As the festive season rolls in, we can say gluten tag to the throng of yuletide sambo’s gracing the shelves of supermarkets, cafes and bakeries. Much like the full-bodied thrill of opening your advent calendar doors, the time of the year when lunch breaks are elevated with the addition of a festive sando is simply electrifying.
It is, however, important to recognise that the field of Christmas sandwiches is complex, nuanced and, at times, an intimidating place to navigate. Get lucky, and you might encounter a thing of glory – flame-roasted meats, sagey stuffing and supreme sourdough. Make the wrong call, and you could wind up in a swamp of saccharine cranberry sauce, or, worse, biting into an anaemic sausage swaddled around a limp flap of bacon.
We’re determined that not even your worst enemy should have to endure the latter, so we’ve done extensive research to single out the best sarnies on the market this festive season. From the supermarket stalwart to the artisanal masterpiece, the traditional to the unconventional, the meat feast to the plant-based – these are the sambos that reign supreme.
So, without further ado, let’s raise a toast to the festive season and take a look at our pick of the best Christmas sandwiches to bag in London.
Best gourmet Christmas sandwiches
Santas Little Smoker, Doms Subs
262 Hackney Road, E2 7SQ
If you’re gunning for the meat sweats, you need to get a hold of the Doms Subs Christmas sandwich. Resembling something you might have created in a drunken midnight fridge raid, this behemoth is packed with smoked turkey, chicken mayonnaise, pork stuffing, cranberry hot honey, shredded lettuce and tomatoes. There’s a high chance this one might put you in the grave, but at least the journey was tasty.
The Sleigher, The Black Pig
Borough Market Kitchen, SE1 9AG
A common plight of Christmas sandwiches is dryness, but The Sleigher from The Black Pig, which comes with a side of gravy for dipping, is as saucy as it gets. This gargantuan sando features 10-hour roasted free-range pork shoulder (that’s then finished over coals), smoked turkey, cinnamon and clove braised red cabbage, pecan, sage and crispy shallot crumble, confit leek mayonnaise and, of course, a pot of roast chicken gravy on the side. It’s available now at Borough Market until the end of December, so grab ‘em while they’re hot.
Jolene Smoked Chicken Christmas Sandwich
Ah, Jolene – one of London’s most swoonsome bakeries that hooked us on its plump sourdough loaves and glossy viennoiserie from day one. Unfortunately for the Christmas budget (but fortunately for our taste buds), it has a chart-topping Christmas sando coming onto the menu on December 1. Sandwiching smoked chicken, pickled red cabbage, spiced cranberry sauce and a sage and onion mayonnaise between two squidgy slices of Wildfarmed sandwich loaf – it's a satisfying mouthful. Available from the Newington Green, Shoreditch, and Islington bakeries, get them before they’re gone.
Finks Boxing Day Sandwich
We can all agree the afterparty is slyly better than the main event – and North London bakery Finks has distilled this notion into one of its three Christmas sandos. Loading up two slices of Dusty Knuckle sourdough with thick slices of ham, piccalilli and parsnip, this icon will transport you back to Boxing Days yonder with every mouthful. For an authentic experience, consume in front of the footie with a disastrous hangover.
Best highstreet sandwiches
Pret Salmon, Crayfish and Lemon Mayo Rye Roll
In a world where Christmas sandwiches gravitate towards various permutations of Christmas dinner, we appreciate when one thinks outside the box. Inspired by Christmas seafood starters like prawn cocktails and smoked salmon blinis, this sandwich from Pret is a refreshing interlude from the traditional dry turkey that lines supermarket shelves. The rye roll provides more flavour than your average white bloomer, and the dill and lemon mayo are welcome flourishes that seal the deal. It might set you back £5.25 for a small roll, but we're happy to shell out when a sandwich is this good.
Starbucks Brie & Cran-merry Focaccia
We’re genuinely terrified of the Starbucks sous vide egg bites, so in all honesty, we’d sort of given up on buying food from this coffee giant altogether. But then, out of nowhere, they show up with this Christmas corker – the brie and cranberry focaccia. Sandwiching gooey brie and a hefty dollop of jammy cranberry sauce between a crisp yet fluffy focaccia – this Italian-British fusion is a winner from Starbies. Bellisima!
GAIL's Smoked Turkey and Swiss Cheese Sandwich
GAIL’s have a knack for nailing the classics, and its Christmas sandwich is no exception. Made using its iconic sourdough that we’re physiologically dependent on, the filling contains swiss cheese and smoked turkey for maximum festive flavour. At a hefty £7.50, we’re slightly resentful of how much we’ll be eating this sandwich over the festive season, but Gail’s truly has us hypnotised.
