Every single day when the clock strikes 1pm on the dot, the ES Best team sets out for lunch. Not a minute earlier and not a minute later.
But despite our enthusiam for the midday meal, we are often left disappointed by the selection on offer, whether it’s the repetitive nature of the ranges or something missing from the meal deal we parted our hard-earned pennies on - until Christmas comes around.
The annual unveiling of the festive sandwiches from our favourite eateries signals the official start of the Christmas season with bread and (vegan) turkey that sets the tone for the most wonderful time of the year. We’re talking pigs in a blanket-themed baguettes, stuffing in sourdough, or all the trimmings in a toastie as well as the vegan alternatives that get better, more varied and more creative each year.
But to ensure you are not left with disappointment as you bite into these seasonal sarnies, we have taken it upon ourselves to sample each and every Christmas sandwich on the market to find the ones that will spice up your work day and leave you as stuffed as a Christmas turkey.
From Pret, to Paul’s via McDonald’s and M&S, here is our pick of the best Christmas sandwiches sure to tickle your tastebuds for 2022.
Eat, drink and be merry!
Nandos Maple & Orange with Macho Sprouts
Everyone’s favourite first date hotspot has unveiled its Christmas offering and unlike the typical sandwich, the chicken chain takes a different approach.
You can still get your traditional Nandos order with a seasonal twist, opting for the latest Maple & Orange spice over where you would typically sit on the PERi-ometer. It equates to medium but the spice is very moderate and in fact has a sweet, citrus flavouring that came particularly welcomed when paired with the Butterfly Chicken Burger. The latter is also a returning addition and offers a hefty chunk of chicken so you can really sample the spice to the max.
As far as which sides you should pair this seasonal limited-edition with, well that’s obvious. The new Macho Sprouts, which are certainly the best sprouts this reviewer has ever tasted (I’d typically steer far clear). They are given a mint sauce-like makeover and the shredded element is very welcomed.
Buy now, UberEats
Paul's Bakery The PAUL Christmas Turkey Sandwich
Behold, a thing of beauty. This is everything a Christmas sandwich should be - even the cranberry stuffed sage and onion baguette tastes like Noël. A divine festive creation, with the perfect turkey-bacon-spinach ratio, there’s not a smidgen of sogginess with the mix of fresh and delicious ingredients that brim with festive flavour. The star of the show? The kick of horseradish that comes through with every bite. They really Paul-ed it out of the bag (sorry).
Buy now £5.15, Deliveroo
Paul's Bakery The Vegan Trimmings Sandwich (ve)
The best version of a vegan sandwich, without a morsel of processed-meat-lookalike in sight. Stuffed full of delicious maple roasted sprouts, carrots and chestnuts, every bite of the walnut baguette tastes like all the best parts of comforting Boxing Day leftovers - and managed to feel like a lighter option, too.
Punctuated with the sweetness of cranberry sauce, the savoury deliciousness of veganaise, and the festive flavours of stuffing crumb, this super fresh colourful baguette is so good we could eat two - and that’s coming from a full blown carnivore.
Buy now £4.75, Deliveroo
Pret Boxing Day Toastie
The sandwich specialists at Pret have combined everything that we love about that post-Christmas lunch leftover situation and rolled it into the Boxing Day Toastie - a warm, comforting eat that will whet your appetite for the big day.
Within is oozing cheddar, quality British turkey, pulled British ham (an upgrade from last year’s ham slices) and herby pork stuffing. This is a meat extravaganza and it’s topped off with caramelised onion, chutney and sage mayo as the icing on the cake.
Buy now, Deliveroo
Pret Christmas Lunch Baguette
This is the hero sandwich from the Pret Christmas collection and returns each year with the same winning combination of turkey, port and orange cranberry sauce, pork stuffing and baby spinach. We’re happy to report it’s still as delicious as ever. The hearty fillings are offset by the freshness of the leafy greens, while the touch of mayo and crispy onions keeps everything from getting dry and adds a satisfying crunch element respectively.
Buy now, Deliveroo
Pret Vegan options
Pret has knocked it out of the park with its vegan offering this year. Building on the stellar sweet potato falafel sandwich of last year, it’s back once again but without the flatbread, opting for a classic seeded loaf instead. The filling provides a lighter twist on some of the heavier options on this list with butter nut squash, a special Christmas pesto that has orange zest and cranberry and spinach.
Also worth a special shoutout is the Beet Wellington, new to the line-up and gives those following a plant-based diet the opportunity to tap into the classically Christmas creation with sage, mayo and greens.
Veggie not vegan: the brie and cranberry baguette never disappoints.
Buy now, Deliveroo
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Hot Smoked Salmon Sandwich
If you’re looking for festive decadence in your sarnie, then look no further than Sainsbury’s hot smoked salmon sandwich. With generous layers of tasty smoked salmon, fresh spinach, and luscious lemon and dill crème fraïche packed between fluffy slices of moist rye bread, it’s a herby and flavourful option that’s reminiscent of an indulgent Christmas Day breakfast. Turns out you really can taste the difference.
Buy now £4.25, Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s Plant Pioneers No Pigs Under Blankets Sandwich
As meat substitutes go, this sandwich is about as good as it gets. Trying to replicate the festive chipolata-wrapped-in-a-rasher we all know and love, the plant-based bacon and sausage has a great meaty texture and flavour that’s nearly there - and the ratios are just right.
Featuring vegan bacon-naise and crispy onions, every bite is loaded with delicious smoky barbeque flavour that’s perhaps more summer party than it is Christmas, but we’ll take it. A pig deal you won’t want to miss this season.
Buy now £2.95, Sainsbury’s
Waitrose Christmas Turkey, Stuffing & Bacon Sandwich
For a classic sandwich that sleighs, look no further than the Waitrose turkey sandwich. Packed full of succulent turkey breast, herby pork and chestnut stuffing, heavenly turkey stock mayonnaise and a layer of smoked bacon, all finished off with our personal highlight, the lashings of cranberry and redcurrant chutney, it tastes like the best parts of a Christmas dinner - without any of the admin. Sandwiched between slices of tasty malted bread, it’s a great all rounder that won’t disappoint.
Buy now £4.00, Waitrose
Waitrose Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese
Crammed full with generous layers of delicious Scottish smoked salmon and reduced fat super smooth cream cheese, you get good bang for your buck with Waitrose’s salmon sandwich. Topped with cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, there’s a lot of flavour packed between the slightly dry sliced oatmeal bread. If you’re a salmon-bagels-for-Christmas-breakfast kind of family, memories of Christmas morning will come flooding back with every bite.
Buy now £4.50, Waitrose
Boots Christmas Triple
For those left wanting more after the standard two halves of a sandwich, Boots’ Christmas Triple is the answer to your stomach grumbles. Including a delicious slice of ham, coleslaw and ale chutney, our personal favourite, a triangle of classic turkey, stuffing and cranberry, which was a close second, and a basic cheese and chutney, following firmly in last place. It’s a selection box that covers all the festive bases, and where the cheese and chutney falls down, the ham and coleslaw is there to pull through. A strong team effort that gives you bang for your buck.
Buy now £3.35, Boots
Boots Brie & Cranberry
The appealing defined layers of brie, spinach, and cranberry seen through the window are enough to entice you to pick up this cheesy sarnie - perhaps not quite on par with a Selfridges’ Christmas window display but certainly just as festive.
With thick fluffy oatmeal bread, tasty brie that’s got enough flavour without smacking you in the face, and a layer of crunchy spinach which adds a touch of texture to an otherwise mushy sarnie, it ticks the Yuletide boxes. Our only criticism? It could do with more of the cranberry and port sauce.
Buy now £2.75, Boots
Starbucks Brie and Cran-merry Focaccia
Let us start by saying that the score is reflective of the fact that expectations were high at the thought of a sandwich flanked by focaccia, but we were let down by the almost indistinguistable filling. The brie didn’t add much at all to the sandwich, while the cranberry was too sweet for our liking.
Buy now £4.89, UberEats
Starbucks ‘Tis The Season Turkey Sandwich
Much like the other sandwiches in the Starbucks range, this was light in filling. The bread to filling ratio leant towards the bread end of the spectrum, overshadowing the turkey slices, bacon, the non-existent sage and onion and the hint of cranberry that, when tasted, was overly sweet. That being said, the score is due to the malted bread that was lovely and light.
Buy now £4.19, UberEats
LEON Bubble & Squeak with Sage Mayo
The veggie wrap felt heftier than Leon’s usual offering, with sweetness from the cabbage offering a welcome relief from the usual cranberry flavours. However there was too much wrap left at the end so the filling could be more generous. Although Bubble & Squeak is a welcome change from shelves heaving with slightly different versions of a Pigs-in-Blanket sarnie, I feel this wrap could have been a bit more special. B&S is for Boxing Day leftovers after all. Like all Leon’s wraps, a dip is needed: go for the Korean Mayo if you like a bit of heat. The high street eaterie is probably best known for its boxes, and for Christmas it’s got a very merry looking Festive Mezze and a Turkey Christmasssaman Curry, which is probably worth it for the pun effort alone. The price is steep.
Buy now £5.99, UberEats