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Tea Sandwiches

For a special occasion serve tea sandwiches. I’m sharing three favorites – cucumber and butter, roast beef with horseradish, or cornbread muffin and ham.

Growing up in the tiny, rural town of my childhood was an experience completely unlike any that I know of today. It was two parts Mayberry and one part Peyton Place.

Three types of tea sandwiches on a vintage glass serving tray.

It was a place where children had the freedom to roam around town without parents having to worry. A time well before the Internet or satellite television. We largely made our own fun and we most definitely made time for social occasions.

Special Occasions

Some of the most important social occasions other than weddings in my little hometown were showers. Wedding showers and baby showers. These were huge events and it was not unusual for several hundred people to be included on the guestlist for either.

Each occasion required printed invitations which were hand addressed by the hostesses and mailed with sufficient time to allow everyone to clear her calendar for the big day. Gifts were purchased and arrived at the shower accompanied by the engraved calling card of the giver. Yes, these were very special occasions.

Special Food and Decor

When the date for the big event arrived all the guests and the honoree gathered and enjoyed an afternoon of visiting and catching up on the latest news (i.e., gossip). The venue was always beautifully decorated with white linen-draped tables and lovely floral arrangements.

There was, of course, the ever-present punch bowl with its matching tiny punch cups. And silver serving trays held delicacies of all kinds – fruits, vegetables with dips, and charming little Tea Sandwiches. Making the sandwiches for this post took me right back to those times when we planned special events months in advance, hand addressed correspondence, and put on our Sunday best to show how much we cared for those with whom we shared our lives.

If you have a special occasion coming up try adding a few tea sandwiches to your menu. You’ll feel so very retro. And you know how chic retro is these days :-)

How to Make Tea Sandwiches

I have three little tea sandwiches to share with you. The first one is a very traditional cucumber and butter sandwich. Another is roast beef with horseradish and watercress and the third is definitely not traditional with its cornbread muffin and ham.

Cucumber and Butter

Collage showing how to make cucumber sandwiches.

For the cucumber-butter sandwiches, mix softened butter, grated lemon zest, and chopped fresh dill. Spread onto thin white sandwich bread. Top with thinly sliced cucumber. Trim the crusts and cut into pieces.

Beef with Horseradish and Watercress

Collage showing how to assemble roast beef sandwiches.

For the roast beef and horseradish version, mix sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish, salt, and pepper. Spread on whole wheat or rye bread. Top with thinly sliced roast beef, thinly sliced tomato and watercress. Trim the crusts and cut into pieces.

Ham and Cornbread

Collage showing how to assemble cornbread and ham muffins.

For the ham and cornbread sandwiches, mix softened butter, chopped scallions, and honey. Spread on split mini corn muffins. Fill with thinly sliced ham and hot pepper jelly.

More Options and Variations

The above are just three of my favorites but there are loads and loads of ideas for tea sandwiches! Some others you might like:

  • Spread a split baguette with softened butter. Top with smoked turkey, cheddar cheese, and sliced apple. Slice thinly.
  • Spread softened cream cheese onto slices of date-nut or other fruit bread. Layer with sliced strawberries. Cut into pieces.
  • Chicken salad makes a lovely presentation when served in tiny puff pastry rounds. Cut the rounds with a 1 1/2 to 2- inch cutter. Fill with your favorite chicken salad recipe.
  • Pimiento cheese is always popular in the South. Use my traditional pimiento cheese recipe on marbled rye. Slice into pieces and top with a tiny slice of pickled okra.

More Recipes You’ll Like

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

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For a special occasion serve tea sandwiches. Three of my favorites are cucumber and butter, roast beef with horseradish, or cornbread muffin and ham. https://www.lanascooking.com/tea-sandwiches-three-ways/

Tea Sandwiches Three Ways

For a special occasion serve tea sandwiches. Three of my favorites are cucumber and butter, roast beef with horseradish, or cornbread muffin and ham.
4.84 from 6 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 28 servings
Calories: 165kcal
Author: Lana Stuart


Cucumber-Butter Sandwiches

  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 4 slices Very thin white sandwich bread
  • 1/2 English cucumber thinly sliced

Roast Beef-Horseradish Sandwiches

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces Medium rare roast beef thinly sliced
  • 4 slices Very thin whole wheat or rye bread
  • 1 Roma (plum) tomato thinly sliced
  • Watercress (optional)

Ham-Cornbread Sandwiches

  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 teaspoons chopped scallion
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 12 Mini corn muffins
  • 4 ounces Thinly sliced deli ham
  • 3 teaspoons Red pepper jelly


Cucumber-Butter Sandwiches

  • Mix the butter, lemon zest and dill.
  • Spread on bread and top with cucumber slices.
  • Trim crusts and cut into serving size pieces.

Roast Beef-Horseradish Sandwiches

  • Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish, salt and pepper.
  • Spread on bread.
  • Top with roast beef, tomato slices, and watercress.
  • Trim crusts and cut into serving size pieces.

Ham-Cornbread Sandwiches

  • Mix the softened butter, scallions and honey. Spread a small amount on the bottom of each split corn muffin. Top with ham and red pepper jelly. Replace the top.


Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 165kcal | Carbohydrates 19g | Protein 4g | Fat 8g | Saturated Fat 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat 1g | Monounsaturated Fat 3g | Trans Fat 0.2g | Cholesterol 30mg | Sodium 297mg | Potassium 83mg | Fiber 1g | Sugar 5g | Vitamin A 199IU | Vitamin C 2mg | Calcium 58mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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Recipe Rating


  1. After these are all cut, about how many sandwiches does this make? I want to make these for my nieces baby shower- there about 50 people coming

    1. Hi Bridget. You would make up as many as you need for your event. The sandwich recipes make enough spread for two whole sandwiches each (those are then cut into four pieces as shown making 8 little tea sandwiches.) The spread for the muffin recipe makes enough for about 12 mini muffins.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet says:

    Love the idea of using mini corn muffins!

  3. Katherine Martinelli says:

    These are so cute!!! Just love them.

    1. Thanks, Katherine! They’re also lots of fun to make!

  4. Priscilla - She's Cookin' says:

    Love tea sandwiches – so civilized! The ham and cornbread ones are delicious and pure Lana :)

    1. Thanks, Priscilla. I think they’re quite civilized, too :-)

  5. These are so cute! I love afternoon tea and finger sandwiches. I think I’ll have to try the ham cornbread variety.

    1. Hope you enjoy those, Shirley. We did.

  6. Those look great. Did you have a little party? Are there any leftovers?

    Miss P

    1. No, no party. I just got into the kitchen and made up a bunch of little sandwiches :-)

  7. Perfect little sandwiches. Would love some at the bridal shower I’m about to go to. ;)

  8. Perfect for a wedding reception! And I have just the place for them. Thanks!

  9. Marnely Rodriguez says:

    Those ham cornbread ones are calling MY name! Yum!

    1. Those are my favorites, too, Marnely. That little dollop of hot pepper jelly really makes them great. Or you could use a slice of pickled jalapeno as well.