Difference Between Burger and Sandwich

What is the difference between a burger and a sandwich? Sandwiches and burgers are two of the most popular foods all around the world. They’re both versatile and delicious meals that are essential in every cuisine.

You’ve probably landed on this page because you’re having a heated argument about whether sandwiches and burgers are the same things.

You may be thinking that, yes, they are similar; after all, they both consist of two slices of bread with filling in between, or you may be thinking that a burger is a sandwich, but not the opposite.

In this post, we’re presenting facts about both burgers and sandwiches to help you distinguish between the two, so keep on reading!

burger cut in half

History of Burgers and Sandwiches

The term sandwich was first introduced to the world in the late 1700s by John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, hence the name. 

Montagu had a terrible gambling habit and would sit at the gambling table for hours on end, reluctant to leave. He asked his cook to make him a dish that he can eat without needing to leave the gambling table. 

That’s when the sandwich’s brilliant notion became a reality. Montagu’s favorite meal became meat sandwiched between two slices of bread.

But that doesn’t mean that the sandwich idea wasn’t used before that. We know that Montagu got this idea from his travels to the Middle East. There, they sandwiched food like dips, cheese, or meat between layers of bread, mostly pita bread. 

On the other hand, the history of burgers remains unknown. Yes, the idea of the hamburger patty came from Hamburg, but the concept of placing it between two buns was created much later. 

Hamburg was well-known for its high-quality beef. Because there were no refrigerators back then, the Hamburg meat was cut and seasoned before being shaped into patties and cooked right away.

We’re not sure who came up with the idea of sandwiching the beef patties between two buns. We do know, however, that it was invented in America. And we’re grateful to whoever came up with it.

As we can see, sandwiches and burgers have different beginnings and origins, but burgers weren’t invented until after sandwiches were common everywhere in America. So we can say that a burger is a form of a sandwich, but we’ll be losing out on other sides of the debate.

sadnwich with tomato and lettuce

How Do Burgers Differ From Sandwiches?

A sandwich is generally any filling or food, like meat, cheese, or even vegetables, placed between two slices of bread. While a burger, in its most basic form, consists of a ground beef patty sandwiched between two buns and topped with sauces or veggies.

You may think they’re the same after reading their definitions, but technically speaking, we can say burgers are sandwiches, or to be more specific, we can say a burger is a type or subclass of a sandwich.

However, some differences between the two lead to the conclusion that they’re not the same. These differences include:


Since the definition of a sandwich is way broader than a burger, sandwiches have many kinds and shapes. You can’t really say there’s one common shape for them. 

A sandwich can be made by sandwiching the filling between two slices of toast. Alternatively, the toast can be replaced with any type of French bread to make a submarine sandwich, or maybe make it a little Middle Eastern and use Pita bread.

On the other hand, the most typical shape for burgers is the round ground beef placed between two sesame seed buns. 

burger with knife


Sandwiches and burgers are both versatile dishes. We already mentioned that their shapes can vary depending on the type of bread. The fillings can vary as well. 

Sandwiches come in both savory and sweet varieties, whether it’s cold or hot. In a sandwich, you can have cooked beef, chicken, or even veggies. You can also make a sandwich with jelly and honey. The options are endless. 

The same thing goes for burgers, but there is one big difference: burgers are only hot and savory. You can’t find a sweet burger. And unless the restaurant’s service is awful, you won’t find a burger served cold.

We also need to understand that burgers aren’t always made of beef. Chicken burgers are popular. A chicken burger is usually ground chicken placed between two buns and topped with condiments. It checks everything in the burger definition. 

Now we can also find veggie burgers. The types are endless for both sandwiches and burgers. 

Cooking Requirements

Not all sandwiches need cooking. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich doesn’t need any cooking. It only requires warming up the bread or toasting it, with both options being, well, optional!

Even meat sandwiches don’t need cooking unless you’re dealing with raw meat. Other than that, you can pretty much use store-bought cold meat, like ham or salami. 

Per contra, burgers do need cooking, even if it’s a veggie burger. Cooking is necessary for you to eat burgers safely. 

sandwich with lettuce and ground meat

Is a Patty Melt a Burger or Sandwich?

Here is when a burger and a sandwich overlap the most, seeing as there are various recipes for a patty melt.

Some recipes call for cooking the meat like you usually do with a burger and place it between two toasted slices of bread instead of buns. You might also see recipes that require chopping the meat patty after cooking.

Generally speaking, however, menus list patty melts under the sandwich section, even if the restaurant is also serving burgers. Only a few list them under the burgers section.

To Sum Up

Sandwiches and burgers might have the same basic concept if we look at the simplest definition of both. Also, according to history, a burger is a form of sandwich because it wasn’t established until after the sandwich concept had become popular.

However, when we look at the difference between burger and sandwich, such as the toppings, shape, and cooking needs, we can see that sandwiches and burgers are two separate dishes.