English Tea Sandwiches

Janette Fuschi | Culinary Ginger

English tea sandwiches for serving at your very own High Tea. Don’t forget the scones and clotted cream too!

English Tea Sandwiches Photo

English tea sandwiches are synonymous with the ever-popular afternoon tea. There are many sandwich varieties, but egg salad and cucumber sandwiches are the most favored.

Afternoon tea, high tea, low tea, whatever you call it there are some key components to this very British dining experience. Tea, of course being the most important, finger sandwiches and a pretty collection of confections like cupcakes, cookies and scones.

The tradition of afternoon tea started in the early 19th Century within the various communities who felt that they needed a little mid-afternoon ‘pick-me-up’.

English Tea Sandwiches Picture

The upper classes would serve a low tea (the name derived from serving on a low table) where the middle to lower classes and servants opted for high tea around 4 or 5 o’clock (served on a high table). You can learn more about the history and components of afternoon tea with a recipe for clotted cream (traditionally served on scones) in my post, clotted cream for afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea has become so popular over the past few years; it is used as a theme for many events like bridal and baby showers.

It is also popular around the world with many of the finer hotels that offer afternoon tea, which can be a fun dining event to incorporate into a vacation.

English Tea Sandwiches Image

As simple as they look, there are a few key requirements when it comes the tea sandwiches. There are no crusts allowed. This gives the sandwiches an elegant look and also makes them more dainty and easier to eat with your fingers.

Another rule is butter; just plain old butter is required. England has some of the best butter in the world that is creamy and richer than most, so it does add a tasty element to the sandwiches. In addition to the flavor, it also acts as glue to keep the filling in place, like in the case of the cucumber sandwiches.

Lastly, there are three shapes allowed, triangle and rectangle, or if you’re a royal, in small squares.

English Tea Sandwiches Recipe

    4 Servings


For the Egg Salad Sandwiches:
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Watercress
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • small pinch Black Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 8 slices Brown Bread, Or wheat bread
For the Cucumber Sandwiches:
  • 4 slices White Bread
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 large Cucumber, Peeled and sliced thinly
  • Fresh Dill, Chopped
  • Salt and Pepper


To Make the Egg Salad:

  1. Add the eggs to a large saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a full boil then turn off the heat and allow to sit in the hot water for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes drain the hot water and cover the eggs with cold water and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Crack the eggs and peel while submerged in the cool water to make them easier to peel.
  5. Dry the eggs and set aside.
  6. Repeat with all the eggs, then finely chop and add to a mixing bowl.
  7. Add the mayonnaise, watercress, salt and pepper to the eggs and mix well.

To Assemble Sandwiches:

  1. Butter evenly all of the bread slices and lay them out in an assembly line.
  2. Spread an even amount of the egg salad onto the brown bread slices and top with a slice of brown bread.
  3. Spread an even layer of cucumber slices onto the buttered white bread slices, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with dill, salt and pepper and top each with a slice of white bread.
  4. Cut the crusts off all the sandwiches and cut them into triangles and rectangles.


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Janette Fuschi

About Janette

Janette is a British ex-pat living in Southern California. On her blog, Culinary Ginger, you'll learn all about it. On Food Fanatic, you'll see her favorite British classics, and ours too!