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Our Cucumber Sandwiches are made with soft white bread slathered with cream cheese, mayonnaise, fresh herbs, and lemon – plus thinly sliced cucumbers.
What are Cucumber Sandwiches?
They’re a classic English sandwich served during afternoon tea or as a light snack. The crusts of the bread are typically cut off, and the sandwiches can be cut into dainty little triangles, rectangles, or strips – allowing the pretty green of the cucumbers to show through.
Cucumber Sandwiches were once considered a seasonal delicacy – and even today, these little tea sandwiches are often reserved for serving at parties, bridal and baby showers, and other special occasions.
The original Cucumber Sandwiches were simply crustless, buttered white bread and thin slices of English cucumber.
Today, there are many different variations and accompaniments, reflecting different taste preferences as this delicious sandwich has gained popularity in other countries and cultures.
Our recipe replaces the butter with a cream cheese-mayonnaise mixture – flavored with fresh herbs, spices, and lemon – that is slathered over slices of soft white bread. Then, thinly sliced cucumbers are added.
Even with all the additional ingredients – the flavor of the cucumber is still the star of this light and refreshingly delicious sandwich.
Why you’ll love Cucumber Sandwiches
- The flavors go so nicely together: crisp cucumbers, fresh herbs, plus lemon, and a little tang from the cream cheese and mayonnaise. Every bite is wonderfully refreshing and delicious.
- These sandwiches are simple to prepare with ingredients that you can readily find at the supermarket.
- Dainty little triangles of soft pillowy bread with bits of bright green in a creamy filling are such a pretty dish to serve – just perfect for any special occasion.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- English Cucumbers – These are the long, thin, individually shrink-wrapped cucumbers you’ll find in the produce section of the supermarket. We choose this variety because the seeds are small and tender and they have a mild flavor. You could buy a package of mini cucumbers, but we prefer larger cucumber slices for this sandwich recipe. Avoid a standard cucumber – the seeds are too large for this delicate sandwich.
- Kosher Salt – This is used to salt the cucumber slices to remove excess moisture before assembling the sandwiches.
- White Bread – Choose a freshly-baked square, white sandwich bread for this recipe – sometimes called a “pullman” or sandwich loaf – typically found in the bakery section of the supermarket. (Avoid the commercial brands of white bread if possible.) You should have between 12 and 16 slices per loaf and the loaf should weigh about one pound (16 ounces). Our loaf had 14 usable slices and two end pieces.
- Cream cheese – We suggest using a full-fat cream cheese, but you could also use a lower version if you prefer.
- Herbs and Spices – You can vary this combination to suit your tastes. We used fresh dill sprigs, fresh chives, garlic powder, mustard powder, black pepper, lemon zest and juice.
Special Tools Needed
- Cutting Board and Sharp Knife
- Vegetable Peeler
- Mandolin (this is the one we used) or a very sharp knife – To thinly slice the cucumbers.
- Sheet Pan lined with Paper Towels
- Additional Paper Towels
- Medium Bowl
- Rubber Spatula/Scraper
- Offset Spatula or Sandwich Spreader
- Serrated bread knife
How do I make Cucumber Sandwiches?
- Peel the cucumbers, leaving a little of the skin showing between each peel.
- Cut cucumber on a mandolin into very thin (one-eighth inch thick) slices.
- Lay the slices of cucumber on a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Sprinkle a teaspoon of kosher salt over the slices and let sit for 20 minutes. (This process will draw out moisture and any bitterness.)
- Mix softened cream cheese with mayonnaise, chopped fresh dill, chopped fresh chives, garlic powder, mustard powder, black pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
- Blot the tops of the salted cucumber slices with more paper towels. This will remove excess moisture as well as most of the salt.
- Lay out bread slices and divide the cream cheese spread between all the slices. Do not trim the crusts off yet.
- Lay the cucumber slices over half of the bread slices. Top with the remaining bread slices.
- Cut crusts of the outer edges off each sandwich, then cut the sandwich in half – corner to corner – using a sharp serrated bread knife. Wipe the knife between each cut.
- Cut each half sandwich in half again to make little triangle cucumber tea sandwiches.
- Serve as soon as possible after assembling the sandwiches.
This OXO Handheld Mandolin Slicer is an affordable kitchen tool that everyone should have on hand. It’s an easy way to cut vegetables into very thin slices.
Tips & Tricks
- Salting the cucumbers ahead of time removes excess moisture and draws out any bitterness. When you blot away the moisture, most of the salt will get wiped off, but enough remains to season the finished sandwich. (Do not add additional salt to the spread – it will be too salty.)
- Cut the bread crusts off after the sandwich is assembled. This will allow you to cut the bread and cucumbers with a nice clean, straight edge.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Cucumber Sandwiches ahead of time? These sandwiches should be made as close to serving as possible, however the spread can be made in advance and the cucumbers sliced and salted ahead of time.
- How do I store leftovers? Keep any leftovers refrigerated but note that the shelf life of an already-assembled sandwich is less than one day. The bread will start to get soggy.
You might like these other Cucumber Recipes:
Click here for more delicious Sandwich Recipes!
1 large English cucumber
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh dill fronds, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 loaf of good-quality bakery-style white bread
- Trim ends off cucumber. Using a potato peeler, peel the cucumber lengthwise, leaving some skin behind.
- Use a mandolin (or sharp knife) and cut slices one-eighth inch thick. We got 90 slices out of our cucumber.
- Lay cucumber slices out on a sheet tray covered in paper towels and sprinkle on the teaspoon of kosher salt. Let sit for 20 minutes to pull moisture and bitterness from the cucumber slices.
- In a medium bowl, mix softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped fresh dill, chopped fresh chives, garlic powder, mustard powder and fresh black pepper.
- Lay out all bread slices on a cutting board and spread the cream cheese spread on all slices (assuming you have an even number of slices). Do not trim crusts yet.
- Blot the cucumber slices with paper towels removing all moisture that collected on the slices.
- Lay the cucumber slices on half of the spread-topped bread slices.
- Cover each sandwich with the remaining slices of bread.
- Using a sharp serrated knife, cut off each crust edge and through the rounded edges of the cucumber. (Wipe the blade between cuts.)
- Cut each tea sandwich in half corner to corner, then in half again.
- Serve immediately.
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