It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of Hellmann’s or a Duke’s devotee, if you’re a Southerner, you understand the importance of mayo to a Southern sandwich. There are a few much-loved sandwiches from around the region that probably wouldn’t be as popular as they are today without the assistance of this classic condiment. We’ve gathered our favorites below, along with plenty of recipes in case you want to whip up a sandwich spread this season. They’re delicious—and none of them would be complete without a dollop of mayo.
Just three ingredients make this classic sandwich a favorite of Southerners everywhere (although you can add bacon or lettuce as a fourth ingredient, if you’re feeling festive). The best tomato-and-mayo sandwiches include juicy, in-season tomatoes, fresh bread, and a thin spread of mayonnaise. This particular sandwich is so memorable, Rick Bragg wrote an ode to it.
Recipes: 17 Ways to Build a Better Tomato Sandwich
More from Southern Living
Pimiento Cheese Sandwich
The delicious Southern party spread makes a knockout sandwich, one of the ingredients of which is mayo. Do what you will to pimiento cheese—add jalapenos, mix up your cheeses, get creative with spices—but don’t even think about leaving out the mayo.
Recipes: Pimiento Cheese Spread Recipes
Chicken Salad Sandwich
Is there any spread more Southern than chicken salad? (If you can think of one, let us know.) When mixing up a classic chicken salad, adding mayo is nonnegotiable. Spread it on slices of toasted bread, and you have a shower- or picnic-ready sandwich that will please a crowd.
Recipes: Fresh and Easy Chicken Salad Recipes
Egg Salad Sandwich
Egg salad recipes are as distinct as the Southerners concocting them. While many stick to the basic combination of hard-boiled eggs and mayo, the mixture is ultimately so customizable. You can add in celery, scallions, bacon, mustard, sun-dried tomatoes, or any number of other ingredients. You can even add potatoes.
Recipes: How to Make Egg Salad
Ham Salad Sandwich
Ham salad, how we love thee. This spread of ham, relish, and mayo is the realization of all our lunchtime dreams. It is also yet another Southern sandwich that wouldn’t be complete without a spoonful of Duke’s in the mix.
Recipe: Ham Salad Recipe
This sandwich results from the inspired combination of backyard barbecue foods. When your plate is filled with bread, barbecue, and coleslaw, the only rational thing to do is layer them together, set your fork aside, and tuck into the ultimate barbecue sandwich. (The mayo, of course, is in the slaw.)
Recipes: Coleslaw Recipes
Po’boy sandwiches are a New Orleans classic. But if you can’t make it to Louisiana anytime soon, they’re easy enough to whip up in your own kitchen. Our favorite recipe calls for shrimp, Creole mustard, lime juice, and romaine lettuce layered on hoagie rolls—with a dose of mayo too, for good measure.
Recipe: Grilled Shrimp Po'Boys with Quick Rémoulade Sauce Recipe
WATCH: Our Best-Ever Chicken Salad Recipe
What are your favorite Southern sandwiches? Do they require a dollop of mayo before they’re table ready?