Have you ever had a bread, butter and sugar sandwich? For me, it was a treat my mom used to make us occasionally. And it is still a nostalgic memory.

Walk with me down memory lane and marvel at the deliciousness that is the sugar sandwich. And yes, I have some variations on the classic for you, just in case!

Aslice of bread completely covered with a layer of granulated sugar, another slice slathered in butter, a spreading knife, and a small blue bowl with sugar in it.

Saving Money as a Kid

I think maybe when we were growing up we didn’t have a lot of money. I say “I think” because I don’t remember really thinking about money very much.

We got a small allowance, and when I was old enough, I babysat.

I remember hoarding my earnings–in fives and singles in those days with maybe the odd ten-dollar bill thrown in–in a small music box/treasure chest I had on my dresser.

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It was a small alpine cottage with log walls. Resin flowers of red and yellow in window boxes. The heavily shingled roof opened, revealing a compartment lined in faux burgundy velvet.

I cannot remember what song that music box played. Lonely Goatherd, maybe?

I found a photo of the exact music box on ebay! Oh my goodness, this takes me back. This one is just like the one I used to have! I forgot about the mill wheel–you cranked that to make it play.

Alpine music box.

I would carefully fold my earnings so they’d fit, and whenever I added to the stash, I’d unfold all the bills, add the new ones, keeping the ones in front followed by the fives and tens, and then fold the whole stack back up.

Jenni Warbucks with her stash of cash in the Alpine music box.

Looking back, I doubt Daddy Warbucks kept his cash in a music box, but as a kid, I felt wealthy. And I guess if you feel it, you are it.

Given that, is it stretching the truth very much to say that as a kid, I had a house full of money?

Growing Up on Homemade Foods

In a way, maybe it was a good thing that our family wasn’t rolling in cash. I didn’t grow up on a bunch of processed foods the way many children of the 60s and 7os did.

No TV dinners, only the very occasional Pop-Tart.

We ate Casserole Supreme and vats of homemade spaghetti sauce, baked macaroni and cheese and pot roast.

Mom did get us the Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Sandwich cookies for our lunches (although I now sometimes make my own copycat oatmeal cream pies).

Otherwise, she made us sour cream coffee cake, peanut butter cookies and oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies and raisin bars for snacks.

Good, wholesome food Mom made us because she could and because they couldn’t afford boxes and bags of manufactured foods.

Bread, Butter, and Sugar Sandwich

A sandwich made on soft white bread cut in half with one half resting on the other and a bowl of granulated sugar.

One of our favorite treats, and one we only had occasionally, was bread, butter and sugar sandwiches.

This is not to be confused with cinnamon toast. We also enjoyed that for breakfast on a fairly regular basis. We even had a container with premixed sugar and cinnamon so we could make some whenever the urge struck. 

To make a perfect bread, butter and sugar sandwich, the bread had to be soft white bread. Our preferred brand was Sunbeam.

A swipe of butter on each slice of bread and a thorough dusting of sugar, and the sandwich was almost ready for eating.

The trick was keeping the sugar from sifting out between the pieces of bread and raining down on the floor or the table before you could get the sandwich to your mouth.

Buttering both sides of the bread and a pretty serious schmoosh before picking it up helped to cement most of the sugar in place.

If any managed to find its way to the counter after all of that prep, it just meant that you used enough sugar.

This humble snack was a textural dream. Soft, squishy bread; smooth, cool butter; the crystalline bite of the sugar. A little sweet from the sugar (not as much as you might think, though), a little savory from the salted butter. It really didn’t get much better than that, and eating those sandwiches is still a treasured memory.

Sugar Sandwich Origins

I wish I knew exactly where the bread, butter, and sugar sandwich came from. My grandmother lived with us for the first five years of my life, and she was from England, so maybe it came from her.

I have also heard that they may be Irish in origin.

Suffice to say, some frugal mom somewhere probably concocted one of these to appease their kids’ sweet tooths (sweet teeth?!) without having to spend a premium on chocolate or other store-bought confections.

Other Ways to Make a Bread and Sugar Sandwich

A sandwich made on white bread on a small cutting board with sugar in a small bowl in the background.

I think a sugar sandwich is pretty much perfect just the way it is, but there’s no rule that says you can’t make variations.

