The Famous Hanover Tomato Recipe: A Perfect Southern Sandwich by Ann Marie Patitucci

The Famous Hanover Tomato Recipe: A Perfect Southern Sandwich

If you’re not from the southern United States, you may not have heard of Hanover tomatoes. Being from New York, I hadn’t, until moving to Virginia, near Hanover County, which is slightly north of Richmond. I’m well informed now! The world famous Hanover tomato is basically a variety of cultivated tomato grown in this particular region of Virginia. While the tomatoes are typically large, they are not necessarily defined by their size.

There are a multitude of ideas about what makes a Hanover tomato the best of all tomatoes, but perhaps the most popular is about the geography and soil. Hanover County soil is primarily sandy (mixed with some Virginia red clay), with just the right pH, composition, sun and rain. For Virginians, when Hanover tomatoes make their appearance at local farmers markets and grocery stores, we know it’s summertime. We also know that the Hanover Tomato Festival is right around the corner.

It amazes me that such a simple sandwich, with so few ingredients, can be so delicious. But in this case, the tomato sandwich is more than just a simple recipe. It’s a reminder of time, season and place. One bite takes people back to their childhoods, eating tomato sandwiches in their grandmother’s kitchens.

As far as the specific ingredients, Southerners seem to only eat their tomato sandwiches with Duke’s mayonnaise, something I was lectured on soon after my arrival in the South (Duke’s has an interesting history, which allegedly entails a woman named Eugenia Duke selling sandwiches made with her homemade mayo in 1917!). There’s also some controversy around whether the bread should be toasted (it seems to me that most Southerners say no).

Enjoy every delicious bite of this sandwich recipe for lunch or dinner.

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Cuisine: American 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: varies


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Recipe Notes

  • Do not scrimp on the mayo when making this sandwich.
  • If you can't find Hanover tomatoes, use whatever tomato is local to your area.
  • If you prefer your bread toasted, go for it!

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Spread a generous amount of mayonnaise on both pieces of sandwich bread. 
  2. Place tomatoes on top of the mayo. Add additional mayo on tomatoes, if desired.
  3. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Recipe cooking times and servings are approximate. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography. Need to convert cooking and baking measurements? Here are some kitchen conversion charts. Here's how to submit your recipes to 30Seconds.

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Love a good tomato sandwich. 🍅
Elisa Schmitz
Great story, and great recipe. So yummy, Ann Marie Patitucci !
Nothing better than a garden fresh tomato sammie Donna John ! However, not being from the south, we don't have Hanover tomatoes. And being a heathen, I use Miracle Whip instead of mayo, as I like the tang it provides. 😬

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