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Eight tips for making the best turkey sandwich

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A tasty turkey sandwich makes for a nutritious and satisfying meal any time of day. Whether layered on soft bread or wrapped in a tortilla, turkey sandwiches are a lunchbox staple, an afternoon pick-me-up, or an easy dinner solution. 

Lean turkey is a great source of protein while also being lower in fat than other meats. Combined with cheese, vegetables, and condiments, turkey sandwiches provide a wholesome balance of macros. 

But not all turkey sandwiches are created equal. With the right ingredients and preparation, you can take your turkey sandwich from bland and boring to delicious in no time. 

Follow these eight tips to learn how to make the ultimate turkey sandwich that will leave you craving more.

  1. Choose Fresh, High-Quality Turkey

A turkey sandwich is only as good as the turkey itself. For maximum flavor and texture, bypass the pre-packaged sliced turkey from the deli counter. Instead, gravitate toward fresh deli turkey, preferably roasted or smoked.

Opt for premium turkey breast without fillers or additives. Or use leftover roasted or smoked turkey after the holidays. Fresh, natural turkey has a richer, meatier taste and pleasant chew. For easy slicing, chill the turkey before making sandwiches. 

Pro tip: For extra juicy turkey, brine the breast before roasting. An overnight brine in saltwater and aromatics seasons the meat and locks in moisture. 

For a truly memorable meal, follow this detailed turkey sandwich recipe to ensure each bite is perfect.

  1. Pick the Right Bread

With so many bread options out there, selecting one that complements the turkey flavor is important. 

Heartier artisan breads like ciabatta have a sturdy crumb to support the fillings and a crusty exterior contrasting with the soft turkey. On the other hand, whole grain breads like whole wheat or multigrain add nutty, earthy notes while being high in fiber. 

For a lighter sandwich, use soft white bread or wraps. Brioche and challah make indulgent choices with their richness and sweetness. No matter what you choose, pick fresh bread that will hold up to the fillings without getting soggy.

  1. Don’t Skimp on Cheese

An essential part of any turkey sandwich is melty cheese. Cheddar, Swiss, provolone, and Havarti are safe choices that pair well with turkey’s mildness. Use aged gouda or extra sharp cheddar that delivers full, intense flavor for more impact. 

Cream cheese and goat cheese offer tangy creaminess, while gruyère has a distinctive nutty taste. And mozzarella or fresh mozzarella gives soft, milky qualities. Use good quality, natural cheese, and use enough to get that satisfying ooze in every bite.

  1. Load it Up with Veggies.

Fresh vegetables add important texture, crunch, and moisture to turkey sandwiches. 

Consider lettuce like romaine or iceberg for crispness and tomatoes to add sweetness and acidity to balance the richness. Cucumbers give a refreshing juiciness, while peppers bring sweetness with a touch of heat. Finish everything with red onions and sprouts to deliver a nice sharp bite. 

Try spinach, arugula, shredded carrots, or cabbage for additional nutrition and fiber. 

  1. Don’t Forget the Condiments

Condiments take the turkey sandwich to the next level by incorporating contrasting textures and flavors. Traditional options like mayo, mustard, and ketchup work well, but for more excitement, use pesto, chimichurri, or harissa for a kick and spice. 

Hummus, tzatziki, and guacamole also make great flavorful spreads. Add honey mustard, cranberry sauce, and mango chutney if you want it sweeter. For those who lean towards a spicy kick, consider hot pepper relish, salsa, and hot sauce to bring the heat. Get creative with condiment combinations to make each bite pop with flavor.

  1. Add Crunch and Texture

A mix of textures makes turkey sandwiches more dynamic. Add nuts like sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, or pecans for extra crunch. Seeds such as sesame, poppy, and sunflower also give a nice crispy, nutty element. 

You can also try crunchy granola or potato chips for fun, unexpected layers of crunch in your sandwich. And using whole grains like quinoa, bulgur, or brown rice makes for a hearty, tasty meal. The extra textures also make the soft turkey and bread more satisfying.

  1. Grill or Toast it

Cooking your assembled turkey sandwich on a grill or panini press takes it to another level. The heat from grilling crisps up the bread melts the cheese, and enhances the flavors throughout. 

  1. Use Flavored Butter

Flavored butter is a great way to add extra richness and taste. Butter one side of the bread or turkey with compound butter made with herbs, spices, garlic, citrus zest, or other flavorings. 

Basil, rosemary, oregano, and thyme enhance turkey’s savory qualities. Similarly, lemon or orange zest brightens up the flavors, and chili powder, cayenne, or paprika give a dash of heat. Swirling in honey, maple syrup, or jam will result in a sweet twist. 

Infused butter makes the sandwich more indulgent and exciting.


A truly exceptional turkey sandwich requires quality ingredients, strategic construction, and cooking techniques to bring out maximum flavors. With so many possible combinations, get creative with bread, cheeses, vegetables, crunch elements, and condiments to build your crave-worthy turkey sandwich. 

Use premium fresh turkey for the best texture and taste. Pile it high with crunchy, crisp veggies and gooey melted cheese. Spread on condiments with contrasting flavors and textures. 

Grill or toast the assembled sandwich to allow the components to fuse into sandwich perfection. With attention to detail, the humble turkey sandwich can be much more than just a standard lunchtime meal.

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