Homegrown Tomato Sandwich Recipe

| July 26, 2020 | 19 Comments

Tomato Sandwich

Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to learn how to make a Tomato Sandwich the Southern way. We’re using tomatoes straight from our “garden.” Printable recipe included.


Tomato Sandwich, enjoy!
Nothing beats a homegrown tomato turned into a sandwich. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any time of the day – or night. Duke’s Mayonnaise just makes them so much better.


Tomato Sandwich, slider.

I did this recipe for fun for the subscribers to my free, weekly Newsletter. I mean, do you really need a recipe to make a tomato sandwich? We’re just born with this information here in the South. It’s a family tradition. Still, if you search Google for Tomato Sandwich, you’ll come up with over 463 MILLION results and recipes for it. Who knew?

In my growing up years, Mama and Daddy always had a garden. We grew lots of tomatoes each year, among lots of other things. We sold some of them in Daddy’s roadside produce stand, and Mama would sit up late into the night preparing and canning tomatoes so we could enjoy them throughout some long hard and cold winter months.

Most of the family enjoyed a good tomato sandwich. Not me though. Not back then. I liked the taste, but there was something about chewing a tomato that sort of bothered me.

Back then, I’d make a tomato sandwich with several slices of fresh tomatoes. I’d add some salt and pepper, then a good nice layer of Duke’s Mayonnaise. We always used Duke’s. It’s another tradition here in the South.

Once the sandwich was complete, I’d press it down hard. Then, I’d just let it sit for about 10 minutes. After the time had passed, I’d take out the slices of tomato, put the two slices of bread back together, and I’d enjoy my tomato JUICE sandwich. It was much better to me that way and that’s how I ate them for many years.

Somewhere along the line, I started eating them WITH the tomatoes, and I haven’t looked back. Smile.

I really hated being called to work in the garden in my childhood. We would chop weeds out from the plants for hours it seemed. Or, I’d tote a basket while Mama or Daddy gathered whatever they were getting out of the garden at the time. I really should have been more thankful, but I have to admit that I just didn’t realize all the effort it took for them at the time.

Fast forward a good number of years. I started posting recipes online and I got to thinking about how neat it would be to have a small garden of my own. I just didn’t have a place where I could do it.

This year, I had an old flower pot sitting out on the back balcony. I’d killed the flower that had been in it because I just do not have any type of green thumb at all. But, I wanted to try something. Tomato it was.

I have a very nice lady that comes in to help me clean once a week here in my old and practically disabled days now. So, when I mentioned my desire to plant a tomato in that flower pot, she made it happen. She brought me a plant, a wire cage, and some potting soil to set the plant out in.

There was a packet of Dill seeds on my desk for some reason. We found them in a box of stuff I was clearing out and I had saved them. They were several years old and I don’t even remember where they came from. She sowed the entire packet in the smaller pot she had brought the tomato plant in.

Since it’s hard for me to get around these days, and since I have to use a walker, it’s been a challenge to keep the plants watered, but I’ve managed to keep up with it thus far.

A couple of weeks after she set out the plant, a small tomato appeared right in the middle of it all. My first, homegrown tomato. I’ll share the rest of it with you down below.

Ready to  give our tomato sandwich a try? Alright then, let’s get in the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking!


Tomato Sandwich, ingredients.
Homegrown Tomato Sandwich – You’ll need these ingredients.

No artisan type bread here, you just HAVE to have white loaf bread. And, you also HAVE to have Duke’s Mayonnaise. But, to give you some wiggle room, the black pepper is optional, maybe even the salt. Smile.


Tomato Sandwich, my tomato.
That’s my very first homegrown tomato on the right. I placed a quarter on the table for size comparison. As you can see, it didn’t get very big before it turned bright red and ready to be picked.

The larger tomato on the left is a hothouse tomato purchased from a local grocery store. It’s pretty much the average size you would expect to use to make a sandwich. Mine just got excited and a bit eager I guess.


