Summer is a fantastic time of year for entertaining. The longer days and warmer weather makes for beautiful days filled with your favorite people. However, on really hot days you may not be wanting to throw a party that involves getting anywhere near an oven!
Today’s post is for you. Whether it’s a casual garden tea party, picnic, or some friends over for a light summer lunch, the less time you have to spend on the day preparing food, the more time you have to spend with the people who matter most. That means preparation before party day is key!
Read on for some tips for when you’re considering how to make party sandwiches ahead of time for your next event.
Prior to making your sandwiches, you’ll need to think about how many you want to make and what varieties. Ensure you have all your ingredients ready to go and get making. Sandwich prep is also a task that is easy to delegate or get a production line going with some of your good friends. In preparation for events, my family has done this and it makes for happy memories and laughter. The prep time goes much faster, too, with loved ones to help you out!
If you’re hosting a large event, sandwiches are great because they can be made the day before the event. They’re a crowd pleaser, versatile, and cost effective (depending on your fillings). If you’ve got a large party, it can be easier to make one or two varieties of sandwich. For smaller events you might have more time and consider making three or four varieties. It’s up to you, and the versatility of sandwiches is part of what makes them such a great and easy food.
Consider the Weather
When making party sandwiches ahead, keep in mind the weather and conditions your sandwiches might be exposed to. Think about the time between when the sandwiches will be made to when they’ll be eaten when selecting your ingredients.
If you’re creating sandwiches to take to a garden party outside, where they will be unrefrigerated for a period of time, consider steering clear of some ingredients that may spoil quicker. Egg sandwiches are often very nice, but if made too far in advance and exposed to hot weather in transit to your event, you could risk your guests becoming ill from eating one. Not quite the lasting memory you want them to have from your event.
Instead, consider salad sandwiches such as a nice cucumber and cheese sandwich. Tomatoes, cured meats, and chutneys all make great sandwich filling options when faced with the elements of the outdoors. If you have access to cooling for your event, you have the opportunity to include a broader range of ingredients without the risk of spoiling.
These sandwiches that would be perfect for an outdoor garden party or picnic. I really like fruits in sandwiches for something a bit different!
A soggy sandwich is not particularly nice. The flavors bleed into other ingredients and the bread can become mushy in your mouth and hands. It can be a mess — one most people have experienced at least once!
By constructing your sandwich with moist ingredients in the center — away from the bread — you can reduce the risk of getting a soggy sandwich. If making a sandwich with chutney, jam, or flavored butter, place your dry items such as lettuce or cold meats against the bread, then spread your chutney against those ingredients rather than directly onto the bread. This also applies to ingredients such as tomatoes that can make the bread soggy if placed against it. This way the meat or salad acts as a barrier between the moist ingredients and your bread.
Toasted sandwiches are generally better suited for smaller events where they can be enjoyed still hot. As a bonus you don’t have to worry quite so much about sogginess or staleness in your preparation as they will crisp up as they cook. Try these delicious Monte Cristo tea sandwiches or crunchy apple slaw sandwiches.
Depending on the type of party you’re hosting, you might like to play around with how you present your sandwiches. You might be thinking, “There’s not much to think about with a sandwich,” but how you present your sandwich can really play into the overall feel of your event.
For more formal high tea parties, you might like to cut your sandwiches into ribbons or small triangles. For picnics or garden parties, you might just like to have them whole or in halves.
You can have a bit of fun with the plate you present your sandwiches on. China platters or stands are a popular choice. There are lots of pretty patterns to choose from and you can really personalize as much or as little as you want. For an outdoor rustic event, it could be fun to serve up a selection of sandwiches on a wooden platter.
Keeping It Fresh
If you’re making sandwiches for your party in advance, you need to keep in mind how you are going to keep your sandwiches looking their best whilst they’re waiting to be eaten. By using cling wrap or placing into storage containers in the fridge before the party (particularly if made the night before!), your ingredients should stay as fresh as possible. The air-tightness of your container will prevent the bread from going stale.
For the best storage, I would suggest a container as, depending on your refrigerator settings, clingfilm has the potential to gather moisture if you haven’t sealed it well enough. This can lead to the dreaded soggy sandwiches.
If you’re needing to transport your sandwiches, consider if you will need a cooler or cool bag to transport them in to maintain their freshness.
If you feel like you want convenience more than anything else, assemble your sandwiches and place them on the plate or tray you plan on presenting them on. Cover with cling film, then place in the fridge ready for your party. When your guests arrive, simply pull out the sandwiches and remove the clingfilm to serve. Easy!
Ideally, you should aim to make your sandwiches as close to the day of your party as possible for the best flavor and freshness. I recommend making your sandwiches no more than 48hrs in advance for the best flavor come party time.
So there you have it! My top tips for how to make party sandwiches ahead of time.
Need some more sandwich ideas? You’ll find them right here.