Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich Recipe

Kentucky hot brown turkey sandwich recipe

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
551 Calories
29g Fat
34g Carbs
38g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 551
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 38%
Saturated Fat 14g 68%
Cholesterol 132mg 44%
Sodium 1662mg 72%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 38g
Calcium 497mg 38%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Kentucky hot brown sandwich has been a tradition since its creation in 1926. Fred K. Schmidt, a chef for Louisville's Brown Hotel, initially made the dish for patrons to enjoy after an evening of dinner and dancing. 

The open-face sandwich starts with a slice of toast. The toast is the base for layers of turkey, sliced tomatoes, a Parmesan cheese sauce (Mornay), and extra grated Parmesan cheese. Place the sandwich on an oven-safe pan or dish and broil it just until the cheese is bubbly and browned. For a traditional hot brown, place two strips of bacon on it just before serving.

This version uses a combination of Parmesan and cheddar cheese.

Make these sandwiches for a sandwich supper or luncheon, or prepare them for a game-day snack.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated, divided)
  • 8 slices toast (crusts trimmed)
  • 1 pound turkey (deli or leftover, cooked turkey, thinly sliced)
  • 4 slices tomato (more if small)
  • 8 strips bacon (crisply cooked and drained)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Kentucky brown sandwich
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth and bubbly.

    Melt butter in saucepan
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  3. Add milk, salt, Worcestershire sauce, cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly.

    Add milk and salt
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  4. Cut the trimmed toast in half diagonally and place on a baking sheet (or use individual baking dishes).

    Cut trimmed toast
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  5. Arrange turkey slices on the toast and cover with hot cheese sauce.

    Arrange turkey on toast
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  6. Top with tomato slices and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese evenly over the sandwiches.

    Top with tomato
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  7. Place them under the broiler until hot and bubbly and lightly browned.

    Place under broiler
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  8. Top each sandwich with two strips of crispy bacon, placed in the shape of an "X."

    Top with bacon
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  9. Serve and enjoy!

    Serve and enjoy
    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.