Tomato Sandwich, the farm.
This is my farm. I have one tomato plant, and for reasons pretty much unknown, I have a pot of the herb Dill also growing.

I shared a photo on June 04, 2020, of my new tomato plant. At the time it was planted in the large white pot, the plant just did reach the top of the railing on my back balcony. The Dill was planted from a packet of seeds that I had come across but have no memory of purchasing them to begin with.

The photo above was taken on July 06, 2020. The tomato plant had grown almost a foot taller, and the Dill seeds had sprouted well and were about 6 inches high.


Tomato Sandwich, the tomato.
This is my very first tomato, grown in the container here on “The Farm.”

About two weeks after it was planted, a green tomato appeared on the plant. It was smaller than a gumball when it was first spotted, but it did grow to be a bit larger than a golf ball. But, not by very much.

I kept thinking it would grow larger, but instead, it decided to start turning red. Before long, it was bright red, so I finally decided to pick it.

I had to thank the plant for providing the tomato. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. There were several other small tomatoes beginning to grow on the plant, but this one was as big as it was going to get and had turned red. I picked it on July 20, 2020.

The variety is known as Better Boy. They really should be bigger, but I suspect it’s not getting enough sunlight each day to help it grow. It gets about 4 hours in the morning and is in the shade the rest of the day.


Tomato Sandwich, tomato.
It wasn’t very big at all, but I knew I had to make a tomato sandwich with it. Follow along.


Tomato Sandwich, slice the tomato.
I had to slice it fairly thin in order to get four slices out of it. That would be enough to cover the slice of bread. Most tomatoes grow large enough that only one or two slices are needed for a good sandwich. But, I was eager to taste my first homegrown tomato.

Slice the tomato as desired and place it on a slice of white loaf bread.


Tomato Sandwich, add some black pepper.
I like to add a bit of black pepper.


Tomato Sandwich, add salt.
And of course, a bit of salt just helps bring out more of the flavor.


Tomato Sandwich, add the mayo.
Now, spread on a good layer of our favorite Duke’s Mayonnaise. It wouldn’t be a true homegrown Southern tomato sandwich without being slathered in a good layer of Duke’s Mayonnaise.

I know some folks like to spread the mayonnaise on the slice of bread first, then maybe even put another coating of mayonnaise on the top slice. Not me. I like to use a butter knife and spread the mayonnaise right on top of the sliced tomatoes. This allows you to end up with some thick dollops of mayonnaise that just adds a burst of flavor when you bite into it while enjoying your sandwich. You really must try it this way at least once in your life. Smile.


Tomato Sandwich, add the top slice of bread.
Place the second slice of bread on top of the slices of tomato and mayonnaise.

What I really forgot here was to show you how to use your hand to press the two slices of bread together. You have to pretty much flatten out your sandwich, pressing it together tightly, so it holds together better while you’re eating it.

Once the juice from that tomato starts dripping out the bottom of the sandwich, and starts running down your chin, the slices of bread will slip around a bit. Get a good grip on it before you bite into it.


Tomato Sandwich, enjoy.

This really was an awesome experience. The little tomato had great flavor. And, topped with the Duke’s Mayonnaise, black pepper, and the salt, it was almost P-E-R-F-E-C-T-I-O-N.

The only thing that could have made it better would for it to have been large enough to have made another sandwich.

I don’t know if I was just being thankful for the little tomato, or what, but it brought a big smile to an old Southern boy’s face while I enjoyed the whole thing.

I’ve probably enjoyed more tomato sandwiches this year than all the years put together in my life up to this point. There seems to just be something about watching them grow that makes me want more of them.

As I wrote in one of my Newsletters, one of the limbs of the plant fell over the wire cage. It appeared to have broken, but it managed to hang in there and continue to grow. It had three small tomatoes on it when it fell, but they are still growing and hopefully I’ll get to enjoy another sandwich from it before too long.

