Hot Brown Sandwich

A Hot Brown Sandwich from Kentucky is the ultimate Southern Comfort dish! 

It’s a delicious, mouth-watering, open-faced turkey sandwich that is topped with slices of juicy tomatoes and tomato Jam, bubbly cheese sauce and crispy bacon.

Incredible, right?

This scrumptious dish can be served as either a full meal or as an appetizer. The dish is the perfect marriage of turkey, bread, tomatoes and melted Mornay cheese sauce! 

And this hot brown recipe is to die for! 

What Is A Hot Brown Sandwich?

A Hot Brown Sandwich is quintessentially Southern. It’s the perfect sandwich any time of year, served to your own family or to your guests.

Southern cooks have embraced this recipe for turkey sandwiches since the 20s! The dish is said to have been born at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. 

Kentucky legend has it that chef Fred K. Schmidt, who was at the Brown Hotel in the 1920s, was the man who created it. He served the hot brown sandwich to guests after a fun evening of dancing. It’s been a hit ever since. 

This “drinking food” has been a favorite in Kentucky and all over the South for generations, and for good reason - it really is tasty - a turkey sandwich that tops all others. 

Part of what makes this dish so tasty is the fact that it is served open-faced. Bacon is added on the top, and who doesn’t love bacon?

To top that awesomeness off, the brown sandwich is broiled and bubbling over with delicious, French Mornay sauce - a cheesy delicacy.

French Mornay Sauce

Are you wondering what Mornay sauce is? 

Mornay sauce is a delicious cheese sauce, thanks to the French! French styles of cooking were introduced decades ago in the South, and the Mornay sauce is pure French heaven.

Mornay sauce is a really creamy and smooth cheese sauce. It begins with a mixture of melted butter, milk, white flour, and egg yolk. It is cooked until it becomes smooth. As it thickens, grated cheese is whisked in. Usually the French use a hard white cheese for Mornay sauce (like Gruyère and Parmesan). Some Americans use Cheddar. 

Mornay sauce for the hot brown is easy to make - and oh so good!

Here is an easy hot brown recipe for you:

Hot Brown Sandwich Recipe With Tomato Jam 

For our hot turkey and cheese sandwiches, we created a delicious 

twist by adding  TBJ Deep South Tomato Jam for a tasty twist!


  • 8 slices of toast - remove the crusts 
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Extra shredded cheeses for the top
  • 1 pound deli turkey, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup of Deep South Tomato Jam
  • 1 large tomato, sliced thinly
  • 8 strips of crispy bacon


  1. Melt your butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat.
  2. Stir in the flour until smooth.
  3. Slowly add in the whole milk, the salt, Worcestershire sauce, and finally, the cheeses. 
  4. Cook until it thickens and becomes bubbly.
  5. Cut your toast diagonally and remove crusts. Place your trimmed toast on a baking sheet.
  6. Build the sandwiches by first spreading the tomato jam directly onto the toast. Then, pile up the turkey slices onto the toasts. 
  7. Cover evenly with your Mornay cheese sauce.
  8. Top it with tomato slices, two slices of bacon on each sandwich in an “X”, and some extra shredded cheese.
  9. Place your cookie sheet in the broiler until the sandwiches are nice and hot, and lightly browned.

Serve and enjoy!

Important: Do not use glass dishes or bakeware! Broiling can cause glass to explode. *Even if it says it is oven-safe.

Tips For Making The Perfect Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches

While this recipe is pretty straight forward, TBJ Gourmet has a few tips for you!

Tips so that you sandwiches are perfect, every time:

  • You can toast the bread first if you’d like. This keeps your sandwich crispy. 
  • Pat dry your tomatoes with a paper towel to prevent any sogginess.
  • Make sure that you only settle for the best quality turkey. Your local deli can slice you up some fabulous turkey - explain that you are making hot browns so that they slice it thickly enough. 
  • Ask your deli or local market for top quality cheeses for your Mornay sauce. Make sure the sauce is thick enough!
  • Kick it up by adding extra shredded cheese with jam on top. Try out other cheeses, too. 

Why Hot Browns Are SO Great!

Hot brown sandwiches are a great way to use up any leftover turkey from Christmas Dinner or Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s a great leftover alternative, and so tasty! Make it a new holiday tradition!

If you are wondering how to use tomato jam in a fun way, or seeking new uses for tomato jam - this is a great way! Tomato and bacon jam have many uses, and kick everything up a notch.

Try making your turkey hot brown sandwiches with fresh chicken or pulled pork for a fun twist. It’s a great alternative to other turkey sandwiches recipes or a grilled cheese with bacon jam sandwich. It’s unique.

This Kentucky hot brown sandwich recipe can also make a great Southern charm breakfast! Starting out with English muffins as the base. Then add a fried or poached egg on top. It’s super savory this way, and really hearty.

Once you feel like you’ve mastered it, serve these beautiful hot brown sandwiches as a fun family dinner for your next movie night, for a ladies luncheon, or as a *perfect* super bowl and game-day feast. 

Make sure you make enough for seconds!

Bon Apétit!

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