How to Make Open Face Sandwiches

Before I ever thought about learning how to make open face sandwiches (Sometimes we called knife and fork sandwiches) I already knew. I did not know the “technical name” whether it is open, open face, open faced or whatever, I did know how to make them; at least Mom’s version. I don’t think Mom even knew any of these names, but she made them on a regular basis. This was one of Dad’s favorite foods. Every time Mom fixed a large roast beef, pork roast, chickens or a turkey she would make a lot of extra mashed potatoes and gravy just so Dad could have this several days afterwards. 

How to Make Open Face Sandwiches like My DadHow to Make Open Face Sandwiches like My Dad

I have no idea where Mom learned how to make open face sandwiches. I think Dad created it! He just loved gravy and it is too messy to eat as a sandwich. Mom would place a couple pieces of bread on a plate, preferably stale bread because it absorbs the gravy better, on a dinner plate.  After covering the bread with gravy, she covered it with thinly sliced meat; whatever was leftover. Mom piled warmed-up mashed potatoes on top of the meat and then more hot gravy. Dad wasn’t particular about his dinner being hot or cold, but it is better heated. Especially in the winter Mom heated all the leftovers before making Dad’s sandwich. You can also heat it in the oven on a heatproof platter and today it can be heated in the microwave.

Many countries have their own versions of the open face sandwich. They can vary greatly from country to country, even region to region of the United States. Louisville, Kentucky’s Brown Hotel is famous for the “Hot Brown” also known as the Louisville sandwich or the Kentucky sandwich. St Louis, Missouri has the famed “Prosperity” sandwich and Pittsburg owns the name “Turkey Devonshire” sandwich. 

When learning how to make open face sandwiches from other countries you will find about the same ingredients as is used in the other recipes. Spanish open sandwiches will have their local meats like pork and chicken along with peppers, tomatoes and good seasoning.

If you are learning how to make open face sandwiches, you will find recipes for parties, for luncheons, dinners and for breakfast. Although most of our recipes here in the United States seem to be hearty (More like a full dinner) some other countries have delicate small open sandwiches. Most of these recipes start by neatly cutting the crusts from thinly sliced bread. The bread can be white, wheat, rye or your favorite recipe. The dense bread types allow for cutting the thin slices neatly. 

If you have learned how to make open face sandwiches, you probably know that they are often used for parties and teas. For these occasions it is nice to cut the bread in special shapes with cookie cutters; Trees, hearts, shamrocks, diamond, triangles etc. The bread can be toasted if desired and then topped with thinly cut meats, eggs, cheeses, fruits or vegetables. To finish the open sandwiches, place mayonnaise, softened butter or whipped softened cream cheese in a pastry bag with a decorative tip. Make a decorative border around the edge or use your own imagination.


Learn how to make open face sandwiches with simple and easy recipes served cold.

NOTE: Spread bread slices with softened butter. Use ONLY meats already cooked and cold.

Thin slices of salami, tomato and cucumber on dark wheat on rye bread.

Thinly sliced canned pears, topped with crumbled blue cheese, top with walnut halves on dark rye.

Thin slices prosciutto, top with tiny pickles on wheat.

Thin slices roast beef, top with horseradish, top with mustard and pickles.

Top bread with ham salad, chicken salad, egg salad, shrimp salad, crab salad, top with parsley.

Spread bread with softened cream cheese, top with sliced fruit, raisins, sliced cucumbers.

Mayonnaise, small shrimp, sprinkle with dill weed.

Slice Swiss, slice ham, pickle slice, cherry tomato slice.

Sliced chicken, tomato slice, cucumber slice.

Slices boiled egg, top with smoked salmon or anchovy fillets.

Egg salad topped with sardines.

Sliced cold roast beef, crisp bacon, thin onion rings.

Liverwurst mixed with crumbled crisp bacon; top with a sautéed mushroom.


Hot Spanish Open Face SandwichHot Spanish Open Face Sandwich

Learn how to make open face sandwiches with a Spanish flare.

  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter (Divided)
  • 3 Cups canned tomatoes
  • 1 Finely chopped green bell pepper
  • ½ Cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • Salt/ pepper to taste
  • ½ Pound sliced bacon
  • 10 Slices bread
  • 10 Ounces grated Cheddar cheese

Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon BUTTER in a large skillet for 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, green pepper and celery.

Simmer mixture uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes.

