French Ham and Butter Sandwich (Jambon Buerre)

by Dorothy Reinhold on July 12, 2015

Print This Post Print This Post FRENCH HAM AND BUTTER SANDWICH: Simple French Ham and Butter Sandwich | Classic French Jambon Buerre sandwich recipe |

Isn’t it wonderful when your friends lead more exciting lives than you do?

Case in point…my neighbor went to France and Germany, and had an epic time traveling in Europe and exploring. She also ate some food that was unfamiliar to her (snails!), and brought those cultural ideas to us back home, when she returned.

She introduced us to what she called the “French sandwich.” It was disarmingly simple — a skinny baguette, spread lightly with butter and layered with thinly sliced ham, and perhaps a thin slice of cheese. It’s an iconic French sandwich, sold in lunch restaurants, by street vendors, available everywhere, considered fast food over there.

Make no mistake. This was not a Dagwood — that American creation stuffed to the gills with meats and cheese, slathered with mustard, mayo and whatever other condiments you can find. There’s no lettuce, no tomato, no special sauce.

French Ham and Butter Sandwich on ShockinglyDelicious.comThis is a pure, simple sandwich, with no other competing flavors to muddy up that delicious bread and high quality ham. The sweet butter seals the sandwich together, offering a counterpoint to the salty ham, giving the whole thing a rich flavor without making it greasy. Mustard? Who needs it?

She and her traveling companions bought them for lunch many days, and the simplicity of it made for fine eating on their picnic meals, along with a piece of fruit and a little dessert. As she recounted their trip, I could imagine them all, splayed out on the grass in the park, laughing and eating their sophisticated French sandwiches, not a care in the world.

This week our #SundaySupper blogger crew is celebrating National Picnic Month, sponsored by Gallo Family Vineyards. We’re pairing our dishes with Gallo wines, for a relaxing, fuss-free outdoorsy event.

So I want you all to try this simple, elegant, European sandwich on your next picnic. I’m going to suggest a couple of refinements to it, but it is all up to you, of course.

Ingredients for French Ham and Butter Sandwich on

  • Use a high quality, fresh, skinny French bread baguette

Cutting bread for French Ham and Butter Sandwich on

  • Use pure butter (not margarine). I often use unsalted butter because the ham is salty, but suit yourself. I often also use a garlic and herb compound butter, to give it an even more flavorful spin than plain butter.

Ham goes on French Ham and Butter Sandwich on

  • You could use packaged lunch meat ham, but better yet is to ask the deli counter man to slice ham very thin and delicate for you.
  • I often use a thin slice of cheese. This is optional Please use real cheese, not American cheese sandwich slices. Go ahead and spring for the good stuff!

What else goes in the picnic?

What goes with your sandwich? How about some cornichons, those tiny little French gherkin pickles, in keeping with our French theme? How about some carrots and radishes for crunch, and a simple little cookie for dessert. I suggest the Brown Sugar Shortbread, or the Scotch Tea Cookies. Both are extremely easy and fit our theme of simple elegance.

Gallo Family Pink Moscato in picnic sizes on ShockinglyDelicious.comPair your sandwich with a nice, crisp Gallo Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio, my favorite white variety. It’s dry (not sweet), and a sip hints of green apple, peach and a whiff of citrus, for a perfect pairing with your classic sandwich. If you like a sweeter wine on your picnic outings, Gallo Family Vineyards Pink Moscato will do nicely, with a gorgeous color, a slightly sweet taste hinting of peach, berries and orange blossoms, and a light body. You can find Gallo wines widely available in your grocery store (or use their store locator here).

Bring sparkling waters, fruit-infused water, or homemade lemonade for younger people.

So simple, so perfect. Your Sunday picnic just got a whole lot better.

French Ham and Butter Sandwich (Jambon Buerre)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Simple ham and butter sandwich is a French classic. Throw caution to the wind and add a small slice of cheese if you dare.


  • 1 skinny French bread baguette
  • Room temperature unsalted butter (or use a garlic and herb compound butter)
  • Thinly sliced ham (jambon)
  • Thinly sliced cheese (optional)


  1. Slice the baguette in half vertically, and then in quarters, so you will have 4 long sandwiches. Spread each side with a thin layer of butter. Lay ham slices over the butter. Lay a single slice of cheese over the ham (if you are using cheese), and close up the sandwich.
  2. Make ahead: If you make it ahead of time, you may wrap it tightly in Saran wrap to keep it from drying out, and keep the sandwich in the refrigerator. I find these are even better if made a day ahead.
  3. Serves 4.


Note: Amounts of butter, ham and cheese are up to each sandwich-maker. Keep in mind this is a delicate sandwich, not an over-stuffed American-style 'wich.

Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold, Shockingly Delicious

Today’s Sunday Supper recipes

Sunday Supper badgeMeanwhile, check out our collection of 20 recipes we have lined up for you today from the talented Sunday Supper cooks. Try my French Ham and Butter Sandwich, or choose another recipe from the menu below to offer at your own picnic.

Picnic Appetizers:

Picnic Main Dishes:

Picnic Salads and Sides:

Picnic Sweets and Desserts:

GFV 2015 LogoDisclosure: Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards. Gallo would love it if you connected with them on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube. I enjoy chatting with them on their social media about wine pairings with my recipes; they’re good with an answer if you are waffling on what wine variety goes with what you are serving.

