10 Secret Ingredients You Haven’t Been Putting on Your Sandwiches

Updated: Dec. 20, 2023

Take your sammies from ho-hum to holy smokes!

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Delicious Ham, Salami, Cheese and Vegetables Sandwiches on Toasted Whole Grain Bread
Photo: Shutterstock / Olga Nayashkova

Sandwiches have a reputation for being a boring lunch option, but it doesn’t have to be that way! With a few simple additions here and there, your everyday sandwich can be turned into a special meal that you’ll actually look forward to eating.

Psst! Want more easy ideas to liven up your work week lunch? Check out these tasty lunch recipes to you can master in a morning.

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Glazed bacon
Photo: Taste of Home

Glazed Bacon

Sandwich: BLT

The BLT is unique in that it’s an outstanding sandwich with just its traditional ingredients, yet it readily accepts additions of all kinds—a fried egg (BELT) or avocado (BLAT) are common add-ons. Glazed bacon is a great idea for a tasty twist that will make your sandwich extra sweet and extra special.

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Homemade granola
Photo: Taste of Home


Sandwich: PB&J

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have graced packed lunches for ages, and for good reason—they’re easy, inexpensive, filling, and delicious! To make them even better, try adding some homemade granola between the layers for bonus flavor and a crunch that can’t be topped.

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Homemade pesto in a bowl
Photo: Taste of Home


Sandwich: Turkey

Turkey sandwiches are another example of lunches that can be altered a thousand different ways. If you don’t have Thanksgiving leftovers to pile onto your turkey, an interesting thing to try is pesto. It will brighten up even the most humdrum of sandwiches!

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Tangy blue cheese dressing
Photo: Taste of Home

Blue Cheese Dressing

Sandwich: Reuben

The Reuben sandwich is traditionally a hot sandwich consisting of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and rye bread. Lots of variations exist, including the Rachel, which uses turkey and coleslaw instead of corned beef and sauerkraut. Another idea for something a little different is substituting blue cheese dressing for the Swiss cheese—you’ll get a creamy tang that isn’t in the original!

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Pomegranate pepper jelly
Photo: Taste of Home

Pepper Jelly

Sandwich: Pulled pork

Coleslaw is something that really helps a pulled pork sandwich shine. Another ingredient worth trying is pepper jelly or relish—not only does it add a bit of sweetness, but it also sneaks a bit of spiciness into the mix. If you’re feeling really bold, peanut butter and jelly pulled pork is another possibility!

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Deli beef sandwiches with horseradish mayo
Photo: Taste of Home

Horseradish Mayonnaise

Sandwich: French dip

French dips are straightforwards sandwiches—they have sliced roast beef on a roll with au jus on the side for dipping. The easy addition of some horseradish mayonnaise adds a pungency and depth that enhance the fantastic flavors of the classic French dip.

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pickled sweet peppers
Photo: Taste of Home

Pickled Peppers

Sandwich: Cuban

Cubans are a pressed sandwich with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard between slices of Cuban bread. Salami is often added, and another ingredient that will enhance your Cuban sammie is pickled peppers. They bring a flavor you just can’t get with plain pickles.

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Surprise raspberry jam
Photo: Taste of Home

Raspberry Jam

Sandwich: Ham and cheese

It’s hard to get more basic than a plain ol’ ham and cheese sandwich, leaving it open to endless possibilities for enhancement. Try spreading some raspberry jam on your bread—the sticky sweetness will go so well with the salty ham and cheese!

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Homemade mayo
Taste of Home

Homemade Mayonnaise

Sandwich: Tuna salad

One way to amp up your tuna salad game is to make your own mayonnaise at home. This will make your sandwich spread extra creamy and special! Diced apples are a great addition to any deli salad—they add crunch, sweetness, and a burst of juiciness that you won’t soon forget.

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Homemade spreadable cheese
Taste of Home

Pimiento cheese

Sandwich: Grilled cheese

The grilled cheese sandwich is a classic, and though it certainly needs no improvements, slathering homemade spicy pimiento cheese between the bread slices can only enhance the cheese-eating experience. It melts like a dream and delivers a nice little kick!