Learn how to make the ultimate picnic sandwiches that are customizable, craveable and incredibly easy to make (and transport)!

Simple is simply the best… and that couldn’t be more true in this sandwich story! Keep the ingredients simple, but take your picnic sandwiches to a whole new level with these simple tips and tricks.

A picnic basket filled with sandwiches and chips.
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Each Saturday and Sunday morning at the lake, I bake a loaf or two of ready to bake baguettes and make sandwiches to enjoy during our day of boating. While we really love them, it never occurred to me to share them with you until…

I hosted a retreat with some of the most inspiring bloggers and friends a girl could ask for. When planning meals for the week, I decided to keep lunch simple, deferring to our standard sandwiches.

When it comes to lake life, we’ve found that planning the same meals weekend after weekend eliminates the need for time-consuming planning, or making a grocery list in what is intended to be a relaxing getaway.

The same applies to hosting friends. If you stick to something you’re comfortable with, it’s sure to be a success.

A picnic sandwich with ham, tomatoes, lettuce and grapes.

Picnic Sandwiches

I offered up a few choices of lunchmeat (ham, salami and turkey), as well as a condiment or two, of course. But ultimately, we keep these picnic sandwiches pretty basic for boating.

These sandwiches are perfect for parties, picnics, eating on the go and more. Serve them as a Boat Snack along with a Snackle Box for the ultimate day on the water!

A picnic basket filled with sandwiches and grapes.

Why You’ll Love these Sandwiches

  • So Simple – You know my motto, sometimes simple is simply the best and these sandwiches are no exception.
  • Sandwich Shop Quality – This sandwich “recipe” is one that I have been making since college. It’s easy, flavorful and stacks up to any local deli!
  • Packable – These sandwiches are perfect for parties, picnics, eating on the go and more. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Four picnic sandwiches on a white sheet of paper.

Ingredients and Substitutions

See printable recipe card for complete ingredients and instructions.

  • Bread – Your bread choice can make (or break) your picnic sandwiches. For our family, choosing take and bake bread is always the best option. It just tastes so fresh, perfectly soft and crunchy.
  • Butter – You’ll use the butter to lightly spread on top of your bread. You can also use olive oil here, but salted butter is our favorite.
  • Deli Meat – Again, this is where quality shines. We choose thin sliced deli meat to make every bite delicious.
  • Cheese – For these picnic sandwiches, choose a creamy cheese that melts into the bread, like Monterey Jack or Havarti.
  • Sea Salt – We love big crunches of salt across the top of our sandwiches. It really makes it taste like a sandwich shop! Fresh cracked pepper never hurts either!
Picnic sandwiches on a white surface.

Variations

  • Add fresh veggies! Think sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and onion. See more suggestions in the “serving suggestions” category below.
  • Sprinkle with seasoning. Try any of our homemade seasoning blends, like our Oregano Seasoning, Chipotle Seasoning or Beau Monde Seasoning.

How to Make

  1. Bake Bread – Bake the take and bake bread according to package instructions.
  2. Slice – Slice bread to size (and in equal halves).
  3. Butter the Tops – Brush on butter or olive oil while the bread is still warm and sprinkle with fresh cracked sea salt.
  4. Fill – Add cheese, lunch meat and any additional toppings.
  5. Package and Serve – Roll into waxed paper to prevent any moisture from seeping out. Unwrap and serve for picnics, sporting events, boating, and so much more!
Picnic sandwiches on a white surface.

Tips

  • While these sandwiches don’t *need* condiments like mayo or mustard, you can certainly add them! To keep the bread from getting soggy, add condiments between the layers of meats, cheese or any lettuce, onions or tomato slices that you add.
  • Packaging these picnic sandwiches like your favorite sandwich shop adds an extra special touch. Wrap in parchment paper and tie with a ribbon for guests for a gorgeous presentation!
  • Look for take and bake bread in your grocer’s bakery department.
A sandwich and grapes at a picnic.

Serving Suggestions

You can customize these delicious sandwiches however you’d like! Add your favorite condiments and veggies for even more delicious flavor.

A picnic sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce, and ham.
  • Mustard
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Olives
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell Peppers
A picnic sandwich with ham and cheese on a white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What picnic sandwiches don’t get soggy?

Use a sturdy bread, like a loaf of Italian bread or French bread, to prevent your packaged picnic sandwiches from becoming soggy. Add any condiments between the layers of meat and cheese (instead of directly touching the bread) to further prevent this.

How far in advance can I make sandwiches for a picnic?

For best flavor and the ultimate in fresh delivery, make your sandwiches the morning of your picnic lunch. If you must make them ahead of time, limit your timeframe to 2 days before you’re serving these picnic sandwiches.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – These picnic sandwiches can sit out safely at room temperature for up to two hours. After that, they must be refrigerated.
  • Refrigerator – Store them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for 2-3 days.
A picnic sandwich with grapes.

More Sandwiches

A picnic basket filled with sandwiches and grapes.
5 from 2 votes

Picnic Sandwiches

The best picnic sandwiches that are customizable, craveable and incredibly easy to make!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 13 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients  

  • 13 ounces take and bake loaf French, Italian or your favorite bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter softened, unsalted
  • ½ pound deli meat ham, salami or turkey, thin sliced
  • ¼ pound havarti cheese or Monterey Jack, slices
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400℉.
  • Slice bread to size and in half, longways, and place on baking sheet. Bake bread 8-10 minutes or according to package directions.
  • Remove from oven and immediately add sliced cheese to each sandwich (to make it slightly melted).
  • Brush butter onto top of bread while it's warm and sprinkle with fresh cracked sea salt.
  • Add cheese, lunch meat and any additional toppings to the sandwich. Close the top and serve or wrap for a picnic lunch.

Tips

  • While these sandwiches don’t *need* condiments like mayo or mustard, you can certainly add them! To keep the bread from getting soggy, add condiments between the layers of meats, cheese or any lettuce, onions or tomato slices that you add.
  • Packaging these picnic sandwiches like your favorite sandwich shop adds an extra special touch. Wrap in parchment paper and tie with a ribbon for guests for a gorgeous presentation!
  • Look for take and bake bread in your grocer’s bakery department.
Calories: 445kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 1635mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 228mg | Iron: 4mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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12 Comments

  1. Hi! I went to Walmart and Publix and they had no idea what take and bake bread is when I asked. I could get garlic bread in the frozen section or a can of Pillsbury bread to bake. Neither bakery had any take and bake type of bread. They did have loaves already baked. Can I just heat that up in the oven? This should be such a simple item but maybe it’s just not available in my town?

    1. Both carry it! At Walmart, it’s Marketside Bake at Home – they sell a French baguette and twin demi baguettes. Publix sells a GreenWise Organic Bake at Home Organic Demi Baguette or Sourdough bread. Enjoy!

  2. Hi Julie,
    Can these be made the day before?
    I made your crock pot French Dip Sandwiches the were amazing!🌻

    1. Great question! Parchment Paper. Sadly tape/stickers don’t work to secure it, so I used some nautical ribbon I saved from a package, but similar is available at Michaels.

    1. Target, Walmart, Trader Joe’s and local grocers all carry it in their bakery section. I’ve yet to find a store that doesn’t carry a brand of it and they’re all really great {what isn’t when covered in butter and salt?}

      1. So is this bread the frozen dough you bake first? Or ready made baguettes already cooked and you just heat them up, I’m confused when you say follow tge directions?

        1. There are several brands of take and bake breads…most are room temperature or you bake at room temperature. We find them at Walmart, Target, Trader Joe’s and our local grocery stores. It’s a game changer! Enjoy!