As of today, Sunday, July 26, 2020, that one little plant in the container on the balcony, has SEVEN small tomatoes on it. They range in size from gumballs to golf balls. I also have two more yellow blooms that will soon turn into tomatoes as well.

It’s been awesome to watch it grow. I have to water it each day, sometimes giving it a gallon of water, but I’m truly thankful for what it’s providing me. God is good.


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Homegrown Tomato Sandwich Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 00
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 sandwich 1x
  • Category: Sandwich
  • Method: Counter top
  • Cuisine: American, Southern


Tomato sandwiches are a true Southern favorite. They are even better when you grow the tomato itself. This was my first tomato, grown in a container. And of course, you really must use Duke’s brand of mayonnaise.



1 ripe Tomato, sliced.
2 slices of white loaf bread.
Dukes’ Mayonnaise to taste.
Salt and Pepper to taste.


Rinse the tomato under cold running water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
Slice the tomato as desired to fit the slice of bread.
Cover one slice of the bread with tomato slices.
Add black pepper.
Add salt.
Coat generously with Duke’s Mayonnaise.
Add the top slice of bread.
Press the sandwich together firmly with the palm of your hand.
Grab a paper towel to catch the drips that will be running down your chin.


Don’t stop with just one, enjoy two. I’m not going to tell.

Keywords: tomato, tomatoes, homegrown, sandwich, duke's mayonnaise, salt, black pepper, white loaf bread, easy, container grown tomato


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You might also like: Okra and Tomatoes Recipe

Or, maybe this one?  Macaroni and Tomatoes Recipe

How about this?  Tomato Pie Recipe


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Category: Sandwiches

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (19)

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  1. Mary Rose Francini says:

    I made a tomato (diced from the can) with slice of white cheese with mayo sandwich. it is so yummy.


    I love this recipe so much! Reminds me of my childhood, thank you!

  3. Carol Anne Everett says:

    Oh, you’ve got my mouth watering with this one!! Our Better Boy has had three and they were all delicious!! There’s one trying to ripen up right now that’s about the same size as yours. I’m cheering him on!
    Thanks for this “recipe”. It really hits home! ❤️

  4. Annie says:

    Steve, good job on the farming. Try to save a few of the seeds from one of your tomatoes to plant next year’s crop. Add a little black cow fertilizer, blood meal and lime to the dirt when you plant the seeds and you will double your crop. I have enjoyed watching your plant grow. Hope you enjoy eating them. Thanks, Annie

  5. Sandra says:

    Love this post! There’s nothing better than that first tomato sandwich from your own garden! Doesn’t matter if you have rows of tomato plants or just one plant. White bread, mayonnaise and salt and pepper-perfection for sure!

  6. Scott says:

    My mum had a little house right below Franklin N C my brother mum and I would get lovely toms at the corner veg stand we made some wonderful sandwiches I have fond memories as both of them are with the Lord now thanks for the post Mr. Steve .

  7. Priscilla Swayngim says:

    I LOVE tomato sandwiches with Dukes mayo . I also love them with Jif peanut butter instead of Dukes. The acidity of the tomato and the sweetness of the Jif is great It still drips off your chin.. lol

  8. Kathy Newman says:

    I love reading your stories because they remind me so much of my childhood.Thanks for the memories.
    Your “neighbor” in Reidsville, NC

  9. Sandra (st) says:

    You have to get a earthbox (goggle it) you’ll have more tomatoes than you can shake a sitck at!!!
    I have 6 boxes and can tomatoes, give tomatoes away, eat tomatoes etc.
    Just get one you’ll never use a flower pot again You’ll have tomatoes big enough for one slice to cover slice of bread ( I love brandy wine tomatoes )
    Love your recipes and you comments.
    God certainly is good!!

  10. Wendy says:

    There are few simple pleasures as great as a good ole “mater” sandwich. It’s right up there with a good plate of hot grits and stewed tomatoes on top. Yummy! Takes me back to summers with Mama and Daddy in the garden and canning huge amounts of tomatoes until everyone was sick of tomatoes but so thankful for them later on. Fried green tomatoes are pretty wonderful as well.

