How to Make a Tomato Sandwich Like a True Southerner

Don't let tomato season pass you by without trying a classic Southern tomato sandwich. The ingredients are simple: white bread, a spread of mayonnaise and ripe tomatoes.

If you grew up in the South, chances are you’ve heard of a tomato sandwich. When I asked my friends and family about them, I’ve never received more passionate answers regarding a sandwich.

They are loved and cherished by many! When brought up, expect a story about how their grandma made them in the summertime growing up. It’s a real treat!

These sandwiches are enjoyed throughout summer due to the abundance of fresh ripe tomatoes and have grown in popularity over the years. The earliest reference of the tomato sandwich came from The Virginia Chronicle in 1911, where a man described his lunch as a tomato sandwich, a slice of watermelon, iced tea and a slice of coconut cream pie.

Looking for more Southern classics? Try a pineapple sandwich!

What’s the Best Tomato for a Tomato Sandwich?

Look for large and ripe tomatoes. I try to find the largest ones I can and typically end up with a beefsteak tomato or heirloom tomato. They’re thick, juicy and full of flavor!

Learn more about the different types of tomatoes.

Southern Tomato Sandwich Recipe

Tomato Sandwich ingredientsJenna Urben for Taste of Home

For this tomato and mayo sandwich recipe, our Test Kitchen recommends using a garden fresh tomato. Of course!


  • 8 slices white bread
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, divided
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Step 1: Slice the tomatoes

Cut the tomatoes into thick chunky slices. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Step 2: Spread the mayo

Spread mayonnaise on each slice of bread.

Step 3: Assemble the sandwich

Add a tomato slice or two (or three, depending on size and quantity) to half of the slices of bread. Top with the remaining slices of bread to close sandwiches and serve.

Tips & Tricks

  • Use soft and fluffy white bread for this sandwich. It’s the perfect compliment to the juicy tomatoes. It soaks up any salty tomato juice and is truly the best.
  • Some sandwich connoisseurs like to toast their bread. I prefer it untoasted, but you can decide for yourself.
  • To ensure you don’t end up with a soggy sandwich, salt and pepper your tomatoes lined on some paper towels ahead of time. It doesn’t take long!
  • I love this tomato sandwich as is. But a single leaf of iceberg lettuce per sandwich would be a tasty addition.

Want more tasty tomato recipes? Here are some tips to make the most out of this year’s tomato crop. Plus, for another classic Southern sandwich recipe, try out this banana sandwich.

Jenna Urben
Jenna is a recipe developer, food writer and content creator based in Texas. She is Taste of Home’s go-to writer for allergy-friendly and vegan recipes that don’t sacrifice flavor or texture, such as coconut cream, vegan chicken nuggets and kale pesto. As someone with food intolerances herself, Jenna knows first-hand the challenges of cooking in a dairy- and egg-free kitchen. Her food blog, The Urben Life, features hundreds of allergy-friendly recipes that the whole family can enjoy and has been spotlighted by Parade, TODAY Food and Stylecaster.