Burger Vs Sandwich: Can You Spot These Differences?

Those who do not have intimate familiarity with American cuisines often scratch their heads when asked to differentiate a burger from a sandwich. They also have no idea which one is better suited to their palate and nutritional requirements.

In this informative article, we’ll simplify that task for you. So, keep reading to know their distinguishing characteristics and tell these iconic dishes apart.

Quick Facts


  • Bread: buns
  • Shape: cylindrical 
  • Cooking techniques: frying and heating


  • Bread: flatbread
  • Shape: square or triangular
  • Cooking techniques: none

Is A Hamburger Considered A Sandwich?

The word “sandwich” doesn’t denote any specific dish. Instead, it is an umbrella term encompassing all dishes with 2 slices of bread and a filling. As a result, hamburgers also fall into the “sandwich” categories. Other subclasses of sandwiches include kebabs, doners, and gyros.

What’s The Definition Of A Sandwich?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a sandwich comprises two slices of bread and some veggies, patties, and sauces in between. It was devised in the 18th century, making it a relatively new dish. However, it quickly rose to prominence and was included in many cuisines due to 3 main reasons. 

First, it is a hassle-free dish, meaning that preparing this dish is very simple and time-saving. 

Second, it has the merit of being portable. This enables people to enjoy this scrumptious dish while they’re on the go.

Last but not least, it is customizable, allowing anyone to modify and spice up original recipes. For example, almost any kind of bread is acceptable. What’s more, any savory food, be it fish, turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, or beef, can act as its fillings. This results in the ever-growing selection of this traditional dish.

How Do Burgers Differ From Sandwiches?


This is probably the most noticeable difference. Burgers make use of a bun that has been cut into half, while sandwiches often call for 2 separate bread slices (typically flatbread).


Their shapes are dissimilar due to differences in the kinds of bread utilized and how they are cut. Burgers are known for their distinctive cylindrical shapes.

Meanwhile, sandwiches can take on different shapes, the most popular of which is square. This is because most store-bought flatbread is available in this shape. 

But if you want to jazz up your dish, cut diagonally to slice the square sandwich into a triangular one. This practice is common in families as it allows people to share the tasty dish with their loved ones.

Cooking requirements

Sandwich is deservedly considered as a no-fuss dish. To make it, all you need to do is put some pre-cooked meat (such as ham, chicken, or beef) and raw vegetables between refrigerated bread. Indeed, the unsurpassed simplicity of combining a patty with bread is central to this dish’s appeal.

But this is not the case for hamburgers, which are often served hot. This dish requires you to fry the protein of your choice and heat the bun to make its texture less firm.

For this reason, if you’re not into cooking, opt for sandwiches and save burgers for special occasions when you can order them at fast-food restaurants.

Burger Bun Variations

Although burgers acquire a reputation for their customizability and variety, most people still feel amazed when learning that up to 37 types of bread can be employed to make this delectable dish.

One of the most exciting variations is sesame seed buns. The addition of sesame enhances this dish’s alluring fragrance and brings a crunchy twist to soft buns.

Also, you can swap traditional buns with other types of bread, including Kaiser Roll, Onion Roll, Potato Roll, Pretzel Roll, or English muffin. Thanks to this fantastic diversity of bread, possibilities are endless for crafting your original recipes.

Where Burgers And Sandwiches Overlap The Most

Patty melt is a special dish in the sense that it qualifies as both a burger and sandwich. To prepare it, cook the burger patty as usual, then put mushrooms and cheese on top. Finally, replace your typical buns with toasted slices of bread, and tuck the fillings in between.

Given the name “patty melt,” it should come as no surprise that that dish’s protein melts instantly in your mouth. To achieve this delicate texture, don’t forget to incorporate cheese into your recipes. If you take it out from the dish, you’ll end up altering the dish’s distinctive melt-ability. 

Finally, to further soften the patty, consider chopping it into smaller pieces.

Why Do Americans Call Chicken Burgers A Sandwich?

As mentioned previously, “sandwich” broadly refers to any dish with 2 pieces of bread and a patty in between. Therefore, chicken burgers are a subcategory of sandwiches.

What Are The 5 Types Of Sandwiches?

The original sandwich has evolved into over 50 modern variations. That said, the following 5 dishes are the most beloved versions.

  • Patty melt

The dish mentioned in the section above is one of the most ubiquitous versions in Western eateries.

  • The club

This one tastes divine when served hot. It calls for 2 buttered slices of flatbread, with the upper one being pressed and decorated. Meanwhile, the bottom slice holds meat and vegetables.

  • The cake

As the name suggests, this version’s shape bears significant similarity to that of a multilayered cake. To make it, slice the round bread into 2 or 3 parts. The next step, which requires you to place icing and butter at the top, sets it apart from other variations.

  • Pinwheel

This one is calorie-dense since it consists of cheese, peanut butter, marmalades, and jellies in that exact sequence. After that, roll the long bread up. Then, when eating, unroll and cut it into smaller portions.

  • Ribbon

Just like flamboyant ribbons, this type of burger is made of colorful ingredients, ranging from bread to fillings. Another distinctive feature lies in the amount of bread. More specifically, it has 3, instead of 2, slices.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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