Sweet and Savory Toast Ideas: Think Outside the Bread Box

Let’s talk about toast.

This humble snack has gained serious popularity lately: you’ll find it on the menu at high-end restaurants and hipster coffee shops. Cafés in San Francisco call it “artisanal” – and charge you up to $9 for a slice.

While that seems a little excessive, I’m happy that we’re living through a toast renaissance because it’s such an easy thing to customize and perfect at home. I love toast in all its forms, and I’d happily eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

The fantastic thing about a good slice of toast is its versatility. You can strip it down to the most simple – golden and dripping with fresh butter and a touch of salt – or you can top it with an endless array of ingredients.

blueberry toast

With some of today’s variations, I’m essentially turning toast into an open-faced sandwich (a tartine, as the French call it), so I’ve used our Classic Sandwich Bread recipe as the base for my toasts.

This recipe has several merits when it comes to toast: it’s very easy to slice, it’s quite soft, and it has a good crumb. While I’ll take toast any way you give it to me, I prefer using bread that isn’t too airy or full of holes (like ciabatta). Bread without holes prevents your toppings from falling through – no one wants to lose precious jam or butter!

Softer bread is also crucial. You’ll get a crunchy exterior by toasting, so using a crusty, artisan bread can result in toast that’s too hard and difficult to bite into.

Now, on to the toast! You likely have your own preferences, whether you eat toast for breakfast or for a snack. I’ve included a few favorites for inspiration, but by no means should this limit you.

I’m already making a list of my next toast-based meals: melted cheddar and pesto, smoked salmon and thinly sliced cucumber, roasted grapes with ricotta and thyme, and so on.


Here are nine ideas for topping your toasted sandwich bread, starting from the upper left:

– Sliced banana and almond butter with crystallized ginger
– Greek yogurt with fresh and frozen blueberries
– Romaine lettuce with heirloom cherry tomatoes and homemade mayonnaise
– Fresh ricotta with sliced radishes, flaky sea salt, and chives
– Tuna salad with dill over raw kale
– Sliced pears with honey and Greek yogurt
– Smashed avocado with lemon juice, flaky sea salt, and red pepper flakes
– Butter and cinnamon sugar
– Peanut butter and raspberry jam

I’d love to know how you like to dress up your toast! Tell us in comments, below.


    1. GRANA

      humus topped w/fine carrot shreds or thinly sliced zucchini;tiny tomatoes or any veggie cut as desired
      Strained(2 days)vanilla Greek yogurt w/ thin slices of any “fresh” or drained canned fruit or berries
      Or PB topped w/ fruits,as above
      I suggest putting small dishes of fruit& veggie garnish out for the kids to top their own( artistically) If they add it they’ll be more interested in eating it
      Serve tis do it yourself meal w/ any soup or beverage; This works great after a day swimming in the pool or lake ;..just precut your fruit& veggies, put in/on a plate or bowl, cover& chill while yo “lifeguard” the swimmers outside .This is also good for pool parties while the entrée is on the grill & people have worked up an appetite cooling off in the water

  1. Martina

    The butter and cinnamon sugar toast reminded me of one my old stores. The baker would take a “stick bread” (whichever was available, Cuban or French, etc) slice it through the center, butter it, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and toast/bake it for 3 minutes. Amazing on a cold winter morning!!!

    1. GRANA

      I never experienced this outside of a home kitchen; my Nana & later myself turned pieces of “day old” /past it’s prime” bread into yummy treats just this way just add a mug of hot cocoa & enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. EL

    I make all sandwiches with toast. It keeps the bread intact when transporting. I also always use only one slice, but cheat by using a large leaf of greens to hold all together. My recent favorites have used a rosemary focaccia produced by a local bakery. I slice it in half to make for easier loading (and it lasts longer that way). One sandwich was made with peppadew havarti cheese toasted on the sliced side, then topped with turkey and sliced avacados. I used romaine to hold it together. Another way I like this toast is with butter and jam. The savory rosemary and the sweet jam are generally good together. I think I might like apricot/orange marmalade best with this, but who knows?

