Classic Monte Cristo Sandwich

This sandwich has a special place in our hearts.

In the early 1990s, when we were living in the West Village in New York City, we didn’t have much money, but we were living the dream of making it big in the Big Apple. One of our favorite places to eat was a bistro called the Pot Belly Café on Christopher Street in the heart of the Village.  They had the most incredible Monte Cristo sandwich. And Wesley would order it every single time we dined there, which was at least once a week. It was the highlight of our week.  This is our re-creation of the amazing sandwich.

Monte Cristo sandwich recipe

How To Make Monte Cristo Sandwich

This sammy is so delicious and really impressive to serve.

By the way, the sandwich has no known link to the fictional character. Learn more about it’s humble beginnings here.

 

Choosing the Best Ingredients

The key proteins in the sandwich are ham and turkey. We love using leftover ham from our Spiral Baked Ham and our Roast Turkey Breast.

If you don’t have leftovers, no need to worry, pick up some good-quality deli ham and smoked turkey, and you’ll be just fine. 

best-ever monte Cristo sandwich recipe

Before you start building the sandwich, we like to amp the flavors up by slathering on a combination of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.

Each sandwich will have a top and bottom slice of bread. We love going with sliced sourdough bread, but whatever is your favorite will work perfectly.

EXPERT TIP: Simply lay the slices on a cutting board in front of you and then add a generous layer of the mayo/Dijon mixture on only one side of the bread.  This will be the inside of the sandwich. The outside portions of the bread will soak up all that egg yumminess soon!

A person using a knife to spread a mayonnaise and Dijon mustard mixture on one side of sliced white bread.

How To Layer a Monte Cristo Sandwich

Now, the fun part…building the sandwich.

Add a layer of the shredded Gruyere cheese, about 1/2 cup, on top of the mayo/Dijon-smeared bread.

Next, comes a layer of ham, then turkey, then more cheese (1/2 cup), and topped with the other slice of bread, mayo/Dijon side facing down.

A four-layered process of adding mayo to a slice of bread, then a layer of sliced ham, then sliced turkey, then another layer of shredded cheese.

How To Cook The Sandwich

Essentially, the outer slices of bread on the sandwich are very much liked French toast.

Carefully place the sandwich in lightly beaten eggs mixed with cinnamon, vanilla extra, and milk. After a minute or so, carefully flip the sandwich in the egg mixture and continue to let it soak up.

EXPERT TIP: Let each side of the sandwich soak long enough to absorb a good amount of the egg mixture, usually about 1 minute per side. Once you place the sandwich in the skillet with hot melted butter, you may need to use the edge of your spatula to remove any excess egg that is cooking on the edges of the bread (or, leave it, if you prefer!).

A sandwich filled with ham, turkey, and Gruyere cheese sitting in a bowl of beaten eggs and then that sandwich cooked in a skillet with the bread brown and crisp.

How and When To Serve a Monte Cristo

We absolutely love serving this sandwich with freshly made Mornay sauce.

This is a lush béchamel sauce with melted Gruyere and Parmesan cheese stirred in.  Mmmm: Mornay. 

A small serving bowl with a blue pattern on it filled with mornay sauce with a spoon being lifted out of it.

Finish the sandwich off with a dusting of powdered sugar.

And then serve with warm Mornay sauce and a bowl of your favorite preserves or jam.

Oh, boy…this is truly a change-changer of a sandwich.

A Monte Cristo sandwich that is cut in half and stacked and powdered sugar sprinkling

Serve this at your next brunch, and you will be a rock star. Brunch will never be the same. And after one bite, your guests might not be either. It’s that good.

This iconic sandwich is such a wonderful memory for us and we will always cherish it, and every time we see it on a menu, or even better, when we make it for ourselves and loved ones, we are instantly transported back to such a glorious time in our lives.

A person using a spoon to smear on preserves onto a Monte Cristo sandwich.

Now, you just gotta drop everything and go make this incredible sandwich. It very well may change your life!!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A Monte Cristo sandwich that has been sliced in half and then stacked, with a smear of preserves in the middle and a bite taken out.

The Best-Ever Monte Cristo Sandwich with Mornay

This Monte Cristo Sandwich with Mornay is a sandwich you'll want to prepare time and time again. Of course you can you use ham and turkey from your deli, and it will be delish. But leftover ham and/or turkey is amazing. And don't forget to make the homemade Mornay sauce...it's easy and so good!
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brunch recipes, how to make a monte cristo sandwich
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 512kcal

Equipment

  • A skillet (preferably non-stick), large enough to hold at least 1 sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bread thickly sliced, white or sourdough are excellent
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 slices ham thick-cut, or 8 thin slices
  • 4 slices roasted turkey thick-cut, or 8 thin slices
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese shredded
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter plus more, if needed
  • Powder sugar for dusting

Instructions

  • There will be 2 slices of bread for each sandwich. Place all 4 on a cutting board.
  • Mix together the mayonnaise and Dijon in a small bowl. Use a butter knife to smear the mayo/mustard mixture onto the top-facing side of each slice of bread.
  • For both sandwiches, follow these steps. Add ½ cup of cheese on top of the mayo/mustard mixture. Add a layer of ham, then turkey, and then another ½ cup on top. Place the other slice on top of the cheese, mayo/mixture facing down.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Gently mix until the eggs are just beaten.
  • Place the sandwich in the egg mixture...let sit for a couple of minutes...and press with your hands. Then, flip the sandwich, and let sit, soak up the egg mixture, and apply a little pressure to compact.
  • Heat the ham and turkey in a large skillet until warmed through.
  • Melt the butter in a skillet (preferably non-stick) large enough to hold 1 of the sandwiches.
  • Gently remove the sandwich from the egg mixture, allowing excess egg to fall off. Carefully add the sandwich to the melted butter and cook until browned on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip the sandwich with the help of a couple of spatulas and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. Serve with preserves and Mornay sauce.

Video

Notes

We heat the turkey and ham prior to cooking the sandwiches in order to help make sure the cheese melts and gets nice and gooey.  This can also be done in the oven, or even the microwave.  Cold turkey and ham will make it harder for the cheese to melt simply from the heat of the skillet.
Be sure to cook the sandwich on medium-low heat.  This will prevent the bread from browning quickly and will allow the heat to penetrate into the sandwich. 
We shred our Gruyere with the shredding attachment of our food processor, or just throw it in and pulse until crumbled.  A box grater works just fine, too.  
Swiss cheese can be used in place of the Gruyere and still be delicious.
The Mornay is best served right off the stove.  If making ahead of time, reheat with a few more splashe of milk or cream until the desired consistency is reached. 

Nutrition

Calories: 512kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 442mg | Sodium: 1416mg | Potassium: 443mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1234IU | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in October 2015, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in April 2021!