Blend remaining 1 tablespoon melted BUTTER with the flour.

Add butter flour mix to the tomato mixture; season with salt and pepper.

Stir and cook until mixture thickens slightly; set aside.

Fry the bacon until crisp; toast bread on both sides until golden brown.

Place 2 slices of toast on each oven proof dinner plate (or shallow dishes).

Divide the tomato mixture and spread on each slice of toast.

Top each bread and tomato mixture evenly with the bacon.

Top each with about 1 ounces of the grated cheese.

Place under a hot broiler just long enough to melt the cheese.

Serves 5.

HOT BROWN SANDWICH (May not be exactly like original. I do not know.)

Hot Brown SandwichHot Brown Sandwich

Learn how to make open face sandwiches like Louisville, Kentucky. This famous open sandwich was created at the Brown Hotel in the early nineteen hundreds.

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Small onion (Finely chopped)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 Cups milk
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ Cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 Slices toast
  • 1 Pound sliced cooked turkey or chicken breast
  • 8 Slices bacon (fried crisp)
  • 1 Cup sliced (sautéed) mushrooms

Melt butter in skillet; add onion and sauté until transparent.

Stir in the flour; gradually stir in the milk, salt and pepper until smooth.

Cook over medium heat stirring until sauce thickens.

Add cheeses and continue stirring over heat until melted.

Remove from heat; set aside.

Place 1 slice of toast in each of 4 oven proof shallow dishes.

Top each piece of toast with slices of chicken or turkey.

Cut the remaining toast diagonally; place on sides of sandwiches.

Ladle the cheese sauce over the sandwiches.

Place under hot broiler until cheese begins to bubble.

Top with bacon slices and sautéed mushrooms.


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Cup milk
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ Cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 Pound sliced turkey or chicken
  • 4 Slices sandwich bread (Toasted)
  • 8 Slices bacon (Cook crisp, drain, crumble)
  • ¼ Cup grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat.

Add the flour and stir until smooth; cook and stir 1 minutes.

Gradually stir in the milk: PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F degrees.

 Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened bubbly.

Season with salt, pepper and Cheddar cheese stirring until cheese melts.

Place toast on ovenproof plates; top with chicken and cover with sauce.

Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes; serve hot placing plates on hot pads.

Serves 4.


Learn how to make open face sandwiches with canned chicken.

  • 2 Can (5 Ounces each) chunk white chicken (drain, flake)
  • 1 Can (8 Ounces) pineapple tidbits (Drain)
  • 1 Cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ Cup chopped green bell pepper (Chop fine)
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped celery
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 3 Kaiser rolls (Split)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees;

Combine chicken and next 7 ingredients; stirring well and set aside.

Place split Kaiser rolls on baking tray; place in oven until lightly toasted.

Spoon chicken salad mixture evenly on six roll halves.

Place in oven until hot and cheese melts; serve immediately.

Serves 6.


Learn how to make open face sandwiches for one; make as many as you need.

  • 1 Large slice of rye bread
  • 2 Ounce slice Swiss cheese
  • 4 Ounces sliced turkey
  • 2-3 Tomato slices
  • 3 Slices bacon (Fry crisp, drain, crumble)
  • Shredded lettuce

Sauce for 6 servings:

  • 4 Tablespoons finely chopped dill pickles
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 Hard cooked egg (Chopped)
  • 2 Cups mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 Medium onion (Grated)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Garlic salt to taste
  • Pinch sugar

Layer on the bread the cheese, meat, tomato, bacon and lettuce.

Combine all the sauce ingredients; mix and add pickle juice to thin if needed.

Top sandwich with the sauce.


Learn how to make open face sandwiches with cheeses and vegetables on French bread loaf.

  • 1 ½ Cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 Ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 Can (2 ¼ Ounces) sliced ripe olives (Drain)
  • 3 Tablespoons sliced green onion
  • 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 Teaspoons prepared mustard
  • ½ Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • French loaf of bread (1 Pound loaf split in half lengthwise)
  • 10 to 12 Plum tomatoes (Sliced)
  • 10 Slices bacon (Cook crisp, crumble)
  • Sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Combine Cheddar cheese with next 6 ingredients; blend well.

Spread mixture evenly on each cut side of the French bread.

Place on baking sheet; top with tomato slices and sprinkle with bacon.

Bake for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated; garnish with green onions.

