14 Iconic Spanish Sandwiches That You Must Try!
The Spanish love their bocadillos (aka bocatas)! Sandwiches made with crusty, baguette-shaped rolls, known as barra de pan are among the most popular snacks in the country. You’ll find them in every bar and café to be enjoyed with an ice-cold beer or other beverage. Simply perfect when you just need something to carry you over to your next full meal.
Bocadillos come in endless variations, with regional specialties and an incredible range of fillings. The Spanish rarely add mayonnaise, pickles, onions, or even lettuce to their sandwiches. Rather than using butter, they rub the bread with olive oil or half a tomato for extra flavor.
What they all have in common is the use of fresh, top-quality ingredients that guarantee a mouthwatering burst of flavors and can satisfy the most demanding food lover.
You’ll see that most of these suggestions use crusty barra de pan, mollete, or ciabatta bread. Don’t worry if you can’t find that locally – just substitute any freshly-baked baguette, cut into pieces around 8cm long.
The bocadillos we’ve highlighted below (in no particular order) will inspire you to create the quickest, easiest, and most delicious sandwiches ever!
Let’s begin with the oldest and most traditional Spanish sandwiche. Montaditos, open sandwiches which are among the most popular in Spain, are believed to date back to the 1400s! Their name derives from the Spanish word montar, meaning to mount as the toppings are piled on top of each other.
They’re always made with thin slices of baguette-shaped bread – barra de pan. You’ll find a wide range of toppings, which are either served alone or are more typically combined to create incredible flavors and textures. Smoked meat, sliced sausages, hams, cheeses, pickled vegetables, anchovies, and seafood are all common toppings.
2. Jamon y Queso
Creating a delicious sandwich doesn’t need to be complicated!
Take a fresh crusty barra de pan, or a ciabatta, rub the bread with some great quality extra-virgin olive oil, then add some thin slices of cured meat and local cheese. In seconds you’ve made a delicious and filling snack!
As an alternative to the ham, add some spicy chorizo or juicy botifarra from Catalonia, or perhaps some soft, paté-like Mallorcan sobreada.
Any type of cheese can be used, but salty cured varieties will complement the meat or sausage without overpowering it!
3. Bocadillo de Bacon
The bocadillo de bacon is a popular choice typically made with barra de pan and slices of crispy bacon.
Other types of bread are also used, even hot dog buns or burger buns. The fillings can also be varied with fried onions, eggs, sliced tomatoes, peppers, or tomato marmalade. Even tomato ketchup is a popular addition.
If you’re a lover of club sandwiches, then you’ll love the Serranito, a spectacular Sevillan twist on the chicken and lettuce favorite that leaves its pale international cousin in the shade!
Its history only goes back 50 years or so when it was invented by José Luis Cabeza Hernández. As his signature tapa became wildly popular in the Andalusian city of Seville, he patented the recipe! The Serranito brand was born! These days it’s still chiefly made and enjoyed in the deep south.
A Serranito is constructed from five of the most iconic Spanish ingredients. Pork loin, cured Serrano ham, tomato, and sautéed green peppers are layered between slices of mollete or vienna andaluza-style bread. You may even find some sliced tomato and a little garlic mayonnaise in there. Irresistible!
5. Bocadillo de Atún
This classic Spanish bocadillo is typically a combination of sliced barra de pan filled with a generous quantity of good-quality canned tuna in extra virgin olive.
To add flavor, the inside of the bread can be rubbed with tomato, and olives, cheese, onions, strips of roast peppers are sometimes added, with a little aioli (garlic mayonnaise). Hard-boiled egg slices also pair well with the tuna.
6. Bocadillo de Carne
In Spain, sandwiches with meat-based fillings are made with many different kinds of bread, from traditional barra de pan, vienna andaluza, and mollete to soft, fluffy white burger and hot dog buns.
A wide variety of meats are used. In addition to the commonly found pork, chicken, and beef, you’ll come across veal, horse, and goat meat bocadillos. As well as the famous cured meats such as Serrano or Iberian ham, every type of Spanish sausage and salami can be used to fill that delicious bread and create a truly delicious and satisfying snack.
