The Mayo Swap To Shake Up Ordinary Cold Cut Sandwiches

Cold cut sandwiches are a lunchtime staple, whether it's ham and cheddar, turkey and provolone, or roast beef and Swiss — usually slathered with mayonnaise. But if you've gotten to the point where your sandwich is more of a dining chore rather than a delight, there's a simple way to elevate your everyday eating experience with one substitution. While mayo is a standard sandwich ingredient, its role is often relegated to providing the bread (or toast) with a bit of needed moisture.


When you make your next cold cut sandwich, swap out the mayo for cream cheese. Cream cheese has a similar tanginess to mayo but is creamier and not as oily. It can easily be amped up with a variety of other ingredients, like garlic and fresh herbs, sliced olives, chopped-up scallions, or other vegetables. It's a great way to get creative with your boring sandwiches and use up some odds and ends from the kitchen. This simple swap also means you'll be able to finish off that leftover cream cheese in your fridge. Win-win.

Get wild with added flavors

The key to making the swap work is to first soften the cream cheese. There are three easy ways to soften a block of cream cheese. If you're in a hurry you can microwave it or put it in a warm-water bath. If you've got more time, you can cube the cream cheese and let it sit out on your counter for about 30 minutes. You can thin it out with a little milk if need be. Then add whatever ingredients you wish.


If you're into the yin-yang of sweet and savory, you could mix in chopped figs, apples, or pears with the cream cheese. If you're into savory, try mixing in some dill. If heat is your thing, chopped jalapenos will add a nice kick. Sometimes, you may just not have the time or energy to make your own flavored cream cheese. In that case, there are many store-bought varieties out there to choose from. Whether you use plain cream cheese, amp it up yourself, or go with something premade, when you swap it for mayonnaise in your next cold-cut sandwich, it will go from dull to delicious.