Don’t you just love a well-prepared sarnie?
I know I do!
Sandwiches are so important to the world’s gastronomy that many countries, cities and even villages have their own unique (and always delicious) variations.
Let’s not forget that they’re also inexpensive and super convenient, so knowing how to order one wherever you go is pretty much obligatory!
Hopefully this list of 10 ways to say ‘sandwich’ in Spanish will help you achieve just that!
Quick disclaimer: I’m not responsible for any side effects caused by this article, such as excessive salivation and a strong urge to go make a sandwich
Notice that little accent on top of the ‘a’?
Well, that’s the only (aesthetic) difference between a ‘sandwich’ in English and a ‘sándwich’ in Spanish!
So, if you’re a bit shaky on your Spanish feet, just ask for a ‘sándwich’ and you probably won’t go too far wrong!
And how’s it pronounced?
Well, the accent is there precisely to remind Spanish speakers to stress the first syllable, just as we do in English … so it ends up sounding kinda similar.
Apart from that, just watch the final ‘i’ sound, in Spanish it sounds more like ‘ee’ than ‘i’.
En la escuela
Santiago – ¿Qué trajiste de lunch?
Isabel – Un sándwich de atún, ¿y tú?
Santiago – What did you bring for lunch?
Isabel – A tuna sandwich, you?
Sánduche / Sánguche
These are the perfect examples of Spanish words “appropriated” from English that maintain similar spelling and phonetics to the original.
‘Sánduche’ and ‘sánguche’ are used mainly in Argentina, Colombia, and other Latin-American countries. Since Mexico is closer to the United States, English words, such as ‘sándwich’, are mostly preferred.
Quisiera* aprender a preparar un sánduche de tocineta y lechuga. ¿Me podrías enseñar?
I’d like to learn how to make a bacon and lettuce sandwich. Could you teach me?
Erika’s note – ‘quisiera’ can translate to ‘I’d like’, BUT it’s used slightly differently to ‘me gustaría’. Check out the article we wrote on the two to find out more!
An ‘emparedado’ can be either a ‘prisoner’ or a ‘sandwich’. That’s because a prisoner is locked within four walls (or ‘paredes’ in Spanish), and a sandwich’s filling is between two walls of white bread (or maybe the ham’s been held hostage?).
A Catalina le gusta cortar su emparedado en triángulos.
Catalina likes to cut her sandwich into triangles.
In Spain you can call any kind of sandwich a ‘bocadillo’.
But beware, if you ask for a ‘bocadillo’ in Colombia or Venezuela, you’re gonna get a sweet prepared with guava pulp (not the end of the world if you ask me!) and in Mexico you’d get a small portion of food (kind of like a canapé).
En Madrid preparan unos deliciosos bocadillos de calamares, únicos en el mundo.
In Madrid they prepare delicious squid sandwiches, they’re the only ones in the world.
Another way to say ‘bocadillo’ is ‘bocata’,but don’t be hoodwinked by that ‘a’ at the end, this is very much a masculine word (i.e., ‘un bocata’).
Just as with ‘bocadillo’, ‘bocata’ is mostly used in Spain.
Claudio – ¿Vamos por unos bocatas de jamón serrano?
Sara – ¡Venga! Pero que sea con una copa de vino.
Claudio – Shall we go for some ‘serrano’ ham sandwiches?
Sarah – Let’s go! But only if we get a glass of wine too.
This is one of the most common Mexican sandwiches; it’s made with a ‘bolillo’, which is a traditional type of white bread.
HOWEVER, in Spain a ‘torta’ is a ‘pie’, and for the rest of the Spanish-speaking world it’s a ‘cake’, so this is one of those words that can mean something entirely different depending on the country that you’re in.
If you’re visiting Mexico, I do recommend going to a ‘tortería’ (that’s a sandwich place or street stall that serves up ‘tortas’), where you can try an array of fillings such as ham, sausage, egg, beans with cheese, and even ‘chilaquiles’ or ‘tamales’ (yes, as a filling!).
‘Tortas’ are an important part of Mexican gastronomic culture and they’re part of people’s daily diet, so you’ll definitely be in for a treat!
Yair – ¿Qué tienes pensado para el recalentado de Navidad?
Víctor – Voy a hacer unas tortas de bacalao. ¿Gustas acompañarnos?
Yair – What do you have in mind for the day after Christmas?
Victor – I’m going to make some cod sandwiches. Wanna join us?
A ‘mollete’ is a traditional Mexican breakfast food (although it can be eaten at lunch or dinner too).
It’s made of a ‘bolillo’ cut in half and smeared with beans, grilled cheese and ‘pico de gallo’ (literally ‘beak of a rooster’), which is a spicy sauce prepared with tomatoes, onions, and serrano peppers.
There are other variations, but this is pretty much your classic Mexican ‘mollete’!
Liliana – No se me ocurre qué hacer de desayunar…
Rosa – No te compliques; ahorita voy por pan y nos hacemos unos molletitos.
Liliana – I don’t know what to make for breakfast …
Rosa – Don’t worry, I’ll go for bread, and we’ll make some ‘molletitos’.