Here are a few ideas for you:

  • make a brown sugar sandwich by swapping out brown sugar for the white sugar
  • try a peanut butter and sugar sandwich
  • I bet a peanut butter and brown sugar sandwich would be even better
  • how about a mashed banana and sugar sandwich?

If you want to be really fancy, you can make your sugar sandwich on homemade bread. My tangzhong pain au lait is soft and squishy like store-bought, so you may want to give that a try.

Or consider making the sandwiches on potato sandwich bread for a smidge more nutrition without sacrificing the soft texture.

And you can also make any of these versions open-faced and then put them under the broiler to caramelize the sugar a little bit.

PRO TIP: While I use unsalted butter for most cooking and baking, salted butter really shines in these sandwiches and adds more flavor. I like to use salted Kerry Gold butter in a tub for spreading.

Have you ever had a bread, butter and sugar sandwich?

What are some of your treasured childhood snacks? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Questions

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A sandwich made on soft white bread cut in half with one half resting on the other and a bowl of granulated sugar.

Bread Butter and Sugar Sandwich

Jennifer Field
Bread, butter, and sugar sandwiches are a nostalgic treat. Don't get hung up on nutrition here, just enjoy the snack!
4.54 from 26 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Sandwiches
Cuisine British
Servings 1 sandwich
Calories 417 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 slices white sandwich bread
  • 2 Tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Instructions
 

  • Spread half the butter on each slice of bread.
  • Sprinkle the sugar evenly over one buttered slice.
  • Place the second slice on top of the sugar, butter side down, and press down.
  • Put in face.

Did You Make Any Changes?

Notes

I prefer "tub butter" to stick butter for these sandwiches. If using stick butter, make sure it is very soft before spreading so you don't tear holes in your bread.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 417kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 6gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 487mgFiber: 2gSugar: 16g
Keyword bread butter and sugar sandwich, sugar sandwich
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73 Comments

  1. Yes, bread with butter and sugar. I had this daily in my preschool years. Daily for lunch as my mum will pack it for my lunch in school. I love it till now. Sometimes, when we were out butter, I will just eat bread and sugar. Or when we were out of sugar, just white bread with butter. I still eat it for lunch at work and sometimes for dinner as well. It is one of my comfort food since young. As for my mum, she used to just eat bread with sugar at home while growing up.

      1. We used to eat these as a treat at my grandparents house, but we left it open, like a slice of toast. SO delicious! My grandparents had 15 kids, so I’m sure this was an inexpensive treat back then. I’ve also had bread with homemade frosting, which tastes similar. Good memories!

  2. I grew up on those sandwiches, too. AND I still have the same musical jewelry box, as well ! Staring at it right now!

  3. Lol! I’ve lost touch with my friend over the years, so I can’t ask her, but it’s too much of a coincidence not to be what you’re referring to. Now I know! 🙂

  4. I didn’t eat these as a kid, but my friend did. She called them “Buffy and Jody Sandwiches”. No clue where that came from. I do enjoy (as an adult) hot buttered toast sprinkled with sugar, so I guess that’s my hot version of your treat. 🙂

    1. I like your hot version of a bread, butter and sugar sandwich, Angela! And this may now be my favorite comment ever, and I will tell you why. I know exactly what your friend is referencing by calling them “Buffy and Jody Sandwiches.” There was a show on in the very late 60’s-early 70’s called Family Affair. The dad was played by Brian Keith and there was also a butler named Mr. French. The two kids who lived at home were Buffy and Jody! Maybe Mr. French used to make them for the kids as treats? But that is almost certainly the reference! Yay–perhaps a mystery solved!

      1. Buffy befriended some “poor” kids in the neighbourhood whose after school snack was “bread and sugah” and Buffy fell in love with the sweet treat!

      2. Oh my God!! Blast from the past! “Bread and Buttah!” I remember it being from an After School
        Special in the 1970s, but “Family Affair” makes total sense. Thanks for solving a random trivia mystery that’s been rattling around my brain for 50 years.

      3. “Fat Fat the Water Rat…15 Bullets in his hat” “I ain’t a stoop!” 😀

        I love Family Affair…I watch it every morning on Decades. That episode was a cute one. And I came looking for someone posting about ‘buttah & sugah’ sandwiches to see if anyone else remembered them (we ate them as well, along with peanut butter and sugar), only to see someone else who remembered that episode!

