What’s the Difference Between a Sandwich and a Burger?

Sandwich and burger are two words we use all the time, but we don’t necessarily know where is the line between them. In this article, we’ll see what’s the real difference between a sandwich and a burger.

As a general rule, a burger contains cooked meat inside a soft bun while a sandwich can be made with almost anything, generally between two slices of bread. Sandwiches are faster to prepare and can be eaten cold.

That’s it for the short answer, keep reading to know all the details about these two types of food 🙂

A Sandwich


Two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.

Merriam Webster


The humble sandwich has a long and fascinating history. It was invented by John Montagu, who was the 4th Earl of Sandwich. After developing a gambling problem, he wanted to spend hours playing at the table. So, he tasked his cook with bringing him something that would allow him to keep playing, without making a mess. With that, the sandwich was born.

It soon became synonymous with the Earl, hence the name. It quickly spread throughout England, with many people enjoying the meal. It’s believed that it had become commonplace by the end of the Revolutionary War.

Most Common Types of Sandwiches

Today, the sandwich has spread around the world. It’s known because of how easy it is to prepare. In just a few minutes, you’ll be able to have a delicious meal. Though you can use any type of filling, some have become more popular than others.

One of the most popular types of meals is a club sandwich. This has a slice of chicken, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and mayonnaise. Because of its size, it’s common for it to be held together with cocktail sticks. Interestingly, its name means chicken and lettuce under bacon.

If you’re looking for a simple sandwich that you can make in a few minutes, you might want to consider a peanut butter and jelly mixture. This is usually shortened to P&J. As the name suggests, you’ll need to put peanut butter on one piece of bread and jam on the other. Then, join them together.

Though I prefer the egg lettuce sandwich. To make this, mash up some hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise. Spread this out onto the bread. Then, add some lettuce. You’ll have a delicious meal.

A Burger


A dish consisting of a flat round cake of minced beef, or sometimes another savory ingredient, that is fried or grilled and served in a split bun or roll with various condiments and toppings.

Oxford Languages

History of Burgers

Like sandwiches, burgers also have an interesting history. The first documented hamburger appeared in 1885. They were a creation of the aptly named “Hamburger Charlie”. He squeezed a meatball between two slices of bread.

In 1891, this concept was taken one step further. Beef patties were put into a sourdough bun. This was designed to celebrate the fourth of July.

From there, burgers became more popular. This was helped by restaurants, like McDonald’s, that vaulted them into mainstream culture. Today, the burger is one of the most popular choices lunch choices, enjoyed by people around the world.

Contain Meat

One of the most important elements of a burger is the filling. Most commonly, they will contain a meat filling. Often, this will be a fried patty. It’s customary for vegans and vegetarians to use a patty made from vegetables.

In addition to the meat, the patty will often be surrounded by vegetables, like lettuce. It’s also common for there to be some kind of sauce. Often, ketchup, mustard, or barbecue sauce. To finish, it’s frequent to add a piece of cheese. This will go on the patty, so it melts over the meat.

Sometimes, there will be other things added to burgers. For example, it’s common to combine a beef patty with bacon. Eggs are another popular option to add to burgers. Or you can think outside the box and try adding chips.

There are dozens of burger recipes and varieties for you to make at home. Though, most burgers will be purchased through a fast-food outlet. It’s estimated that McDonald’s alone sells over 6 million burgers per day.

Differences Between Sandwiches and Burgers


The biggest difference between sandwiches and burgers is the ingredients that are used. Burgers will use cooked meat or a vegetable patty. Because of this, a burger will need to be served hot.

On the other hand, sandwiches will be made from a range of filings. You can use cold meats, spreads, or salad. This gives you more flexibility than a burger. You will be able to enjoy a sandwich when it is cold. Though, some prefer to toast the bread.

Type of Bread

Both sandwiches and burgers will be made from bread. The difference is in the type of bread that is used. When making a sandwich, you will need to use sliced bread.

When making a burger, it’s common to use a soft bun. This is thicker than sliced bread.

However, chefs are constantly experimenting with this. For example, they have made burgers with bagels or by cutting a glazed donut in half. They have even cooked vegetables like eggplant in place of the bun. Sometimes, there is just the patty, toppings, and the bottom of the bun.

This affords the chef who is making the burger a lot of options. However, when you are making a sandwich, you will need to use slices of bread.

When to Eat Them

Depending on the ingredients, a sandwich will be able to last a lot longer than a burger. Often, a burger will taste best if you eat when it is still hot.

On the other hand, a sandwich can be eaten cold. As long as it’s stored properly, it will still taste good several hours after it’s prepared. This makes it a popular choice for school lunches.  


This one is less precise. Though it’s still a good gauge. Often, a burger will have a rounded shape. This will fit the round patty and round bun.

On the other hand, a sandwich will have a square shape, because of the cut bread used to make them. Sometimes, you will see a sandwich that has been cut in half. If they are cut diagonally, they might resemble a triangle.

How Easy They Are To Prepare

Lastly, let’s look at how long it will take you to prepare your meal. If you are making a sandwich there is no requirement to use hot ingredients. All you need to do is butter the bread and add the toppings. This can be done in a few minutes.

On the other hand, when you are making a burger, it will take longer. First, you’ll need to cook the meat. Then, you’ll need to assemble the bun. Usually, you will need to dedicate five to ten minutes to cook a burger.


One of the most common complaints against burgers is that they aren’t healthy. This is often true of fast-food venues.

However, I don’t think that this is a fair argument against burgers in general. If you are making them at home, you’ll be able to control what items you are using. This will allow you to make a healthy burger.

Sandwiches can be equally healthy, depending on the toppings that you are using. They can be a great choice for combining with salad, to boost your intake of vegetables.

Comparison Table

FilingWill usually contain a cooked meat patty.It can be made from almost anything. The ingredients don’t need to be cooked.
Type of BreadBunSliced bread
When to EatBecause they contain cooked ingredients, you’ll need to eat them hot.They can last for several hours. They can be eaten cold.
How Easy They Are to PrepareYou’ll need to cook the meat. This will take between five to ten minutes.You’ll be able to make a sandwich in a few minutes.

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