16 Ingredients That Will Take Your BLT To New Heights

You may feel it's inappropriate to add extra ingredients to a BLT sandwich since the name itself represents its three main components: bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Plus, while you can eat this sandwich toasted or untoasted, and with or without mayonnaise, sometimes that's not enough variation, and you want to give the simple food a makeover. Fear not. There are many ways to do so. These additions enhance the best features of the sandwich, so the original elements still run the show.

You can use supplementary ingredients to intensify the savoriness of your BLT's tomatoes or enrich the sweetness of your BLT's bacon. You can also experiment with different sauces and spreads you might not initially think to put on a BLT. These will help prevent the sandwich from being dry while providing some textural variety. Pay attention, because all of these ingredients will take the classic sandwich to new heights.

1. Scallions

Scallions are one of the best additions for tastier mayonnaise, especially when making a BLT. Specifically, we recommend that you use grilled scallions. This BLT condiment is perfect if you just want something to make your sandwich more exciting. Raw scallions taste more sweet than sharp. However, when you take the time to grill them, they're smokier and softer.

Start by grilling your scallions on an indoor or outdoor grill. Once they're cool, thinly chop them and gently fold them into the mayonnaise. Slather your mayonnaise spread onto the bread, assemble the sandwich, and enjoy. When you mix them like this, the mayonnaise holds the scallions in place so they don't fall out while you're eating. If you just place them on the lettuce, they might drop out. But the choice is yours. If you don't like mayonnaise, you may want to place the scallions directly inside your sandwich.

2. Italian dressing

This is the ingredient swap you should try for the most flavorful BLT. The classic version of Italian dressing includes vinegar, oil, lemon juice, minced bell peppers, and seasonings. It's bold, zesty, and works with each of the sandwich components. You can lightly drizzle the bread with the dressing and then pan-fry it to infuse the bread with this flavor, while also making the bread crisp. With the addition of Italian dressing, you can also skip the mayonnaise.

If you want an alternative that more closely aligns with mayonnaise, try a creamy Italian dressing instead. This dressing contains mayonnaise and sometimes sour cream, too. The creamy condiment is still thinner than mayonnaise, so it's good to wait until the last minute before you put it on the sandwich. Whichever kind you use, it adds herbal and citrusy undertones that bring out the best qualities in the fresh, juicy tomatoes. Italian dressing can also make your lettuce more exciting.

3. Garlic aioli

Since mayonnaise is a common ingredient in BLTs, it only makes sense to take it up a notch and use garlic aioli instead. Garlic perfectly aligns with many BLT components. Some people simply mix garlic or other ingredients into mayonnaise and count that as aioli, but that's not necessarily the real deal. Real garlic aioli is an emulsion. You typically make it with raw garlic, lemon juice, oil, seasonings, and egg yolks.

This ingredient works well on a BLT because it's creamy and savory. Additionally, since it's a condiment, it prevents the sandwich from feeling too dry. You can lightly toast the bread when you use aioli, as well. This will help preserve the texture of the bread once it's combined with moist mayonnaise. If you're using untoasted bread, spread it lightly. Then, drizzle some of it between the lettuce and tomatoes. This might make it messier, but it will keep your bread from becoming soggy.

4. Fried eggs

If you add a fried egg to your classic BLT, this could make the sandwich more appropriate for breakfast or brunch. The crispy, meaty bacon combines great with a savory fried egg. Of course, you can fry the egg for longer so the yolk is more set. However, we think a liquid yolk provides richness, creaminess, and texture contrast.

Adding eggs will increase the amount of protein in your sandwich. According to Healthline, one fried egg contains approximately six grams of protein. 

Unlike other BLT additions, you can use a fried egg on toasted or untoasted bread. Your sandwich should remain intact regardless of which bread you choose. Sprinkle a bit of salt, pepper (or even red pepper flakes) onto the egg before you stack it on the sandwich, and you're good to go. If you're craving a BLT first thing in the morning, this is the way to do it. 

5. Green tomatoes

If you want to switch things up, you can add cooked green tomatoes instead of the traditional red ones. If you've never tried green tomatoes, you might wonder if they're the same thing as tomatillos. They're not. The two don't come from the same plant, and tomatillos come encased in husks. Green tomatoes are simply unripe tomatoes. They will eventually transform into the familiar red fruit if you give them a chance. They have a tart taste if you eat them raw.

