An easy Monte Cristo Sandwich recipe layered with ham, turkey, and Swiss, then battered and fried in the oven. Dust with powdered sugar for the ultimate breakfast sandwich!
Part French toast, part ham sandwich, and completely delicious, it strikes the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Done right, the ham and cheese Monte Cristo is dipped in a custard batter and deep-fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfect for brunch, or breakfast for dinner.
A little powdered sugar finishes it off. Maple syrup or extra strawberry jam is served on the side, for dipping. And you will definitely want to dip.
This recipe uses oven-frying so that everyone can eat at once, and no one (you) has to stand at the stove frying one sandwich at a time. Once you get the sandwiches made, you dip them in the custard batter and pop them in the oven to bake. It’s as good as it gets outside of The Blue Bayou.
Making Monte Cristo Sandwiches for a sleepover? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s super easy.
Monte Cristo Sandwich history:
In the early 1900s, the French popularized a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, called a Croque Monsieur, that was enjoyed as a snack at cafés and bars. It was made with white sandwich bread fried in clarified butter until crisp and gooey. This delicious sandwich might be the grandfather of the Monte Cristo.
By the time Croque Monsieur showed up in American cookbooks in the 1930s, it was renamed a French Sandwich, Toasted Ham Sandwich, or a French Toasted Cheese Sandwich. Probably because no one wanted to pronounce the French name!
Other food historians believe it to be called Monte Cristo after the town of Monte Cristo, Washington.
Finally, Disneyland made it famous nationwide with their own twist on the recipe, in the 1960s. It was a mainstay on the menu of the Blue Bayou and Tahitian Terrace restaurants in New Orleans Square, right in the center of the theme park.
The Monte Cristo is still on the menu, where the sandwich is battered and deep-fried to crispy, fluffy perfection, and covered in powdered sugar. Definitely not for the weak!
Monte Cristo Sandwich ingredients:
- Ham. This can be deli ham or leftover baked ham from Sunday supper.
- Turkey. It’s okay to leave the deli turkey out, but if you have it, use it!
- Swiss cheese. Fragrant French gruyère is delicious, but any melty Swiss cheese will do.
- Strawberry jam. Raspberry jam works in a pinch.
- Dijon mustard.
Monte Cristo Sandwich batter ingredients:
Basically, a slightly savory custard for dipping.
- Heavy cream.
- Sugar. Just a little.
- Salt and Cayenne pepper. For a little kick.
- Dried mustard.
What’s the best bread for a Monte Cristo?
Because the bread for the Monte Cristo is more or less treated like French toast, it needs to be substantial, not fluffy Wonder-type bread.
Choose a good quality, sturdy white sandwich bread that can hold up to the batter. You can also use challah bread, if you have it.
How to make a Monte Cristo Sandwich:
- First, lightly toast the bread. Then mix together the Dijon mustard and strawberry jam together in a small bowl. Next, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Then make the custard. Whisk together eggs, dry mustard, sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish and set aside.
- To assemble the sandwich, spread the jam/mustard mixture over one slice of bread. Then top with cheese, ham, and turkey in that order.
- If you have enough, repeat the layer of cheese, ham, and turkey, and finally, finish with one more layer of cheese.
- Spread more jam/mustard on the second piece of toasted bread, and top the sandwich with it, jam side down on top of the cheese. Cheese on both sides of the bread will glue the sandwich together as it bakes.
- Give the sandwich a gentle but firm press with the palm of your hand. You're ready to bake!
How to cook a Monte Cristo Sandwich:
- Next, pour some light vegetable oil in a rimmed sheet pan and put it in the oven on the upper-middle rack. Let the oil heat up until almost smoking, about 7 minutes.
- To coat the Monte Cristo in batter, carefully dip both sides of the sandwich in the custard. If you’re making several sandwiches, move the coated sandwiches onto a plate until everything is assembled.
- When ready to bake the sandwiches, carefully move them to the pre-heated, oiled baking tray.
- Bake the sandwiches for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, using a spatula to flip them as they brown.
- Finally, remove them from the oven and serve immediately, dusted with powdered sugar and extra jam on the side.
Monte Cristo Sandwich Recipe
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 tablespoons strawberry jam or raspberry jam
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 12 slices hearty white sandwich bread lightly toasted
- 18 thin slices Swiss cheese or Guryere cheese
- 12 thin slices deli ham preferably Black Forest
- 12 thin slices deli turkey
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Whisk together eggs, cream, sugar, salt, dry mustard, and cayenne in shallow dish until combined. Stir jam and Dijon mustard together in a small bowl.
- Spread 1 teaspoon jam mixture on 1 side of each slice of toast. Layer slices of cheese, ham, and turkey over jam on 6 slices of toast.
- Repeat with the second layer of cheese, ham, and turkey. Add final layer of cheese and top with remaining toast, with jam side facing cheese. Using hands, lightly press down on sandwiches.
- Pour oil into rimmed baking sheet, place in oven, and heat until just smoking, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, using 2 hands, coat each sandwich with egg mixture and transfer to large plate.
- Transfer sandwiches to preheated baking sheet and bake until golden brown on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side, using spatula to flip. Remove from oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve immediately with remaining jam mixture.