Christmas Sandwiches. These days, they’re more synonymous with this wonderful winter holiday than attempted infanticide and passing out half-cut in front of ‘The Great Escape’. And, my God, are there a lot of them kicking around.
To save you wasting valuable calorie allowance on some cheer-free, anaemic excuse for an Xmas sanger, we’ve done the decent thing and performed a taste test of 22 of them: because nothing screams ‘Christmas’ like piling the contents of an entire festive lunch into a carbohydrate wrapper. Hark! We’re going to be sick.
RECOMMENDED: For more festive fun read our guide to Christmas in London
Christmas sandwiches ranked
Tesco: Pigs Under Blankets Sub
Sausage sandwiches are nice. So are jam sandwiches. The way that this sanger slathers on sweet cranberry so thickly it’s like it’s trying to create a sausage/jam hybrid snack? Not so much.
Sainsbury’s: Christmas Lunch Wrap
More curious jam/sausage interplay, this time interspersed with mysterious orange bits and placed inside a wrap. Some people have very strange ideas indeed about what constitutes Christmas lunch.
M&S: Turkey Wrap Sandwich
Given that Christmas is all about over-indulgence, eating a tortilla wrap does not exactly scream: ‘Break out the sherry! IT’S JESUS TIME!’ That said, this is a herby, colourful attempt at a Christmas wrap with a decent amount of filling.
Tesco: Turkey and Trimmings Sandwich
The alarming way this glistens suggests that it has just been used as a mattress by a troupe of slugs, but it’s actually a solid, sausage-heavy meat-fest that’s like the meeting point between Christmas and a greasy spoon. A dirty sandwich, but one we kind of enjoyed.
Sainsbury’s: Turkey Feast Sandwich
‘Fine’, ‘normal’, ‘standard’: these were the comments of our tasting panel on a sandwich that is perfectly okay to eat. Not exciting, but not bad either.
Pret: Brie and Cranberry Baguette
Ah, Christmas: that special time of year when people stuff bits of pistachio into French cheese then slather them with cranberry sauce. Right guys? No? Us neither. Still, this combo of creamy brie, tangy cranberry and the pleasing crunchiness of pistachios is pretty nice – if not particularly festive.
Waitrose: Christmas Steak and Stilton Sandwich with Crispy Onions
In a maverick attempt to combine lunching with DIY, this sarnie comes with its own plastic bag of onion bits to sprinkle on the sandwich. And, frankly, we liked it. We liked it A LOT. Especially as it combines it with a strong kick of Stilton. Would’ve been a lot higher up the rankings if it weren’t for the inclusion of an utterly bizarre quince chutney.
Waitrose: Christmas Turkey, Stuffing and Bacon Sandwich
As reliably Christmassy as pairs of unwanted socks and every bit as exciting. There is turkey, there is stuffing, there is bacon: it’s a leftovers sandwich. Solid without being brilliant.
Sainsbury’s: Brie and Cranberry Sandwich
For some people, nothing says Christmas like a perfectly fine cheese sandwich. Or at least that’s what we assume the rationale is behind this brie-based sarnie being classified as a Christmas product. Decent, but not hugely exciting.
Crussh: Festive Turkey Feast Sandwich
First things first: this sandwich is way too expensive for our liking. That aside, it’s a solid leftovers package featuring a decent slab of stuffing, bacon and a nice bit of cranberry to offset the meaty richness. We’d say that it could do with a bit of mayo, really, but it’s a dairy-free affair, so perhaps that’s a bit unfair. Fine. Absolutely fine.
Eat: Festive Full Works Bloomer
Apparently Eat have never heard the old saying about not fixing things that ain’t broke. This year they’ve stopped making far and away their best Xmas sandwich – the festive full works baguette – and have also decided to tinker with the formula of their meat-packed bloomer version. Now, alongside the smoked ham, stuffing and turkey there’s a strange, lingering, clovey, bitter aftertaste. This is still a solid sandwich, but it’s definitely less enjoyable than it used to be. Which is a real shame.
Eat: Ham, Brie and Cranberry Baguette
Thankfully the only change Eat has made to this festive fave is to add some smokiness to the ham. And so vast are the hunks of brie in this baguette that you could use them as house bricks, although we’d rather eat them. The soft, squidgy baguette did leave us feeling a bit dirty, but so what? This is office party season: ’tis the time of year to feel a bit grubby.
Subway: Festive Feast Deluxe
From £3.50 for a six-inch sub (prices vary dependent on franchise)
It’s always a bit difficult to review a Subway sandwich, because exactly what veg/sauce/salad goes into it varies from person to person. But that aside, this is a meat-fest of a sandwich: packed with so much turkey, stuffing, sausage and bacon that there’s more animal than a Muppets drum solo. We like.
Pret: Ham Hock, Stuffing and Apple Baguette
This sandwich sounds like it was created by a stoned student: it teams watercress with stuffing, combines apples with mustard and then tops the lot with fat flakes of ham. It is, however, a flavour-packed triumph of tangy, meaty awesomeness. Now if you’ll excuse us we’re off to find a student, ply them with cannabis and then employ them as our personal sandwich chef.
Eat: Butter-basted Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich
Call the newspapers! We’ve found some turkey that actually tastes of something! It’s also packed with a generous layer of zingy cranberry sauce and more greenery than Snoop Dogg’s ganj bag. Clean, fresh and flavoursome.
