Sandwich fillings for kids
Give your kids a lunch to look forward to with our ideas and tips for sandwich fillings. These easy recipes are perfect for home snacking and school lunchboxes.
Sandwiches shouldn't be a boring lunch option. We've gathered some of our favourite fillings which little ones will love to create and eat.
For extra inspiration, read our tips on how to put together the perfect child-friendly sarnie. From classic club sandwiches to picnic baguettes and sausage rolls, these tasty recipes will keep them fuelled throughout the day.
For more inspiration, see our kids' lunchbox collection and the top 10 kid's storecupboard recipes including easy bakes and simple meals.
Find more simple lunches in our kids' cooking collection.
Tips for making kids' sandwiches
What kind of fillings to try
- You can introduce all sorts of veg and flavours to sandwiches more easily than just putting them on a child’s plate. Try watercress or rocket chopped up instead of cress in an egg sandwich; herbs and spring onion can be whizzed into hummus; and finely chopped celery can be stirred into tuna mayo.
- Grated carrot makes a nice sweet addition – add a little vinaigrette or a pinch or cumin for a more sophisticated flavour.
- You can add texture via crunchy veg like red or yellow peppers chopped into small cubes, sliced radishes, or cucumber.
Pick and mix fillings
- Children love to choose fillings, pile a plate with different options and let everyone fill their own sandwiches or rolls.
- For older children who might be getting their own lunch on a school day, fill a large box or the veg drawer of your fridge with portions of different proteins (ham, tuna, hard boiled egg, cheese, bean dips, etc) and ready sliced veg and salad, this way you’ll have control of how much is being eaten without lunch being a free-for-all of the ingredients you need for dinner – or were hoping to make last all week.
What fillings to avoid
- Steer away from anything too wet – there’s nothing worse than a soggy sandwich.
- Keep extra strong flavours to a minimum otherwise you may overpower other fillings. A small amount of chopped olives or capers or a spoonful of piccalilly can really lift a sandwich if your child likes that kind of thing, but too much can be downright unpleasant.
Which bread to choose
- You’ll know what kind of bread your children like, and while it’s tempting to try and make them eat different varieties, perhaps test new breads as a slice of toast rather than wasting a sandwich filling.
- Think about the type of bread you are using in relation to the filling. Some fillings such as egg mayo are quite soft so you’ll need a reasonably soft bread, otherwise as you bite down all the filling will squish out. A delicate sliced cucumber sandwich tastes better on a mild white bread that allows the flavour to shine through. Stiffer filling such as slices of ham or hard cheese or slippery avocado slices can be used in more robust breads like sourdough, and smoked fish or beetroot hummus pair well with rye, especially as open sandwiches.
- The same goes for rolls. A soft roll suits a soft filling like prawn mayonnaise and a crusty roll goes well with slices of salami.
- Chunks of baguette are often a halfway house, the softer inside holds fillings like tuna mayonnaise, salads and mozzarella and tomato well while the crunchy crust won’t go soft quickly .
- Split pitta breads also make good sandwiches and as long as you don’t make a hole in the bottom, they make a good carrier for a potentially messy filling like a fried egg or halved and cooked sausages. A breakfast sandwich is a good thing on the weekend.
Our top 10 favourite sandwich fillings for kids:
1. Kids' club sandwiches
Fillings: bacon, lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber, and soft cheese
Kicking off with a classic, the club may seem like the mainstay of the sandwich world but kids can still have fun with an original. Alternating layers of smoky bacon, crunchy veg, soft cheese and wholemeal bread form a well-balanced combination of flavours and textures. Cut into triangular pieces and secure with a paper-topped cocktail stick for the ultimate savoury birthday bite.
2. You're a star sarnies
Fillings: cream cheese and red pesto
Surprise your little stars with a special treat in their lunchbox. These super-cute, star-shaped sarnies are filled with a simple cheese and red pesto spread which is sure to appeal to younger fussy eaters.
Find more inspiration for packed lunches.
3. Loaded open sandwiches
Fillings: ham and radishes, cucumber and dill, egg and cress, and prawns with mayo.
Although these are technically toppings rather than fillings, why not let kids show off their creations on open bread slices. We've come up with four tasty combinations to pile high over a base of cucumber mayonnaise: ham and radishes; cucumber and dill; egg and cress; and prawns with mayo. These pretty patisserie-style sarnies will have pride of place at an afternoon tea spread.
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Get more ideas for how to throw your own afternoon tea party.
