The weather is finally warming up, the sun is shining brightly and I am SO READY for all the fresh produce of spring and summer. These refreshing little cucumber sandwiches with a dilly cream cheese spread are the perfect light lunch for warmer weather or a snack to serve with tea or brunch, Mother’s Day, bridal showers, and more. But they’re so deliciously fresh that you’ll probably end up making them all summer long!
P.S. Bookmark this one if you grow cucumbers and are always looking for a way to use up that bumper crop! Our Creamy Cucumber Salad is great, too!
What are Cucumber Sandwiches
There are a lot of interpretations of cucumber sandwiches out there, the most basic being sliced cucumber between two slices of buttered bread, but we took our cucumber sandwiches to the next level with a tangy, dilly, cream cheese spread. The herby flavor of the cream cheese pairs perfectly with the super fresh flavor of the cucumber for an absolutely perfect sandwich. They’re usually made with a soft white bread to match their delicate flavor, but I think it would be fun to experiment with different types of bread for these sandwiches!
How to Serve Cucumber Sandwiches
These dainty little sandwiches are often cut into small bite-sized pieces and served with tea (hence the common name “cucumber tea sandwiches”), but they make the perfect appetizer for any spring or summertime gathering, like Easter, graduation parties, bridal or baby showers, or Mother’s Day brunch. Pair cucumber sandwiches with other fresh summer dishes like Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad, Lemon Cream Pie, Panzanella, or Macaroni Salad.
What Kind of Cucumbers are Best?
English cucumbers are by far the best choice for cucumber sandwiches because they have smaller, softer seeds and a thinner, softer skin. You can leave the skin on, peel, or partially peel for more color variation in the cucumber sandwiches. If using regular cucumbers, I would definitely peel them to prevent the tough skin from contrasting with the delicate nature of the sandwich.
How to Keep Cucumber Sandwiches From Getting Soggy
Cucumbers are a high water content vegetable, so if you’re not careful that water can seep out into your sandwich and leave you with soggy bread. Here’s how to keep the bread light and fluffy and the cucumbers crisp!
- Make sure to spread the cream cheese from edge to edge on the bread. The cream cheese acts as a moisture barrier between the cucumbers and bread.
- Don’t assemble the sandwiches too far ahead. Once assembled, serve your sandwiches within 1-2 hours.
- To make the sandwiches ahead, freeze the bread, prepare the cream cheese spread, and slice the cucumbers. Keep the components separate until just before serving.
- If you MUST fully assemble the sandwiches ahead of time, you’ll want to lightly salt the sliced cucumbers ahead of time and let them sit for about 15 minutes to draw out some of the water. Blot the salted cucumbers dry, then assemble the sandwiches. The cucumbers won’t be quite as crunchy this way, but it will give the sandwiches extra staying power.
What Else Can I Add?
If a recipe isn’t flexible, it isn’t for me! And cucumber sandwiches are definitely flexible. Here are some other fun ingredients you can add to cucumber sandwiches to make them your own:
- Fresh herbs – parsley, mint, tarragon, chives
- Spinach or baby greens – add a layer of greens for even more flavor and texture
- Goat cheese – swap the cream cheese for chevre
- Mayonnaise – for a creamy spread, add a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise to the mix
- 12 slices white bread ($1.04)
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature ($2.19)
- 1/2 tsp dried dill ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.13)
- 1 green onion, sliced ($0.10)
- 1 large English cucumber ($1.49)
- Lay the slices of bread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for at least one hour. This will make slicing the sandwiches with clean edges a lot easier.
- Prepare the dilly cream cheese dip. Add the cream cheese, dried dill, garlic powder, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and sliced green onion to a bowl. Whip the ingredients together until everything is evenly mixed and the cream cheese is soft and spreadable.
- When you're ready to make the sandwiches, peel the cucumber if desired, then slice it very thinly.
