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The classic BLT sandwich is about as simple as it gets! Don’t let the summer pass you by without indulging in this delicious lunch or easy dinner recipe. Layers of toasted white bread, thick-cut bacon, crisp lettuce, sweet tomatoes, and a quick lemon-basil mayonnaise come together in a magical way! Serve the best BLT sandwich recipe with a side of potato chips and some sliced pickles for a simple, flavorful meal.

Layering the ultimate BLT sandwich on a cutting board
Table of Contents
  1. What is a BLT sandwich?
  2. Ultimate BLT Sandwich
  3. Classic BLT Sandwich Ingredients
  4. How to Make a BLT Sandwich
  5. What to Serve with BLT Sandwiches
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best BLT Sandwich Recipe
  8. BLT Sandwich with Basil Mayo Recipe

Looking for other great sandwich recipes? Check out this post on how to make a reuben, try our easy shrimp po’ boy, go for a classic patty melt, or sink your teeth into these crispy fried fish sandwiches!

What is a BLT sandwich?

The BLT sandwich is a classic sandwich named for its three primary components: bacon, lettuce and tomato. This simple dish rose to popularity following World War II, when the expansion of grocery stores meant that the ingredients were more readily available year-round. I still think of it as a summer specialty, however, because nothing compares to sweet, ripe, vibrant-red tomatoes that you pick right off the vine at their peak!

History

Some of the first evidence of a classic BLT sandwich dates back to the early 20th century. It’s not clear who actually invented this recipe, but the 1903 Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book includes Dr. Evan Mee’s recipe for a club sandwich that included bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and a slice of turkey. These days, you’ll find a wide range of ingredients and preparation methods for the BLT, ranging from toasted to untoasted bread, thick-cut bacon or turkey bacon, mayonnaise or other spreads, and the addition of more ingredients like pickles, avocado, turkey and salmon. The options are truly endless!

Overhead shot of a wooden cutting board with the ultimate BLT sandwich

Ultimate BLT Sandwich

This recipe holds true to the classic BLT sandwich preparation with just a handful of very simple ingredients. All of the main components are here — bacon, lettuce and tomato — but we’re elevating the original to an ultimate BLT sandwich by preparing a special lemon-basil mayonnaise spread. It sounds like a fancy BLT sandwich recipe, but it couldn’t be easier! The fresh basil and the freshly-grated lemon zest just brighten up the dish and enhance the traditional flavors.

Side shot of the best BLT sandwich on a plate

Classic BLT Sandwich Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to make this easy BLT sandwich recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Bacon: I prefer two slices of thick-cut bacon per sandwich, cooked until it’s extra-crispy (not chewy)! Roast it in the oven so that you can cook many strips at once, the bacon cooks evenly, the mess is contained, and it gets really crisp!
  • Lettuce: I’ve shown buttery Bibb lettuce here, but you can also use a crisp Romaine if that’s your preference. For a stronger flavor, arugula will also do the trick.
  • Tomato: pick the freshest, ripest, most flavorful tomato that you can find. I confine BLT’s to summer when I know that the local tomatoes are at their best. Otherwise I’m not interested! Specifically, look for large, meaty and juicy tomatoes when making sandwiches. Instead of Roma tomatoes or other small tomatoes, try Brandywine or Beefsteak varieties. Feeling fancy? Try an heirloom tomato with the big, beautiful tomatoes that you can often find at a farmer’s market.
  • Mayonnaise: go for a high-quality mayonnaise (like Duke’s brand). If you can’t buy Duke’s where you live, then Hellman’s is a good alternative. Don’t resort to something like Miracle Whip here.
  • Basil: the fresh herbs flavor the mayonnaise and highlight the natural sweetness of the ripe tomatoes.
  • Lemon zest: the thin outer layer of the peel has the most lemon flavor, since that’s where you’ll find the essential oils. Just make sure that you don’t scrape off any of the bitter white pith beneath.
  • Kosher salt and pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the sandwich.
  • Bread: I stick with classic white sandwich bread, but you can use any bread that you like. A thick-sliced bread is a bit sturdier, and I always toast it before assembling the sandwich.
Overhead image of classic BLT sandwich ingredients

How to Make a BLT Sandwich

Assembling this easy sandwich is incredibly simple, making it a perfect lunch or dinner option when you don’t feel like cooking!

  1. Bake the bacon in a 400° F oven until deeply browned and crispy, about 20-25 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then break in half.
  2. Whisk together mayonnaise, basil and lemon zest. Set aside.
  3. Season tomato slices with salt and pepper, then let rest on paper towels for a few minutes.
  4. Toast the bread until golden brown.
  5. Assemble the sandwiches by layering the mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and bacon on the toasted bread.
  6. Slice the sandwiches diagonally and serve immediately.
Process shot showing how to assemble the best BLT sandwich recipe

What to Serve with BLT Sandwiches

Serve a B.L.T. sandwich for lunch with a side of potato chips and pickles. If you’d like to offer sandwiches as a light dinner, try rounding out the meal with any of these additional sides:

