Best Southern Tomato Sandwich Recipe

When your ingredients are fresh, you don't need much to make them shine. Mashed recipe developer Patterson Watkins brings us the best Southern tomato sandwich recipe, fully proving our point. Made with simple elements and a crunchy surprise, this sandwich will put all others to shame. Watkins shares, "I grew up with sandwiches like these. The simple joy of snacking on sammies stuffed with fresh-picked, vine-ripened tomatoes (and a hefty spread of mayo) makes my mouth water." 

While this recipe goes beyond a basic tomato sandwich, Watkins notes, "I still wanted to maintain the essential elements with just some enhanced techniques and surprising flavor pops (all without family members sharpening pitchforks for messing with this iconic sandwich)." Thanks to greenhouses, we can get tomatoes year-round, but to taste this creation at its best you'll want to use fresh tomatoes at the peak of their season. Nonetheless, the delicious marinade will enhance whatever tomato you can get your hands on. 

Gather the ingredients for the best Southern tomato sandwich recipe

For this recipe, you'll need to slice three large or four medium-sized tomatoes. "I prefer 'tomatoes on the vine,'" Watkins shares and reveals, "I buy so many TotV that I even know their grocery code." She also suggests heirloom tomatoes or a few "picked fresh from your own garden." The tomato marinade consists of malt vinegar, olive oil, a shallot (minced), garlic clove (peeled and minced), fresh basil (chopped), and fresh chives (chopped). If you're out of malt vinegar, "feel free to use apple cider, white balsamic, or red wine," our recipe developer advises.

While you could stick to ordinary mayo, Watkins takes it three steps further with a bread and butter pickle juice mayonnaise — yes, you read that right. She explains, "Homemade mayo is typically made with a combination of acids; vinegar and lemon juice. This recipe substitutes these with pickle juice!" The result is the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. You'll need an egg yolk, bread and butter pickle juice, Cajun mustard, a neutral flavored oil (canola or vegetable are good options), salt, and pepper. 

To assemble this delicious sandwich, you'll need salted butter (portion it into tablespoons for ease) and thick slices of country white bread. Finally, a sprinkling of crushed BBQ pork rinds really separates this tomato sandwich from the pack.

Start by marinating the tomatoes

Lay out the tomato slices on a large plate and drizzle the vinegar and olive over top. Then, season them with minced shallot and garlic, as well as chopped basil and chives. Flip the tomatoes to coat them in the marinade ingredients, then set the plate aside while you tackle the next step.

Whisk the mayonnaise

In a medium-sized bowl, add the egg yolk, pickle juice, and mustard and whisk until the mixture starts to froth. Then, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream as you continue to whisk vigorously. Every now and then, stop to give it a proper whisk if need be, adding all of the oil until the mixture is thick. Season the mayonnaise with salt and pepper then cover the bowl and refrigerate it until you are assembling the sandwiches. 

Toast the bread slices

Sure you could use a toaster, but Watkins goes a different route. "I am a big fan of butter-toasting (more like shallow frying in butter) my sandwich bread. There's just something about crispy, buttery toast that makes me almost shun the toaster."

You'll need to toast the bread in batches since you likely won't be able to fit all eight slices at once. Place a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter; you'll want to count 2 tablespoons per sandwich. Then, add the bread slices, flipping them over to properly coat the surface with butter. Toast the bread for 1 to 2 minutes per side until it crisps up and becomes golden brown. Remove the toasted slices and continue with the remainder of the bread.  

Assemble the sandwich and serve

Once all the bread is toasted, you can set up an assembly station. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of mayo on each slice, spreading it out to cover the surface. Then, top half the bread with a few slices of marinated tomatoes and finish it off with a sprinkling of crushed pork rinds. Layer the second slice of bread on top and slice the sandwiches in half. With your first bite, you'll agree with us that this is the best Southern tomato sandwich around. 

Best Southern Tomato Sandwich Recipe
5 from 28 ratings
Learn how to make a refreshing sandwich with marinated tomatoes, bread and butter pickle mayonnaise, and BBQ pork rinds on toasted bread for a Southern snack.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Southern tomato sandwich closeup
Total time: 28 minutes
  • 3 large or 4 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons bread and butter pickle juice
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun mustard
  • 1 cup neutral oil (canola or vegetable)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter
  • 8 thick slices country white bread
  • 1 cup BBQ pork rinds, crushed
  1. Place the sliced tomatoes on a large plate and drizzle them with vinegar and olive oil.
  2. Season the slices with shallot, garlic, basil, and chives, flipping them over a couple of times to thoroughly coat, then set aside.
  3. Add the yolk, pickle juice, and mustard to a medium bowl and whisk until frothy.
  4. Slowly add the oil in a thin stream while whisking vigorously, stopping occasionally to whisk until thick.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.
  6. Working in batches, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter per sandwich in a large skillet over medium heat.
  7. Add the bread slices, turning them over a couple of times to thoroughly coat them in butter.
  8. Toast the bread for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until crisp and golden brown.
  9. Repeat the process to toast the remaining slices of bread.
  10. To assemble the sandwiches, spread a heaping tablespoon of homemade mayo onto each toasted bread slice and top with a few slices of marinated tomatoes.
  11. Generously sprinkle with crushed pork rinds, top with the second slice of bread, and cut it in half.
Calories per Serving 288
Total Fat 26.4 g
Saturated Fat 6.2 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 33.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Total Sugars 2.0 g
Sodium 193.3 mg
Protein 4.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe