This post was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated.
Perfect for a party platter, a light lunch, or afternoon tea, these English Tea Sandwiches with cucumber and radish are delicious and easy to make. No cooking is required and just four ingredients!
Afternoon tea sandwiches
You don't have to be a tea drinker to enjoy a pretty tiered platter of dainty treats. With savory bites like BLT Appetizer Cups and sweet ones like Strawberry Tea sandwiches and Lemon Curd Tartlets, sampling a variety is so much fun.
These English tea sandwiches are similar to those served at afternoon tea. With just four ingredients these nibbles are easy to make and are full of flavor and texture.
✦Did you know?
Traditional English high tea typically includes five varieties of sandwiches: cucumber, egg salad, ham, smoked salmon, and chicken. Scones with clotted cream and jam and petite pastries or cakes are also served.
- Bread - Always use fresh bread. I prefer bread that is sliced on the thin side. Pumpernickel, rye, and sourdough are some of my favorites. White, marble rye, and whole grain can also be used.
- Cheese spread - I love having a creamy component in tea sandwiches. These English tea sandwiches start with a layer of Boursin cheese which is a soft, creamy French cheese called Gournay. Boursin comes in a variety of flavors such as Basil and Chive which I used in this recipe. Alternatively, you can use flavored cream cheese, whipped feta, or goat cheese.
- Vegetables - Thinly sliced cucumber and radish provide a fresh crisp bite and beautiful color.
See the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Spread each slice of bread with the cheese spread.
- Layer with thin slices of cucumber and radish.
- Close the sandwich and trim off the crusts. Cut into squares, rectangles, or triangles.
I double-stacked these for serving, so I used a toothpick to secure them.
Tips for making and serving finger sandwiches
- Use a mandolin to thinly slice the cucumbers and radishes.
- Trim off the crust and cut the sandwiches into small triangles or squares. Tea sandwiches should be small so you can sample a variety.
- Use a serrated bread knife to trim the crust to prevent squishing the bread.
- Allow cheese spreads to come to room temperature before building the sandwiches. This makes it easy to spread without tearing the bread. A layer of cream cheese or spreadable cheese provides a barrier between the bread and the veggies. No one wants a soggy tea sandwich!
- Spread a thin layer of butter on the bread to protect it from turning soggy when using moist fillings like egg salad.
- Keep the sandwiches fresh by wrapping them in plastic wrap and refrigerating them until ready to serve - up to a few hours in advance. When using fillings with more moisture, such as ham or egg salad, assemble the sandwiches right before serving.
What to serve with tea sandwiches
- BLT Appetizer Cups - Miniature phyllo shells are filled with chopped arugula, tomatoes, and bacon and dressed with lemon-herb mayo.
- Strawberry Tea Sandwiches - These cute heart-shaped finger sandwiches have strawberry cream cheese and slices of fresh strawberries.
- Cucumber Canapes - Cucumber slices are topped with herby cheese spread, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil for a delicious bite.
- Cranberry Brie Crostini - Slices of toasted baguettes are topped with Brie and a dollop of homemade cranberry sauce.
Frequently asked questions
Afternoon tea should include a variety of sweet and savory small bites: finger or tea sandwiches with various fillings, mini scones or biscuits, small cakes or petit fours, or cookies. The treats should be dainty finger foods so you can enjoy sampling.
Always use fresh bread. Pumpernickel, rye, sourdough, marble rye, white, and whole grain are all great options. Thin-sliced bread - not more than ½ inch thick - is best. The sandwich fillings shouldn't get lost in too much bread.
Egg salad, smoked salmon, chicken or ham salad, shrimp or crab salad, Brie and fig, and beef and horseradish are popular tea sandwich fillings. Get creative with the flavor combinations that you love.
Yes, these sandwiches can be made ahead of time, but not more than a few hours in advance. Wrap the sandwiches in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. When using fillings with more moisture like cucumbers or egg salad, assemble the sandwiches right before serving. It also helps to spread the bread with a cheese spread or butter to protect the bread from becoming soggy.
More sandwich favorites to try
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Cucumber and Radish English Tea Sandwiches
- 6 slices pumpernickel bread (or similar)
- 5.2 ounces Basil and Chive Boursin cheese (1 package, softened to room temperature)
- 3 radishes (thinly sliced)
- ⅓-½ cucumber (thinly sliced)
- salt and black pepper (to taste)
- Spread one side of each slice of bread with the herb cheese. Top half with the cucumber slices and the other half with the sliced radish. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Flip each slice with the radishes over on top of the slices with the cucumbers.
- Trim the crust off each side of the sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches in half, and in half again, creating 4 pieces.
- Arrange on a platter individually or stack two pieces together and secure with a toothpick.
- Use a mandolin to thinly slice the veggies.
- The cheese spread provides a barrier between the bread and the veggies. This prevents the bread from getting soggy. A thin layer of butter can be used to protect the bread when using fillings like egg salad.
- Use a serrated bread knife to trim the crusts and cut the sandwiches into small pieces.
- Keep the sandwiches fresh by wrapping them in plastic wrap and refrigerating them until ready to serve - up to a few hours in advance. When using fillings with more moisture, such as egg or ham salad, assemble the sandwiches right before serving.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.