Slice to serve; 6-8 servings.


  • 4 Ounces softened cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 ½ Ounces bacon or sausage 
  • ½ Cup shredded cheese
  • 2 Hard cooked eggs (chopped)
  • 4 English muffins (Split, toast)

Preheat oven to 425F degrees.

Cook bacon crisply and crumble; cook and stir sausage until done.

Mix cream cheese and milk together until smooth.

Fold in chosen meat, cheese and eggs; spread on each muffin half.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until thoroughly heated.


  • 8 to 12 Sandwich rolls (Cut in half)
  • 2 Pounds ground beef
  • ½ Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Cups sour cream
  • 2 Medium diced tomatoes
  • 1 Green bell pepper (Diced)
  • 1 ½ Cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

In large skillet brown ground beef and onions.

Add pepper, salt and garlic; stir in to mix well.

Stir in the sour cream until blended.

Place halves of rolls on baking sheets with cut side up (Single layer).

Butter cut sides of rolls; spoon meat mixture evenly on each half.

Top meat mixture with tomatoes, green peppers and cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes until cheese melts.

NOTE: For most people 2 halves make one serving depending what other food is served with them.


Learn how to make open face sandwiches making one at a time.

For each sandwich

  • 1 Slice rye bread
  • 1 Leaf lettuce
  • 1 Slice tomato
  • 1 Slice ham
  • 1 Slice Swiss cheese

Sauce: (Enough sauce for about 4 sandwiches)

  • ¼ Cup chili sauce
  • ½ Cup mayonnaise
  • ½ Stalk celery (Finely diced)
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped green pepper
  • ¼ Cup finely diced onion


  • Hard cooked egg (Partial egg, chopped)
  • Crisp fried bacon (Crumble)

MAKE SAUCE by combining celery, green pepper and onion.

Mix in the chili sauce and mayonnaise.

Place slice of bread in center of plate.

Arrange on bread in order: lettuce, tomato, ham and cheese.

Spoon the sauce over the top; top with chopped egg and crumbled bacon.


Learn how to make open face sandwiches with vegetables and no meat.

  • ¼ Cup plain low fat yogurt
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons tahini 
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Clove minced garlic
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • ½ Teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ Teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ Teaspoon red pepper
  • 1 Small (3/4 pound) eggplant (cut in ½ inch thick slices)
  • ¼ Cup hickory flavored barbeque sauce
  • 1 Small onion (Slice and separate in rings)
  • 1 Small green bell pepper (Cut in thin rings)
  • 1 Clove minced garlic
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 1 Medium tomato (Sliced)
  • 4 Slices French bread (1 Inch thick and toasted)

Combine yogurt, tahini, water, juice and 1 clove minced garlic; set aside.

Coat large skillet with cooking oil spray; heat over high until hot;

Add fennel seeds, cumin and red pepper; cook and stir until toasted.

Brush 1 side of each eggplant slice with barbeque sauce.

Place slices brushed side down in skillet; brush top sides with barbeque sauce.

Cook eggplant 1 to 2 minutes or until browned; turn over and push to side of skillet.

Add the onion, pepper and 1 clove minced garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes.

NOTE: Eggplant should be slightly tender and blackened.

Add the wine, cover and reduce heat; simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove vegetables from the skillet to a warm plate; cover and keep warm.

Add tomato slices to the skillet; cook 1 minute on each side and remove to plate.

TO ARRANGE SANDWICHES arrange 1 or 2 slices toast on plates.

Top evenly with the vegetables; drizzle with the yogurt mixture.

Serve immediately; 2 to 4 servings.


Learn how to make open face sandwiches with steak.

  • 4 White bread slices (Toasted)
  • Softened butter
  • 4 Beef cubed steaks
  • Unseasoned meat tenderizer
  • 1 Envelope beef bouillon
  • ¾ Cup water
  • 2 Teaspoons flour
  • Watercress sprigs for garnish

Spread one side on toast with butter; arrange on warm dinner plates.

Sprinkle steaks with tenderizer; melt 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet.

Cook steaks in hot butter 1 minute on each side or to desired doneness.

Place a steak on each slice of toast; REDUCE HEAT to medium.

In a small bowl blend the bouillon, water and flour until smooth.

Stir flour mixture into the pan drippings; cook and stir until thickened.

Pour the gravy over the sandwiches; garnish with watercress.