Best Rye Bread: The 7 Best for a Deli-Quality Sandwich

The best rye bread has a lovely, tangy, aromatic flavor and a delightfully chewy texture. While it’s nearly impossible to recreate that transcendent, expertly crafted deli rye experience, we sourced a list of store bought rye breads from all over the country that we think do a great job.

Rye bread is one of those things that’s hard to get right, and if you just blindly walk into your local grocery store trying to find something good, you’re likely to be disappointed. Rye bread shouldn’t taste like white bread and it shouldn’t taste like rye bread with a few caraway seeds scattered throughout. Every morsel of the bread should be bursting with an earthy, sour flavor. It should feel cared for, with deeply developed gluten and a robust flavor.

For this taste test, we at Sporked sourced a ton of rye bread from all over the country. Some local bakeries have gone national, with sellers on Amazon peddling their delicious ryes for a price. Rye bread also has various iterations: pumpernickel, dark rye, German-style, Jewish, and Russian were all considered. Above all else, we wanted good quality bread, something that feels homemade and fresh. So what was the best rye bread? Check out the list of our seven favorites.

The following article contains affiliate links that may generate a small commission to us when you make a purchase through the link. Learn more about how we work with affiliates here.


best rye bread

Best of the Best

Sunflour Baker Jewish Rye

This rye bread came frozen and, once it thawed out, it really blew us all away. Sunflower Jewish Rye is chewy, dense, aromatic, seeded, and just lovely overall, man. The flavor is subtle (not a distracting amount of caraway seeds), and we really appreciate that. Really, though, the selling point of Sunflour is that it has a wonderful chewiness and a density that will lend itself to being topped with deli meats. Put a fat stack of pastrami and pickles betwixt (that’s right, betwixt) this bread and go to town. Sunflour BakeryJewish rye is excellent deli bread, and we’re here for it.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best deli rye bread

Best Deli Rye

Levy’s Real Jewish Rye

This is a close second and, quite honestly, it might just be my favorite. This feels like freshly made bread from a deli, and reminds me a lot of this bakery back home in Pennsylvania called Schwebel’s. Levy’s is thick, chewy, and has a tangy, sourdough-like punch to it. The texture really blows me away; for a store-bought rye to feel like it was made with love like this is a huge achievement. The caraway seeds here have a nice anise-and-fennel flavor that’s assertive without being overpowering. The texture and flavor are just incredible,and, again, remind me of bread baked in a bakery back home. Levy’s is a Chicago company, but we got it delivered from Amazon fairly easily.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best pumpernickel rye bread

Best Pumpernickel

Pepperidge Farm Deli Swirl Rye & Pumpernickel

Yo, I took this bread home and made like seven sandwiches in two days out of it. It’s just so damn soft and chewy! The flavor is delicious, too. It’s got that rye and sourdough tang, but with an added layer of sweetness for balance. Pumpernickel is great for people who don’t want a straight-up seeded rye with lots of caraway seeds, and Pepperidge Farm makes the best pumpernickel we had. This made a fantastic egg sandwich at home, but its flavor is so pleasant and agreeable,  you could use it to make any sandwich. You’ll be thankful for the added flavor it provides. Also, the swirl is just mesmerizing and beautiful. Good bread to look at (looking at bread is half the battle).

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best dark rye bread

Best Dark Rye

Oroweat Schwarzwälder Dark Rye

This is another awesome, pumpernickel-esque bread. The second ingredient here is barley flour, so this bread has a nice, grain-forward taste. The texture is also great—it’s soft, chewy, and floppy almost like a white bread. It’s very one note (the bread is just a homogenous color and flavor with no caraway seeds), but that flavor is quite good. I talked to Mythical chef Josh Scherer about rye bread, and he said that when he was growing up his family consistently bought this rye. While this is a bit on the “white bread” side of rye, it’s a dark rye with a subtle flavor and is great for families. I honestly prefer this to the German dark rye bread that tastes very malty, earthy and grainy.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best dill rye bread

Best for Tuna Salad

Oroweat Dill Rye

The other tasters enjoyed this more than me, but being in the same room with them, I am simply forced to acknowledge their excitement for this Oroweat Dill Rye bread. The dill flavor is just so fragrant and pleasant, and the bread itself is soft, chewy, and slightly sweet. All that said, I think dill is a pretty specific flavor. This would go great with chicken salad or tuna salad, but, I ask you, why not just put some dill in your salad instead? Regardless, everyone else at Sporked seemed to love it, so I’m putting it middle of the pack. Not the best rye bread, but it’s interesting and specific enough to warrant a spot in the middle of this list.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best rye bread pepperidge farm

Best Basic

Pepperidge Farm Seeded Jewish Rye

Pepperidge Farm does a great rye bread, and their Jewish rye is deliciously seeded. It reminds me somewhat of Levy’s—chewy, sturdy sandwich bread with a distinct tangy, caraway seed flavor. It looks quite porous, almost like a sourdough, and it has a small crumb to it that makes it feel textured and authentic. For whatever reason, Pepperidge Farm rye bread has been hard to get out in Los Angeles, but I have been assured it’s available nationwide.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

korn rye bread

Best Barley

Korn’s Pumpernickel Rye

Korn’s is a really great brand of rye bread, and they’re pumpernickel is well balanced and delicious. It’s got a beautifully tart rye taste that’s backed up by some nice salty, barley flavor as well. Barely is relatively neutral, but still has a great nuttiness to it that plays well with this pumpernickel. Barley’s biggest contribution, though, is the dense chewiness it lends to this rye bread. Korn’s pumpernickel rye is a great sandwich bread with a grainy, nutty, sort of old-school flavor to it. For me personally, it’s in the top five, but it comes in seventh here because everyone loved the Oroweat Dill so much.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: Dave’s Righteous Rye, Oroweat Russian, Oroweat Jewish, Great Value NY Style, Angelic Bakehouse, Mestemacher Whole, Mestemacher Sunflower Seed, Mestemacher Pumpernickel, 3 Bakers, Korn Seeded, Korn Original, Klosterbot.

Share your favorite foods with us using #SporkedTasteTest for a chance to be featured on our social pages!


About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • I thought that Rye bread was supposed to have rye as the first ingredient. And so many of these have soy in them. egads!

    Reply