  11. Joyceb says:

    Congratulations Farmer Steve. Your tomato (was) lovely! I found a small tray of Jalapeño peppers in the store one day. Brought them home and planted them in small containers. I have harvested seven peppers and l see four more growing nicely. Like you, l am a novice; but having lots of fun! Thanks for all your great recipes. I use them in all my cooking

  12. Mike says:

    Wonderful memories of time past. Thank you for the recipe and memory of Mom making these for me and my brothers.

    Re. your medical problems, I feel ya’, man. I’m supposed to use a walker myself but I’m too proud to do so. I was in the yard just this morning doing a little work and rolled over. I had been stooping over. I have a dizziness problem. This getting old isn’t for sissies. Hang in there, brother. Yeah, I feel you.

  13. cj says:

    I had never heard of a tomato sandwich until I met my husband in 1978,in NC. I have to say that I have never tried one either, and have not had a good tomato since we moved to Alaska 27 years ago.
    I am a Texan and I did appreciate your white bread smush technique, we used it on peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches at my Aunt Flo’s house, but the first bite had to be in the direct center of the bread so we could use the sandwich for a peep hole in some weird game we played.
    The smush was also used in a cream cheese, pecan and black olive sandwich also-ever made one of those?

  14. Betty Maloney says:

    I loved your “recipe” this week! It brought back many good memories of picking tomatoes from my Grandpop’s garden.. And, just like you, we would bring the tomato into the house, wash it off and slice it up, put it between two slices of bread that had been slathered with Mayonnaise (unfortunately, not Duke’s)
    Don’t even know if I’ve ever seen Duke’s here in our markets (N.J.). Is it a Southern brand?. I will definitely look for it next time I shop! Thank you so much for your recipes and sharing your life stories with us. I truly look for your column online first thing every Monday morning. Keep them coming! Wishing you good health and many more years of sharing with all of us. God Bless.

  15. Roxanne says:

    I had my first toasted tomato sandwich of the summer on the weekend. Yes, the bread was toasted – and on top of the tomato went a couple of slices of bacon. No Duke’s though – not here in my part of Canada. Glad you got to enjoy the fruit of your garden.

  16. Joyce Petrichek says:

    Nice way to start my day, reading your newsletter.I enjoy them so much. I, too, love tomato sandwiches, but I like them with just butter,salt and pepper, the way I ate them growing up. My second favorite tomato treat is fried green tomatoes. I’m always torn between letting that first one ripen, or breading it and frying it at the first blush of pink on it.

    Have you ever made tomato juice popsicles? Delicious! I remember, as a kid, giving one to a friend. She took a bite and spit it out, thinking it was a prank.

    Tomato spice jam is another great tomato treat. I’ll be making some as soon as I have enough ripe tomatoes.

    Have a great day. And thank God for air conditioning!

  17. Jim says:

    Really enjoy a good tomato sandwich! My farmer’s market has been in the homegrown tomato mode for about a month—-I think I am on 26 consecutive days of a sandwich for lunch or dinner (or both)!
    Always sad to see the first frost put an end to the season
    I know I have said it before but thanks again for sharing & for your weekly email!

  18. Kay Jones says:

    As a kid I also added sliced onion. I made one yesterday but it was not homegrown. Our ‘garden’ is not producing. Thanks for the share

  19. Cheryl says:

    No matter how you construct it, there’s nothing better than a tomato sandwich, especially one still warm from the sun that you just picked! I am now able to buy Duke’s in Texas and it’s my fav too.
    When I mention tomato sandwich to some people, they look at me funny and say “just tomato?” Hey, don’t knock it til you try it.
    Those Better Boys have always been smallish when I’ve grown them. I like it that way because then there isn’t any left over that needs to be refrigerated. God Bless!

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