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close up shot of 4 Kentucky Hot Browns on a foil lined pan

Kentucky Hot Brown

Kentucky Hot Browns are pure comfort food – an open-faced turkey sandwich topped with sliced tomatoes, bubbly cheese sauce and crispy bacon. Mom added unique touches to the original hot brown recipe – yellow Cheddar cheese and sliced ham – making our family’s version unique, and we think even more tasty. Note that the recipe can easily be scaled up or down, depending on desired portion size as well as number of portions.

  • Prep Time: 12 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Total Time: 24 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x



Cheese Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, at room temperature or warmed
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  • 4 slices toasted bread (sourdough works well)
  • 8 slices cooked turkey breast, placed on paper towel to dry, if needed
  • 4 slices baked ham, placed on paper towel to dry if, needed
  • 8 slices fresh, ripe tomato, slices placed on paper towel to soak up excess moisture
  • 8 slices crispy cooked bacon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper (a quarter-sheet pan works well).

Cheese Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes.
  2. Whisk in milk, raise the heat to medium, and continue cooking, stirring, until very thick.
  3. Stir in cheese and continue cooking, stirring, until the cheese melts.
  4. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Set aside and keep warm.


  1. Place toast slices in one layer on prepared baking sheet.
  2. Put 2 slices of turkey and 1 of ham on each piece of toast (fold slices in half if large).
  3. Place 2 slices of tomato on top of each sandwich, overlapping if needed. foil lined baking sheet pan with Kentucky Hot Browns, no cheese sauce
  4. Spoon cheese sauce over top of all.
  5. Top with 2 slices of bacon on top of each sandwich, making an “X” shape.
  6. Bake until sauce bubbles, around 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.


Variation on baking pan: these sandwiches can also be prepared in a rimmed baking dish or in individual gratin dishes.

Tip on fixing runny cheese sauce: Hot Brown cheese sauce needs to be fairly thick, in our opinion. If yours is runny, here’s how to fix it – in a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon flour with 1 tablespoon of the sauce. It will form a paste. Slowly whisk in 1 tablespoon water, just until smooth (no lumps). Add another tablespoon of water if needed. Slowly whisk flour mixture into sauce and cook, over medium-low heat, until thickened.

  • Author: Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: sandwiches, lunch, dinner, main dish
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Southern

Keywords: hot sandwich, turkey, Mornay sauce