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      This comment really intrigued me, I’d never heard of Pepperdew/Peppadew havarti cheese before. A quick Google search tells me it’s made from South African peppadew peppers. I’m going to have to give this a try soon. We love dill havarti, and hot peppers, so it sounds like a sure-fire winner to me. Thanks EL for the inspiration! ~ MJ

    2. EL

      The peppadew havarti company is Roth (at least the one I get). I’ve seen peppadew cheddar, but don’t think it would go as well in this sandwich. Peppadew peppers are very subtly hot, which is nice on this sandwich as you want it all to blend.

  3. Holly

    Sourdough toast with hummus with roasted red pepper and feta cheese or rye toast with cheddar cheese spread

  4. Jenny

    Great ideas, Posie! I like my toast spread with pesto, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella. PS. I think we must be related – your Dad is my cousin!

    1. Posie Harwood, post author

      What a small world Jenny!! So nice to hear from you here on King Arthur!

  5. grpa

    I like my toast as a Reuben Sandwich for me, or a Crab Cakes Sandwich My ideas for topping toasted that is hard to said maybe Honey Butter or French Toast, Fried Green Tomatoes Sandwich I too can’t leave anything alone! I have to play with my food. You did adjusted it to your personal taste that what I like, to see what others have did to any improvements and/or variations you make to this simple recipe. You know it’s a good toasted sandwich when you start taking smaller bites just to make it last longer. Achieve sandwich shop quality at home by creating your best version of each wonderful layer. Grpa

  6. Susan W

    Lately it’s either toasted rye bread with: 1) butter and honey, or 2) butter, cream cheese & Roquefort, or 3) peanut butter & hemp hearts. =>¡<=

    1. GRANA

      We like rye toast w/ cream cheese (or 3 day strained yogurt yogurt cheese topped w/ chives or very thin slices of raw sweet onion nice w/ tomato soup or juice while waiting for dinner on grocery shopping day. I put away the groceries while he makes these tasty toasted treats

    1. Kathy Sandefur

      Or cottage cheese with cinnamon sugar; I use stevia instead of sugar to help with weight control. If you have a toaster oven pop it just long enough to warm the cheese. This is an old weight watchers recipe.

  7. Janet

    As a child (nearly 50 years ago) I often ate buttered bread with sugar. Toasting the bread and adding cinnamon sounds like a nice variation.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      This was a special treat my mom would give us too, Janet. I remember it well. ~ MJ

  8. Helene Hanada

    Toast is one of my favorite snacks/meals. These are my favorites:1. butter/peanut butter & jam (boysenergy or raspberry or strawberry ) or honey. 2. Egg salad w/ slices of sweet pickles & diced red onion. 3. turkey sloppy Joe filling w/cheese. 4. Spicy brown mustard /havarti or swiss cheese /avocado slices.5. Tuna salad w/ avocado slices/havarti cheese.6. Greek yogurt -plain w/ sliced bananas drizzled w/honey. 7. Refried beans w/ jack cheese.

  9. M. Tontat

    On Sunday nights my brother used to make me a baked bean, cheese, bacon and tomato sandwich
    on toast and broiled to perfection. Yum, wish I could have one now. It had to be Sunday night because then there’d be leftover beans from Saturday’s supper of franks, baked beans and Boston
    brown bread. (Guess that tells you where I’m from.)

  10. Fran S

    Peanut butter, sliced bananas, honey and wheat germ.
    I toasted leftover Greek Easter bread this morning with fig jam. YUMMMY!

  11. Amy S

    I like peanut butter or hummus (peanut butter is preferred) topped with very thinly sliced sweet onion (like a Vidalia) and a couple slices of tomato.

  12. Carolyn

    Scatter crumbled goat cheese on multi-grain bread. Toast in toaster oven until cheese is lightly browned (or as long as you can without burning the toast!). Top with THINLY sliced London broil. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.

