There is a lot of debate about what makes a good sandwich. Is it bread? Or is meat (or whatever stands for meat) the most important? We would argue that the answer lies in a third oft-overlooked detail: sandwich spread.

To be sure, mayonnaise is a classic, but the quickest route to an unforgettable sandwich is a condiment with a rich flavor that effortlessly binds the bread to the filling. These are the sandwich spreads that Eater’s employees use to give their homemade sandwiches extra je ne sais quoi. That’s not to say you should skip mayonnaise (or even Vegenaise) — as you can see, many of these spreads shine when combined with the firmness of the sandwich’s structure. Regardless of their mayo content, they’re a testament to the beautiful and unshakable fact that there are as many different sandwich sauces as there are sandwiches.

the spread of enthusiasm

Cilantro Chutney

Coriander chutney has been a staple in my life since I was a kid, and I make my own tuna salad with it. Years later, I discovered the magic of putting chutney on a cutlet sandwich.spicy, tangy, slightly herbal The flavors paired really well with the turkey slices (honestly, cold cuts are my go-to). Yes, tuna salad sandwiches are delicious. (Full disclosure: I tend to buy my cilantro chutney from Kalustyan’s, which happens to be owned by my uncle and managed by my dad.)- Nadia Chaudhury, Diner Austin Editor

New York Shook Harissa Sauce with Lemon

I’ve never been a hot sauce fan, and I honestly didn’t dare to try it when I was younger. But Harissa has only recently come into my life, and now that I’m a mature adult with more developed taste buds, not afraid of spices, we get along just fine. This harissa from Shook, NY is one of the best: rich, slightly spicy, with perfect thickness (some harissas are too runny) and a hint of lemon. To my partner Daniel, whose family is Moroccan, this tastes like a distillation of his mother’s best dishes; to me, it’s spread on a tuna sandwich, shawarma pita, or whatever. The best condiment for other delicious toppings sandwiched between bread. — Ellie Krupnick, Director of Editorial Operations

cream sauce

Beirut Tahini

I use a lot of tahini. The rich, earthy flavor of sesame goes with basically everything, providing a savory flavor for the skinny mate and a solid base for high-profile flavors. This works for sandwiches and salads and entrees, as long as your tahini is thick enough not to spill over the sides (you stir, stir, stir the separated oil). It’s great for combining with mashed items like avocados and granular ingredients like sprouts or chopped pickles, all of which help catch any errant balls. Of course, it can also be served on a good seed bread to amplify those sesame flavors. I love the Beirut brand because the oil and solids reconstitute well and I can pack it in a 2 lb bucket – like I said, I use it a lot. — Nick Mancall-Bitell, Editor

Bursing

It might be considered my overpriced deli of 2018, but I still consider Boursin at the grocery store Gournay Cheese to be a superb sandwich spread: it has the flavor of goat cheese and the smoothness of cream cheese, and a really good Yes, delicious base. I found that sandwiches were either too dry or too messy. Most should be coated with a nice, semi-hard coat, whether it’s pimento cheese, hummus, guava or membrillo. Boursin can be used both as a binder for vegetables that are designed to be separated from bread – salads, thinly sliced ​​onions, sprouts – and as a binder for almost any protein Cream supplement. I find it works especially well with turkey or roast beef. Garlic and prime herb Boursin work best with Dijon roast beef, while shallots and chives are great with turkey with cranberry sauce. Either of them would go well with a cucumber-Boursin tea sandwich. — Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Editor at Eater Portland

hot sauce

Marconi Giardiniera relishes

Giardiniera is delicious, without a doubt. Pickled vegetables and peppers – what’s not to like? But when you’re making an average sandwich, packing those giant chunks of carrots and pickled cauliflower onto an average slice of bread is a serious challenge. Enter the Marconi Hot Giardiniera relish, a Chicago icon that’s perfect to spread on any sandwich, especially DIY Italian beef, or, yes, hot dogs. It’s savory and spicy, the pickled veggies pack a lot of flavor, and it spreads easily, making it an easy way to do even the most basic ham and cheese affairs. — Amy McCarthy, Staff Writer

Cento Hoagie Sauce

While it would be a blasphemy to say that hoagie lacks flavor—sharp provolone, pieces of meat, and crunchy sesame rolls give the Philly staple sandwiches the moxie punch—adding Cento hoagie sauce only makes the ben… The already perfect lunch is even more lively. The mixture of chopped hot red cherry peppers and sweet green cherry peppers soaked in a tangy vinegar brings a sweet and tart flavor to rich prosciutto and cooked sausages, slicing through the fat and creating a unique touch. While it’s a regional specialty, it’s thankfully available to order online. Don’t be shy about even the simplest sandwiches, from ham and cheese to turkey clubs. — Dayna Evans, Staff Writer and Editor at Eater Philly

mayo mix

All Calabrian Calabrian Chile Sauce

I’m one of those people who knows that mayo is objectively good in sandwiches but is still slightly put off by the concept unless I can mix something up and call it aioli. One of my favorite inclusions is Calabrian chile sauce (usually from the Tutto Calabria brand), which I usually add in a ratio of one part chile to three parts mayonnaise. Its balance of fruity peppers, tart vinegar, and present-but-unchallenging heat adds glamour to cheeses, meats, or vegetables in my sandwiches—while also making me more receptive to mayo and its moisture-enhancing benefits. — Bettina Makalintal, Senior Reporter

Mrs Miller’s Chili Jelly

The absolute goat sandwich sauce is Mrs Miller’s Chili Jelly, made even better (if you believe it!) by mixing it with your choice of mayonnaise. (I would recommend Duke’s mayo if you have it). There’s nothing precious here, no recipes or quantities – just mix a few scoops of each and pat on any sandwich. I love this mix for deli sandwiches, burgers, and especially breakfast sandwiches. HPJ is also great on its own: a little sweet, not too hot, and straight out of the jar. — Stefania Orrù, Executive Producer

Brooklyn Derry Roasted Garlic Achaar

While I eat a lot of Vegenaise myself, I also like to use it as a base for mixing other condiments. One of my favorite combos is Vegenaise and Brooklyn Derry’s garlic achaar. On its own, garlic achaar is quite ferocious, and while I love to stir it into a variety of dishes, it easily overwhelms sandwiches on its own. However, when it is mixed with Vegenaise, it is just warm enough to complement any other ingredients. I love it with roasted veggies and/or tofu on any sandwich. It also makes an average egg salad. Really, it works anywhere you need calories and fat, which is most sandwiches. — Rebecca Flint Marx, senior editor