You know how you go strolling along through life willy nilly without thinking a thing about how you pronounce the word triathalon, only to discover one day, that it’s actually pronounced triathlon? With no second a?

That’s how I felt the day I discovered I’d been making sandwiches wrong my entire life.

I’ve always been pretty confident in the kitchen.  I mean I have an apron, and a chef’s knife and I know how to separate an egg in my fingers so I’m pretty much a chef.  Now that I think of it, one of my aprons actually has the word CHEF right on it so that pretty much cements it.  I’m a chef.

Who doesn’t know how to make a sandwich.

Here’s what I do wrong.

When I make a sandwich I only butter the bottom piece of bread.  Not the top.  So only one slice of bread gets butter.


I’ve been told it is very definitely weird..  I shudder to think of the number of people I’ve stood before in my kitchen lovingly preparing them a stacked concoction of lettuce, cheese and meat and bread …. with only one piece of the bread buttered.

I thought you put your “starter” piece of bread on the counter, buttered it, then started stacking the rest of the ingredients.  So, bottom slice of bread, a little bit of butter, pastrami, mustard, salt, pepper, cheese, marshmallows, lettuce, top piece of bread with no butter.  Orrrrr buttered piece of bread, chicken salad, salt, pepper, top piece of bread with no butter.

My whole life I’ve thought you only butter the bottom slice of the bread.  I don’t know for sure but I’d bet I can blame my mother.  It’s because of her that I like to cook chicken breast until it’s the perfect degree of doneness and then cook it an hour and a half more.  (I’m actually learning to get over that)

I’ve had my sandwich making faux pas pointed out to me a few times in the past several years but I’m hoping maybe this is a thing.  That there’s an entire group of us in the world that only butter the bottom piece of bread.  We’re likely an elite crowd of sandwich makers who will be rounded up when the time is right,  save the world one bologna sandwich at at time.  Because a bologna sandwich can make any situation better.  Everybody knows that.  We’re going to save the world we single bread butterers, just you wait and see.


A toasted poppyseed bagel with sprouts and swiss is pretty good too but it can’t save the future of all mankind like the single bread buttering coalition’s bologna sandwiches could.

O.K.  Lay it on me.

Does ANYONE else out there only butter one piece of the bread?

Who among you is also going to save the world when called upon by the Templar of Toast!

Tell me.  Do you butter both pieces of bread in a sandwich.

Have  a good weekend!


  1. Dave says:

    Butter on a sandwich ??? Yuk. What’s wrong with you….

  2. Jordin says:

    To start this off, I’m Canadian. Like middle of Alberta, Canadian.

    I personally prefer margarine, but that’s more because I grew up with it. I taste no difference in the two. Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip? I like them both and I really don’t taste a difference. And just so it’s out there, I absolutely HATE regular peanut butter. Always have, until I tried Honey Peanut Butter (the pre-made kind).

    Now, I personally put condiments on both slices of bread. Margarine ALWAYS, then mayo/miracle whip and mustard. And again, margarine always followed by honey-peanut butter and jam.

    My mom thinks it’s very weird that I put margarine on my PB&J (or even just my jam toast for that matter), so it’s something I picked up on my own.

    But now I have a question, I recently was messing around in the kitchen and I tried this, toast and then miracle whip. That’s it. Has anyone ever tried it? It’s a little weird but it isn’t bad.

  3. klf says:

    What buttering a sandwich adds is: the taste of butter!

    I ALWAYS butter both sides. Even if it’s a peanut butter sandwich! Usually can skip the mayo that way, and am not a fan of mustard on anything, other than a hot dog or with a knackwurst.

    Alberta, Canada

  4. Amy in StL says:

    I have never heard of buttering a sandwich. I can’t imagine what that adds. I put mayo on the bottom slice and mustard on the top slice. Butter is only for toast under jam, which I never put in a sandwich.

  5. Sarah Jackson says:

    Butter ONLY IF the bread, bagel, English muffin is toasted & on both sides. Otherwise your preference of Hellmans mayonnaise, mustard, and/or catsup depending on the type of sandwich. The top and both slices of bread maybe adorned with any spread. I live in NW Florida and have always made sandwiches my way. So butter what you wish, it is your sandwich, and life is too short to let others worry you.

  6. Kathy says:

    I’m Canadian and never use butter unless it is grilled cheese! Mayo and mustard, one on each piece of bread, depending on the sandwich. That’s it!

  7. Tiffany G says:

    I didnt have time to read all the comments – but from what I saw – no one mentioned the merits of fried bologna sandwiches! You have to cut little slits in the bologna so the air can escape & it doesn’t curl up on you. Fry it – in butter – until its smokey & charred, then slap it between 2 pieces of toast with a healthy squirt of mustard. Bliss!

