Want to Eat the Best BLT Sandwich? Make It This Way!

Ryan Nadolny

If you love a classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich check out our tips for making the best BLT sandwich around.

When it comes to sandwiches, not just the BLT sandwich, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert. Sandwich making is definitely my game.

I don't shy away from admitting that I make a really good sammie, often challenging the status quo by combining strange ingredients together.

Much like Joey Tribbiani, my favorite food is sandwiches, and Joey doesn’t share food! If you know, you know. You know?

That being said, one of my all-time favorite sandwiches is the classic BLT. The simplicity of this masterful sandwich is precisely what makes it so beautiful!

The standard BLT demands nothing fancy of you - just bacon, lettuce, and tomato, with a little mayo on a good white bread. It's utter perfection.

Best BLT Sandwich Photo

History of the BLT

Unless you’ve been cryogenically frozen for the last 100 years, you know that a BLT stands for a sandwich made with bacon, lettuce, and tomato.

As much as I thought the BLT was an American creation, the BLT's humble roots actually date back to the early 1900s in the UK - some say around 1920.

While the term "BLT" was likely not in use then, it was common in the UK for one to enjoy a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich at teatime.

It wasn't until after World War II that BLTs became popular in the States when grocery stores began to pop up everywhere around the country en masse.

The rise in grocery stores gave Americans unprecedented year-around accessibility to ingredients that were typically only enjoyed after harvest.

From there, the BLT sandwich quickly became a lunch favorite among construction and factory workers due to its portability, requiring no utensils.

By the late 1950s, the BLT was so ubiquitous that Hellmann’s Mayonnaise was even advertising their mayo as being the preferred condiment for a BLT.

BBQ Blue Cheese BLT Picture

How to Make the Best BLT

Even though it’s a simple sandwich by nature, the execution of making the very best BLT sandwich should be taken very seriously. Your life depends on it.

OK, not really. Sometimes I just get lost in the moment and I tend to have a flair for the dramatic - especially when it comes to the art of sandwich making.

Let’s start with the bread. There are only two kinds of bread that are acceptable for a BLT - white bread or sourdough bread. This is not up for debate.

No, seriously, it is not up for debate. There will be no wheat bread. No seeded rye. No bread crusted with flaxseeds - honestly what even is a flaxseed?!

All of the said, allow me to contradict myself and suggest you have a go at amping it up with a garlic bread BLT. I promise, you’ll never look back.

BBQ Blue Cheese BLT Image

What Kind of Bacon Do You Want for the Best BLT Sandwich?

When you're talking about the making the best BLT sandwich you've ever had, trust me, and get yourself some good quality bacon

Don't be confused - the bacon for said best BLT of your life does not have to be fancy. I just highly recommend staying away from the overly fatty stuff.

It’s your choice on what you prefer, whether applewood smoked bacon, hickory smoked bacon or peppered bacon. Live free and choose from the heart!

I have found baking bacon in the oven and using the air fryer give the best, most consistent results when cooking a bunch of bacon at once for BLTs.

It's even better if you have a toaster oven style air fryer. I love flimsy bacon, but on a sandwich, it needs to be crispy yet still soft and chewy.

Getting it just right takes practice. If you pick up your bacon and it snaps under its own weight, then you overcooked it. Nobody loves burned bacon.

If you pick it up and it hangs there like a sad limp…noodle…yeah noodle, then it’s undercooked. In other words, keep an eye on your piggy!

BBQ Blue Cheese BLT Pic

Let’s Talk About the Best BLT Lettuce

Too many people think that the details of the lettuce aren't important when building the ulimtate BLT sandwich, but that’s just simply not true.

The lettuce acts as a barrier between the bread and the juice of the tomatoes. It adds crunch and texture and also keeps your bread from getting all soggy!

And, honestly? The type of lettuce you use is important as well. You don’t want to use Bibb or Boston because it’s too soft and leafy.

No, no. You want the lettuce to hold up to this epic sandwich your crafting. Iceberg isn’t a terrible choice, but it isn't super flavorful and it's a bit blah.

