The New York Club Sandwich is a delicious and iconic sandwich that originated in New York City. This triple-decker sandwich is stacked with turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise between three slices of toasted bread.
The combination of flavors and textures makes this sandwich a satisfying meal any time of day.
This article provides the ultimate recipe to make the perfect New York club sandwich at home. You’ll learn tips and tricks for choosing ingredients, assembling, grilling, and customizing the sandwich to suit your tastes.
After reading this, you’ll be able to make restaurant-quality New York club sandwiches for your family and friends.
The History of the Club Sandwich
The early roots of the club sandwich date back to the late 19th century. The earliest known reference to the sandwich comes from an 1889 menu at the Saratoga Club House Restaurant in New York. It was described as a double-decker turkey sandwich with bacon, lettuce, and tomato.
Over the next few decades, the sandwich grew in popularity at private clubs and became a lunchtime staple. By the 1920s and 1930s, “club sandwiches” were appearing on restaurant menus and recipes in cookbooks across the country.
Several accounts exist about the origin of the name “club sandwich”. One claim suggests it was created at the Union Club in New York City. Another credit goes to the Saratoga Club in Saratoga Springs, New York.
The classic triple-decker form became standardized in the 1940s and 1950s. Deli sliced turkey and bacon became staple ingredients, while lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise varied around the country. The club sandwich remains an American classic to this day.
Tips for the Best New York Club Sandwich
Follow these tips and tricks to master the art of making the perfect New York club sandwich:
- Use thick-sliced bread. Thinner slices may skimp on the filling ratio or fall apart when grilling.
- Toast both sides of the bread for even browning and a crispy texture to hold the fillings.
- Butter or mayo the bread before toasting to encourage browning and crispness.
- Layer meats and veggies evenly throughout the sandwich so each bite is balanced.
- Go easy on the mayo. It should bind, not overwhelm. Spread too much, and it will soak into the bread.
- Make the lettuce barrier touch all sides to prevent veggies from sliding out the sides.
- Use frilly toothpicks inserted vertically to keep the triple decker stacked neatly and securely.
- Don’t press down hard when grilling. Use medium heat and let the sandwich toast gently to prevent smushing.
- Rest the sandwich for 1-2 minutes after cooking to let the fillings meld together before cutting.
- Let the slices sit for a minute before serving so the layers stay stacked neatly. Enjoy!
Cooking and serving tips
- Use high-quality ingredients. Splurge on artisan bread, premium turkey, and bacon for maximum flavor.
- Pre-heat your skillet before toasting the bread for faster, more even browning.
- Don’t overfill. Too many fillings will make the sandwich messy and difficult to eat. Stack layers neatly.
- Get creative with condiments. Mix up flavors by spreading one side with mustard, hot sauce, or avocado.
- Let the sandwich rest for a minute after grilling so the fillings melt together. The textures and flavors will combine better.
- Use a serrated knife to neatly cut through all the layers in one slice.
- Secure frilly picks for a retro presentation at parties or lunches.
- Serve with a green salad or fries for a satisfying and balanced meal.
Customize the sandwich to your taste.
One of the great things about a club sandwich is that you can customize it with your favorite flavors and ingredients. Try these tasty variations:
- Substitute ham or roast beef for the turkey.
- Use a flavored mayonnaise like chipotle or sriracha for a kick.
- Add sliced avocado, crispy bacon, or an extra tomato slice.
- Swap out the lettuce for spinach, arugula, or watercress.
- Spread one slice of bread with pesto or hummus instead of mayo.
- Use different breads, like rye, sourdough, or a baguette.
- Top with an overeasy fried egg for breakfast.
- Sprinkle on fresh herbs like basil, dill, or oregano.
FAQ About New York Club Sandwiches
What type of bread is used?
White bread is traditional, but you can use whole wheat, sourdough, rye, or other varieties. The key is evenly sliced, lightly toasted bread.
What type of mayonnaise works best?
Regular mayo is fine, but try something richer like Duke’s, kewpie, or an aioli. Flavored mayos are also delicious.
Should I use deli meat or roast my own turkey?
Quality deli turkey breast provides convenience. For maximum flavor, roast your own turkey breast and slice it.
What’s the best way to grill the sandwich?
Use a preheated skillet greased lightly with mayo or butter. Cook over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.
How do I stop the filling from sliding out?
Insert frilly toothpicks or cocktail picks through the layers to hold them together while grilling.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes. Assemble the entire sandwich without grilling, then cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours before cooking.
How do I cut a club sandwich into neat pieces?
Use a serrated knife to gently saw through the layers. Let it rest a minute after grilling so it firms up.
Can I make open-faced club sandwiches?
Absolutely. Build each slice individually on toast, and don’t worry about layering. Serve two open-faced clubs.
What sides go well with a club sandwich?
Fries, potato chips, and coleslaw are classics. You can also serve it with a salad, soup, pasta salad, or fresh fruit.
Crafting the Quintessential New York Club Sandwich
- 12 slices of high-quality white bread
- 8 slices of cooked turkey breast
- 8 slices of cooked bacon
- 4 slices of cheddar cheese
- 4 large lettuce leaves
- 4 thick slices of ripe tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 16 toothpicks
- 4 dill pickles
Toasting the bread
- Start by toasting your slices of bread until they're golden brown. This step provides a crunchy contrast to the soft, flavorful fillings of your sandwich.
Preparing the fillings
- While your bread is toasting, you can start preparing your fillings. Cook the bacon until crispy, slice your tomatoes, and clean your lettuce leaves. Remember, the quality of your ingredients makes a big difference!
Layering the sandwich
Now comes the fun part—layering your sandwich. Follow these steps to achieve the perfect New York Club sandwich structure:
- Spread a layer of mayonnaise on one side of each slice of toast.
- On the first slice, lay down a slice of turkey, followed by bacon, then cheese.
- Add a second slice of toast, then repeat the layers as in step 2.
- Top it off with lettuce and tomato, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and then the final slice of toast.
- Secure the sandwich with toothpicks at four corners, then slice into quarters.
Serving the sandwich
- Serve your New York Club sandwich with a side of dill pickles and your favorite chips.
- This recipe is versatile. Feel free to substitute the turkey with chicken or the cheddar with Swiss cheese.
- If you're vegetarian, you can replace the bacon and turkey with grilled vegetables or your favorite meat substitutes.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.