Sandwiches are a comfort food staple, a go-to snack and meal for millions of people. The popular story is that we have John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, to thank for that. He often asked for meat and bread together because he could eat them without walking away from the gambling table. Yet, the idea of meat, cheese and other ingredients between slices of bread actually may come from Turkey and Greece.
Some data suggests Americans consume as many as 300 million sandwiches a day. Considering the U.S. population is 330 million, on average, just about every American eats a sandwich every day.
So which sandwich is the best? Though the answer is obviously subjective, some types are more popular than others. To compile a list of Americans’ favorite sandwiches, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a survey conducted by YouGov, which questioned a representative sample of 1,223 people.
Sandwich preferences vary considerably across the country. For example, people living in the South like grilled cheese more than the national average: 82% compared to 79% across the United States.
People from the Northeast prefer the lobster roll by a large margin: 46% regionally compared to 35% nationally. The French dip, which is not at the top of the national ranking, is among the favorites in the West, with 57% liking it, compared to 46% nationwide.
What some people might consider the two most popular American sandwiches of all, the hot dog and hamburger, were not considered by that YouGov survey. However, people were asked if they should. Most agreed that a hamburger should be considered a sandwich but that a hot dog should not.
Sandwiches are a popular food option any time of the day, but the breakfast sandwich, which is usually a combination of eggs, cheese and a type of meat, is iconic.
To pick America’s favorite sandwich, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a YouGov survey conducted in July 2019. The survey was conducted using an online interview completed by more than 1,200 respondents. Respondents were given a list of 22 sandwiches and were asked to answer to what extent they like or dislike each sandwich. Possible responses were “really like,” “somewhat like,” “neither like or dislike,” “somewhat dislike,” “really dislike” and “not applicable — I’ve never tried this sandwich.”
Grilled cheese is America’s favorite sandwich. Some 79% of respondents really or somewhat liked it. Only 7% really or somewhat disliked it, and 3% said they had never tried it.
Bread and cheese heated together is an idea that goes back at least to Roman times. The term “grilled cheese,” though, dates only from around the 1930s and may have coincided with the introduction of the electric sandwich grill (invented by Thomas Edison). The popular combination of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup apparently was invented in school cafeteria kitchens during the Great Depression.