Old-fashioned Cucumber Sandwiches

Cucumber Sandwich on PlateI often see sandwich recipes in hundred-year-old cookbooks. They often contain different ingredients from modern sandwiches, and don’t pique my interest. But. I was intrigued by a recipe for Cucumber Sandwiches. There’s a bumper crop of cucumbers this year, so decided to give the recipe a try. The sandwiches contain lettuce and cucumber slices coated with a sweet-sour Boiled Dressing.

The lettuce and cucumber slices were crisp and the sandwich was tasty – though it seemed very old-fashioned and made me think about old novels where the heroine eats dainty sandwiches similar to this.

The bread is buttered for this recipe. I haven’t buttered bread when making sandwiches in years. Which made the sandwich seem even more old-fashioned.

I probably won’t make this recipe again, but it was fun to make one time.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Cucumber Sandwiches
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

And, here’s the old recipe for Boiled Dressing:

Recipe for Boiled Dressing
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

One loaf of bread would make 8 or 10 sandwiches. There was no way that my husband and I were doing to eat that many. So when I made this recipe, I really scaled the Cucumber Sandwiches Recipe down, and gave directions for one sandwich. The Cucumber Sandwich recipe calls for Boiled Dressing. I made the full Boiled Dressing recipe and used the left-over dressing on other salads. It kept well in the refrigerator.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cucumber Sandwiches

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

For each serving:

6 – 8 cucumber slices, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons boiled dressing (see recipe below)

1/8 teaspoon grated onion

2 slices bread (preferably thinly sliced)


leaf lettuce

Put boiled dressing and grated onion in a small bowl; stir to combine. Add cucumber slices. Gently roll and stir the slices to coat with the dressing. Set aside.

Butter the bread slices. Put the lettuce leaf on one slice. Top with the cucumber slices that are coated with dressing. Put the second butter slice of bread on top. Serve immediately.

Boiled Dressing

2 egg yolks, well beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon flour

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

Put beaten egg yolks, salt, sugar and flour in a small bowl; stir until blended. Add milk, lemon juice, and butter or olive oil. Put in a saucepan, and heat using medium heat while stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, remove from heat and refrigerate. If the mixture begins to curdle place the pan in a larger pan of cold water and beat vigorously using a mixer.

The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for several days.


25 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Cucumber Sandwiches

  1. I was served cucumber sandwiches as part of afternoon tea in England 40 years ago. There was no dressing, though, just bread, butter, and thinly sliced cucumber.

  2. Perfect for a hot summers day and its absolutley scorching here in the Uk right now well Droitwich, Worcestershire any way, not sure about the boiled dressing I guess it’s like modern mayo thanks for sharing.

    1. Boiled dressing was very popular years ago. I thought about cutting my sandwich into dainty pieces -but didn’t do it. Now I wish that I had.

  3. I do love an old-fashioned English cucumber sandwich, though good butter, salt and pepper are all that I require in addition to thinly sliced cucumber and a decent white loaf. I might be more attracted to Boiled Dressing if it had a more appetising name!

  4. Cucumber sandwiches evoke memories of a special afternoon tea. I recall my mother-in-law making these and the appearance was dainty and special. Thank you for helping me go down memory lane and sharing the recipes, Sheryl.

    1. Until I read your comment, as well the comments of several others, I hadn’t realized that Cucumber Sandwiches are a popular food to serve at afternoon tea. The tea and sandwiches sound like a lovely combination.

  5. Made me laugh when I saw the heading of your article, and the first thing I thought of was some of the old romance novels I used to read!

  6. Boiled dressing is what we called “homemade mayonnaise.” I prefer my cucumber sandwiches with just butter, salt, and pepper. The butter is a must. Not only does it add to the taste, it holds the whole thing together!

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