These dainty Rolled Tea Sandwiches are a throwback to the 60s but I think they stand the test of time. Great for Mother’s Day, showers, garden parties or afternoon tea.
These are a tribute to my Mom in view of approaching Mother’s Day.
The connection here is to her Bridge group. When I was a child I remember when my Mom would transform the living room with a few card tables and sets of four chairs. New playing cards (that were reserved only for the Bridge club) were laid out along with little bridge score pads, pencils and little dishes of – what else- Bridge mixture. They were chocolate covered nuts, jellies etc.
I was banished to the upstairs but could get away with sitting on the stair case if I was super quiet and still and stayed high enough up to not be too obvious. When the card playing was over, trays of these little rolled sandwiches appeared along with a variety of sweet gherkins, sweet pickled onions and green olives.
I could hardly contain myself by then because I knew I would get some of the leftovers. I just loved the cherry pink cream cheese ones with a cherry in the middle. The Cheese Whiz and sweet gherkin wasn’t far behind either. And… sweet gherkin pickles in the relish tray… what a treat!
You can tell it made a huge impression on me because I still make these dainty little sandwiches to this day. I don’t think they ever go out of style (although – reality check – I don’t know anyone else who makes them and I have never been served them at an afternoon tea???)
At any rate – they don’t deserve to fade into oblivion!
I made several variations from one 8 oz block of cream cheese. If you don’t want so many variations you can just double the variety you want.
You can sometimes get white bread sliced horizontally from a bakery on special order. I have also recently seen and Italian version of white, crustless bread sliced horizontally called Tramezzini, which is perfect for these sandwiches. I have seen it at Zehr’s and Food Basics in Canada.
But – it is still not difficult to make a long strip from regular white sandwich bread. I look for the square, thin sliced sandwich bread.
How to Make Rolled Tea Sandwiches With Bread
In today’s world of infinite bread varieties plain old white bread takes a bit of a back bench. There are however a few times, such as this one, where only the softest, plainest white bread will do. (The other one is for Thanksgiving leftover turkey sandwiches -white breast meat, white bread, mayo and a coat of cranberries!) For the different sandwich varieties I used about 2 1/2 loaves of white bread.
First you cut the crusts off the bread and lay 4 slices end to end with about 1/2″ overlap. Pinch the overlap to seal the bread pieces together.
Then you spread your filling over the length and line up your center feature on one of the short ends.
Next you roll them up starting at the short end with the center filling.
Then wrap them tightly in the plastic wrap to help seal the edges and firm up the roll.
These need a few hours in the fridge to meld together – I would suggest at least 4 hours but overnight is even better. And… how good is that? If you are going to serve them for a festive occasion -like Mother’s Day – you can do some of the prep work the day before. You know how I love that! Check out the Mother’s Day Luncheon Buffet in full here!
You want to match light wines with light foods so these dainty tea sandwiches would pair well with Prosecco, a dry Rosé, a dry or off-dry Riesling, an unoaked Chardonnay or a Pinot Grigio.
If you are red fan you will want to keep it light with a Beaujolais, Valpolicella or Grenache.
More Tea Recipes
Rolled Tea Sandwiches
Cherry Cream Cheese Sandwiches
- 8 slices white sandwich bread
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 2 Tbsps sour cherry juice
- 16 sour cherries pitted
Cheese Whiz Rolls
- 8 slices white sandwich bread
- 1/3 cup Cheese Whiz
- 4 sweet pickled gherkins
Creamy Goat Cheese Rolls
- 8 slices white sandwich bread
- 2 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 2 oz plain goat cheese room temperature
- 6 grape tomatoes seeded and finely minced
- 2 Tbsp red onion minced
- 1/2 Tbsp dill weed minced
- 1 tsp mayonnnaise
- 8-10 black olives pitted
Cherry Cream Cheese Sandwiches
- Remove crusts from bread. You should end up with 4 squares of bread. Lay out 4 pieces of bread end to end, overlapping about 1/2". Press the overlap to pinch the pieces together. You will end up with a long narrow length of bread.
- Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture over the length of bread. Be sure filling goes to all outer edges.
- Position cherries tightly together on one of the short ends. Pack them closely together and make sure they reach the outer edges. If they extend over a bit that is better than being short.
- Starting at the short end with the cherries roll the bread up tightly. Repeat with the other 4 pieces of bread.
- Put the 2 sandwich rolls end to end and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Twist the ends closed. Refrigerate at least 4 hours but overnight is even better.