  13. Cricket

    Piemento cheese Roma tomatoes and bacon.
    Spinach, roasted turkey and apple slices with a fig spread.
    I also enjoyed toast with a mixture of butter and good ole refined sugar:)

  14. Louisa Mason

    Here in the South we like to bake our own “light bread” of course.
    My favorite breakfast is a single buttered toast slice slathered with homemade fruit marmalade like orange or apricot and crisp bacon slices, then folded over itself. I can eat more than one.
    A lunchtime goodie is toast smeared with cream cheese and topped with stuffed green olives.
    Bon appetite!

  15. Susan

    As I kid I would toast bread and spread marshmellow crème and then spread peanut butter on top of that…the warmth of the toast would make the toppings gooey and so yummy.
    And have a glass of cold milk waiting nearby to wash down the warm toast.

    1. GRANA

      SUSAN; That, I think s a fluffernutter sandwich,
      add mini chocolate chips or shavings for a s’more type treat

  16. "Karen Tumelty"

    Cream Cheese with Red Pepper Jelly from the general store in Jamaica VT. Hands down, my favorite.
    For what it’s worth, the first gift my boyfriend ever gave me was a toaster. Best. Gift. Ever.

  17. Pat Harrington

    Multigrain bread with nuts and seeds, with Durkees spread and cilantro paste. Add thinly sliced roast beef or ham, zucchini and yellow squash, red onion, tomato and Napa cabbage. Press hard, open wide and enjoy!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Pat, I just had a big lunch and your description is still making my mouth water! Barb@KAF

  18. Gerri Castor-Brooks

    I love toast with smashed avocado, kosher salt, and diced queso fresco. My daughter does the same thing except with feta.

  19. Kathy

    An old weight watchers recipe that I still like is cottage cheese with cinnamon sugar stuck under the broiler or toaster oven. I most often put peanut butter with peach or strawberry jam on my toast. I want to try the blueberries with cream cheese or Greek yogurt.

  20. Claudia Horner

    A favorite at our gluten-free house is toasted gf bread with either homemade hot pepper jelly or homemade apple chutney and a slice of swiss or sharp cheddar melted on top. So yummy! This is great for breakfast, or along with a cup of whatever homemade soup we’re eating at the time.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We detect a kitchen dance salute here to the King of peanut butter taste combos. Happy Baking or hip shakin’! Irene@KAF

    1. GRANA

      (optional) ; lightly buttered rye toast topped / muenster cheese& melted in the oven broiler till bubbly& golden

  21. Loretta Pereira

    These all sound so delicious. Have some hot pepper jelly and never thought to try it on toast. My favorite is toast, butter, a thinly sliced gouda cheese, and raspberry or strawberry jelly and topped with another slice of toast for a great sandwich. Also a homemade tomatoe preserve is delicious on toast with butter.

  22. Lydia Schaeffer

    here are three of my favorites; Buttered toast with peanut butter and sliced banana, bread with tuna salad and cheddar cheese toasted ’til the cheese is melted, and toast slathered with mayonnaise, a couple layers of thinly sliced fresh cucumber over that, and plenty of curry powder, salt and black pepper. these all tend to vary for me, I’ve added apple to the cucumber and that adds a whole new dimension!

    1. GRANA

      LYDIA; all of he above apple& curry powder has been on local sandwich shop menu but were “SOLD OUT” each time NO excuse now; I can do it @home, just had not thought of it

  23. Haley

    great ideas! Many thanks to this, I know what to make some toasted bread with those… My son caught a virus and is on strict diet… This is one of few only diets for him. Many thanks!!

  24. Shelly Maan

    My favourite is Chunky Cottage cheese with sliced avo, thinly sliced cucumber and sliced cherry tomatoes. Sprinkled with sea salt and milled pepper. Can add a dribble of lemon if required.

  25. EL

    Also I do Mayo, Cilantro, Ham and Swiss (not toasted, but you can if you want). And toast with cream cheese and my own home-made roasted tomato jam (unsweetened). Possibly with cream chease and applesauce with rosemary (I haven’t tried it yet, but it tastes great in my head).

  26. MizGriz

    Slice bread a little thicker, toast, then add butter, sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar and broil until sugar bubbles. The hard part is waiting until it cools enough to eat!


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