Side shot of a fancy BLT sandwich recipe with basil mayo

Recipe Variations

  • This recipe yields four sandwiches; however, you can easily scale the recipe up or down to make as many sandwiches as you need.
  • BLTA Sandwich: add avocado to the BLT to make it a “BLTA”.
  • Cheese: add pimento cheese for a Southern touch, or try sliced cheddar, mozzarella, Provolone or Swiss.
  • Chicken, Turkey or Salmon: add extra meat or seafood like turkey, grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, roasted salmon or grilled salmon.
  • Onion: thinly sliced Vidalia onion or pickled red onion would be delicious additions.
  • Cucumber: add sliced cucumber for even more fresh crunch!
Square image of a BLT sandwich on a plate

Tips for the Best BLT Sandwich Recipe

  • Pick in-season, ripe, summer tomatoes for the best flavor and texture. Let them sit with salt on paper towels to absorb some of the extra moisture before placing them in the sandwiches.
  • Thick-cut bacon will yield the best sandwich.
  • Use high-quality mayonnaise like Duke’s brand…not an alternative sauce like Miracle Whip.
  • Pick a thick-sliced bread that you enjoy. I’ve used white bread here, but other good options include rye, pumpernickel, wheat, English muffin bread, and oatmeal bread. For a twist, try croissants, toasted English muffins, bagels or wraps.
  • Lightly toast the bread for more flavor and to help it stand up to the filling ingredients.
  • These sandwiches are best served immediately. While you can certainly pack them in a picnic basket for the pool (I’ve done it many times!), the bread tends to get soggy from the tomatoes after too long.
Side shot of a deluxe BLT sandwich on a wooden cutting board

More Sandwich Recipes to Try

Layering the ultimate BLT sandwich on a cutting board

BLT Sandwich with Basil Mayo

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings 4 sandwiches
Calories 641 kcal
The classic BLT sandwich is about as simple as it gets! Don't let the summer pass you by without indulging in this delicious lunch or easy dinner recipe.

Ingredients
  

  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 8 slices ripe tomato
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 slices sandwich bread
  • 8 lettuce leaves (such as Bibb lettuce or Romaine lettuce)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  • Arrange the bacon in single layer on the foil–lined baking sheet. Bake until bacon is deeply browned and crispy, 20-25 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer bacon to paper towel–lined plate. Once cool enough to handle, break each slice of bacon in half.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, basil and lemon zest. Set aside.
  • Place tomato slices on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Toast the bread in a toaster oven or under the broiler until golden brown.
  • Spread the basil mayonnaise on one side of each slice of toasted bread. Top four of the slices of bread with lettuce, tomato, and bacon. Top each sandwich with remaining bread slices.
  • Cut sandwiches in half diagonally and serve.

Notes

  • This recipe yields four sandwiches; however, you can easily scale the recipe up or down to make as many sandwiches as you need.
  • BLTA Sandwich: add avocado to the BLT to make it a “BLTA”.
  • Cheese: add pimento cheese for a Southern touch, or try sliced cheddar, mozzarella, Provolone or Swiss.
  • Chicken, Turkey or Salmon: add extra meat or seafood like turkey, grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, roasted salmon or grilled salmon.
  • Onion: thinly sliced Vidalia onion or pickled red onion would be delicious additions.
  • Cucumber: add sliced cucumber for even more fresh crunch!
  • Pick in-season, ripe, summer tomatoes for the best flavor and texture. Let them sit with salt on paper towels to absorb some of the extra moisture before placing them in the sandwiches.
  • Thick-cut bacon will yield the best sandwich.
  • Use high-quality mayonnaise like Duke’s brand…not an alternative sauce like Miracle Whip.
  • Pick a thick-sliced bread that you enjoy. I’ve used white bread here, but other good options include rye, pumpernickel, wheat, English muffin bread, and oatmeal bread. For a twist, try croissants, toasted English muffins, bagels or wraps.
  • Lightly toast the bread for more flavor and to help it stand up to the filling ingredients.
  • These sandwiches are best served immediately. While you can certainly pack them in a picnic basket for the pool (I’ve done it many times!), the bread tends to get soggy from the tomatoes after too long.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 641kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 15gFat: 51gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 916mgPotassium: 433mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 4129IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 163mgIron: 3mg
Keyword: BLT Sandwich
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    5 stars
    Loved these sandwiches! I used your easy homemade bread recipe for the bread. My opinion was that the Basil Mayo was the star. Gave the sandwich a fresh flavor. Yummy!

    1. Blair says:

      That’s wonderful, Sarah! I agree — the basil mayo is a must! Thanks for your note. 🙂

  2. Norma says:

    5 stars
    Somehow I overlooked your Basil Mayo recipe previously, but your last newsletter mention somehow got my attention. Wow is this delicious! Some people put slices of basil on their BLT but I always thought that overpowered it too much. This mayo is perfect–the basil and lemon add a wonderful touch that takes the sandwich to another level but doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. My husband raved about it. We are currently in BLT overdrive with the abundance of fresh tomatoes and will be making this a lot for the next few weeks (diet after! :-). Would also be great on other sandwiches–it’d be particularly good on a chicken sandwich or chicken salad. Thanks for a great recipe that is also simple and easy to make. I appreciate the background detail as you do for many of your recipes!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you so much, Norma! We’re glad you and your husband enjoyed it.