Roast Beef & Watercress Tea Sandwiches

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Cute and tasty roast beef tea sandwiches that are easy to make, perfect for tea time. Made with layers of thinly sliced roast beef and topped off with watercress.

Round roast beef tea sandwiches

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About This Recipe

  • Finger sandwiches made of roast beef, white bread, watercress, and horseradish mayo.
  • Perfectly bite-sized sandwiches (gone in 2-3 bites) great for afternoon teas and for parties as appetizers.
  • No cooking in involved, just prepping and assembling.
  • Everything is cut using one round cookie cutter — no need for knives!
  • Crusts on the bread are cut off, giving it a clean, delicate appearance and making it easier to bite into.

Looking for more tasty tea sandwich recipes? Check out my popular BLT Tea Sandwich, the classic Cucumber Tea Sandwich, and 24 Delicious Tea Sandwiches Perfect for Tea Parties.

Ingredient Notes

Roast Beef Tea Sandwich Ingredients
  • White sandwich bread or very thin white bread: I’m using white bread but feel free to swap it out with soft whole wheat bread.
  • Roast beef, sliced thin: To make it easier to bite into, get it thinly sliced.
  • Watercress: If you can’t find watercress, any baby greens would work.
  • Horseradish: It’s what gives the sandwich a little kick.
  • Mayonnaise: I like using Kewpie Mayo, a tangy Japanese brand.
  • Pepper: I like using freshly ground pepper.

For full ingredients and detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

How to Make Roast Beef Tea Sandwiches

1. Make Horseradish Mayo

Mix horseradish, mayo, and pepper together in a small bowl.

2. Cut out circles from the bread and roast beef

Use a round cookie cutter to cut circles out of the bread and roast beef slices. Avoid cutting the crust on the bread.

RELATED: Radish Rose Tea Sandwiches

3. Assemble Tea Sandwiches

From the bottom up: bread, horseradish mayo, roast beef, horseradish mayo, bread, horseradish mayo, roast beef, bread, and watercress skewered on with a cocktail fork.

Make sure to spread a thin layer of horseradish mayo between each layer. The mayo helps to bind each layer together.

Skewer a cocktail fork through the tea sandwich, using it to hold the watercress in place.

RELATED: Ham & Cheese Tea Sandwiches

Serving Suggestions

Use a cocktail fork to keep the sandwich together while holding the watercress in place.

Cocktail Forks

Photo Credit:

Perfectly sized to hold together tea sandwiches.

If you want to skip the cocktail fork, lay a watercress on top of the sandwich, holding it place with a dab of horseradish mayo under it.

Tea sandwiches are the first course of an afternoon tea service and go beautifully with scones and bite-sized sweets.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: The best tea to serve with tea sandwiches is black tea. Earl Grey, English breakfast tea are both great choices.

Notes & Tips

  • Frozen bread cuts cleaner than room temperature bread.
  • The horseradish mayo keeps to hold all the layers together.
  • To get a smaller (less tall) tea sandwich, use Very Thin white bread.

Make-Ahead & Storage Tips

The best tea sandwiches are made within a couple of hours before serving but since that’s not always possible, follow these tips to make them ahead of time.

  • Sandwich filings can be prepped a day or two before but wait until the night before or the morning of to assemble.
  • Sandwiches can be made the night before and covered with wax paper then damp paper towels in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will keep the sandwiches from drying out.
  • Tea sandwiches shouldn’t be served cold so make sure to take them out of the refrigerator (but kept in the airtight container) about 15 minutes before serving.

Questions You May Have

What’s the best bread for tea sandwiches?

Soft, fluffy bread is the best for tea sandwiches since they’re easy to bite into.

How many tea sandwiches should I serve per person?

Serve 3-4 tea sandwiches per person if there’s other courses (scones, mini sweets). Allot 4-6 tea sandwiches per person if no other food is served.

Can I use another shape to cut out the tea sandwiches?

You can use a different shaped cookie cutter but make sure not to use one with a lot of details since it’ll be harder to get clean cuts.

More Tea Sandwich Recipes

4.72 from 7 votes

Roast Beef and Watercress Tea Sandwiches

By: Jee Choe
Tasty bite-sized tea sandwiches layered with sliced roast beef.
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Yield: 4 tea sandwiches


  • 6 slices white bread
  • 12 slices roast beef
  • 8 watercress leaves
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • pinch of pepper


  • Mix together horseradish, mayo, and pepper in a small bowl.
    Set aside.
  • Cut circles out of the roast beef.
    Use the same cookie cutter to cut out 24 roast beef circles.
  • Cut circles out of the bread.
    Use the cookie cutter to cut out 12 bread circles out of the white bread. Cut 2 circles out of each slice of bread, avoiding the crust.
  • Assemble tea sandwiches.
    From the bottom up: bread, horseradish mayo, roast beef, horseradish mayo, bread, horseradish mayo, roast beef, horseradish mayo, bread, and watercress skewered on with a cocktail fork.
    Start with a bread circle, then spread on a thin layer of horseradish mayo, and top with 3 roast beef circles. Spread on a thin layer of horseradish layer, top with bread and repeat with the horseradish mayo, 3 roast beef circles, horseradish mayo, then bread. Place the watercress on top and keep it in place with a cocktail fork


To make 4 tea sandwiches, you’ll need to cut out:
  • 12 bread circles
  • 24 roast beef circles
Each tea sandwich: 3 bread circles and 6 roast beef circles


Calories: 209Carbohydrates: 19gProtein: 22gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 1480mgPotassium: 278mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 64IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 333mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @ohhowcivilized or tag #ohhowcivilized!

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  1. 5 stars
    These sandwiches were a huge hit at my tea party – the kewpie mayo is a game-changer! I used creamed horseradish as well. The flavors were wonderful!

  2. Great idea to put the greens on the outside! These recipes look so great. One of these days I'll actually be cooking again and your recipe section will be a first stop.

  3. Hi Pam/Mercantile Muse, happy you found my blog! Where did you go to school in the Bronx? Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    Hi Michele, thanks! The best part about putting these posts together is that I get to eat all of it at the end.

    Hi Jennie, it was delicious! I think the Japanese mayo added that extra kick.

  4. Hi Jee, so happy to come across your blog (I followed you in comments on sfgbb).

    sandwich looks divine.

    but i'm off to read more and get a bigger fix of one of my home away from homes, NYC. went to school in the bronx, met my dubliner husband there and we get back as often as possible to visit family and friends. just saw a post with mulberry and broome… gramps was born on mulberry.

    thanks for the fix!

    btw, i am a tea lover and am having my second cuppa irish breakfast tea right now. couldn't start the day without it.