The Ultimate Guide to Crafting the Perfect Pastrami Sandwich

Pastrami Sandwich


Classic pastrami on rye is a symphony of simple, high-quality ingredients working in perfect harmony. Here's what makes this sandwich so special:

Pastrami: The star of the show! Look for thinly sliced, marbled pastrami with a beautiful spice crust. The best pastrami is juicy, flavorful, and melts in your mouth.

Rye Bread: The slight tanginess of rye bread is the perfect counterpoint to the richness of the pastrami. Choose a bread with a good crust that can stand up to the juicy filling.

Mustard: Spicy brown mustard is the classic pairing for pastrami. Its sharp flavor cuts through the richness of the meat.

Pickle: A crunchy, sour pickle adds a refreshing contrast in texture and flavor.

And that's it! Four simple ingredients come together to create a truly iconic sandwich.

Step-by-step instructions

1. Gather your ingredients. For a classic pastrami sandwich, you will need: rye bread, pastrami, mustard, and pickles. You can also add other toppings, such as Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, or coleslaw.

2. Prepare the pastrami. If you are using sliced pastrami, you can skip this step. If you are using a whole pastrami brisket, you will need to steam or reheat it until it is heated through.

3. Slice the bread. Slice the rye bread to your desired thickness.

4. Spread the mustard. Spread a generous amount of mustard on one side of each slice of bread.

5. Add the pastrami. Layer the pastrami on top of the mustard.

6. Add the toppings. Add your desired toppings, such as Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, or coleslaw.

7. Top with the other slice of bread. Top the sandwich with the other slice of bread, mustard-side down.

8. Cut the sandwich in half. Cut the sandwich in half diagonally or straight down the middle.

9. Serve immediately. Serve the pastrami sandwich immediately, while the pastrami is still warm.

You can also use these steps to make other sandwiches with pastrami, such as a Reuben sandwich or a Rachel sandwich. Just substitute the appropriate ingredients. For example, to make a Reuben sandwich, you would add corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. To make a Rachel sandwich, you would add turkey, coleslaw, and Swiss cheese.


Pastrami, with its irresistible smoky depth and peppery crust, provides a superb foundation for culinary exploration. While the classic rye bread, spicy mustard, and tangy pickle combo reigns supreme, countless variations on the pastrami sandwich theme exist, each offering a unique twist on the beloved original.

One popular variation involves swapping out the rye bread for other flavorful options. A sourdough loaf adds a pleasant tang, while a crusty baguette offers a delightful chewiness. For a lighter option, try wrapping the pastrami in a large lettuce leaf or using thinly sliced cucumbers instead of bread.

pastrami sandwich

Beyond bread, the choice of condiments can dramatically alter the sandwich's profile. While mustard remains a classic, experimenting with different types like honey mustard, Dijon, or even horseradish can add exciting layers of flavor. Russian dressing, with its creamy, slightly sweet, and tangy profile, provides a delicious alternative. For those who prefer a touch of heat, a smear of spicy brown mustard or a sprinkle of chili flakes can turn up the heat.

Cheese, a welcome addition to many sandwiches, can also enhance the pastrami experience. Melted Swiss cheese adds a creamy richness, while sharp cheddar provides a tangy counterpoint. For a more adventurous pairing, try smoked gouda or even a crumbly blue cheese to add complexity.

The addition of vegetables introduces refreshing crunch and contrasting flavors. Sliced tomatoes provide juicy sweetness, while thinly sliced red onions offer a sharp bite. Pickled vegetables, like pepperoncini or banana peppers, add a tangy kick. For a more substantial sandwich, consider adding coleslaw for a creamy crunch.

Beyond these variations, the world of pastrami sandwiches extends to regional specialties and fusion creations. The Montreal smoked meat sandwich, a close cousin to the pastrami sandwich, features smoked brisket on rye bread with yellow mustard. The Reuben sandwich layers pastrami with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye bread, creating a symphony of flavors.

Ultimately, the beauty of the pastrami sandwich lies in its adaptability. Whether you prefer a classic rendition or a more adventurous creation, the possibilities for crafting your perfect pastrami experience are endless.

Pastrami Sandwich vs. Other Popular Sandwiches
Feature Pastrami Sandwich Reuben Sandwich Club Sandwich
Meat Pastrami Corned Beef Turkey, Bacon
Cheese Sometimes Swiss Swiss Yes
Sauce Mustard Russian Dressing Mayonnaise
Bread Rye Rye White Toast

Tips for serving

When it comes to serving your pastrami masterpiece, a little finesse goes a long way. Here's how to make sure every bite is a winner:

Temperature is key: Serve your pastrami sandwich warm. The gentle heat melts the fat in the pastrami, enhancing its flavor and creating a more tender texture.

Toast the bread: Don't skip this step! Toasting the bread adds a satisfying crunch and prevents it from becoming soggy from the juicy pastrami and condiments.

pastrami sandwich

Cut with care: Slice your sandwich diagonally for maximum visual appeal and to make it easier to handle.

Pair it right: Pastrami sandwiches love company. Classic sides like potato salad, coleslaw, or a crisp pickle are always a hit.

Don't forget the napkins: Pastrami can be deliciously messy. Have plenty of napkins on hand for a stress-free dining experience.

Published: 27. 06. 2024

Category: Recipes

Author: Ethan Marsden

Tags: pastrami sandwich | a sandwich made with pastrami