Juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil leaves drizzled with olive oil and balsamic glaze make this classic caprese sandwich THE BEST Italian deli favorite you can make at home.
Even though I consider myself to be a master sandwich maker, I’ll be the first to say that when given the choice of choosing between a salad or a sandwich, salads win out 90% of the time. That is, until that sandwich is made with my very most favorite salad ingredients—fresh mozzarella, sweet tomatoes, slivered basil leaves, and spunky arugula drizzled with a sweetened balsamic glaze and the best fruity olive oil—stuffed between two pieces of freshly baked bread to make the best caprese sandwich I will gladly eat over and over and over again.
Caprese sandwiches turn me into a bone fide sandwich lover.
Hailing from the Mediterranean’s southern Italian island of Capri, caprese means “from the island of Capri”, where the sweetest tomatoes and leafiest basil plants are grown on the edge of the Amalfi coast. True to its DNA, the best caprese sandwich embodies simplicity in its healthy ingredient list and how it is layered together, making it an awesome summer or no-cook supper.
Ingredients for the BEST Caprese Sandwich
This caprese sandwich is only as good as the ingredients you use. Choose the freshest mozzarella cheese, perfectly ripe tomatoes and a bread that’s tender on the inside with just the right crisp crust on the outside.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A great, bakery fresh bread such as sourdough, ciabatta, or focaccia
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Juicy tomatoes, thickly cut
- Spicy arugula (optional, but I love the pepper bite it provides)
- Fresh and fragrant basil
- Syrupy balsamic vinegar glaze, or a good quality balsamic vinegar
- Fruity olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
More Caprese Sandwich Ingredients to Try
This can be a super simple sandwich and be delicious all on its own, but if you’re jonesing for a little somethin’ extra, try adding these ingredients to your sandy:
- Slather the bread with homemade basil pesto
- Add a swath of kalamata olive spread for briny bites
- Pepperoncini give this sandwich a puckery punch
- Or, instead of balsamic glaze, use regular balsamic vinegar instead
How to Make a Caprese Sandwich
How you stack your fillings is key to taking a good sandwich to great, so the fillings don’t slide off one another, but instead, almost melt into each other.
First, moisten the bread with olive oil. Since good quality, bakery fresh bread has a denser crumb than your average grocery store variety, it’s important to add some moisture to the bread to soften and meld into the other ingredients. Drizzle the cut side of the top and bottom pieces of your sandwich with a few teaspoons of olive oil before you start stacking.
Note: If using an optional spread like pesto or olive spread, slather it directly on the bread before or after drizzling with oil.
Lay the arugula base. While arugula isn’t always added to caprese sandwiches, I love it when it is. Pile the leaves directly on the bed to create a cushion that flattens as the other ingredients are added.
Layer the tomatoes, then mozzarella. Because they’re bulkier when sliced and tend to slide, place the tomatoes down first. Because it is more malleable, the mozzarella will squish into place where it needs to be.
Add the final touches. Drizzle with sweet and syrupy balsamic glaze (or regular balsamic vinegar), top with fresh basil leaves, and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. The balsamic glaze will seep into the top part of the bread or bun, flavoring and cementing the sandwich together.
How to Make Balsamic Glaze
These days you can find good balsamic glaze right in your grocery store aisles. But, if you want to make at home, it’s easy to do.
Bring ½ cup of balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced by half and the vinegar glazes and sticks to the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes.
What to Serve With Caprese Sandwiches
- Pesto Pasta Salad With Peppers And Peas
- How To Make Classic Macaroni Salad
- Kale Caesar Pasta Salad
- The Best Clam Dip Recipe EVER
- Easy Cucumber Salad With Dill
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a star rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
How to Make The BEST Caprese Sandwich
- 2 slices sourdough or other sturdy bread such as ciabatta or foccacia
- 2 teaspoons fruity olive oil
- ½ cup arugula leaves
- 2-3 thick slices of tomato
- 2 thick cut slices of fresh mozzarella
- 5-10 freshly torn basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Drizzle the olive oil on the slices of bread. Layer the arugula, then tomato slices, then mozzarella slices. Top with torn basil leaves and season with kosher salt and pepper. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and more olive oil if desired. Eat and enjoy.
More Caprese Recipes to Try
- Strawberry Caprese Pasta Salad
- The Best Caprese Salad (Plus A DIY Caprese Salad Bar)
- Chicken Caprese Sandwich
- 30-Minute Caprese Chicken Recipe
- Avocado Caprese Wrap
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