Pineapple Sandwiches Are A Unique Southern Staple With Murky Origins

Southern cooking is no stranger to getting creative with ingredients and how they're used. That's how we got dishes like ambrosia salad, vinegar pie, and pineapple sandwiches. Yes, you read that right: pineapple sandwiches. White bread, creamy mayo, and sliced or crushed pineapple are all you need for this Southern treat. This sweet, juicy sandwich is a classic Southern staple and its origins are just as eccentric as the sandwich itself. The sandwich was first assembled in Pine Apple (a totally coincidental name), Alabama, in 1898.

Canned pineapple was a game changer for preparing the sandwich; no longer would you have to use a whole pineapple. James Dole opened a brand new canning facility in 1906 that would take all the work out of preparing pineapple and make the fruit accessible on shelves everywhere. Once pineapple became more readily available, the popularity of the sandwich took off. 

No one is quite sure why someone originally decided to put pineapple on a sandwich. Theories include that perhaps the original sandwich maker was trying to make a banana sandwich, which has the same ingredients but used banana instead of pineapple. Or perhaps the sandwich was a way to subtly flaunt wealth, as pineapples were seen as somewhat of a luxury fruit at the time. However it came to be, the sandwich has forever joined the ranks of iconic Southern foods.

How to make your own pineapple sandwich

Pineapple sandwiches have only three ingredients, but don't be fooled; there is a right way to make this sandwich if you want the real, authentic Southern experience. The sandwich starts by selecting the right bread. A real pineapple sandwich uses classic, white sandwich bread. No substitute for rye, wheat, or pumpernickel here. Soft, white bread like Wonder Bread, is key for the right texture of the sandwich, and for an excellent flavor pairing with the mayo.

Speaking of mayo, don't be shy when using it on your sandwich. You want a nice, thick layer of mayonnaise to help keep your sandwich from getting too soggy from the pineapple. This may sound counterintuitive but the mayo will block the extra juice from your main ingredient from seeping into your bread too much. After slathering both sides of the bread with a thick, mayo layer you're all set to add your pineapple. Whether you use crushed or sliced rings is up to you, just make sure it's the stuff from the can. After all, canned pineapple is an important part of this sandwich's history.