How to Make the Best Monte Cristo Sandwich

A Monte Cristo is a sweet sandwich that is usually filled with ham, turkey, cheese that is dipped in batter, deep-fried and covered with powdered sugar. It is often served with some type of fruit jelly. Basically, it is a glorified grilled cheese sandwich.

Monte Cristo sandwiche with rasberry jam in white rectangular cup- horizantal view with isolated background

Monte Cristo is a variation of the croque-monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich that originated in France as a fast food snack. The Monte Cristo variation originated in the mid-1900s in the California area.

Monte Cristo sandwiches come in many different variations depending on the region where it is made. Most variations are dipped in batter and deep-fried but it can be grilled, served open faced with just the bread battered or on top of French toast and broiled. The sandwiches are also served with a variety of toppings or sides such as fresh fruit, clotted cream, fruit preserves, powdered sugar, maple syrup, sweet mustard or even Thousand Island dressing.

My Experience

I had seen Monte Cristo sandwiches in the past but they always sounded a bit strange to me because I am not accustomed to sweet main dishes or sandwiches. The recipes I found never appealed to me so I just decided to forget about them.

Now, a few years later, I guess my taste preferences changed and I became curious to finally find out what these sandwiches are all about. I found dozens of different recipes (surprise, surprise!). As usual, I MacGyver-ed my own recipe and came up with something that most of my family enjoyed it’s not something we would want to eat often. I think further experimenting will improve my recipe but it probably will no longer resemble a Monte Cristo.

Monte Cristo sandwiche on white plat with rasberry jam in white rectangular cup- top view with isolated background

Most of the recipes I found use flour, baking powder and salt, so I figured why not just use Bisquick mix? The mix already contains all of these ingredients and requires only one dry ingredient.

Some recipes are double-decker sandwiches with 3 pieces of bread instead of 2. I don’t like eating too much starchy foods and it requires a bit more batter, so I stuck with 2 pieces of bread. Different types of bread may be used, such as wheat or French, but I went with plain old white bread. Whatever bread you choose, make sure that it’s very sturdy to support the weight of this sandwich and make it through the frying process unscathed.

The meats and cheeses are up to you but choose at least moderately good luncheon meats. Please be good to your sandwich and taste buds and don’t buy prepackaged American cheese singles!

For more sandwich options, try our Ham and Cheese Pockets, or our Roasted Chicken and Fig Panini with Goat Cheese.

Monte Cristo Sandwich
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Monte Cristo Sandwich
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Ingredients
  • 12 slices bread
  • 6 slices turkey
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 6 slices ham
  • 6 slices American cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • Oil
  • Powdered sugar
  • Raspberry jelly optional
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Put together the sandwiches with the meat and cheese between 2 slices of bread, alternating between the meats and the cheeses.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together with a whisk. Whisk in the water and egg. You want a batter that is the consistency of pancake batter, not too thick or too watery. Add more milk or some water if you need to thin the batter some.
  3. Dip the sandwiches into the batter and deep-fry in enough oil to cover them fry until golden brown.
  4. Remove the sandwiches from the oil and dry as much of the oil off with paper towels.
  5. Serve the sandwiches immediately and top with a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar and optional warm jelly.
Recipe Notes

If you are health-conscious and don't want to deep-fry the sandwiches in oil, they can be baked in a greased pan, uncovered for 30 minutes in a 350° F oven. Also, for a healthier alternative to regular Bisquick, use Bisquick Heart Smart Pancake and Baking Mix is low in fat, cholesterol free and contains 0% t trans fat.

 

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About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

29 thoughts on “How to Make the Best Monte Cristo Sandwich”

  1. An interesting idea for brunch I have not seen before, a little like french toast but with a filling or a savory donut. I may try this one day when I am feeling thin. I like the fried version, but the baked version does sound healthier.

  2. I have eaten this a couple of times as a light lunch at restaurants, it is really nice when served at the right temperature. I never knew ow to make it, thanks for the article.

  3. I have been buying this in a convenient store nearby us, though I really wanted to try how to make one as this looks very easy. I would also try to put a jelly then spread in on sandwiches. I can’t wait to serve this to my nephews and nieces! Yummy!

  4. Wow, this is actually a version of the sandwich I’ve never heard of before! A lunch restaurant near me had a Monte Cristo sandwich which was just ham and melted swiss on rye bread. This sounds surprisingly delicious and I might have to give it a shot.

    • Monte Cristo sandwiches do very widely by region. I’m from the West Coast, where the name is said to have originated, and the sweet and savory is the way it is done over here. Disneyland has a few restaurants that still serve this sandwich and it is extremely popular. Getting the right balance of sweet and savory is the key, and using a really good cheese, such as Gruyere gives a lot more flavor.

  5. What a nice way to spice up a chilly morning…lately that’s what i ‘ve been getting….several monte cristo sandwiches and endless mugs of hot chocolate by the window with a nice book ought to be magical…i plan on making this pretty soon…am all smiles.

  6. That looks ridiculously good. I’d be afraid that the sandwich would fall apart and spill everything out while I’m frying it. Am I being too paranoid?

  7. This looks delicious. I have never before been interested in the monte cristo but this recipe makes me really want to try one. I also agree that real cheese should be used over the kraft singles.

  8. You’ve made an interesting version here, but probably not one I would make. I LOVE Monte Cristo sandwiches, and have since my grandfather first exposed me to them at a very young age. I say they should always have 3 slices of bread, as the ham and turkey are in separate layers entirely. The combination of sweet and savory is amazing when in the right proportions. Gruyere cheese is more traditional and flavorful. It is also delicious as an entirely savory dish without the sugar. It is definitely NOT a glorified cheese sandwich.

