monte cristo sandwich dipped in raspberry jam
Recipes » Sandwiches » The Original Monte Cristo Sandwich

The Original Monte Cristo Sandwich

 

The first time I sat down to The Original Monte Cristo Sandwich I was 15 years old. I was visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida with my family. As Disney always is, crowded and hot, hot, hot, we stopped on Main Street USA to get out of the sun and grab lunch.

This of course, in the days of old when you did not need a reservation at Disney eateries. We all ordered the same thing, the most tantalizing of sandwiches on the menu, The Monte Cristo. It was MARVELOUS and I have adored them ever since. Where had this been my whole life?

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Built tall like Cinderella’s castle with two kinds of cheese and scrumptious ham and turkey, dipped in batter and fried until the cheese is molten…<sigh>…I am dazed with foodie delight. This Monte Cristo recipe may just convince you to try an epic, albeit fried sandwich.

close up of the original monte cristo fried sandwich

What Is A Monte Cristo Sandwich?

“Monte Cristo” is a tribute to the French novel The Count of Monte Christo by Alexander Dumas. As such, the sandwich’s name suggests its French origins. Food historians generally think that the Monte Cristo sandwich is a variation of a French Croque Monsieur.

The traditional Monte Cristo sandwich is made from deli ham and Swiss cheese. The entire sandwich is then lightly dipped in egg batter and grilled. American’s have taken the grilling a wee bit further and often deep fry the sandwich once assembled, secured with toothpicks, and battered.

close up of the original monte cristo fried sandwich in a bowl with French fries

Monte Cristo sandwiches tend to vary from chef to chef. The typical components of the sandwich remain the same however. Three thick slices of sweet Brioche bread, one slice piled with tavern ham and American cheese. A middle slice of bread is then added. To that, smoked turkey and Swiss cheese capped with the final slice of bread.

Once secured with toothpicks, the sandwich is cut on the diagonal and dipped in an egg batter and fried. There are a zillion sandwich recipes out there, and the Monte Cristo has numerous methods of assembly. I have heard of this sandwich recipe prepared in an air fryer. I have yet to try it. There is also a baked Monte Cristo sandwich out there. I’ve heard of places who lather the bread slices with mayonnaise or mustard. I go old school and let the melted cheese be the mortar. For me, a deep fried Monte Cristo sandwich with jam is a treat.

close up of the original monte cristo fried sandwich

A question I have been asked a lot is what to serve with Monte Cristo sandwiches. I keep it light and do a side of red seedless grapes or oven baked fries. A bona fide Monte Cristo is served with a side of red raspberry jam and dusted liberally with powdered sugar. Those of you who know this sandwich, well…your mouth is watering, isn’t it? Huh? See!

Some Monte Cristo’s are prepared like French toast, and served with warm maple syrup. I ate my way through what seemed like nothing more than a grilled cheese sandwich with leftover ham. Typically, I do not enjoy this most iconic of American sandwich inventions prepared this way. For me, it’s the “go Disney World or go bust Monte Cristo.

How To Make A Monte Cristo Sandwich

The method for the Monte Cristo sandwich may look laborious but it is deceivingly uncomplicated. It is a quick and easy meal that, with a little planning, comes together in under 30 minutes. I know this memorable sammie will leave your taste buds craving more! I have updated the instructions to include the full method for frying the sandwich. Yes, I have heard from enough followers familiar with the Monte Cristo. You asked for that final step, the deep fry. Your emails convinced me to update my recipe.

hand dipping Monte Cristo sandwich into raspberry jam

The batter is light and very runny but do not be fooled because it toasts up beautifully golden. Contrary to belief, frying this sandwich does NOT cause the bread to absorb the oil. You want your oil super-hot when the sandwich hits. This way, the batter instantaneously cooks establishing that barrier between the sandwich and the oil. I drain on a wire cooling rack over a layer of paper toweling for 3 to 5 minutes. Then I each triangle in half again, and dusting with powdered sugar.

monte cristo sandwich dipped in raspberry jam

The Original Monte Cristo Sandwich

Jenny from Not Entirely Average
A wonderfully delicious and surprisingly light-fried ham, turkey, and cheese triple decker sandwich that is the most tantalizing of meals.
4.50 from 6 votes
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 sandwiches
Calories 1168 kcal

Equipment

  • large Dutch oven or other deep cast iron pot for frying
  • long toothpicks or bamboo skewers that have been cut to fit the sandwich
  • Kitchen tongs
  • wire cooling rack