If you’re visiting Mexico, you’re sure to stumble upon some tasty looking sandwiches made with orange-tinted bread, and you’ll probably wonder why the locals call them ‘pambazos’ instead of ‘tortas’.
Well, it’s because they’re made with a specific type of bread dipped in chili guajillo, a spicy pepper that gives ‘pambazos’ their peculiar orange color. The fillings vary greatly depending on the state that you’re in.
Vicente – ¿Quieres ir a la feria?
Renata – No me gusta subirme a los juegos mecánicos, ¡pero te acompaño por un pambazo!
Vicente – Do you want to go to the town fair?
Renata – I don’t like going on the rides, but I’ll go with you for a ‘pambazo’!
The word ‘chivito’ is the diminutive of ‘chivo’, which means ‘goat’ in English.
But in Uruguay a ‘chivito’ is a traditional type of sandwich. It’s made of ham, bacon, egg, lettuce and grilled mozzarella. They’ve gotten so popular that you´ll now find them in Spain as well.
Jimena – Es mi primera vez en Montevideo, ¿qué me recomiendas para la comida?
Pedro – ¡Tienes que probar un chivito! Te va a encantar.
Jimena – It’s my first time in Montevideo, what should I have for lunch?
Pedro – You have to try a ‘chivito’! You’re gonna love it.
Erika’s note – there are many different ways to say ‘lunch’ in Spanish (depending on which country / region you’re in), but in Mexico it’s called ‘la comida’.
A ‘pepito’ is basically baguette stuffed with steak.
You can find unique variations of a ‘pepito’ depending on the region / country you’re visiting, so be sure to ask for the local version!
¡Conozco un lugar en el centro de la ciudad donde preparan los mejores pepitos de carne a la mexicana!
I know a place downtown where they make the best Mexican beef sandwiches!
Common sandwich fillings in Spanish
Sándwich de queso / Torta de queso / Bocata de queso – cheese sandwich
The Spanish word for ‘cheese’ is ‘queso’, so if you’re after a classic cheese sandwich, you should ask for ‘un sándwich de queso’.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something new, you can ask for a ‘torta de queso’ in Mexico, or a ‘bocata de queso’ in Spain; I can assure you they’ll be very different from what you’re used to as they’ll probably be made with delicious local cheeses, such as mozzarella or queso Oaxaca.
En una tortería en México
Tortero – ¿Su torta de queso con salsa, joven?
Comensal – Sí, por favor, pero que no esté muy picante.
In a ‘tortería’ in Mexico
Tortero (the guy who prepares ‘tortas’) – Do you want some sauce in your cheese sandwich, young man?
Diner – Yes, please, but I don’t want it to be too spicy.
Torta de jamón / Bocadillo de jamón – ham sandwich
If you’re craving a ham sandwich, just ask for a ‘torta’ or ‘un bocadillo de jamón’, the Spanish word for ‘ham’.
¡Vamos a preparer bocadillos de jamón para el picnic!
Let’s make ham sandwiches for the picnic!
Sándwich de pescado / Bocadillo de pescado – fish sandwich
‘Pescado’ means ‘fish’ in English, so you can ask for ‘un sándwich de pescado’ in Latin America, or ‘un bocadillo de pescado’ if you happen to be in Spain.
Diana – Tengo antojo de un sándwich de pescado…
Iker – ¿Lo quieres de atún o de salmón?
Diana – I’m craving a fish sandwich …
Iker – Do you want tuna or salmon?
Torta de pollo / Sánduche de pollo / Bocadillo de pollo – chicken sandwich
Want to get your mitts on the local chicken sandwich? Just ask for a ‘torta’, ‘sánduche’ or ‘bocadillo’ of ‘pollo’, which means ‘chicken’.
Comensal – ¿Me da un sánduche de pollo, por favor?
Mesero – Enseguida. ¿Lo quiere con puré de papas?
Diner – Can I have a chicken sandwich, please?
Waiter – Right away. Would you like it with mashed potatoes?
Here are a few common ‘rellenos’ (‘fillings’), ‘salsas’ (‘sauces’) and types of bread so that you can get real specific when ordering your favorite sandwich –
tocino (Mexico) = bacon
tocineta (Colombia / Venezuela) = bacon
salchicha = sausage
atún = tuna
salmón = salmon
chorizo = chorizo
cochinita pibil (Mexico) = spicy pork meat
ternera (Spain) = veal
rebanadas de queso (Mexico) = cheese slices
queso en lonchas (Spain) = cheese slices
queso y crema = cheese and sour cream
rajas (Mexico) = chili slices
salsa verde (Mexico) = spicy pepper sauce
salsa roja (Mexico) = spicy tomato sauce
pan blanco = white bread
pan integral = wholemeal bread
kétchup (Spain) = ketchup
catsup (Mexico) = ketchup
mostaza = mustard
mayonesa = mayonnaise
Phew! That’s all for today!
Hopefully I’ve solved all your sandwich in Spanish quandaries in one fell swoop!
It’s very likely that you’ll get Spanish speakers excited with your newfound knowledge of the local cuisine, and maybe they’ll go as far as to recommend their own favorite sandwich.
Oh, and if you wanna learn all the different ways to say ‘steak‘ in Spanish (there are LOTS!!), then be sure to head over to our article on the subject.