If you cook green tomatoes before you add them to the sandwich, they'll be more enjoyable. Since they have less water than typical tomatoes, they don't become as soggy. You can even use a grill to cook them. Alternatively, you can oven-bake your green tomatoes after you sprinkle some herbs and seasonings on some slices. If you have the time, you can create a crunchy coating for them and use classic fried green tomatoes instead.

6. Pimento cheese

Although some people only use pimento cheese as a dip, you can use it on your sandwich to upgrade its taste and texture. Pimento cheese often has cheddar cheese, diced pimentos, mayonnaise, and seasonings. It is a heavenly balance of creamy, cheesy, and spicy flavors, so when you add it to a BLT, it will contribute an impressive amount of flavor. Some versions of pimento cheese include cream cheese, and others don't. If you're making it from scratch, you will be able to control this element.

When it comes to consistency, it is rather thick. However, that doesn't mean you can't smother it on some bread. Moreover, since the pimento cheese is best when cold, the contrasting temperatures are enjoyable if your bacon is piping hot. You can make the pimento cheese from scratch to customize it, or make it easy on yourself and purchase some from the grocery store.

7. Sprouts

Add raw sprouts to your classic BLT to give it a light and eye-catching garnish. There are numerous types of sprouts out there, but the best ones for a BLT are alfalfa or radish sprouts. This is because of the flavor profiles of these varieties. Alfalfa sprouts have a sweet and bitter taste. They're usually yellow or green and look stringy. But they have a crisp texture, as do radish sprouts. This is how they supply a unique texture to the dish. Meanwhile, radish sprouts are usually green but sometimes have purple or red hues. They taste exactly like a radish, so they're mildly spicy. 

Both sprouts contain many necessary nutrients. Radish sprouts are considered a superfood, since they're rich in manganese, magnesium, copper, and more, according to Sprouty. Alfalfa sprouts have impressive amounts of vitamin, vitamin K, folate, riboflavin, and more, as reported by Healthline. No matter which kind of sprout you choose, practice food safety since they are eaten raw. Keep them refrigerated and wash your hands before you work with them.

8. Pesto

Pesto has made a name for itself in the world of sandwich condiments, but putting it on a BLT is a whole new level of cleverness. This is mostly because of pesto's great ability to combine with tomatoes. Just think of Caprese salad or Margherita pizza. If you use basil pesto, it may even taste slightly sweet, which will go great with the bacon. But you can really use any pesto you have. Spinach or kale pesto may be just as applicable.

Keep in mind that ingredients like kale taste much different than basil. For one thing, it has peppery and earthy undertones — especially when eaten as pesto. Meanwhile, spinach adds herbaceous notes. For best results, pair the pesto with nutty bread. One example of this is multigrain bread. Then, wait until the last minute to spread it on before you serve it. This addition is sure to make your BLT taste even fresher.

9. Blue cheese

When you build your glorious BLT, a little cheese never hurts. You can always go the safe route and use mild cheese, but it won't have the same effect as sharp blue cheese. After all, people often make wedge salads — famous for being topped with blue cheese — with lettuce, bacon, and sometimes even tomatoes. These are the same ingredients in a BLT. 

Although blue cheese often has a pungent taste, that doesn't stop it from being melt-in-your-mouth creamy. It's best to sprinkle the crumbles on so you don't accidentally use too much and overwhelm your palate. It's great on a toasted BLT with hot bacon because the cheese melts slightly and adheres to the components better. On a cold BLT, you might lose some crumbles to the plate, which you can snack on after you finish the sandwich. In regards to bread, try sourdough or ciabatta. These breads will help match the cheese's tanginess.

10. Fig jam

Fig jam on a savory sandwich? It may sound surprising to you, but this ingredient adds a unique, somewhat gritty texture to the food. Its sweet flavor and tiny, crunchy seeds deserve a spot on your next BLT. Of course, you can buy fig jam from the store, but it's just as tasty when you make it yourself. Not only is this one of many clever ways to use up all your figs but making it yourself also gives you control over its flavor.

Throw in some citrus zest, honey, or thyme to give it more depth. Another option is to put a dash of chili sauce in the jam to give the sandwich some sweet heat. Whichever kind of fig jam you go with, it's a good idea to toast the bread first, as toasted bread will go better with the flavor of jam. We also recommend using applewood smoked bacon with this ingredient. Both fig jam and applewood smoked bacon have smoky and sweet flavors.

11. Flavored cream cheese

With its velvety consistency and acidic undertones, cream cheese is a top-tier ingredient to put on a traditional BLT. But flavored cream cheese will make your sandwich exceptionally tasty. At the grocery store, numerous cream cheeses are flavored. They will contain ingredients like jalapeños, bell peppers, onions, or herbs. These can easily be purchased. Additionally, if you already have plain cream cheese in your refrigerator, you can flavor it in the comfort of your home. The taste is arguably more prominent this way.