  8. Jess says:

    I rarely butter my sandwiches. I do, like many of you use mayo or mustard. Cream cheese, aioli or hummus is great too!!

  9. Robin says:

    PS – I have never heard of or seen a sandwich without butter on it, unless we had no butter – like on the fourth day of camping or something. Murricans are odd. This is because they sent the BEEF ranchers out first and the settlers with dairy cows out decades later. All those poor cowboys eating dry, dusty, roast beef sandwiches dreaming of fresh churned butter on that lovely baked bread.

  10. Robin says:

    You are weird! The only reason not to butter both sides of the bread is to reduce fat and calories by one pat of butter. Butter on both slices. Miracle Whip not mayo (mayo is gross – nice aioli sauce base, but gross alone), and mustard on one slice, stack as you describe (good sounding sammiches!) and enjoy with crispy dill pickle or side of choice.

  11. Marla Swartz says:

    Never heard of butter on a sandwich. I can’t imagine it….. I had to read your article, who can pass up someone saying they make their sandwiches wrong and it starts out saying the put butter on it. Yes, you have been making your sandwiches totally wrong if you put butter on it. Yes. And I’m from Michigan and come from a Canadian family and NONE of us ever do that.

  12. janpartist says:

    Condiment on one slice, sandwich ingredients and a different condiment on the top slice. That would be for instance mayo and grainy mustard, grainy mustard and dijon mustard, the combinations are endless.

  13. Janelle says:

    This calls for a blind taste test.

  14. Carlene says:

    I’m laughing at all of us US-side-of-the-border Americans saying, “Butter? Really?” (I’m one of them, for the record). Love learning new food facts, especially ones with a Canadian flavor (or should I say, “flavour”) :-)

  15. Sonja Donnelly says:

    Yes, I only butter one slice of bread, and that is because I only use one slice of bread. So that makes me stranger still. How can I even call it a sandwich?
    But I do.

  16. Amy in KC says:

    Like many others, I only put butter on sandwiches if the bread is toasted (and not always then, either—depends on the sandwich). I used to only put condiments on the TOP piece of bread, but now I more often put it on both pieces so the sandwich doesn’t get dry. I’m usually both a mayo/mustard kind of gal, so I spread on the mayo, then squirt the mustard on top of that. The mustard gets spread out somewhat when the piece of bread gets pressed on the rest of the sandwich.

  17. Yes! Butter. Lots of butter. And only on one side! The mayo or mustard or jelly go on the other side. Always. LOL!

  18. Nancy says:

    No butter! Mayo on the top slice, just scraped across the bread – I hate it blobby and oozing out the sides.

  19. Roisin says:

    I just stuff the food between two pieces of bread and eat. No spreading of anything. At all.

  20. Meg says:

    and commence the Butter Battle Book… I’m a US citizen and I don’t think I’ve buttered sandwiches much. This obviously means I have to go try it. I don’t think anyone is wrong. Especially if it means eating more butter.

    But TBH I’m more amazed at Triathlon. Feelin perty dumb down here.

  21. Kristi S. says:

    I think you are totally overlooking the potential sandwich options by using butter. You have your regular sandwich fixings, like mayo and mustard, but don’t hesitate to try guacamole, pesto, humus, red pepper puree, cream cheese, etc. Anything spreadable and delicious should go on the bread in your sandwich, and yes, both slices are good options.

  22. Amanda says:

    I don’t butter bread for sandwiches…at all. I butter bread to toast it and eat as toast, or if I’m making a grilled cheese but no other sandwich requires butter. My favorite sandwich goes bread, mustard, spinach, turkey, cheese, honeycrisp apple, bread. No butter. Ew.

  23. I butter both sides but if it makes you feel any better I only put mayo on one side, the top usually :)

  24. Bonnie says:

    I just had this discussion with my Mom. She is the only person I know who puts butter on a sandwich! It must be a British thing (my mother’s mother’s side was British). I usually put mustard or horseradish sauce on sandwiches. No butter.

  25. Dana DeLarme says:

    Oh how scandalized the responses to buttered bread sandwiches! Butter is a creamy rich barrier that protects the bread from becoming soggy. Although I didn’t grow up with buttered bread sandwiches, I have read about it in a peripheral way. Characters in books gathering for English tea with cucumber and butter sandwiches, crust cut away for a more canape-like, high-brow offering.
    This in no way indicates that I partook in such rituals; having been raised on Velveeta and Miracle Whip or Brunswick liver “pate” and Miracle Whip sandwiches. So I’m not flaunting a discerning palate, just a precedent for the buttered bread mavericks. Unsurprisingly, I enjoy odd sandwiches now; grilled cheese with a slather of strawberry preserves, tuna buttwiches, (chewy French loaf ends hollowed out and filled with tuna or chicken salad), cold spaghetti mixed with vinaigrette on bread…, you get the picture.
    Although I’ve cut most ties with my modest Miracle Whip upbringing, I still like a teaspoon in mayonnaise based salads to cut the monotony of the mayo.

