Most Popular Sandwiches in America Ranked from Worst to Best

Who doesn’t love a good sandwich? It’s the quintessential American lunch, perfect for picnics, office breaks, and anytime in-between. From coast to coast, every sandwich tells a story, a culinary narrative woven from the bread up. This is about to be a tasty journey, ranking the most beloved sandwiches in the U.S., from the might-have-been-betters to the absolute must-eats. It’s gonna be a delicious ride!

Tuna Salad Sandwich

The tuna salad sandwich, often a divisive choice, lands at our starting point. It’s the sandwich you either love or love to hate. Tuna, mixed with mayonnaise and a dash of celery for crunch, can swing from delightful to drab, depending on its preparation. When done right, with fresh ingredients and perhaps a hint of lemon zest, it transcends its humble beginnings, originating from the need to conserve in 19th-century America.

Egg Salad Sandwich

Next up is the egg salad sandwich. As a nutritional powerhouse, eggs offer high-quality protein at a low price. This sandwich is a classic, sure, but it’s often relegated to the ‘last resort’ category at gatherings. The secret to elevating it lies in the details: perfectly boiled eggs, a touch of mustard for tang, and crisp lettuce can transform it. However, its tendency to be a bit on the mushy side keeps it from climbing higher on our list.

Meatball Sub

The meatball sub is a hearty contender. Its origins come from cities with large Italian immigrant communities, like New York and Chicago, popularized by street vendors and delis. Overflowing with marinara sauce, melted cheese, and beefy meatballs, it’s a sandwich that demands attention (and plenty of napkins). Its downfall? It’s a bit unwieldy, often leading to more of a mess than some are willing to tackle during lunch. Still, its bold flavors earn it a respectable spot.

Bologna Sandwich

Ah, the bologna sandwich, also known as a baloney sandwich. For many, it’s childhood nostalgia between two slices of bread. A slice of bologna, a swipe of mustard, and you’re transported back in time. While not the most sophisticated option, its origins are a bit fancier than you might think. Bologna itself is the great-great-grandson of Italy’s mortadella.


The BLT—bacon, lettuce, and tomato—is simplicity perfected. No wonder National BLT Sandwich Month, which takes place in April, exists. It’s all about the quality of the ingredients: crisp bacon, ripe tomatoes, and fresh lettuce. With just a bit of mayo, it sings. The precise origins of the B.L.T. sandwich remain unclear, though it’s believed to have developed from bacon sandwiches traditionally served during teatime in the English countryside since the Victorian era.

French Dip

Dipping into the top ten, the French Dip is a marvel of meat and bread. Thinly sliced roast beef, a crusty baguette, and that all-important side of au jus for dipping create a symphony of flavors. The founder of the former restaurant, Philippe Mathieu, is credited with creating the “dipped” sandwich in 1918 after inadvertently dropping a French roll into a roasting pan filled with juice. The customer who ordered it said they would eat the sandwich anyway, giving us the French dip.

Philly Cheesesteak

The Philly Cheesesteak is as much a cultural icon as it is a sandwich. The creation of the sandwich is disputed, but brothers Pat and Harry Olivieri from South Philadelphia in the 1930s are frequently recognized as its originators. Thinly sliced steak, melted cheese, and onions on a hoagie roll make for a messy, mouthwatering experience. It’s beloved nationwide, though purists argue only Philly does it right.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Smokey, tender pulled pork slathered in barbecue sauce and piled high on a bun—the pulled pork sandwich is a masterpiece of slow cooking. Pulled pork originated in the Southern United States, introduced by early settlers who brought pigs upon their arrival. It’s a testament to the magic that can happen with time and smoke. Depending on the region, the sauce and slaw accompaniments vary, making it a versatile favorite.

Cuban Sandwich

The Cuban sandwich is a delightful mix of flavors: ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread. Pressed until crispy, it’s a little slice of Havana! The sandwich is named in honor of Cuban immigrants who significantly influenced its creation in early Ybor City. The ingredients also pay homage to the southern Italian bricklayers and German cigar workers who settled there.


The Reuben is a taste sensation: corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, all grilled between slices of rye bread. In 1925, local grocer Reuben Kulakofsky invented it to serve participants of a late-night poker game at the Blackstone Hotel in downtown Omaha. It’s a harmonious blend of savory, tangy, and creamy elements. But although linked with kosher-style delicatessens, it is not kosher because it mixes meat and cheese.

Turkey Club

The turkey club is essentially a BLT enhanced with extra protein and an additional slice of bread. We can also say that it’s a study in sandwich architecture: three layers of bread filled with turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. It’s a towering achievement, both literally and figuratively. Its balanced flavors and textures make it a perennial favorite, deserving of its high rank.

Italian Sub

The Italian sub is a carnival of flavors: various meats like salami, ham, and pepperoni, along with provolone, lettuce, tomato, onions, and dressing. It’s a vibrant, hearty sandwich that’s both filling and flavorful. So, why is it called an Italian Sub? One theory suggests the name originates from Italian-American slang for a dock worker, a group with whom the sandwich was particularly popular.

Grilled Cheese

The grilled cheese is the ultimate comfort food sandwich. Believe it or not, it was once called “Cheese Dream,” an open-faced version of what we’ve come to love today. Golden-brown bread with melted cheese oozing out the sides—it’s an easy to make treat that’s hard to beat. It’s also a canvas for creativity, with endless cheese and add-in possibilities.

Pastrami on Rye

Second place goes to the iconic pastrami on rye. In 1888, Lithuanian immigrant Sussman Volk created it at his deli located on Delancey Street in Manhattan. This New York deli classic, with its spiced pastrami, mustard, and rye bread, is simplicity done to perfection. The key is in the quality of the pastrami, sliced thin and piled high. It’s a sandwich that combines tradition with taste in every bite.

The Classic PB&J

And at the pinnacle of our sandwich summit? The peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Surprised? Don’t be. Beloved by children and adults alike, the perfect PB&J is all about the ratio and the quality of its three simple ingredients. It’s a culinary icon, straightforward yet capable of evoking deep nostalgia and joy. The PB&J is not just a sandwich; it’s an American classic that deserves its top spot for bringing together generations over a simple, delicious meal.

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