- Take two slices of bread out of the freezer at a time and spread about 1.5 Tbsp cream cheese over the surface of each piece of bread, from edge to edge. Layer the cucumber slices over one piece of bread, then top with the other slice (cream cheese side facing the cucumbers).
- Carefully slice the crusts off the bread, then cut the sandwich into two or four pieces (four small pieces is great for finger foods or party appetizers). Repeat until all the sandwiches are assembled. If you have any leftover cucumber slices, place them on top as garnish. Serve within 1-2 hours of assembly.
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How to Make Cucumber sandwiches – Step by Step Photos
To help the sandwiches slice easily with perfect edges, freeze the bread first. Lay the slices of bread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment. You’ll need 12 slices for this recipe, so you can do two layers of six. Freeze the bread for at least one hour.
When you’re ready to make the sandwiches, start with the cream cheese spread. Add one 8oz. block of room temperature cream cheese to a bowl along with ½ tsp dried dill, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, one sliced green onion, and 2 Tbsp lemon juice.
Whip the ingredients together until everything is well incorporated and the cream cheese is soft and spreadable.
Peeling the cucumber is optional (recommended if not using an English cucumber). Thinly slice one cucumber.
Take two slices of bread out of the freezer at a time. Spread about 1.5 Tbsp of the dilly cream cheese spread over the surface of each slice, all the way from edge to edge.
Layer the cucumbers onto one of the slices of bread. Place the second slice of bread over top, with the cream cheese facing the cucumbers.
The bread should still be mostly frozen at this point, which makes it easier to slice. Carefully slice off the crusts, then cut the sandwich into two or four pieces (four is best if you’re planning to serve it as a finger food or appetizer).
If you have any leftover cucumber slices, place them on top for garnish, along with a sprinkle of dried dill. Serve and enjoy!
A fun but tasty twist to regular Cucumber Sandwiches is to use mint chutney instead of cream cheese, I would butter the sandwiches then spread mint chutney and add thinly sliced cucumber. You find mint chutney at Indian food stores and in the international isle of some supermarkets. You can call them Bombay or Mumbai sandwiches.
Ooooh, I want to try that!
Thank you Beth, for reminding me how deeeelish cucumbers are! For some reason I’ve been craving these sandwiches, and that zing of lemon and dill! As always, your recipes are perfect for a base recipe and I can tweak as I please :D
A simple trick to keep the bread from getting soggy: lightly butter the slices before the cream cheese is added. This adds a tiny touch of richness also.
Its easier to cut the crusts off before you make the sandwich. You don’t lose any of the fillings either.
Delightful recipe, especially for summer. Thanks
That’s definitely an option! I like to do it after so you get a nice clean edge on the fillings as well. But don’t worry, none of the parts that got cut off went to waste. I ate those as I went along. 😂
excellent directions and great outcome! i love this, thank you!!🌞
These look delicious! Can’t wait to try them. I’ve been making sandwiches recently I copied from a restaurant. Cucumbers, hummus, pickled red onions, and feta.
I grew up with cucumber or tomato sandwiches. My mom, true to her Danish ancestry, preferred to do them open face–plain cream cheese or mayo, sliced cucumbers and a sprinkle of chopped fresh dill. She, too, cut off the crusts and turned them into little triangles to make a uniform appearance. Her tomato sandwiches were exactly the same. Here in NC, however, tomato sandwiches demand white bread and Duke’s mayo. My sister mixes ranch dressing mix into the cream cheese. I use garlic and any herbs I have on hand and whip the cream cheese with a bit of cream to make it sort of like the expensive stuff.
Off to sacrifice that English cucumber I bought this morning –Aldi has them for $.99 apiece this week.
My daughter used to love cucumber sandwiches in her lunchbox. I would take a round cookie cutter and cut the bread in circles the same size as a slice of cucumber.
This is a cool crispy refreshing summer sandwich. Cucumber sandwich or tomato sandwich are my summer favorites. I make my cucumber sandwich with mayonnaise, a little pepper, and a mild cheese such as muenster.
I will try cream cheese next time.