Best supermarket sandwiches
Marks and Spencer Jingle Brie-LT
Marks and Sparks’ cleverly named Jingle Brie-LT takes on a similar architecture to the beloved BLT but with the yuletide additions of brie, caramelised onion mayo and cranberry chutney. Switching out your classic sandwich loaf for a soft brioche bun adds a little je ne sais quoi, and we’re satisfied with the sauce-to-fillings ratio that keeps things lubricated. We’d trust M&S with our lives, so it’s no surprise this sandwich is a winner.
Waitrose Pigs Under Blankets Sandwich
It’s not often you see such a strong cross-section in a supermarket sandwich, but the one in the Waitrose Pigs Under Blankets sandwich could be exhibited at the Tate. It’s a feast for the eyes and the stomach with a clean strata of malted bread on either side of pork sausages arches, ruffles of smoked bacon, and a lick of cranberry and redcurrant sauce. The application of mayonnaise is perhaps a little overzealous, but overall, it’s a banging Christmas sando.
Tesco Yule Hog Wrap
Switching log for hog, Tesco’s new porky festive wrap is kind of a pig deal. Setting you back a mere £2.85 and forming part of the £3.50 meal deal, this may be the best value hog roast we’ve ever consumed. Containing flavoursome pulled pork in a hickory style marinade with a rosemary and turkey gravy mayonnaise, Kentish cider apple sauce, sage and onion stuffing and crispy fried onions, it’s undoubtedly going to be a regular on our lunch break sandwich roster. A supermarket wrap often falls flat, but Tesco has taken this one to dizzying heights.
Best non-traditional Christmas sandwiches
Dishoom turkey raan bun
Does the Venn diagram of sandwiches and burgers intersect? The sandwich police will probably beg to differ, but we think it does, so this Turkey raan bun from Dishoom gets a firm inclusion in our list of the best Christmas sandwiches. A far cry from your parched turkey breast, Dishoom use a whole turkey leg that's marinated overnight before being prepared in the traditional Indian raan style – slowly cooked for a day until it quite literally melts off the bone. Said turkey is then piled into a brioche bun amid cranberry mayo, spinach, red onions, crispy onions and, of course, a wee slice of brie. This is festive fusion at its finest and should be consumed with several chai eggnogs and a side of the iconic black daal.
Miznon Festive Pita
Buckle up for some Miznon merriment because its festive pita has landed. Drawing inspiration from a yuletide salmon blini, its iconic fluffy pitta is stuffed with sour cream, potato, spring onions, olive oil and salmon roe for extra decadence. Served with an optional glass of Moet et Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne, you’ve got a hedonistic lunchtime on the horizon.
£16 / £27 with champagne; miznon.co.uk
Best vegetarian and vegan sandwiches
Finks Cheese board sandwich
If we’re being honest with ourselves, we all know the best part of Christmas is the cheeseboard, so it’s welcome news Fink’s have distilled this magic into a festive sandwich. ‘The Cheeseboard’ features a generous helping of tangy Wooky Hole Cheddar, balsamic braised grapes, plum chutney and pickled shallots sandwiched between two thick slices of Dusty Knuckle sourdough. It’s the perfect lunchtime pick-me-up, whether enjoyed with or without a festive glass of port.
Pret Nut Roast Sandwich
It went down so well last year that Pret’s nutty number is making a comeback. Made with a filling of herby butternut squash, sage mayo, caramelised pecans, crispy onions and rocket, it’s a hearty number in a world of vegan sandwiches that often lack girth. The star on top of the tree is certainly the Christmas pesto (sorry, Italians) – a winning combination of chestnuts, pine nuts and rosemary that gives the sandwich some savoury vigour. The tactical use of granary bread over limp sandwich loaf has not gone unnoticed, providing the necessary structural support for a crumbly filling.
Waitrose Vegan Bubble And Squeak Sandwich
This year, we’ve seen a real nosedive in the number of fake-meat Christmas sarnies, and we couldn't be happier furkey has died a death. Ditching synthetic meat for real vegetables, Waitrose’s vegan bubble and squeak sandwich simultaneously provides Christmas merriment and your five a day. Packed full of seasonal veg like potato, savoy cabbage, parsnip, spiced pickled red cabbage spinach and fried onions – it’s bought together with a lick of chilli jam, vegan mayo and crispy fried onions for a flavour sensation. Waitrose yet again proves that meatless can be merry.