Jalapeño or fresh herb cream cheese are great options. Whip your cream cheese with a handheld or countertop mixer to make it extra fluffy. This will help it spread much easier. Next, add your flavoring components. Finally, generously smother it on the bread slices. You're then met with crisp lettuce, crunchy bacon, soft tomato, and silky cream cheese when you bite into your BLT. See how delectable that sounds?

12. Fried avocado

People often add sliced or mashed avocado to their BLT. While these approaches don't disappoint, fried avocados are a step up because they have a crispy exterior, thanks to the seasoned breadcrumbs that cover them. Most often, if you fry them, you go through the process of dipping them in flour, eggs, and then the breadcrumb mixture. However, there are different ways to coat them. For instance, if you don't want to use eggs, you can use heavy cream.

Once you deep-fry or pan-fry the avocados, allow them to rest for a couple of minutes on a paper towel. This makes them less greasy. Next, load them onto the sandwich. The best part about this topping is that it works just the same on a cold or hot BLT. Additionally, its crumbly and fried texture is different from any of the classic ingredients. If you love avocado, you should try this. 

13. Barbecue sauce and coleslaw

Craft a barbecue-style BLT with the help of refreshing coleslaw and a tangy barbecue sauce. Coleslaw is one of those foods that people are divided on. Some believe it's better when it's mostly sweet, and others believe it needs to be mostly sour. Then, there are the folks who prefer it to be a balance of both. Either way, you don't need to worry because both slaw variations work wonderfully on a BLT. This is because the creamy dressing on the slaw soothes the palate after you come across the smoky bacon and the spiced barbecue sauce.

When you assemble the sandwich, you can use the lettuce as a shield for the bread. Place the slaw on the inner part of your sandwich, near the bacon. For sandwiches that use this ingredient, we recommend using hefty bread like sandwich rolls or thick-cut Texas toast. This is because the sandwich is heavier than the average BLT. We also recommend using coleslaw that is not too moist. Also, put the barbecue sauce on at the last moment.

14. Cucumbers

People often enjoy lettuce on their BLT because the vegetable is nice and crisp. This is also why cucumber also works well. There's a reason why the phrase "cool as a cucumber" is a thing; it's incredibly refreshing. Moreover, it has a mild taste that doesn't overpower the other ingredients of the sandwich. Yet, it still adds a subtly vegetal taste, even though it's technically a fruit.

To use this addition on your BLT, first, rinse your cucumber. Then, slice it thinly, so that your cucumber creates slices that will easily stack on the sandwich and don't make it difficult to bite into. You can also toss small-diced cucumber pieces in salad dressing for a make-shift cucumber salad that adds more flavor than plain slices. Either way, this addition tastes best on a cold BLT. This allows the added freshness of your bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber sandwich to shine. 

15. Maple glaze

You can include maple in your BLT in a couple of ways, and both are equally scrumptious. First, you can plan ahead and make maple-glazed bacon for the sandwich — which is one of the best ways to upgrade bacon. The sugary taste of the maple complements the meat quite well. Not to mention, it also caramelizes the bacon in the oven. All you need to do is cook the bacon until it's nearly done. Next, brush maple syrup on it and return it to the heat. 

Alternatively, you can make a maple glaze by reducing maple syrup with ingredients like brown sugar, salt, and butter in a saucepan until it thickens. Then, assemble the sandwich as usual. Drizzle the glaze over the bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes. Try hickory smoked bacon, for this approach since its salty notes counterbalance the sweet maple flavor of the glaze. If you don't have this variety, many types of bacon will combine well.

16. Pickled onions

If you enjoy the tangy taste of pickled red onions, you'll be delighted to discover that they taste even better on a BLT. Aside from their unique taste, they also make the sandwich's appearance more striking, with their vivid color. However, the only downside to this is that you must have pickled onions ready before you add them to your BLT. Unfortunately, when you make pickled onions, it isn't as quick as dunking them in a mixture for a few moments. They need plenty of time to soak in the brine.

To be specific, it's a good idea to marinate them overnight in a mixture of vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and other seasonings. Luckily, if you're in the mood for them and BLTs are on your menu today, you can sometimes find them in a jar at the grocery store. Use as many as you want on your sandwich; just remember, less is more with this ingredient. Remember to let any excess liquid drip from them before you pile them onto the BLT. Otherwise, you have soggy lettuce.