My go-to lettuce for nearly all sammiches, especially the BLT, is Romaine. It’s crunchy and leafy with a mild flavor. Romaine offers the best of all worlds.

The Perfect BLAT with Spicy Candied Bacon Image

The Best Kind of Tomatoes for a BLT Sandwich

The tomatoes are arguably the most important part of a BLT sandwich - yes, even over the bacon! The tomato selection makes or breaks your BLT.

Think about it! There’s a reason why mid to late summer is known as BLT season because that’s when tomatoes are reaching their peak excellence.

While many varieties work well, good ol' Beefsteak tomatoes are my personal favorite for a BLT, mostly because of their larger size.

A single slice is usually enough to cover the whole sammie, helping to stabilize the structure and keeps you from fighting with tomatoes sliding all over.

I’ve tried many others including a fried green tomatoes! (Which are delicious if not traditional.) Roma tomatoes have great flavor, but tend to slide around.

Stick with Beefsteak tomatoes or a large heirloom variety and you'll be happy with your tomato to bread ratio along with the flavor balance of your BLT.

BBQ Blue Cheese BLT Photo

What Condiments Go on a BLT

When you use quality ingredients you don’t necessarily need anything extra for a BLT. The salty bacon, juicy tomato and crispy lettuce get the job done.

However, that doesn’t stop me from adding a light layer of mayo for a slight tangy sweetness that pairs perfectly with the other components.

If you know how to make mayonnaise, you might even want to make homemade mayonnaise for this sandwich adventure. You won't be disappointed!

Does Cheese Belong on a BLT?

Ok! So you might be wondering - does cheese blong on a BLT? And when it comes to the best BLT, what kind of cheese you should put on your sandwich?

Just kidding. Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. Cheese does not go on a BLT. It’s one on a very short list that just doesn’t need it.

The one little exception to this otherwise water-tight rule? Our BBQ blue cheese BLT sandwich recipe. It is worthy of the exception, even for purists like me.

Smoked Salmon BLT Picture

How Can I Spice Up My BLT?

Now we’ll discuss the entirely unnecessary tweaks to an otherwise perfect sandwich by adding ingredients to disgrace this gift from hog heaven.

Ok, ok. I got lost in the moment again. Sorry for that. You can't blame a human for loving the perfection of simplicty! I digress - let's continue.

Avocado has become a popular choice for elevating a BLT, often referred to as a BLAT. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I kind of agree. It adds great flavor.

In fact, we'll even serve you up few variations - a "traditional" BLAT made on crispy toasted bread, a BLT with avocado and arugula, and a BLAT eggs benedict recipe that I actually fully endorse for your next brunch gathering.

Another option that's quite delicious is our breakfast BLT sandwich recipe. It's another one of those must-have brunch recipes I can give two thumbs up.

Adding a fried egg, to just about anything, is guaranteed to make it twice as good. A scrambled egg would work as well, but where’s the fun in that?!

Smoked Salmon BLT Image

Normally, I would draw the line at adding another meat and calling it a BLT - I'm a purist here, remember. Adding smoked salmon is next level though. We aren't adding boring old turkey!

Our smoked salmon BLT recipe with lemon-herb mayo is elevation at its finest. The flavors blend together perfectly to curate the most amazing sandwich.

You know what, go ahead and throw on some avocado, too! (Are you catching on to how much it annoys me that I love avocado on a BLT?)

If you're gluten-free or watching your carb intake, the BLT fun doesn't end. Give our BLT avocado wraps a go. (Yet again with the BLAT recipes!)

And yes. Back to when I said that cheese doesn’t go on a BLT. This BBQ blue cheese BLT recipe is truly epic. What are we calling it - a BBQBCBLT?!

The tangy cheese and spicy bacon will have your tastebuds dancing and singing songs of peace and love. And we could all use more peace and love.

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Ryan is a food and writer from Toledo, Ohio where he's had a love affair with food since 1984. When he's not cooking or writing, he's planning the next he wants to eat.

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