French Ham and Butter Sandwich perfect for a picnic on

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

sippitysup July 15, 2015 at 5:49 pm

I too have had this sandwich in Paris. Seemingly so simple yet utterly delicious. The secret is the bread. Unfortunately you just can’t get good baguette in Los Angles. I’ve been try for 20 years and nothing is anywhere even close. Maison du Pain on Pico at least tries to do it right, but still I just give it a B+. Guess I need a glamorous trip to Paris because you’ve got me hungry. GREG


Dorothy Reinhold July 16, 2015 at 8:13 am

All right, you threw it down, and now I have to go find Maison du Pain on Pico!


Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons July 14, 2015 at 9:05 pm

It just goes to show you that simple really is best! Give me a sandwich and a glass of wine any day, and you’ll hear no complaints outta me 😉


Dorothy Reinhold July 15, 2015 at 9:25 am

Agree 100%.


Sharon | Cheesy Pennies July 14, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Ooh la la! My favorite sandwich on earth. Love love love.


Dorothy Reinhold July 15, 2015 at 9:27 am

Love love love back to YOU!


Soni July 14, 2015 at 9:55 am

I love the fact that it only uses butter and ham so you can taste the bread and the flavors in the ham and sweet butter! Delicious!


Dorothy Reinhold July 15, 2015 at 9:28 am

Exactly right. You can taste every ingredient, which is the beauty of this simple sandwich. Hope you make it!


Laura @MotherWouldKnow July 13, 2015 at 11:36 am

I’ve always adored the French version of baguette, butter and ham. Deli sandwiches piled high with meat are fine, but nothing compares to a fabulous baguette, excellent quality butter and a few slices of not-too-salty ham!


Liz @ The Lemon Bowl July 13, 2015 at 9:50 am

Talk about the most perfect summer meal!!


Don July 13, 2015 at 2:56 am

BTW…a thin slice of brie is killer with this ham and baguette!


Dorothy Reinhold July 13, 2015 at 5:49 am

Oh yeah Don, now we’re talkin’ !


Laura @MotherWouldKnow July 13, 2015 at 11:38 am

With or without the brie, this sandwich is the best!


Don July 13, 2015 at 2:52 am

The bread is the key…buy good bread! It wasn’t France, but I drove from Vienna to Munich (no Autobahn…just back roads) and we stopped at a market along the way. We couldn’t even speak or read the signs but got incredible thin sliced ham and cheese (and there may have been a bottle of wine involved?!!) and some BEAUTIFUL bread…what a “trip!” Sometimes simple is best! Thanks for dredging up that memory Dorothy!


Dorothy Reinhold July 13, 2015 at 5:49 am

This sandwich is rekindling lots of memories of great trips for people! Happy to oblige.


Alice July 12, 2015 at 8:10 pm

Perfect with a little bottle of wine for pretty much anytime! Picnic or not 🙂


Dorothy Reinhold July 13, 2015 at 5:50 am

Totally agreed. Don’t need a picnic for this baby.


Mary Ellen July 12, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Mmmmm… perfect sandwich with a glass of wine!


Ro July 12, 2015 at 4:48 pm

My husband and I enjoyed many a picnic with these sandwiches
as well as fruit and a delicious bottle of wine while traveling thru
France. The only way to go…


Dorothy Reinhold July 12, 2015 at 7:57 pm

Now you made me jealous!


Cindys Recipes and Writings July 12, 2015 at 1:41 pm

A ham sandwich is welcome anytime!


Liz July 12, 2015 at 10:22 am

We ate these all across France. They were a godsend for teenage boys with voracious appetites. LOVE the idea of making them at home—especially with compound butter (I have a stick of that same KG version in my freezer).


Dorothy Reinhold July 12, 2015 at 11:27 am

This has become our go-to sandwich.


Bobbi from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen July 12, 2015 at 10:03 am

This sounds like the perfect sandwich to take along with some wine for a nice picnic in the park!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers July 12, 2015 at 8:41 am

I love your sandwich! It reminds me of the time I went to Paris and my friend and I went to a restaurant, and they refused to serve us. They told us that they were out of food. There were people eating everywhere and the place was packed. So my friend and I went to a deli and they had french sandwiches. The lady behind the counter was so nice and I have to admit one of the best darn sandwiches I have ever had. I love your recipe!


Dorothy Reinhold July 12, 2015 at 8:54 am

That’s a great anecdote! I wonder why they refused you. How obnoxious.


Marion@LifeTastesGood July 12, 2015 at 7:53 am

I love the simplicity of this and that crusty bread makes it even better. My mom would make us ham & butter sandwiches on wonderbread haha Great memories!


Dorothy Reinhold July 12, 2015 at 8:50 am

Fab childhood memory! I do remember Wonder Bread. My son begs me to buy it.


Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips July 12, 2015 at 7:35 am

This reminds me of my all too brief weekend in Paris. We literally munched on baguette as we walked through the streets.


Dorothy Reinhold July 12, 2015 at 8:51 am

Now THAT’S a great food memory!


CosmoCornbread July 12, 2015 at 5:45 am

Apparently I eat French sandwiches all the time…who knew!? 🙂


Dorothy Reinhold July 12, 2015 at 8:51 am

I had never had a sandwich with butter as the spread, so it was enlightening to me!


Nichole July 12, 2015 at 4:17 am

This looks so good, Dorothy! As I get older, I’m understanding that the more simple a dish, the better it is. We have friends that dive for lobster every year in the Florida Keys, and they bring us back fresh lobster and seafood, so I know what you mean about having friends that lead exciting lives 🙂


Dorothy Reinhold July 12, 2015 at 8:52 am

Why does it take us so long to appreciate the simplest things? 🙂


Renee July 12, 2015 at 2:57 am

A sandwich I could eat any day and any time, picnic or otherwise.


Dorothy Reinhold July 12, 2015 at 8:53 am

Agreed, Renee! My kids asked for this for dinner the other night.


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