The Right Way to Cut a Sandwich

Eric Ginsburg

Are you cutting your sandwiches wrong? This Y-cut may be the new right way.

Up until very, very recently, I would've adamantly argued that there's only one right way to cut a classic sandwich — diagonally. But that's because I'd never considered the Y-cut.

If you're making a sandwich with slices of bread from a classic loaf, there have traditionally only been a couple options available to you for a cut (at least what made any logical sense). There's the vertical cut, horizontal cut, diagonal cross-cut, or no cut at all.

The Right Way to Cut a Sandwich Photo

For other breads, like a baguette or sub roll, the choice is more obvious. 

Here's a quick overview of the three classic options, and an introduction to a new, better way. As far as we can tell, it was literally just invented. (Though if you've been quietly doing this all along, we both salute you and shake our fist at you for not telling us!)

The Vertical Cut: A Reasonable Choice

Toasted Caprese Sandwich Photo

The true neutral of sandwich cut options, a vertical cut as shown above is arguably the most regular and inoffensive way to cut a sandwich made with pieces from a sliced loaf. 

Most people won't get mad at you for cutting their sandwich this way (at least not adults), but it's not the most satisfying option, either.

This cut actually makes the most sense if you're eating bread that bakes in a more oval shape, with a shorter loaf like sourdough. In this case, a diagonal cut would be more asymmetrical and thus, inferior.

The Diagonal Cut: The Classic Winner

Bombay Sandwich Photo

Besides simply looking better, there's a primary reason that the diagonal cut sandwich is better than the vertical — a longer non-crust open side to bite into.

This cross cut takes exactly the same amount of effort but immediately feels like you actually tried. 

The Horizontal Cut: Please Stop

There's a reason I don't have an image to show you. It's a weird way to cut a sandwich. Unless you've cut off the crusts in an attempt to make the sandwich square (in which case, horizontal and vertical are the same), you end up with oddly different halves of the sandwich.

Are you sharing with someone else who oddly prefers the opposite piece to you? No? Then don't do this. It's unsettling.

The Y Cut: Genius Adaptation?

A few days ago, Twitter user Ryan C. Duff introduced the world to the Y-cut sandwich. And it set the internet aflame. I actually learned about it from a viral TikTok, but less than a week in, that initial tweet has 19 million views.

Admittedly, my initial reaction was to think making three cuts into the shape of a Y felt like unnecessary work.

But the more I looked at it, the more it seemed like an even more fully optimized diagonal cut.

This approach yields three pieces of the sandwich, and while it's the same amount of food, it really doesn't feel like it, does it? 

There's maximal surface without crusts, but you've kept them because you aren't 5 anymore. 

Duff is a self-described engineer. That tracks. This is exactly the kind of experiment I'd expect from someone in that line of work. I'm guessing you may not ask yourself very often how to cut a sandwich. Luckily, he did.

It may take you a couple tries to get this method down right, but it's not all that difficult.

This new approach has been dubbed "the rebel's cut" by one user in Duff's replies, but is more commonly being called "the Duff cut." It seems only fair to include the creator's name in the cut, though Y cut is more descriptive (and in line with the others).

By the same logic, you could also try two opposite diagonal cuts, forming an "X" through the bread. This would be faster and create similar results, though in my opinion it would suddenly feel like you had four little tea time sandwiches more appropriate for an appetizer platter than a genuine lunch.

But maybe I'm overthinking it.

Mezcla Sandwich Recipe Photo

Regardless, this is the kind of innovative food approach we need, rather than the more intentionally rage-inducing recipes. I'll take this kind of new approach to a sandwich over that chopped up mess some of y'all were doing recently.

Eric Ginsburg is the Editor of Food Fanatic. He's served as an editor at three newspapers and written for a wide range of publications, including Bon Appétit, Serious Eats, Wine Enthusiast, Southern Living, and Eater Carolinas. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Follow him on Instagram.

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Eric Ginsburg

About Eric

Eric Ginsburg is the Editor of Food Fanatic. He's served as an editor at three newspapers and written for a wide range of publications, including Bon Appétit, Serious Eats, Wine Enthusiast, Southern Living, and Eater Carolinas. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Follow him on Instagram @eric_ginsburg.