7. Bocadillo de Pollo
Spanish chicken sandwiches can be prepared in endless ways. As with other bocadillos, a barra de pan is the typical choice for the bread, although sometimes you’ll find that other kinds, such as ciabatta are also used.
The bread is sliced lengthwise before being spread with a generous layer of mayonnaise. Then it’s topped with chicken, which can be grilled, fried, breaded or shredded. Optional ingredients include tomato slices, arugula, lettuce,fried onions, fried bacon, or cheese slices.
8. Bocadillos de Calamares
Bocadillos de calamares (fried squid sandwiches) are a true specialty of Madrid’s numerous sandwich bars. Calamares are an unexpected filling, given that the city is located right in the center of Spain and as far from the sea as it’s possible to be, but they’re surprisingly tasty and definitely worth trying.
Most madrileños will only add a few drops of fresh lemon juice. You may also find them served with some spicy tomato sauce or perhaps some garlic-infused mayonnaise.
A small glass of local Mahou beer is the traditional accompaniment.
This tasty and filling Andalusian sandwich was, in the past, a staple in humble peasant homes, where it was unthinkable to let food go to waste. Pringá was originally made from the meat leftover from the stew of the day before. However, you’ll now find it as a tapa, especially in bars around the Seville area.
As it’s a true home-cooked dish, there’s no single ‘correct’ recipe for pringá. Cooks simply use whatever leftovers are available to create a meaty stew. Pork is the most common base, as pork ribs, bacon, and pancetta are all commonly used, but many cooks also include chicken or beef.
10. Bocadillo de Lomo
This sandwich is typically made with toasted barra de pan, mollete, or ciabatta, filled with pork tenderloin. The inside of the bread is usually rubbed with ripe tomato slices and garlic cloves.
The pork can be embellished with cheese, tomatoes, peppers, onions.
For an ultra-filling sandwich that can replace a meal, slices of Spanish tortilla (potato omelet) can also be included.
11. Bocadillo de Tortilla de Patatas
The tortilla de patatas is one of Spain’s most famous foods, and it makes one of the most iconic and flavorsome Spanish sandwich fillings.
The key to this tasty specialty is the omelet. Beaten eggs are mixed with slowly fried potatoes and onions. The end product is a seared golden brown and yellow disc that is still lusciously juicy inside.
To make the sandwich, a slice of omelet is placed between two slices of barra de pan. No extras or garnishes are needed for this wonderfully tasty snack.
12. Sándwich Mixto
Also known as a bikini in Catalonia, this is among Spain’s most popular café-bar snacks.
It’s a Spanish take on France’s croque monsieur. Made with thinly sliced white bread, rather than the more typical barra de pan, it’s simple, delicious, and easy to make at home.
Spread the bread with unsalted butter, then pile on thin slices of whichever Spanish cheese you love, and add good quality ham (use jamón york here rather than cured ham for the best flavor!). Close the bread, and grill until the bread is golden and the cheese is melting inside.
Simple but mouth-wateringly delicious. Yummy!
First, what does the name mean? Surprisingly a pitufo literally means a Smurf! These sandwiches got their name, first because they’re made from small pieces of bread, and secondly, because the bakery where they originated launched them with a campaign involving tiny blue people.
Pitufos are the signature sandwich of Malaga. They’re typically enjoyed at breakfast, perhaps with a glass, or fresh orange juice or coffee. They also serve as a late afternoon snack, aka merienda.
There is no hard and fast recipe, apart from the fact that pitufos are made with toasted local bread. After that, every café and home cook has their specialty: ham and cheese, or butter and jam? Be as creative as you and your family like!
Last but not least, tostas are popular small open sandwiches which come topped with just about anything. They’re the perfect tapas option and so easy to make at home with whatever toppings you have to hand: ham, cheese, tuna, seafood, vegetables, olives.
The bread is sliced on the diagonal, then each slice is brushed with olive oil before being placed in an oven to crisp. Combine other ingredients according to your taste, layer onto the tosta, and enjoy!
We hope this look at the endless delicious Spanish sandwich options has given you some new ideas for bread and filling combinations. Whether you’re looking for a dainty snack to keep you going until your next meal or a huge ‘doorstop’ packed with nourishment to take on your next hike, enjoy experimenting. Buen aprovecho!