Finger Sandwich Recipes

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Finger sandwiches are refined little snacks that can be eaten in a bite or two. They were originally designed to be teatime snacks to tide a visitor over until dinnertime. The role of the finger sandwich has expanded over the last century, though. Finger sandwiches make perfect cocktail and meeting fare. They're often portable, satisfying but not filling, attractive on a plate or platter and colorful, too. Their smaller size makes them a good opportunity for experimentation. You may not think of cream cheese and crushed pineapple as a good sandwich filling, but add a little cilantro and you have a tasty bite that's as refreshing as it is unusual. That's the power of a finger sandwich. Ingredients that might be mundane or overpowering served in large quantities taste bold (or delicate) and just about perfect between two slices of bread.

How Big Is A Finger Sandwich?

Although finger sandwich ingredients can vary enormously, the size of the serving option should always be small -- one to two bites maximum. Here's a good rule of thumb: Take a couple of slices of white bread. Trim off the crusts on all four sides and cut the remaining crustless centers in four sections by taking one horizontal and then one vertical cut with a serrated knife. That's the classic size and shape of a finger sandwich. For the sake of convenience, you can fill the sandwich with tasty ingredients and then make the sub-cuts.

Finger Sandwich Crust Design Ideas

In recent years, finger sandwiches have gotten more creative than the simple white bread square. That pretty much means that the sky's the limit when it comes to finger sandwich shapes as well the ingredients you can to use. Here are some suggestions:

  • Cookie cutter shapes. This is a nice way to make finger sandwiches holiday specific. Just punch the shapes out of sliced bread. How about stars on Independence Day or shamrocks on St. Patrick's Day?
  • Cut wedges. This opens up a lot of territory. You can use wedges of corn bread, pita bread, brown bread or just about any other bread that will hold together. Remember, the one (or two) bite rule still applies.
  • Use crackers. The finger sandwich police aren't going to arrest you if you take some liberties with the bread part of the program. Use your imagination.
  • Use tortillas. We really like this idea because when you use a tortilla or Lavash (flat) bread as a base, you can roll the round and then slice it crosswise into a pinwheel sandwich. These little pinwheels are adorable, and you can fill them with just about anything that isn't bulky. You can even stuff them with kid friendly favorites like peanut butter and jelly, marshmallow creme or melted chocolate.
finger sandwich recipes finger sandwich recipes

How To Keep Finger Sandwiches From Falling Apart

More often than not, finger sandwiches are served as party food. That means your guests are enjoying good conversation and maybe even walking around while they're eating. That makes foolproof sandwich assembly a good idea if you want to keep the filling where it belongs. Use a spread that will act like a kind of culinary glue for the rest of the ingredients. Since finger sandwiches are tiny, there isn't much to the hold ingredients in place. You can use a toothpick or other cute skewering device, but a little cream cheese works wonders when you want that diced tomato or layer of watercress to behave. Don't be surprised if many of the finger sandwich recipes you come across include a gooey ingredient for that very reason.

Finger Sandwiches As Appetizers & Snacks

Finger sandwiches are usually served as between meal snacks. That means they're intended to be light fare. Classic finger sandwiches were originally constructed using paper thin bread slices and vegetables like cucumber and watercress. You can certainly make finger sandwiches using more substantial ingredients, but be sure to use them in moderation. When it comes to finger sandwiches, less is definitely more.

Fabulous Finger Sandwich Fillings

After you decide what type of bread you're using on the outside of the sandwich, it's time to choose a filling. If you're making finger sandwiches for a crowd, there are a few ways you can offer variety without creating more work for yourself. Herbed cream cheese is a good example: It's tasty with salmon, turkey and even roast beef. The same goes for avocado slices and garlic mayonnaise. Make a batch of the base ingredient and use it in a number of sandwich variations. For example, use a spiced mayonnaise base to make egg salad, shrimp salad, chicken salad and ham salad.Here are some flavorful and sometimes unexpected ingredients to include in your finger sandwiches. Mix and match them; it's half the fun.

  • Roast beef (sliced super thin)
  • Chicken (Deli style)
  • Chopped chicken liver
  • Avocado (either sliced thin or made into a guacamole spread)
  • Pesto (use it as a heavenly spread)
  • Minced dates (great with plain cream cheese)
  • Chopped olives
  • Crushed pineapple
  • Purple onion (sliced paper thin)
  • Fresh spinach
  • Basil and tomato (with mozzarella cheese)
  • Prosciutto
  • Smoked salmon
  • Hummus

Though finger sandwiches started as a formal treat for teatime, you can now customize them to fit any mood you want. Include your favorite ingredients, cut the bread into holiday specific shapes and keep sandwiches from falling apart with a dab of cream cheese or a well placed tooth pick.

Last Updated: May 9, 2012
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About Sara Elliot Sara Elliott is a freelance copywriter and dedicated blogger. Her popular gardening, cooking and crafting blog, The Herb Gardener, was cited by The Wall Street Journal for its fun and frugal tips. Sara has a degree in English, and you can find her health, crafting, and lifestyle pieces on sites like,, and

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