwiches

Cucumber, Egg Salad, Salmon, and more

 A tea sandwich is traditionally a small, pre-made sandwich that is eaten at an afternoon tea. The original purpose of a tea sandwich is to satisfy any hunger prior to the main evening meal. Tea sandwiches are sometimes referred to as finger sandwiches.

These sandwiches can have a wide variety of ingredients, but the form and format of the sandwiches are usually the same. They should be easy to handle and able to be eaten in two or three bites. Actual sandwich shapes may vary from long, rectangle...MORE sandwiches to triangle half-sandwiches. Cookie cutters can also be used to cut the sandwiches into detailed, decorative shapes. 

Classic tea sandwiches use thinly sliced white bread as a base. Often the bread is buttered and the crust is cut away after the sandwich is made, prior to serving. Modern takes on tea sandwiches include other bread varieties, such as wheat, rye, or pumpernickel. 

Tea sandwich recipes are often based on traditional flavor combinations. Feel free to experiment with bread varieties, ingredients, and presentation to fit your occasion. 

  • 01 of 06
    An image of Cucumber & Cream Cheese Finger Sandwiches.
    Lindsey Goodwin

    Cucumber tea sandwiches are a classic and often what comes to mind when thinking about delicate finger sandwiches. In most recipes, the cucumber is thinly sliced and provides a fresh crunch to each bite. Try some different ingredient combinations, such as cucumber-mint finger sandwiches, herbed butter-cucumber tea sandwiches, salmon and cucumber sandwiches and more.

  • 02 of 06
    An image of Simple Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches.
    Lindsey Goodwin

    The watercress-egg salad tea sandwich is similar to a type of egg salad sandwich served at the famous London department store Harrods (where it is also known as an "egg and cress" tea sandwich). There are many other variations on egg salad sandwiches (or "creamed egg sandwiches" as they are sometimes called in England), such as dill egg salad finger sandwiches and healthy egg salad tea sandwiches.

  • 03 of 06

    Smoked Salmon Finger Sandwich

    An image of Smoked Salmon Herbed Butter Finger Sandwiches.
    Herbed butter gives these finger sandwiches a memorable flavor that's great for afternoon tea parties. Lindsey Goodwin

    The classic smoked salmon tea sandwich is made with dill and horseradish added to the smoked salmon. Other variations include salmon and herbed butter tea sandwiches and smoked salmon and cream cheese tea sandwiches

    While pumpernickel is very traditional for smoked salmon finger sandwiches, you can also use whole wheat bread or other types of bread.

  • 04 of 06

    Chicken Salad Finger Sandwich

    Chicken salad and arugula sandwiches
    Creative-Family / Getty Images

    Chicken salad tea sandwiches, such as sesame chicken tea sandwich, are a very popular type of finger sandwich in America. You can modify most classic recipes to make them into delicious and delicate tea sandwiches.

    Keep the chunks of chicken on the smaller side and the salad as smooth as possible. Smoother salads will spread better on the bread and will be simpler to eat as finger food. 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06
    Cheese & Pickle Tea Sandwiches
    Sonja Beyland

    This variation on a classic Ploughman's Lunch sandwich is easy to make for a crowd. Use any variety of cheese, pickles (or other pickled vegetables), and cold meat to make this classic sandwich. It pairs well with bold British teas.

  • 06 of 06
    Goat Cheese & Tapenade Tea Sandwiches
    Martin Schröder

    These tasty tea sandwiches are ideal for a French- or Middle Eastern-inspired afternoon tea. Experiment with olive or pesto based tapenades for different flavor profiles.