      4. I love the comments on this post so much. So many good memories! And peanut butter and sugar? I have never had that one–or heard of it. I shall try it!

  5. Yes, butter and sugar sandwiches! Also Mom made what she called “mixture”; peanut butter, softened margarine and cane syrup stirred together until smooth. Dip your Sunbeam bread in “mixture” and wash it down with a big cold glass of milk.

    Thank for bringing back a few childhood memories.

    1. Asana I am so glad this post brought back great memories for you. Such a nostalgic sandwich! And I love you mom’s “mixture!” I often mix together peanut butter and Honey and make sandwiches with that, so I’m sure I’d love “mixture” too! Thanks for sharing that. =)

  6. I had never had one of these before, but I had been eating a slice of plain bread with butter, earlier, and had googled it, just out of curiosity if anyone else liked it as a child and still ate it as an adult, and I came across this as a first hit. Still hungry, as I have been ill and haven’t eaten properly in a few days, I decided to try your sandwich, and it’s delicious! Thank you for the recommendation. It was just what I needed after being sick and unable to eat!

    1. Aw, I’m so glad you found me, and I’m glad you’re feeling better! And with these sandwiches, salted butter is definitely the way to go! Take care, and thanks so much for stopping in!

    1. Thank goodness I’m around to fill in the gaps, Maureen! I really think I may need to buy another box. There are some on etsy too. I was so surprised to find the exact same one!

  7. We ate these too, but open faced which made making the sugar was stuck into the butter of the utmost importance. I had completely forgotten about butter and sugar on white bread! Such good memories. The Dutch and Australians eat versions of our childhood treat but sprinkled with, well, sprinkles. The Australians call it fairy bread, which just sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

    1. I just learned about fairy bread from Viviane of Chocolate Chilli Mango the other day. Magical indeed! I actually have some real chocolate sprinkles from Holland, and the photo on the box shows them served on buttered bread. I want to live in Holland, Stacy! lol

  8. YES YES YES!!! My precious grandmother used to make this for me as an afternoon snack. Sunbeam bread only. The factory/bakery was just only a few miles away.

    So many great memories. Thank you…

    However, we called it by a different name. It was sugar, bread, and butter. 😉

  9. Wow! A flood of memories! My mom would make us open-faced bread, butter and sugar sandwiches before church on Sundays. Now that I think about it, they were probably opened-faced because she was Danish and all their sandwiches are open-faced. On special occasions, she would use cinnamon sugar instead of plane sugar, but she always used soft white bread. I don’t remember the sugar ever falling off though. Those were some glorious sandwiches and they sure made Sundays memorable! Thanks for the memories Jenni! 😀

    1. We also had bread, butter & sugar sandwiches served open-faced. Although, to be accurate, it was actually Wonder ‘bread’, margarine & sugar.

      1. I think I grew up with it with margarine. Mom didn’t buy real butter when we were kids. Hope this brought back some good memories of a childhood treat!

      2. 5 stars
        I thought I was the only one!! I had a slight variation to my sugar sandwich style though… I would cut off the crust, press my bread flat, spread the butter (Country Crock, at the time) then sprinkle on white sugar. Then I would roll the bread into a sugar roll and eat it. Wow, reading this today really took me back!

      3. Oh, my goodness, I used to *love* to smoosh my bread flat! It seemed so fancy! But cutting off the crust and rolling it up is Next Level, Sheri! Glad I could transport you back to childhood for a little while! 🙂

  10. It just occurred to me that your butter-sugar sandwich is kind of an American version of the old-time British tradition of having bread & jam at tea-time. You just left out the fruit component.

  11. I didn’t eat these as a kid, which is surprising since I was a fat little glutton of a child.

    But for some reason this post made me remember a girl who lived downstairs from us when I was in kindergarten. She used to make sandwiches of slices of raw potato and ketchup on Wonder Bread. Even as a five-year-old I knew that was deeply, deeply weird.

  12. I have never heard of such a sandwich but we would totally try it. Haha…Jenni Warbucks! Thanks for sharing your memories with us. I love that music box!

    My favorite sandwich, besides PB & J, was ketchup, mustard and cheese. To this day I still love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with chips in it. 🙂

4.54 from 26 votes (24 ratings without comment)

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