  26. Paula says:

    Growing up in North Dakota, nearly Canada really, we always buttered both pieces of bread. One of my best food memories was the buttered turkey sandwiches at the VFW on Memorial Day. They were the best. I married an Alabama boy and he had never eaten a buttered sandwich and didn’t intend to start so I switched to mayo. Now after 46 years together we are retired and he makes most of his own sandwiches so he used only mayo. If I’m packing lunch for a road trip or picnic I butter both because it seals the filing a bit. I don’t use butter much at home unless it’s a grilled sandwich because I sure don’t need all those butter calories.

  27. kari says:

    No butter needed unless it’s a grilled cheese. Here in the southern U.S., Duke’s mayonnaise is the preferred southern condiment….. try to use another brand and someone will cut you. No joke. People do not mess about regarding THE mayo of the south! It would be sacrilege!

  28. Jennifer says:

    So, I think we need to get down to the reason some people think butter is totally acceptable while others seem to think it’s just plain crazy. I know that my aunt, who was raised by a woman born in the mid-West in 1910 thinks butter is fine. And I’m told my great grandmother, also born in the early part of the last century and essentially in the middle of the US, put butter on her sandwiches. I think it was a generational/locale thing and got carried on by some families. Not sure why it continued through generations with certain families or even family members and not others, but I bet there is a reason or reasons that could be explained.

  29. Elen G says:

    The only sandwich I put butter on is a grilled sandwich or a tomato sandwich on toast. Other than that, I’m pretty much a Dijon girl or a Dijon/mayo combo girl. And it only goes on one slice of the bread. Yeah. That’s pretty much my sandwich-making wizardry. And I like my bologna (on the rare occasions I have it) on crackers…. like my mama taught me. :-D

  30. Daphne says:

    I butter one side. My boyfriend butters both and takes that very serious. If he makes me a sandwich he very obviously butters both sides too. We like stuff like hagelslag (it’s like chocolate sprinkles) on our sandwich. You don’t want to combine chocolate with mustard or mayo. How about the famous peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? That’s a sandwich too right? And if you don’t use butter the peanut butter will stick to every corner of you mouth.

  31. Denise says:

    My fav sandwiches are pb and jam, or cream cheese and green olives on rye bread, no butter on either one. The only thing that gets buttered is garlic bread or freshly baked bread , still hot!

    Karen, you have been out buttered!

  32. Sheri says:

    I like condiments on both pieces of bread (butter with ham – yum) but in the interest of saving calories, I only do one side most of the time.

  33. Leslie Zuroski says:

    Wow, lots of opinions! I like to mix it up, sometimes butter on one side, sometimes on two, sometimes on one side with mustard or Miracle Whip or low fat mayo on the other. Those are some beautiful sandwich photos but the way, inspirational for next week’s lunches!

  34. Connie says:

    Talking about bologna sandwiches made me think of another childhood favorite that I wouldn’t touch now that I know better. Klik – anyone else eat that as a child? We used to make Klik sandwiches on white bread with mayo and fresh leaf lettuce from the garden. A summer staple when I was a child. Also Klik mashed up with green relish, spread on a half of a big crusty roll, sprinkled with grated cheddar, and put under the broiler until the cheese melted. I can’t even stand to open a can of the stuff now. (Klik is sort of like Spam)
    Btw all of the above mentioned sandwiches had butter – on both sides!
    Klik was also often served fried like bologna.

  35. Dana says:

    Hubby of 21 years and I still argue over what a grilled cheese is– I say it’s 2 slices of bread with cheese in the middle, fryed in butter. He says it’s a slice of bread with mayo and cheese ( no top slice of bread), and melt the cheese under the broiler. I call that ” melted cheese on toast!”

  36. Evalyn says:

    I butter both slices. I credit my mother, she from whom all cookery wisdom flows. She was a depression era child from a large family and loves to tell the story of how their school box lunch was often only bread, spread with lard. So, my belief is that when she finally got to use butter, she used it with delight. Fresh butter, right off the cow, probably churned by her or one of her seven sisters. You can see how it could happen.

  37. Benjamin says:

    Here’s a weird one I learned from my mom. Butter first both pieces of bread then mayo on top of the butter all the stuff inside and of course sandwich it together. I always thought that was extra crazy but she says the butter before the mayo keeps the bread from getting soggy… lol. That’s how she still does it to this day. I on the other hand like the mayo to sink into the bread some, so only may for me no butter. And yes I mayo both sides.

