DIY Food

5 Tips For A Better BLT

August 15, 2014

Let's get one thing straight: The BLT is the ultimate summer sandwich (just ask half of the Food52 team). You have crisp vegetables; juicy tomatoes; the fatty, salty crunch of bacon; and a swipe of creamy mayonnaise -- all sandwiched between carb-y goodness. 


That being said, there's a certain satisfaction that comes from refining and finessing a good thing. With that spirited quest for perfection in mind, we've rustled up five tips for taking your BLT to the next level of sandwich domination. 

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1. Bake your bacon. Though there are few things as heavenly as the smell of bacon frying, there are also few things as infuriating to clean up as bacon grease splatter. Baking your bacon ensures even cooking and crispy slices, without the mess. It also keeps your bacon from curling up at the edges or burning -- these imperfect slices are great for picking at, but bad for sandwiching.

The Best Way To Cook Bacon

2. Bake your bread, too. Freshly baked bread will make your sandwich (and really, your life) much better. Bonus points if you toast just one side of your bread slices, and make sure the toasted sides face inward. This ensures crunch while saving you from mini mouth cuts.   

More: Get 5 essential bread-baking tips from Tartine Bakery's Chad Robertson.

Spent Grain and Herb Whole Wheat Bread

3. Whip up your own mayonnaise. It's easier than you think, and allows you to veer into aioli territory (just add garlic), or dial up the flavor with some pretty herbs (we love ours with basil). Make sure to spread the results copiously. 

How To Make Mayonnaise Without A Recipe

4. Let your lettuce act as a barrier. Now that you've got your fatty ingredients on lock, it's time to turn your attention to the vegetables. BLTs make great use of all that extra lettuce you're finding in your CSA box, which also conveniently keeps your bread from absorbing the juice from your summer-ripe tomatoes or the fat from your bacon. Take your bread (toasted side-up!), smear each slice with a thick layer of mayo, and then top each with a leaf or two of lettuce. Then, sandwich your tomato and bacon in between, and there you have it: nature's barrier against soggy sandwiches. 

5. Add a little something of your own. A simple starting point like the BLT is just begging you to put your own twist on it. Arugula instead of romaine? Great call. Avocado slices? Duh. Have some fun with it -- after all, it's a sandwich, not a soufflé

What are your best BLT-enhancing tricks? Let us know in the comments!

Photos by James Ransom

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I'm a former Food52 Julia Child Food Writing Fellow now studying law so I can make food fairer, more delicious, and more sustainable for everyone. I was born and raised in Montreal (mostly on poutine and matzoh ball soup), but in my heart I am an Italian grandma—I live on pizza and make a mean eggplant parmesan.


Nancy July 1, 2015
My favorite substitute for lettuce is fresh picked basil leaves!
Beth L. July 1, 2015
I add a layer of peanut butter
Andrew R. July 1, 2015
I use spring mix in place of iceberg lettuce and I cut the bacon into thirds.
Andy from Sicklerville
Ellen S. August 18, 2014
I make BLBTs: just a traditional BLT with a layer of basil leaves (obviously larger leaves work best) in addition to everything else.
Carrie August 18, 2014
Caramelized onion and roasted tomato. Get into it.
Ask P. August 18, 2014
Wowza' Fab idea!

amanda R. August 18, 2017
That sounds amazing!
SaucyCuisine August 17, 2014
Brown Sugar Bacon takes BLT to the next level. If you like a touch of heat, mix a dash of cayenne into the brown sugar before sprinkling, then bake.
JanieMac August 17, 2014
You forgot the coarse black pepper! Really important
TXExpatInBKK July 1, 2015
Grand P. August 17, 2014
A BLT on toasted Salt Rising Bread (SRB) takes it to a whole new level. (you can order from Rising Creek Bakery). Toasting SRB fills the room with its aroma. Be advised if not familiar with - SRB takes a very high setting to get it properly toasted.
Yve August 17, 2014
I love to add peperoncinis & slices of red onion.
Linda August 17, 2014
Hard boiled egg, sliced, avocado, thick bacon, best tomatoes, good lettuce, Best Foods, plain white bread, toasted as you wish. Bread and butter pickles, potato chips or potato salad . . . iced tea. Heaven.
Ask P. August 17, 2014
Construct your favorite BLT, then add a generous scattering of salted sunflower seeds. Yum.
Megan S. August 17, 2014
Slice your toms, sprinkle with balsamic, salt and pepper! Use arugula and fresh mozzarella. So tasty!
Jen August 17, 2014
Check out this awesome new video Aaron Pattap just made for Edible Manhattan highlighting the 'witchcraft BLT:
CookOnTheFly August 15, 2014
Do yourself a favor and do it well with all natural bacon from Prairie Pride Farms of MN. You can't beat their bacon
Min C. August 15, 2014
A fried egg with a runny yolk!
AntoniaJames August 15, 2014
Call this heresy, if you like, but I also occasionally slather one side of mine with Ottolenghi's "Genius" hummus. Not classic, I'll be the first to concede, but excellent in its own right. ;o)
Talia R. August 15, 2014
Ooooh, I love that!
AntoniaJames August 15, 2014
Watercress when I can get it; otherwise, arugula. This dukkah, always: This Tartine bread when I have a boule on hand; if not, whatever artisanal bread I've recently baked. I toast both sides. (Have never had a problem with mouth cuts caused by toasted bread. Interesting.) ;o)
Grand P. August 17, 2014
I agree w/the 'never had a cut from toast'.
Catherine L. August 15, 2014
Love the tip to only toast one side of your bread! I've struggled with the soggy bread/painful bread paradox my whole life, but now my problems are solved!