The History of the BLT Sandwich

Don’t tell us you don’t know what a BLT is. There’s no way you’ve never sat at a restaurant table with someone munching on this perfect combo.

We say that because not many sandwiches share the popularity of the famous BLT. Ever since someone figured out that bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes are amazing together, the BLT sandwich has dominated the market.

This famous composition has only five ingredients, isn’t hard to make, and tastes like heaven, so we understand why it’s so popular. Of course, mayo and bread are the other two components. But how did it all come together?

If you’re interested in learning the history of the BLT, keep reading. We’ll tell you all about it and share our tips for making the ultimate BLT sandwich.

Or, if you’re looking for the best one in Miami, visit Root & Bone and see how we make this famous dish.

The History of BLT Sandwich

Let’s see when each of the ingredients was introduced to people’s diets and how it all came together.

Bread Is the Oldest Ingredient

The history of the BLT begins way before you could order it at a restaurant. 

As you may assume, of all the ingredients mentioned, bread was the first to appear at our tables. Ancient Egyptians were the ones to master the art of baking loaves of bread before anyone else. 

A loaf gave chefs more opportunities to improvise than flatbreads, so, naturally, many new recipes came in the future.

Lettuce Was Next

We can also thank Ancient Egyptians for the existence of lettuce. They are the ones that managed to turn it from a mere weed into a food plant as early as 2680 BCE.

After some time, lettuce was taken to Greece and Rome. By the year 50 CE, there were many different types of lettuce growing in these areas.

Here Comes Bacon

What is a BLT without bacon? Not something we’re interested in, that’s for sure.

Though wild boar meat was treated similarly back in the day, we can’t say that bacon existed before the domestication of pigs. That happened around 13,000 BCE, but the first signs of modern bacon seem to be around the mid-1700s.

Before that, all pork was referred to as “bacon.” Then, this word was used for all back meat; then all cured pork. Finally, British farmers realized that certain breeds were more suitable for the production of this type of meat. And once it was cured with salt, we got the bacon we know and love today. 

It’s Time for Tomatoes

The ultimate BLT sandwich must contain fresh tomatoes. This isn’t something you should take lightly. Vegetables can make or break a sandwich, and in this case, the tomato is more important than you think.

However, tomatoes weren’t always food. (The fact that they were considered poisonous probably plays a part in that.)

In fact, they were brought over to Europe at the end of the 16th century, and their purpose wasn’t to feed people. The yellow cherry tomatoes were brought over to enhance the interior. Yes, tomatoes were once houseplants.

And, for another two centuries, tomatoes were only meant to be pretty. That didn’t change until the 1800s when people started consuming them in Italy. And if there wasn’t famine, who knows when we would get to try the tomato? The history of the BLT sandwich would certainly look different.

Finally, Mayo

1756 was the year the original mahónnaise was invented. However, this wasn’t the version we enjoy today.

It wasn’t until years later that people could try the mayo of the future.

Marie-Antoine Carême (1784-1833) is the French chef we can thank for the invention of modern mayonnaise. She had the guts to lighten the original recipe. By blending the egg yolks and the vegetable oil, she created a new version of mayo that would become a guest favorite and stick around for quite some time.

Now, every ultimate BLT sandwich contains it, along with so many other recipes.

But Who Invented the Sandwich?

Naturally, the history of the BLT can’t go without mentioning the invention of the sandwich. After all, what is a BLT, if not a sandwich (and a perfect one, in fact)? 

It was John Montagu that invented one of the most popular ways to consume food nowadays. The reason behind it? It was a solution to one of the biggest problems a marathon gambler could have. How to eat without having to stop gambling?

Well, if you could throw dice with one hand and eat with the other, the problem would be solved. That’s why John asked for some meat and two pieces of bread. He couldn’t have assumed how significant this decision was, but that was the moment the sandwich was born – as a gambling food.

It was years before fancier sandwiches were invented.

How Did the Club Sandwich Come to Be

Most cookbooks of the early 20th century show the club sandwich as a predecessor of the BLT. In fact, historians agree that the BLT was invented somewhere around that time.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any specific record of who invented the BLT and when. Saratoga Club in Saratoga, New York, is often mentioned as the birthplace of this sandwich, but no written documents prove this claim.

The club sandwich was popular in most men’s clubs around the states, but the first time we had a recipe printed was in 1903. The Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book mentions it with bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and a slice of turkey. Of course, all between two slices of bread. We still can’t figure out who added the third slice.

And there you go. From 1903, club sandwiches were everywhere. Certain people didn’t need the turkey, which turned the club into something we’re quite familiar with – a BLT.

There are other stories that may or may not be true, but we choose to believe this is how the famous sandwich was invented.

How to Make a BLT Today?

You already know what a BLT sandwich must contain. However, since everything is customizable these days, we’ll give you a few options to modify the BLT.


Check out the list below and see what could enhance your homemade sandwich.

  • Bread

Switch out the usual bread with something you’ll enjoy a bit more. Bagels, croissants, brioche buns, and so on. There’s no one stopping you.

  • Bacon

Nowadays, there are plenty of bacon varieties to choose from in the supermarket. Candied, pancetta, Canadian, pepper bacon, and bacon jam are all options worth considering.

  • Lettuce

Maybe lettuce isn’t your favorite “green” for sandwiches. Feel free to try romaine, arugula, bibb, or watercress.

  • Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are tomatoes too! If you prefer them over regular-sized vegetables, give them a go!

  • Mayo

Yes, you can use light mayo to cut down the calorie intake. But also, you can use flavored mayonnaise to bring those numbers up.

Visit Root & Bone

To try the best BLT in Miami, visit Root & Bone restaurant.