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Student Recipes

5 cheap but tasty sandwich filling ideas

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Bored of eating the same sandwiches over and over again? Take a look at our list of cheap and tasty sandwich filling ideas for some inspiration.

sliced bread and sandwiches

Credit: Drozhzhina Elena (sandwiches), Sergey Peterman (bread) – Shutterstock

Lunchtime can be the bane of student life – and we know that homemade sandwiches can seem a tad on the boring side when Subway is calling.

But if that's how you're feeling, you're making the wrong type of sandwiches. There's so much choice out there that no two sandwiches need to taste the same. Plus, making sandwiches yourself instead of buying a meal deal every day will save you so much money in the long run.

Follow the recipes in our guide and you can sort out six days' worth of sandwiches for under £6 (and much less in some cases!).

We decided to pair it with some veg, but our cheap pulled pork recipe can easily be adapted to produce the sandwich filler of your dreams.

Easy and cheap sandwich recipes

The best way to keep your daily lunch interesting is to mix up your sandwich fillings. But when you have to buy things in bulk, it's often not feasible to have a completely different sandwich every day.

We'd suggest choosing a filling at the start of the week, getting the supplies in and then shaking things up each week depending on your mood. You'll be shocked by how much you can save.

  1. Chicken and bacon salad sandwich

    chicken and bacon sandwich filling


    Serves: 3 | Costs: about £5

    • A handful of lettuce
    • 3 rashers of smoked bacon
    • 3 chicken breasts
    • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 6 bread buns.


    Grill or fry the 3 rashers of bacon, leave to cool down and then chop into small pieces.

    Then, mix the bacon in a bowl with the chicken (chop this up into similar-sized pieces) and some mayo. You can buy ready-cooked chicken sandwich pieces, but it's often cheaper (and tastier) to buy an uncooked chicken breast, chop it into pieces and fry it yourself.

    Add this to your rolls with some crispy lettuce – this filler should be enough to last you all week.

  2. Turkish pitta bread (V)

    hummus pitta bread


    Serves: 3 | Costs: about £1.50

    • 2 carrots
    • 3 tablespoons of hummus
    • A handful of rocket
    • 6 pitta breads.


    Start by grating the carrot. Then spread a liberal amount of hummus (you can never have too much hummus) onto the pitta breads, and top it with some of the carrot and rocket.

    If you have any leftover carrot, keep it in a bowl in the fridge until you're ready to use it. As long as you cover the bowl, it should last all week to use when you need it.

  3. Mediterranean tuna sandwich

    tuna sandwich filling


    Serves: 3 | Costs: about £2

    • 1 tin of tuna
    • 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
    • ¼ teaspoon of paprika
    • 300g gherkins
    • A handful of lettuce
    • 6 bread buns.


    Mix the tinned tuna in a bowl with a little mayo and ¼ teaspoon paprika. Next, chop your gherkins into small pieces and mix this in with the tuna.

    Add this to the bun along with some lettuce. You won't believe how good a combo this is, honestly.

  4. Spicy chicken sandwich

    chicken sandwich filling


    Serves: 3 | Costs: about £5

    • 540g breaded chicken goujons
    • A handful of lettuce
    • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche
    • ¼ teaspoon of paprika
    • ¼ teaspoon of chilli (optional)
    • 6 bread buns.


    Cook the chicken goujons together at the start of the week. They will keep for five days in a Tupperware box in the fridge, but you can cook them individually the night before if you prefer.

    Layer the bun with a bit of crème fraîche, a pinch of paprika and chilli, and top with the cooked chicken and lettuce.

  5. Peanut butter and jelly (V)

    peanut butter jelly sandwich filling

    Credit: VelP – Shutterstock


    Serves: 3 | Costs: about £1

    • 100g peanut butter
    • 100g jam
    • 12 pieces of sliced bread.

    Note: If you can't find a jam that's cheap enough, or just don't like it, try making peanut butter and banana sandwiches instead. Trust us, it's a beautiful combo.

    About peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

    All these years you've been hearing people talk about 'peanut butter and jelly' sandwiches in American movies and thinking they've lost their minds. Turns out 'jelly' is actually jam, and this is the best combination ever.

    And like we said earlier, peanut butter and bananas also work really well together if you're not a fan of the jam.

    This is an ideal study snack as it's easy to throw together, and the peanut butter will give you an energy boost – as will the bananas!

Essential sandwich-making tips

  1. Try mixing things up by using wraps, pitta breads, flatbreads and different kinds of buns.
  2. If you know you struggle to get up in time to make lunch in the morning, it's a good idea to make your sandwich the night before.
  3. Tesco also do packs of 12 buns for around £1 which are suitable for freezing, but you'll need to take each bun out the night before to let it thaw overnight.
  4. Think outside the box! If you have food leftover from dinner, see if you can incorporate it into a sandwich the next day.
  5. Invest in a sturdy Tupperware or lunch box. There's nothing worse than a squashed sandwich that's been lingering at the bottom of your bag all day.

Ready to take your cooking to the next level? Check out our selection of the best kitchen gadgets for students.

* Prices were correct at the time of writing (using prices as guidelines).

Laura Craddock

WRITTEN BY Laura Craddock

Alongside blogging about baking, Laura Craddock shares top tips and recipes for Save the Student to help our readers spend less on food. Laura studied English at the University of Dundee.
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