The perfect BLT sandwich will always and forever hit the spot.
“BLT” stands for “bacon, lettuce, tomato” and is a classic sandwich where these three ingredients star.
I look forward to making BLTs every summer, when tomatoes flood farm stands and I can ogle over their splendid array of colors, patterns, and shapes.
A BLT can be a thing of beauty, but (as is often the case with the simplest recipes), they can also be distinctly underwhelming.
If up until now, your BLT experience has consisted of sandwiches that are any of the following: dry, bland, mushy, mealy, or slippery with mayo—you’ve been missing out on one of summer’s most precious jewels.
5 Star Review
“Erin, oh my gawd, this is like the best BLT sandwich EVER!!!”— Alice —
The Best BLT Sandwich
In preparation for tomato season (and desire for easy, almost no-cook dinners) to come, I took a look at this iconic sammie and developed what I consider my consummate BLT.
- It’s plump and juicy. We’re talking drips-down-your-chin, the way all legit sandwiches should.
- It works with less-than-peak tomatoes. Dressing the tomatoes with a simple vinaigrette, or using Roasted Tomatoes, makes their flavor shine, even if they are less than perfect.
- Ditch the mayo. In favor of mayo, I prefer Greek yogurt. It’s just as creamy and the subtle tang is nice with the bacon and tomato.
- Add avocado. While optional, giving a BLT a California spin by adding avocado takes it to the next level!
Who Invented the BLT?
I love this bit of history. Supposedly, the BLT was invented by John Montague, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich. He was a notorious gambler who was looking for a meal he could eat with one hand while throwing dice with the other. Sandwiches meant he didn’t need utensils or get up from the gambling table.
How to Make The Perfect BLT
A great BLT is a pleasure you’ll look forward to every summer. A mediocre BLT is, well, mediocre.
Bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo are the ingredients you typically put on a BLT. However, they are certainly not the only—or even the best—options.
Here’s how to make the best-ever BLT!
- Bread. While the “B” in BLT stands for bacon, I feel like we’d be better off calling it the “BBLT,” because the bread is just as important. Choose something sturdy enough to hold up to the juicy tomatoes. Slice it thickly so that once toasted, the outsides are crisp while the insides remain tender.
- Bacon. Thick cut, crispy, and a sandwich signature. I recommend purchasing good quality bacon directly from the butcher case. This sandwich has very few ingredients, so each one is important.
- Lettuce. Choose something light, crisp, and tender. While iceberg is classic, I recommend butter lettuce or romaine, which have a little more flavor and are less watery.
- Tomato. What makes a BLT a prize of summer. Make sure your tomatoes are as ripe as possible.
The Best Tomatoes for BLTs
Peak, in-season tomatoes are best, because they are the sweetest and juiciest, though you can make a good BLT with any decently ripe tomato. Use a beefsteak tomato or heirloom tomato, and slice it thick.
In a pinch you can make a BLT with Roma tomatoes, but their texture isn’t as ideal for sandwiches as a hearty beefsteak tomato.
- Greek Yogurt. I’m going to say it: WAY BETTER THAN MAYO for BLTs! The Greek yogurt adds the slightest tang and is creamy, not oily. It’s also a more healthy option than mayo.
- Red Wine Vinegar. This is not a BLT classic ingredient, but ever since making my BLT this way (a trick I learned from The New York Times), I can’t do without it. Dressing the tomatoes in a little red wine vinegar heightens their sweet taste and makes this BLT recipe soar. It also soaks into the bread a little, which ensures your BLT does not taste dry.
- Salt and Pepper. Season your BLT (and just about any tomato sandwich!). It makes every ingredient taste better.
- Bake the bacon until crisp.
- Spread Greek yogurt on toasted bread slices.
- Lightly salt and pepper the tomato slices, and drizzle with red wine vinegar. Add to bread slices along with lettuce.
- Add crispy bacon slices on top.
- Add avocado slices on top. Enjoy!
Take Your BLT to the Next Level
Yes, yes a classic BLT is lovely, but sometimes you want a fancy BLT.
Here are my favorite ingredients to add to a BLT to create the ultimate BLT sandwich of your dreams:
- Avocado. I add one almost every time. The creaminess against the crispness of the bacon is a pleasure.
- Cheese. For another yummy twist, make your BLT with cheese (I like to toast it on the skillet so the cheese melts). Go all-American with cheddar or for an Italian spin, try provolone or fontina.
- Fried Egg. You haven’t lived until you make at least one BLT with egg that runs down your chin. It also makes for a mean breakfast sandwich.
- Jam. For a sweet/salty spin, spread your BLT sandwich with fig jam or raspberry jam.
Sandwiches, especially juicy, messy ones like BLTs, are best enjoyed immediately after being made. Cooked bacon can last in the refrigerator for a few days, so if you have some leftover, you can store it, then recrisp it on the stove or in the oven for a fresh sandwich.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Sheet. Made from pure aluminum, which won’t rust and evenly conducts heat.
- Non-Slip Cutting Board. Its double-sided, non-porous surface doesn’t dull knife blades.
When the nights are warm and long, dinner is outdoors and simple, and a classic is what you crave, a good BLT is just the thing to make. I hope this becomes your ultimate BLT too!
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon
- 4 to 8 tender green lettuce leaves washed and spun dry
- 1 ripe heirloom tomato cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (if tomatoes are not in season, use small on the vine tomatoes instead)
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 4 slices good quality sturdy whole wheat bread (I like sourdough)
- 4 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 ripe avocado sliced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- For easy clean up, line a baking sheet with foil. Place a baking wire rack on top, coat the rack with non-stick spray, then arrange the bacon on the rack in a single layer. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry.
- Arrange the tomato slices in a single layer and drizzle with the vinegar. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Towards the end of the bacon’s cooking time, place the bread slices on a sheet pan (or directly on the oven rack) and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Flip the slices over and toast for 1 additional minute, until the bread is evenly browned. Then place 2 slices of the toasted bread on a cutting board or plate. Spread each slice with 1 tablespoon of yogurt.
- Place a layer of lettuce on top. Add the tomatoes on top of the lettuce, lightly shaking off excess juice.
- Add 3 slices of bacon (tear the bacon in half as needed to help it fit).
- Add the avocado, then sprinkle with an additional pinch of salt and pepper. Spread each of the remaining slices of toasted bread with 1 tablespoon of yogurt. Place, yogurt-side down, on top. Cut the BLT sandwiches in half and serve.
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