This 5-ingredient BLT recipe is everything a BLT should be — with smoky bacon, perfectly toasted white bread, crisp iceberg lettuce, and juicy ripe tomatoes.
Because there’s nothing like a perfectly ripe and juicy in-season tomato, I make it my job to enjoy them every which way I can. The number two reason I even bother with growing my own garden tomatoes is BLT sandwiches (number one going to caprese-me-everything from caprese salads to sandwiches to pasta to chicken dinners.)
I can’t think of a more iconic summer sandwich than this perfect BLT. Juicy-ripe, drippy tomatoes, tucked between crisp, salty bacon and crunchy lettuce, sandwiched between two pieces of mayo-slathered toasty bread. It truly is the perfect bite and makes a quick and easy dinner too. Here’s how to make the BEST BLT.
What Do You Put on a BLT
This simple BLT sandwich has a popular following for a reason. If done right using simple, unfussy bread, quality bacon, and in-season tomatoes, this sandwich is perfection. There are only be 5 ingredients needed here, so make ’em count!
Here’s what’s in this BLT:
- White sandwich bread — Nothing fancy here, move along! While some may use fancier artisanal sourdough or ciabatta, the best BLT’s are on old-fashioned, super soft, grocery store white sandwich bread that’s been lightly toasted.
- Mayo — Okay, mayonnaise brands can be a divisive subject. Everyone has a favorite and many have strong opinions. While purists laud Duke’s and Hellman’s mayo, my forever favorite is the added sweetness of Miracle Whip. The choice is yours, so go with whatever mayo brand you love most.
- Bacon — Use good-quality, bacon that isn’t too thin nor too thick. I usually ask the butcher to package it for me direct from the case. Look for equal amounts of fat and pork ribboned through the slices.
- Iceberg lettuce — Save the delicate salad blends for another day because crunchy lettuce is a BLT must. Watery iceberg is my preferred lettuce of choice but romaine, Boston, or Bibb lettuce are all delish.
- Tomatoes — No matter which variety you choose, make them sweet and ripe. Choose in-season tomatoes from your garden, local farmers’ market, or farm stand. I love beefsteaks and heirlooms but a few cocktail tomatoes make good stand-ins.
Is a BLT a Bacon Sandwich or a Tomato Sandwich?
I love bacon and I love tomatoes, so I feel strongly that a BLT should be the best of both (equal bacon and tomatoes). Why choose? That said, if you want more bacon than tomatoes or vice versa, go for it!
Keep the BLT love going strong by trying this BLT pasta salad, a BLT corn salad, or a BLT grilled cheese.
How to Build the Perfect BLT
While they may seem deceptively simple, there truly is an art to building a sandwich as I describe in length. Sure, you can haphazardly throw one together, but many will argue the order of your ingredients matter, especially when making a BLT.
Here’s the best way to build one:
- Bacon first. After you’ve toasted your bread and slathered it with mayo (and maybe some butter too?), add your bacon. The bacon acts as a barrier between the delicate bread and the juicy tomato—you don’t want anything wet on the bottom of your sandwich. Soggy bread = sad sandwich.
- Tomato second. Resist the urge to pile too many on, as your sandwich will get too juicy. Two or three meaty slices will suffice.
- Lettuce last. The lettuce acts as another barrier between the drippy tomato and toasted bread.
Tips for Making the Best BLT
- Always season your tomatoes. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper on your tomato slices go bring out more flavor.
- Crisp bacon is best. Use a thinner bacon or cook it on the longer side to get it crisp but not burned.
- Use a cold pan for your bacon. Starting your bacon in a cold pan (preferably a well-seasoned cast iron, which helps conduct heat more evenly) helps render the fat more gradually, resulting in crispier bacon. Alternatively, you can cook you bacon on a foil-lined sheet pan in a 400° oven, for about 18-20 minutes, or until it’s reached your desired level of crispiness. There’s no need to flip, just rotate your pan halfway through cooking.
- Add more flavor by buttering your bread after toasting. Again, we’re adding and layering flavor here. Or, toast the bread in a slick of leftover bacon fat — you won’t regret it.
- Any way you slice it a BLT is delicious. I usually just cut the sando in half horizontally, but if you want an even crispier texture, slice yours in half triangularly.
BLT Variations to Try
When it comes to BLTs, I subscribe to the general “less is more” theory. I really believe they’re perfect as is. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up now and then. Should you feel moved to do so, here are some fun things you could try:
- Mix up your mayo. You could add a bit of Sriracha or some adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers) to your mayo for a bit of heat and smokiness. Or, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, and fresh basil with your mayo. A drizzle of hot honey would also be delish.
- Add fruit. A few slices of avocado or peaches can make for an exceptionally bangin’ BLT.
- Add some acidity. A few pickles or banana peppers would bring a nice, briny bite to your sandwich.
What to Serve With a BLT
- Homemade Spicy Garlic Dill Pickles
- How to Make the BEST Creamy Coleslaw
- Ranch Potato Salad
- How to Make Baked Beet Chips
- Killer Garlic Fries with Rosemary
More Stellar Sandwiches to Try
- The BEST Caprese Sandwich
- Green Goddess Cream Cheese Veggie Sandwich
- Classic Egg Salad Sandwich
- Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Herbed Ricotta
- My Favorite Reuben Sandwich
- How to Make a Healthy-ish Fried Fish Sandwich
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