4. Egg & cress club sandwich
Fillings: eggs, mayonnaise and cress (plus optional lettuce, tomatoes, ham or cheese)
Another family favourite – boiled eggs, creamy mayo, and cress is a winning filling formula. Kids can either enjoy these simple flavours or deck out their sarnies with a variety of extras such as lettuce, tomatoes, ham or cheese. All that's left to do is lay out your picnic mat on the lawn and munch away.
5. Sausage sandwich with pesto
Fillings: sausages, pesto, mozzarella, roasted red pepper and rocket.
Teenagers are known for developing healthy appetites. So when hunger strikes, the hearty sausage roll is here to help. Give this comfort food classic an Italian-style twist with the addition of fresh pesto, mozzarella and roasted pepper.
6. Stuffed rainbow baguette
Fillings: hummus, cheddar, colourful veg and pesto
Let your kids eat the rainbow with our colourful veggie baguettes. Load this French bread high with hummus, pesto and colourful veg such as beetroot, red pepper, carrot, and salad leaves. Eating their greens will never seem so appealing!
More brilliant baguette recipes.
7. Easy coronation chicken
Fillings: cooked chicken breast, mild spices, mayonnaise, sultanas and mango chutney.
This mild curried sandwich filling is perfect for children who don't like spice. The sweet, tangy notes of mango chutney and juicy sultanas balance well with the spices and mayo. Coat leftover roast chicken in this comforting creamy sauce and serve with salad leaves in a fresh bun.
Love this sandwich filling? We've got plenty more coronation chicken recipes.
8. Carrot & hummus roll-ups
Filling: hummus, carrot & rocket
When it comes to pleasing picky eaters, simplicity is key. These veggie wraps are packed with a nutritious filling of grated carrot, silky hummus, and rocket salad. Rustle them up in just 10 mins for a quick snack or lunch.
Try our super salad wraps for another colourful veg-packed filling along with grated cheddar and hummus.
9. Turkey & pepper pittas
Fillings: turkey breast steak, peppers, spring onions, avocado and coriander.
Kids' energy levels flagging? Give them a boost with our tasty turkey, pepper, and avocado pitta breads. The superhealthy filling is a great source of vitamin C and delivers two of your five-a-day. Serve it in wholemeal pitta pockets for a delicious fibre boost and alternative to normal sandwiches.
Try more pitta bread recipes.
10. Homemade fish finger sarnie
Fillings: Homemade fish fingers with cornflake crumb plus homemade tartare sauce.
Crisp, golden fish fingers are a sandwich filling guaranteed to make kids smile. Coated in a cornflake crumb and served with sweet potato chips, they bring the fun-factor to mealtimes. Stack the battered fish with fresh salad and a dollop of homemade tartare into wholemeal buns for a hearty lunch or dinner.
Check out more tasty fish finger recipes for kids.
More sandwich filling ideas
Cheesy apple slaw – Mix their favourite grated hard cheese with grated apple, chopped spring onions, a squeeze of lemon and a little mayonnaise. Delicious with wholemeal bread or rolls.
PBJ – For a special treat, make your own version of this American classic by spreading crunchy or smooth peanut butter over buttered bread, then topping with an equal amount of blackcurrant or raspberry jam.
Tuna salad – Mix together canned tuna with mayonnaise and some sweet pickle relish to form a creamy paste. Add to sandwiches with extras such as lettuce, grated cheese, and even crisps!
Omelette – Not your average sandwich filling, but our hearty veggie omelette rolls will be a hit with the kids. Fill the omelettes with juicy cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta and spinach. Add extra salad if you like, and older children may like a touch of salsa or pickle as well.
Salmon smash – Mash up a drained and boned can of red salmon with a little tomato ketchup. Spread onto wholemeal or granary bread and sprinkle with lots of mustard and cress.
Tandoori chicken wraps – Roll chapattis or flour tortillas around a filling of ready-cooked tandoori chicken pieces, shredded lettuce and chopped tomato. Serve with dollops of bought chunky cucumber raita.
Scout’s MCC - Try Marmite, grated cheddar, and sliced cucumber in a crusty baguette or ciabatta roll – they’ll either love it or hate it!
Cream cheese & roasted red pepper bagels – Fill onion or regulars bagels with soft cheese and roasted peppers from a jar.
Creamy smoked mackerel – Skin and flake smoked mackerel fillets, then mix with a little mayonnaise and Greek yogurt. Spread onto thick wholemeal bread and top with crisp lettuce leaves.
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What are your kids' favourite sandwich fillings? Leave a comment below...
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