- To serve, slice horizontally into about 1/2' rounds. Plate and serve.
Cheese Whiz Rolls
- Prepare bread as above. Spread thin layer of Cheese Whiz over the length of bread. Lay gherkins end to end on the short end being sure to extend to the outer edges. Roll up and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate 4-24 hours, slice and serve.
Creamy Goat Cheese Rolls
- Scrape the seeds and jelly from center of grape tomatoes. Fold in a paper towel and squeeze to remove as much juice as possible. Mince finely.
- Mix goat cheese and cream cheese til blended smoothly. Stir in tomato, dill, onion and mayo and mix til evenly distributed.
- Prepare bread as for Cherry Cream Cheese Sandwiches. Spread cheese mixture over the bread lengths. Line up enough pitted black olives on short end to completely cover the short end. Roll up bread, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 4-24 hours.
44 Replies to “Rolled Tea Sandwiches”
Loblaws makes bread sliced lengthwise by special order.
Oh thanks for letting me know!
I was out at Christmas and a lady made a version of these using wraps as your base. She also used sliced chicken and cranberry Boursin cheese as the filling.
I am making tea sandwiches for a memorial service in a couple of weeks. Yes it is difficult to find a bakery anymore that will slice your bread length wise and do coloured bread, I found one in Norfolk county Ontario where I live, The Harmony Bakery in Simcoe. One of the fillings I do is Prosciutto with fig and goat cheese. You lay the Proscitto down first , then spread with mayo and mustard , then lay bread down , mustard side down and top with goat cheese and fig chutney . You can put arugula on top, or I prefer micro greens and roll up. Makes a lovely presentation, but yes it is time consuming.
Oh! Thanks for sharing Liz! Folks in Norfolk County will be grateful for the bakery info. I love you prosciutto, fig, goat cheese filling too. I am definitely going to try that. And… I have been a recent fan of microgreens too! Amazing how much flavour they can pack in!
I remember the colored bread pinwheel sandwiches my mother would make. One combo I remember her making g was ham salad with Gerkins in the center.
Sweet memories. Thank you.
Oh! I had forgotten about the ham salad…. I am going to put them back in to rotation! Glad you enjoyed!
Smoked salmon with a row of gherkins on the cream cheese is our favorite.
I order the loaves, white and whole wheat and have it sliced lengthwise. I cut the crusts and lightly roll it so it’s less bulky.
Sounds delicious! I will have to try it!
I LOVED these sandwiches and oddly my memories of them are almost exactly like yours including sitting on the stairs watching bridge! Also your comment about only white bread will do for turkey sandwiches with mayo and cranberries is spot on!
I find it odd that no one makes these much anymore although I took my 85 year old Mom to a Christmas Tea this year and they DID serve them which I thought was so lovely.
Thanks for this post!
Isn’t that funny about the bridge and the stairs! It was probably ‘a thing’ in the 60s!
Thank you for this post! I was just saying how I wanted to make these but you can no longer find unsliced white bread anymore (which is what my mother used). It never occurred to me to “seal” 8 slices together. Will try your recipes – my mother also dyed cream cheese pink and green and added olives. thanks!
My Mom used to use the Maraschino cherry juice to colour the cream cheese pink! Enjoy!
At my grocery you can buy a package of 5 slices of white bread without crust each slice the length of a loaf of bread. Perfect for making pinwheel sandwiches with no waste or fusing single slices.
Lucky you! Can you share the store name or city?
I’m going to try this method for the bread too. BUT, what I have done in the past is to order the bread from your bakery. I do this a couple of days before I need them. Ask for pullman loaves cut lengthwise. They should know and have the ability to do this.
Good to know!
My grandmother made both of these we called them pinwheel sandwiches.
You know what… My Mom did too! I just forgot!
I don’t know where you live but I live in Ontario Canada. We have that long sliced bread here at Food Basics. Just saw it last week.
Hi Judith! I just saw it at Food basics too. It was called Tramezzini, which is the Italian version of crustless sandwiches. I have 2 im my freezer right now! Thanks for sharing!
You can special order it from any bakery including Superstore and Safeway.
Perfect!Thanks for the tip!
Oh my goodness, I am so excited I found this post. As a Canadian living in the US tea sandwiches seem to be unheard of but I remember just loving these little sandwiches when I was a child. I am doing a Christmas tea for my grandchildren this year and will be making the cheese whiz and gerkin pinwheels. I also love peanut butter and banana. And I will be making the tea scones from another post. Thanks for all the memories!