Eat: Turkey, Stuffing and Crispy Onions Baguette
After years of rave reviews for the crispy onions in Pret’s Xmas sandwich, Eat decide to get in on the act by pouring some on to a layer of turkey and stuffing and whacking it into a baguette. There’s a good reason for it, too: there’s something brilliant about adding a crunchy tang to a festive lunch. Don’t get us wrong: it’s definitely not as good as Pret’s sandwich. Nor is it as good as Eat’s discontinued festive full works baguette, which this replaces. It’s pretty damned good, though.
M&S: Turkey Feast Sandwich
This throws festive treats at you like an absent parent trying to bribe its kids with prezzies. Hefty layer of turkey? Yep. Generous helping of stuffing? Sure. Bacon, mayo and chutney? Yip. Gift-wrapped and left under a Christmas tree? Sadly not. But that’s the only thing we can find to dislike about this fat, meaty, squidgy mouthful.
Pret: Veggie Christmas Lunch Sandwich
If we ran the ‘Veggies Against Grim Ingredients at Noël Awards’, we’d give Pret a lifetime achievement gong for their efforts in making Christmas meals a less crappy affair for vegetarians. Every year we love the riot of flavours involved in teaming roasted butternut squash, crispy onions and Christmas nut pesto with a yogurt dressing. Admittedly, we’ll never run the aforementioned committee, mainly because its acronym would be ‘Vagina’.
Eat: Goat's Cheese, Pear and Date Bloomer
Granted, the combo of goat’s cheese and ‘red wine mulled pears’ sounds a bit like someone dropped a dessert on to a cheeseboard. But this is a veggie Xmas sandwich: they’re always a bit odd. And more importantly, the multiseed bloomer is packed with so much rich, creamy goat’s cheese that this is that rarest of things: a veggie Xmas sandwich with a bit of christmassy decadence about it. Yum.
Pret: Christmas Lunch Sandwich
This bread-based turkey treat is such a reliable bringer of festive joy is that it’s basically the Father Christmas of sandwiches. We also cannot express how much we love those crispy onion bits. We’d say that this sandwich has left us thinking about adding them to our actual Christmas dinner, but we’d be lying.
Paul: The Cosy Christmas Pig Baguette
A few years ago, Paul didn’t even make Xmas sandwiches. Now it’s so good at it that it seems it can’t create one without it shooting to the top of our best sandwiches list. This ‘take on the traditional pigs in blankets’ may have a couple of slightly odd ingredients – slices of raw apple, and an apricot and sage baguette, but it’s unbelievably delicious. Seriously, we’re not sure we’ve ever tasted such delicious pork in a shop-bought sandwich before. And – in case this list didn’t give you a clue – let us tell you: we’ve tasted a LOT of sandwiches.
Paul: Dinde de Noël Baguette
In case you’re not tipped off by the £4.50 price tag and a name that sounds like something Hercule Poirot would shout when angry, this is one posh sandwich. It is also absolutely delicious: the beautiful artisan baguette is studded with cranberries and the turkey is pepped up with smoky bacon and a lovely spot of horseradish sauce. The finest festive sandwich in London bar none. Encore, s’il vous plait!
Read even more on festive food
Remember that time we ranked all 32 Pret-A-Manger sandwiches from worst to best? It was a big day for the internet, but this pioneering piece of journalism didn’t pass without upset. Among the major complaints was that we’d left out the Christmas specials, a concern voiced by people who'd clearly put no thought towards the logistics of taste-testing a Christmas sandwich in the middle of bloody spring. Well, today we’re putting that oversight right, by rating not only Pret’s seasonal sarnies, but all their other festive foodstuffs, too. So have at 'em, and leave us a comment to let us know about the Christmas specials you rate and hate.
Lobos Meat & Tapas Soho
Walk into Lobos Meat & Tapas and you’ll get a proper Spanish welcome. The maître d’ flung his arms out and literally shouted for joy as he ushered me to a table – and not because he needed the custom. The place was packed. With dark-red walls, low lighting and small plates whizzing out of a frenetic, semi-open kitchen, this new Soho branch of the Borough market original has got atmosphere. The food is just as seductive. Unsurprisingly, the speciality here is meat (lobos literally translates as ‘wolves’) and the focus is Iberico pig. First up was the zorza: a wonderfully oily, smoky mess of tender pork shoulder and crispy potatoes, topped with a fried egg and served in a small, brown earthenware dish. Even better were the creamy croquetas that followed, made with ham, chorizo and smoked bacon – a grand porky parcel. The pig-free plates are just as good. Juicy prawns came in an inch of bubbling chilli and garlic oil, perfect for dipping your patatas bravas in. A tip: order the green salad to balance out all those rich, fatty flavours. It might feel a tad boring but you’ll need it after all that oil. The only low point was some very pushy service, especially after all the love at the door. When asked for a recommendation, my waiter tried to strong-arm me into getting the most expensive plate on the menu – a sirloin for £32. When the rest of the food’s this good, though, you’ll forgive almost anything. Let’s put it down to the wolfish, Mediterranean hustle.
Venue says: “A meat and tapas menu curated with the carnivore in mind. Excellent service to boot and a good measure of rock ‘n’ roll.”