Ingredients
 

Ingredients For The Monte Cristo Sandwich

    for the egg batter

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/3 cups water
    • 1 large egg lightly beaten

    for the sandwiches

    • 8 ounces sliced smoked turkey breast
    • 4 ounce swiss cheese
    • 8 ounces sliced tavern ham
    • 4 ounce American cheese
    • 12 slices thick-sliced Brioche bread or other Texas toast sized bread
    • **4 to 6 cups vegetable or canola oil for frying **the amount of oil you use will be dependent on the size of the pot you use, but you want the oil at least 4 to 6 inches deep
    • red raspberry or blackberry jam for serving this should be at room temperature
    • powdered sugar for dusting

    Instructions
     

    The Method

    • Prepare a wire cooling rack by laying paper toweling over the rack in a double layer. Set aside.
    • In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together.
    • In a separate bowl, whisk the lightly beaten egg and the water together. Add to flour mixture and combine well. Set aside.
    • Make the sandwiches by first laying out 4 slices of the bread. Top the bread with 2 ounces each of one of the meats and 1 ounce each of one of the cheeses. The order is irrelevant. Top each with a second slice of bread. Repeat, topping the second slice of bread with the remaining 2 ounces of meat and remaining 1 ounce of cheese. Cap with the third slice of bread and cut each sandwich in half on the diagonal. Secure each half with at least 2 long toothpicks or modified bamboo skewers.
    • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven to 360° using a candy thermometer to alert the correct temperature.
    • One sandwich at a time (two halves), dip into the egg batter and coat on all sides well. Fry in the oil until golden brown on all sides. This step will take several minutes per side. Do not crowd the sandwiches.
    • Remove each half using tongs to the prepared wire cooling rack. Repeat, one sandwich at a time, until all of the halves are fried. Remove the toothpicks and cut each half in half again. Now you will have 4 triangles.
    • Assemble the triangles on plates. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar and serve with a side of red raspberry or blackberry jam.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1servingsCalories: 1168kcalCarbohydrates: 89gProtein: 53gFat: 67gSaturated Fat: 39gCholesterol: 344mgSodium: 2693mgPotassium: 571mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1471IUCalcium: 780mgIron: 5mg
    Keyword croque monsieur, Disneyland monte cristo, ham, Monte Cristo, monte cristo sandwich, sandwich, turkey
    Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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    monte cristo sandwich dipped in raspberry jam

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    16 Comments

      1. Jacki, I am grateful for your comment, and yes, ‘battering’ the sandwich and frying is the traditional way of preparing. I’d be lying if I said it was not my fave way to eat this sandwich! I have a simple secret for the batter, but chose not to post to this method because I did not want those trying it to shy away from it because it seemed like a lot of work. That, and it gets messy. The method presented tastes just as flavorful and will leave you wanting more. But really, battering is not so difficult and as long as the oil is shimmering and ready, it just adds a most delicious last step. The simple secret is Bisquick! So, sounds like same as probably what you did.

        As a side note, I just arrived home from Christmas in Disney. We stayed at the new Riviera Resort, and to my shock and surprise, the tiny little bar at the pool had the Monte Cristo on its menu! So, officially as of December 16, this sandwich is back at Disney and back by popular demand on the east coast! I’ll be writing a follow-up to this original post in the days and weeks coming. And you’ve forced me to consider adding the batter step to the method. Thank you Jacki!

    1. I had my first Monte Cristo at Noel’s in Edgewood/Milton, WA, but they have since closed. Now I get them at Patty’s Eggnest in Tukwila, WA.5 stars

      1. Axel, I went online and checked out Patty’s Eggnest and their menu looks like it’s my kind of place! Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I often eat it out, alone with pen and paper in hand to plot my day. Good coffee, free coffee refills, and a plate of eggs. I bet their Monte Cristo is amazing. I also hope I’ll be able to get out to your neck of the woods one of these days, as your region of the country is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for commenting, Axel! x – Jenny

    2. My mouth is watering looking at the pictures of this monte Cristo sandwich! Oh I am so happy you shared this. Have a great week. Love your blog. Your have amazing recipes on here!

      1. Meagan, aren’t you so nice to leave me this sweet note – thank you! I 110% LOVE a Monte Cristo and look forward to Disney in Orlando because I know somebody else will make it FOR ME! x – Jenny

    3. Gosh these look amazing!!! Better than any sandwich you’ll get at Disney I bet ;D I do love the Monte Cristo…such a fun weekend treat ^_^5 stars

      1. Tammy, I crave these bad boys, so I have to compose myself when I start dreaming about them! Thanks for this – you’re sweet to drop by! Jenny