  38. Marilynn says:

    Whoa! Who would have thought this topic would generate so much conversation! I don’t typically use butter on a sandwich unless it’s ham. Butter, mustard and ham on some kind of crusty roll. All other meat sandwiches require mayo and/or mustard. Good mayo and mustard! I also agree with the writer who states mayo on the lettuce and tomato side and mustard on the meat side. If it’s just one condiment then both sides get a spread. I think putting butter on sandwiches may be a northern North America thing. My cousins in Michigan put butter on sandwiches and they also like bologna…..with ketchup.?

  39. Tim Hallewell says:

    My uncle Frank used to say. Great bloody lashings of cold butter so thick it would come out the other side…..then add some marmite.

  40. Maria says:

    Karen and ‘only-bottom-piece-of-bread-butterers’. Ye-gads folks! What if, just what if that sandwich gets flipped upside down (mild earthquake, playful kitty) and now the bottom piece of bread has NO BUTTER! Your sandwich is ruined I tell you! For me, mayo and mustard, both pieces so in the event of a mild ‘cat’astropic event, the perfect sandwich will still be a perfect culinary delight.

  41. Kimberly says:

    I don’t have an issue with using butter – but am I the only one that noticed her use of marshmallows in the sandwich? Karen – that is one heck of a flavor combination! LOL

  42. Dana says:

    I’m a Midwesterner. No butter. Growing up we had an elderly neighbor lady that would butter her sammiches, as she called them. She would also drink coffee with pizza and hamburgers and eat smashed canned pea sammiches on buttered bread.

  43. Robert says:

    Karen, How come you didn’t ask this around the time you where told about the true pays?
    I personally never use butter on bread unless it has just been toasted or is still hot enough to melt the butter by itself, if its a ham and cheese sandwich absolutely no condiments and unheated, chicken or fried fish with a slight layer of mayo on both sides and nothing else, beef in any form only in tacos (soft and warm tortillas as it can only be) and boiled pork shoulder only with yellow mustard and a little bit of salt.
    And then there are all the other sandwiches with sweet fillings which also don’t have butter on them but I’m not gonna get into details in here, although I do feel the need o say that I only consider it a sandwich if it’s made with 2 or more slices of bread without crust on the two biggest surfaces of each slice, so a Panini is not really a sandwich, a Sub is not a sandwich, a Wrap is not a sandwich and a Burger it’s also not a sandwich since all of them call for a specific kind of bread although all of them can obviously become a sandwich if made with sliced bread.

  44. Debbe Van Ness says:

    Whoa! I never butter either side of my sandwich, ever. I butter bagels, toast, waffles, pancakes, never a sandwich. This must be a UK thing. I use mayonnaise, mustard, etc. I had a boss once from Scotland who made white bread, butter and french fry sandwiches and I think she buttered both sides of her bread, but I was so incredulous about that whole sandwich I never paid attention. BTW, I’m from the west coast of the US, does that have anything to do with it?

  45. Terri says:

    Hi! So I’m fairly new to your site, and not usually a commenter, but I felt the need to weigh in here. Butter, always. Both sides. Any bread or bread like substance (except wrap sandwiches because there’s really no little crevices to sink the butter in to). Butter is the base that brings all of the fillings and condiments of a sandwich together. Fresh baked bread with melty butter. Soda crackers with butter around a slice of cheddar. Triscuits scraped across the block to make a little creamy golden curl. Cold butter on warm bran muffins. Grilled cheese gets butter on both insides and then spread on the outsides before going into a medium hot pan for a long slow warming until evenly golden. Tuna salad (with mayo, celery, onion, s&p and a little lemon) between buttered toast slices. Butter on toast to give the jam/Nutella/tomato/cheese/cinnamon/roasted garlic/ some subtly salty love. Hot buttered toast dipped in hot chocolate. Oh, and as for bologna sandwiches, it’s a thick slice of fresh baked bread, buttered, then bologna, havarti cheese slice, tomato slices with lots of salt and fresh ground pepper, nice thick slices of bite-you-back garlicky dill pickles, then mayo and butter on the top slice (mayo and pickles must touch). *sigh* hhmmmmmmm… :)

  46. Laura Bee says:

    Butter on both sides. Be it ham & cheese with an inch of crunchy lettuce, peanut butter with or without sliced banana or …well, those are my two favourites so we’ll leave it at that.
    Unless I am trying to be ‘healthy’, then I’ll not put mayo or Miracle Whip & butter together – just one on each slice. But usually I double up. And I usually use marg. Butter is for popcorn.

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