Classic Banh Mi Recipe

Classic Banh Mi Recipe

Prep: 20 mins

Cook: 75 mins

Brine: 12 hrs

Total: 13 hrs 35 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Yield: 4 sandwiches

Meat, pickles, vegetables, chili, and mayonnaise on an airy, crusty baguette—these are the elements of a classic banh mi sandwich.

The best banh mi is the one you grab on the streets of Vietnam, or from the little cafe you ducked into seeking shelter from the monsoon. It's ready in moments, doesn't cost much, and tastes all the better for it. At home, it's better to buy precooked ingredients, so that you don't find yourself working for half a day in the kitchen just to make a sandwich. The fully cooked pork belly from Trader Joe's, for example, is excellent for banh mi, and requires only slicing and a quick crisp in the frying pan. If you must make everything from scratch, do it over the course of a few days. Make the pickles first so they have time to, you know, pickle. Roast the pork for dinner. Make the pâté some Sunday afternoon. Then, when the time is right, pick up a fresh baguette and assemble your lunch.

Speaking of the baguette, it's very important. If possible, stay away from sourdough or levain baguettes for banh mi. Those styles are crusty and chewy, but you're looking for light, airy and crispy. The crust should be thin and the crumb should be soft, yielding easily to the fillings and holding them in place. If you can't find the right baguette, look for fresh bolillo rolls, which are available in many supermarkets.

The pâté should be soft and spreadable to lend moisture to the sandwich. Typically it is made of chicken liver, a flavor of mellow intensity that contrasts beautifully with the pickles and fresh vegetables. Some styles of banh mi are made with pâté alone.

Besides roast pork and liver pâté, banh mi can also be made with cold cuts, meatballs, barbecued pork or beef, and even vegetarian pâté.

“The bahn mi sandwich is flavorful, impressive-looking, and full of quality ingredients. The brine comes together quickly and the sandwich is easy to assemble. I packed them up and enjoyed them with friends who thought I was a genius. The recipes is, not me!” —Mary Jo Romano

Classic Banh Mi Recipe

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Pork:

  • 2 cups warm water

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar

  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

  • 1 medium onion, quartered

  • 3 medium jalapeños, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup fish sauce

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed

For the Sandwich:

  • 1 French baguette, 22 to 24-inches long

  • 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade pâté

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 3/4 cup store-bough or homemade pickled carrot and radish mixture, fresh julienned radish, or daikon

  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced, seeded if desired

  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced seedless cucumber

  • 2/3 cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs

Steps to Make It

Make the Pork

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Banh Mi Recipe

  2. Add the water, salt, and sugar to a bowl large enough to hold the pork shoulder and other ingredients. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Alternatively, use a 2-gallon zip-top bag.

    Classic Banh Mi Recipe

  3. Add the garlic, peppercorns, onion, jalapeño, soy sauce, and fish sauce to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add the pork and enough cold water to completely submerge the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    Classic Banh Mi Recipe

  4. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400 F. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry. Discard the brine. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan and roast until the internal temperature reaches 145 F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour, 15 minutes.

    Classic Banh Mi Recipe

  5. Remove from oven and rest for at least 30 minutes before cutting into 1/4-inch thick slices.

    Classic Banh Mi Recipe

Assemble the Sandwich

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Banh Mi Recipe

  2. Cut the baguette into 4 equal-size pieces, about 5- to 6- inches long.

    Classic Banh Mi Recipe

  3. Divide the pâté evenly between the sandwiches, spreading it on 1 side of each baguette. Divide the mayonnaise evenly between the sandwiches, spreading it on the other side of each baguette.

    Classic Banh Mi Recipe

  4. Divide 1 pound of pork slices equally among the 4 sandwiches. Reserve any remaining pork for another use.

  5. Layer in the pickled vegetables, jalapeño, cucumber, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

    Classic Banh Mi Recipe


  • For an extra crispy crust on your bread, lightly spray your baguette with water and warm it in a 350 F oven for about 10 minutes before using it for the sandwiches.
  • If you can't find a 22- to 24-inch French baguette, buy two smaller baguettes, or look for fresh bolillo rolls, which are available in many supermarkets

How to Store

Leftover pork can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, or wrap tightly and frozen for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1475
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 92g 118%
Saturated Fat 31g 156%
Cholesterol 378mg 126%
Sodium 12269mg 533%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 94g
Vitamin C 23mg 114%
Calcium 227mg 17%
Iron 10mg 54%
Potassium 1660mg 35%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


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