Thanks for your enthusiasm! I hope all goes well with your Christmas tea!
Thank you, thank you!!
I first had these sandwiches at an “anniversary tea” for a fellow employee ( on my first full-time job) back when they used to celebrate those things! There is only ONLY one place where you can buy them in our area and boy are they expensive! People travel for miles and miles to get them for weddings, parties and showers. You have to pre order and often they are totally out. I cannot believe I will FINALLY be able to make them myself. So many find memories associated with these little sandwiches. (My bridel shower, baby showers for friends and my own anniversary tea, many years later at that same company) Bless you for sharing
I am so happy to share. Enjoy with all your upcoming ‘occasions’!
My mom used an uncut loaf of bread and had it cut lengthwise. The bread department will do this for you. One slice was enough. Yes. She rolled it with a rolling pin too.
Loved all of these as a kid and now make them for the grandchildren.
I will definitely try the rolling pin technique next time. I have to say I love these! Did you ever try Peanut butter and banana in the middle?
I made these tea sandwiches and they turned out great…my only suggestion which I read elsewhere is to pinch the edges and then roll everything quite firmly with a rolling pin both sides before adding the filling..this really seals the bread edges together and doesnt affect the quality at all
Good idea! I will try that next time – I make these all the time LOL!
Oh my gosh, my British war bride mum used to make these sandwiches as well for baby and wedding showers. She called them pinwheel sandwiches. She used to be able to order loaf bread sliced lengthwise and coloured (ie pink, blue or green or just white). Also for my birthday parties she would make pinwheel sandwiches like these spread with peanut butter and with a banana slice in the middle – always a huge hit. When I saw your picture you brought back so many good memories for me as sadly my mum is long gone but I love seeing this tradition revived.
I remember the peanut butter/banana one too! And I have a bakery nearby where I can order the sandwich bread in colours and sliced lengthwise (Norris Bakery in Kitchener, Ont.) I am so happy to have sparked such a nice remembrance for you!
Oh, thanks for the tip about Norris bakery. I just came across this page on Pinterest and I am in Waterloo. These sandwiches remind me of my grandma. I’m going to make some for a ladies get together this weekend!
I am sure you will wow your friends! I don’t know anyone who has not been totally impressed when served them!
My mom also made them years ago! I remembered this morning that when I was very young, she used colored bread also! I’m making them tomorrow for a baby shower (white bread though). It sure is difficult to find a bakery that can slice lengthwise!
Not sure where you are but I have a local bakery that you can special order a sandwich loaf to be cut lengthwise. You can even order pink or green bread! I think white is fine though… it shows off the filling better!
My mom was always the aunt putting on wedding showers and baby showers when I was growing up so I helped to make my share of tea sandwiches and “dainties”. My favourite was always the cream cheese and cherry one although she always made it with maraschino cherries. My second was egg salad with gherkins rolled in the middle.
I love afternoon tea and have introduced my daughter to it. We are going to have a middle of the night tea party and watch the Royal Wedding in May.
Oh! Egg salad and gherkin sounds lovely! they would be perfect for the Royal wedding. You have inspired me!!
THANK YOU!!! Finally, someone who uses a calculator to present their recipes! I’m hosting a surprise birthday tea for my dear mother in law in May at her church, and for the life of me, it was doing my poor head in trying to calculate all the various recipes out there for tea sandwiches! I’m asking 90 ladies & gents to attend her 90th birthday, and aside from figuring that each guest should have the equivalent of two whole sandwiches (that’s anywhere from six to eight tea sandwiches!), I wasn’t finding any recipes for a hoard of people. I’ve done smaller (30-50) dos in the past, but this will be my penultimate party! Thanks so much for making a part of it a wee bit simpler! Now I just need to guess how many tea bags, sugar cubes, deserts, and various other little bits I’ll need.
I am glad it helps! I hope all goes well for your birthday tea! Your mother in law is a very lucky woman to have you!
Nice one it helps lot keep it up
I absolutely love taking a break for tea time. I haven’t always been a fan of tea though. I became obsessed with it while watching Downton Abbey. I’ve wonderd how to make the little tea sandwiches they often serve. Thank you for this recipe, I’m sure I’ll be trying it out sometime soon.
I hope you enjoy.. they do make any occasion seem special!