  9. Wow, I have never heard of a monte cristo sandwich but it looks delicious. When I enjoy breakfast I like a mix of sweet and savory so this would be right up my alley. I always have bisquick and sandwich materials on hand too. I’m going to try it with gruyere, as another poster suggested. That cheese is my favorite. I would like to make a triple decker sized sandwich for fun but I don’t think I could eat it all! 😉

  10. This sounds delicious and pretty easy to make! I have never had a Monte Cristo sandwich before, but if I have everything in the fridge we may be trying them out for dinner tonight. I know my kids will be excited about them! 🙂

  11. I am not sure I like the sound of this. The sandwich would be good without the addition of sugar and jelly or a sweet filling would complement the sugar perfectly. Ham, cheese and sugar together though? No thanks!

  12. That’s not a glorified grilled cheese sandwich! That’s the monster child of a grilled cheese sandwich and a donut! It looks so weird. Why is it even called ‘Monte Cristo’? Pretty sure it has nothing in common with the count, at least. It looks…so unhealthy. And such a strange mix of tastes. I would neither want to buy it or to try cooking it. I guess the only way I’d ever try it is if someone who happened to cook it would offer me a piece. O_o

  13. I would inhale that meaty sweet treat in a heartbeat. Excuse the rime the words just came together like that. I love foods like this. I think mixing it up with the sweet. Adds a kick to the plain in so many ways. It is different that’s for sure. That is why I know I would like it. I have a sweet tooth that must be fed.

  14. Wow! The only Monte Cristo I know is the book! It’s my first time to hear such kind of sandwich. The closest one I know is just the French toast. It’s probably because the only sandwich that’s prepared at home are those slathered with store-bought jam and jellies, peanut butter, or chocolate mix.
    Anyway, it might not be relevant, but I like that you “mac-gyvered” your way to making this sandwich. Haha, obviously I grew up watching MacGyver. So, it brought a smile.

  15. The Monte Cristo is my go to extravagance meal. A local pub here in town does a doubledecker Monte Cristo that can feed 4 people. I am pinning this recipe because I never though to make one at home. I also don’t prefer the double stack of bread so I like your version very much. I hate deep frying only because I’m scared of grease. I don’t fry a lot so I might just try a pan fry? Kind of similar to how french toast would be cooked. I’m excited to try this because I have almost all of these ingredients at home.

    Off to pin! 🙂 Thanks for the great indulgent recipe.

  16. Delectably decadent and very much a comfort food. These sandwiches will clog your arteries if you eat too much, but they’re perfect if you need to pamper yourself with something delicious one in a while. Simple, and easy to make, they’ll be perfect for casual brunches.

  17. This could make an interesting breakfast, to mix things up a bit. I think my kids would like it.

    I always figured it was basically just French toast with ham and cheese, which I’ve thought about attempting to make. This way seems more substantial and filling.

    I’d probably do the oven method. That is how I make many “fried” things these days. You can still get a nice crisp on things without using so much oil.

  18. This looks really decadent and bad for you, in other words it looks delicious. Like the poster above me, I think this would make a unique breakfast. It still has that “junk food” taste for kids (and me…) but it’s real food. I would also try it in the oven, I’m usually pretty surprised at how well it crisps up.

  19. Every time I’ve had a monte cristo in a restaurant, I’ve really liked the taste but not the consistency. I’ll try out your recipe to see if it results in a more firm sandwich, because I can’t stand the sogginess!

  20. I have never heard of a Monte Christo sandwich, but this sounds really tasty. The contrast of the jam with the meat makes for an interesting combination. It looks like something I’d like to try.

  21. I also never heard about monte cristo sandwiches. I don’t think that they’re known by anyone here!
    I find it hilarious that they’re named like the famous title character of the novel. I googled and found no explanation to the name. I guess it was supposed to sound vaguely French, since it’s based from French sandwiches.
    This looks really tasty (though not healthy, haha) – I’m gonna try them out, since they’re easy to make. I think that my friends would enjoy them.

  22. Hi Lynne! Thanks for the recipe! I had never heard of the Monte Cristo sandwich, before and it looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Oh lord, it looks so good, I’m practically drooling over here! I’m so weak when it comes to fried foods, and sweets, so I know that I will totally fall in love with this dish from the very first bite. I really love how the recipe contains items that most of us already have in our fridges and pantries. Thanks again! I can’t wait to try this!

  23. How come I had never heard of this before? It looks absolutely delicious, and although I try to be careful and limit my fats intake, this sounds like one of those things you’d make an exception for. I’m sure it’s worth every single calorie it has! Besides, your recipe seems easy to make and I appreciated that you suggested some healthier alternatives. I’ll try out both versions soon, I can’t wait to surprise my husband with this fantastic recipe, I’m sure he will love it! Thank you!

  24. I like the sound of the ham and the cheese and the bread, but I’ll stick to toasting mine, I cannot contemplate deep fried?! I’ll give that part a miss, I think. Likewise the powdered sugar and the jelly!

  25. I have never heard about Monte Cristo sandwiches but they do remind me of something similar that we make in Greece. The only difference is that we put the bread in toaster machine (the one with a lid you press down on top of your bread) and just take them out. Those are family favorites! They are also not served with sugar or jelly, so this is quite a difference! I think I need to prepare these ones and also try out my original recipe and check out which one is better, haha!

  26. Monte Cristo sandwiches were very popular at a restaurant I used to work in back in the 90’s and are also served at another local place that has become a favorite of mine. They’re pretty wonderful. I will say that my favorite version of the sandwich was served with warm blueberry compote. It was the perfect accompaniment!

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