This Monte Cristo sandwich is the highest grilled cheese / toast hybrid ever! The crispy challah, melted Swiss cheese, turkey and salted ham are dipped in a mixture of custard, pan-fried and served with maple syrup and fruit jam on the side for dipping. Sweet and savory in every perfect bite!

Monte Cristo sandwich cut in half and stacked, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Often confused with its French pal the Croque Monsieur, the Monte Cristo sandwich is a kind of tasty French toast. We start with a ham, turkey and cheese sandwich, then dip everything in a mixture of custard and pan fry like French toast.

As if that wasn't tempting enough, these sandwiches are traditionally served with maple syrup or fruit jams for dipping. Believe me when I tell you they are in a class of their own!

These sandwiches started appearing in the United States in the early 1900s, but the recipe really exploded when the Disneyland Monte Cristo sandwich appeared at the park's Blue Bayou restaurant in the 1960s. It has a cult following and I'm thrilled to share my favorite version with you!

Custard mold with a whisk and a plate with slices of bread.

Tips for ingredients and equipment

  • Cream: I took my traditional French toast recipe and adapted it for the coating here. The custard mixture includes a little brown sugar and vanilla extract, which you can omit. If you're looking for something tastier, adding a pinch of your favorite herb can add a little extra zip!
  • Bread: One of the best parts of the Disneyland Monte Cristo sandwich is that they use challah bread instead of a standard white or French bread - and that's my go-to use for that (as well as my French toast!). I use stale slices here, either putting them the night before or drying them in the oven on the lowest setting. Brioche would also be a good substitute.
  • Cheese: This sandwich traditionally includes Gruyère or Swiss cheese. Gruyere has a little nutty taste and is extra salty, which goes so well with the sweetness of the fruit or syrup. Swiss is great if you're looking for a milder flavor, and that's what you'll find at Disneyland Monte Cristo.
  • Meat: The meat in the Monte Cristo sandwich varies from region to region, but I prefer it with equal parts Virginia ham and smoked turkey. In some parts of the United States, you'll see this with all ham, and some even use prosciutto.
  • Kitchen Tools: You will need a large baking dish for the custard dredging; I found that a Pan 9 × 13 inches is perfect for dipping four sandwiches! You also need a skillet or plate for frying and a cooling grid to put them once cooked, so that they remain crispy.

Turn the assembled sandwiches into the custard.

Make a Monte Cristo sandwich step by step

  1. Whisk together the custard mixture and pour it into the 9 × 13-inch pan.
  2. Top four challah slices with equal parts ham, turkey and cheese, and top with another slice of bread.
  3. Melt ½ tablespoon of butter in the pan over medium-low heat.
  4. Place the assembled sandwiches in the glass tray. You want them to stay in the custard for 20 seconds on each side. Place two of the coated sandwiches on a plate on the side.
  5. Place the other two sandwiches in the pan for about 3 to 4 minutes, until the first side is golden brown.
  6. Carefully flip the sandwich and fry for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Once crisp, place the sandwiches on the cooling rack or on a serving platter covered with a paper towel.
  8. Wipe down the pan with another paper towel and melt the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter. Fry the last two sandwiches the same way!

A Monte Cristo sandwich fried in a pan.

Suggest ideas, variations and advice

  • Syrups: You can't go wrong with pure maple syrup here! I recommend sticking to something low in added sugar or flavors. The more basic the syrup, the bolder the rest of the flavors become.
  • Preserves: Honestly, it's so awesome that even the pantry jelly works. But - in my dream world, a berry or stone fruit jam goes exceptionally well. Apricot, raspberry and blackberry are some of my favorites!
  • Sugar: A Monte Cristo sandwich is usually topped with powdered sugar, but cinnamon is delicious too. If you go the tastier route, you can garnish with parsley, cheese or herbs from Provence.
  • Stove or stove: If you are doing this for one or two - using a standard pan works very well! If you have a large number of sandwiches to prepare, a frying pan or countertop hot plate is a great way to craft them! For big parties, you can also use slide out buns to create hand-held versions that everyone will love.
  • Make-Ahead: If you're cooking a meal or planning a party, you can cut down on prep time by pre-making these sandwiches. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap or Ziploc the night before and you can soak them the next day! The custard can also be made the night before and kept covered in the refrigerator.

I need more delicious sandwiches! And you?

Monte Cristo sandwich on a plate with a fork.

I would absolutely love you to be a sandwich at Monte Cristo; if you do, stop by and leave a note and let me know how you liked it! ENJOY! 😍

Variant of the Croque Monsieur, it is a savory ham, turkey and cheese sandwich prepared like French toast, served with sweet fruit jams or maple syrup.

  • 8

    slices

    firm bread

    (a hearty French or Challah, sliced ​​½ inch to 1 inch thick)

  • cups

    whole milk

  • 6

    egg yolks

  • 3

    soup spoons

    light brown sugar

  • 2

    soup spoons

    Unsalted butter

    (melted + 1 tablespoon for cooking)

  • 1

    teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • ¼

    teaspoon

    salt

  • 8

    ounces

    sliced ​​virginia ham

  • 8

    ounces

    sliced ​​turkey breast

  • 8

    ounces

    Gruyère (or Swiss) cheese

    (grated or sliced)

  • Granulated sugar

    (to sprinkle)

  • Preserved raspberries or blackberries

    (To serve)

  • Maple syrup

    (To serve)

  1. If your bread isn't dry yet, place it in the toaster on the lowest setting to dry it.

  2. Whisk together milk, egg yolks, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract and salt in a medium bowl. Pour the cream into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

  3. Assemble the sandwiches by filling 4 slices of bread with an equal amount of ham, turkey and cheese, then top with the remaining slices of bread, pressing them gently.

  4. Place a 12-inch pan over medium-low heat and melt ½ tablespoon of butter.

  5. Meanwhile, place the assembled sandwiches in the custard mixture for 20 seconds. Gently flip the sandwiches and let the other side soak for another 20 seconds. Transfer two of the sandwiches to a baking sheet or baking sheet.

  6. Place the other two sandwiches in the pan and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully flip the sandwiches and cook until the second side is golden brown, another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove cooked sandwiches to a cooling rack or serving platter. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, melt the remaining ½ tbsp of butter and repeat with the remaining two sandwiches.

  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup or canned fruit for dipping.

  • Equipment: 9x13 inch pan / skillet or plate / cooling grid
  • Bread: Challah is recommended, but brioche will also work.
  • Cheese: Gruyere is preferred, but if you like a milder flavor you can use Swiss.
  • Portion: Serve with maple syrup or canned fruit on the side, for dipping.
  • Make-Ahead: Assemble the sandwiches, wrap them in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge overnight. Custard can also be assembled, covered and refrigerated overnight. Dip and fry the sandwiches before serving.
Nutritional values ​​are based on a sandwich

Calories: 783 kcal

Fat: 46 g

Saturated fat: 22g

Cholesterol: 414 mg

Sodium: 1526 mg

Potassium: 504 mg

Carbohydrates: 46 g

Fiber: 2g

Sugar: 20g

Protein: 42 g

Vitamin A: 1250%

Vitamin C: 0.2%

Calcium: 814%

The iron: 3.6%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below, then take a photo and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Photograph by Lauren Grant.