Cucumber Tea Sandwiches with Herby Cream Cheese

published Mar 12, 2022
summer
Cucumber Sandwich Recipe

Tea sandwiches made with herbs and seasoned cream cheese and thin sliced cucumbers.

Serves7 to 12

Makes7 whole sandwiches

Prep15 minutes

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closeup shot of stacked cucumber sandwiches
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

A staple of English tea service, cucumber sandwiches come to the table on a tiered tray that’s stacked high with other tiny sandwiches and scones with clotted cream. The combo of crisp, thinly sliced cucumber surrounded by herby cream cheese on squishy white bread makes them one of my favorite tea sandwiches. They’re small, light, and so easy to shove four of them in my mouth all at once — but this is afternoon tea, so decorum is expected.

Lucky for me, cucumber sandwiches aren’t just great for afternoon tea. They’re also a lovely option for a luncheon, a baby shower, a brunch spread, a picnic, or anytime you might be serving a crowd.

How to Keep Cucumber Sandwiches from Getting Soggy

Cucumbers are full of water, so pulling out some of that water before you assemble the sandwiches will help keep the bread from getting soggy. Start by placing the sliced cucumbers in a fine mesh strainer, sprinkle them with salt, then set the strainer over a bowl. As the cucumbers sit, the salt will draw out the excess water from the cucumbers and the water will drain into the bowl.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How Do You Make a Cucumber Sandwich? 

While the cucumbers are draining, make the cream cheese spread by mixing together softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, dill, chives, and some seasonings. Spread the cream cheese mixture on two slices of white bread, leaving a small border. Layer the cucumbers on top of the cream cheese and top with the other piece of bread.

Traditionally, cucumber sandwiches have the crusts cut off and are cut into quarters. One loaf of white bread will make about seven whole sandwiches that can be cut into 28 smaller sandwiches.

How to Store Cucumber Sandwiches

These aren’t great sandwiches to make ahead because eventually the bread will dry out and water will continue to release from cucumbers. You can, however, make them one day ahead of time, stack the sandwiches on a serving platter, then tightly (without squishing) wrap the sandwiches with plastic wrap to keep the bread from drying out. Alternatively, you can make the cream cheese mixture a day ahead and assemble the sandwiches the day of.

What to Serve with Cucumber Sandwiches

If you’re serving a traditional tea spread, you can serve the cucumber sandwiches with other types of tea sandwiches, such as curry chicken or egg salad. Arrange them on a tiered tray with scones, clotted cream, jam, and some treats (like these adorable tiny brownies) for dessert.

Cucumber Sandwich Recipe

Tea sandwiches made with herbs and seasoned cream cheese and thin sliced cucumbers.

Prep time 15 minutes

Makes 7 whole sandwiches

Serves 7 to 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces

    full-fat cream cheese

  • 1

    (about 1-pound) English cucumber

  • 1 small handful

    fresh dill

  • 1 small handful

    fresh chives

  • 3 tablespoons

    mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    fresh ground black pepper

  • 1 loaf

    sliced white sandwich bread

Instructions

  1. Place 12 ounces cream cheese in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature until softened, 1 hour. Meanwhile, using a mandoline or very sharp knife, trim and very thinly slice 1 large English cucumber crosswise (1/8-inch thick). Place in a large fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt and toss to combine. Let the cucumbers rest and drain, tossing occasionally, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  2. Mince 1 small handful fresh dill until you have 1 1/2 tablespoons. Mince 1 small handful fresh chives until you have 1 1/2 tablespoons. Add the dill and chives to the cream cheese. Add 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir and fold until evenly combined.

  3. Using an offset spatula, evenly spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into a square on one slice of the bread, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Shingle 15 slices of the cucumbers on top. Close the sandwich with a second slice of bread.

  4. Repeat assembling until you have 7 whole sandwiches. Using a serrated knife, cut the crusts off all the sandwiches (these are for snacking!). From here, you can choose to cut each sandwich in half into rectangles or triangles, or quarter each sandwich to form smaller squares or triangles. Stack on a serving platter or cake stand.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: You can make the cream cheese mixture or fully asseumble the sandwiches up to 1 ahead. Tightly wrap the platter with plastic wrap so bread does not dry out.