Kentucky Hot Brown

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Kentucky Hot Brown – The very best sandwich I’ve ever eaten, a Derby tradition… why isn’t this on your menu yet!?

Kentucky Hot Brown I One Lovely LifeAre you getting ready for the Kentucky Derby this weekend? I never even knew when the Kentucky Derby was until marrying into Michael’s family. It’s quite an affair. We all choose horses and the winner gets glory and honor until the next year.

We don’t drink alcohol, so we don’t go for the traditional mint juleps, but we DO go for the food, which makes everything fun. We try something new every year and this year, we wanted to try the legendary Kentucky hot brown sandwich.

Kentucky Hot Brown I One Lovely Life  Kentucky Hot Brown I One Lovely Life
The Kentucky Hot Brown, as I understand it, originated at the Brown Derby restaurant as a late night snack for guests to eat after a long night of dancing. I wish my late night snacks were this glamorous! 12,000 steps above a handful of chip crumbs or stale microwave popcorn, the kentucky hot brown is an open-faced sandwich topped with shaved turkey or chicken, sliced tomatoes, and mornay sauce that’s put under the broiler until bubbly and browned then topped with an “x’ of bacon slices and garnished with parsley.

Seriously, people. Doesn’t part of you just need one right now?

This is the sort of sandwich that becomes a knife and fork affair. Unless, of course, you and your husband agree not to think less of each other and you eat it like pizza, mornay sauce dripping off your fingers and toasty crumbs sticking to your cheeks.

Not that I know from experience.

Traditionally, the bacon is served as pictured, in an “x” over the sandwich. If you’re serving this to little ones or want it a bit easier to eat, I recommend crumbling it and sprinkling it on top of the mornay sauce after broiling. It’s for ease of eating that I diced my tomatoes instead of slicing them. You do what you will.

Kentucky Hot Brown I One Lovely Life

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Kentucky Hot Brown

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5 from 1 review

  • Yield: 4 1x



For sandwich:

  • 4 slices thick toast
  • 1lb turkey or chicken, cooked and sliced thin
  • 8 slices bacon cooked (crumbled if desired)
  • 8 slices tomatoes (or 2 small roma tomatoes, diced)
  • Mornay sauce (see below)
  • fresh parmesan and fresh parsley for garnish

For Mornay sauce:

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2c half-and-half
  • 3/4c grated parmesan or Romano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


For the mornay sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook 1-2 minutes, or until slightly golden. Stir in half-and-half and stir until sauce has thickened somewhat. Stir in grated cheese and add salt and pepper, to taste.

For the sandwiches:

  1. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place toast on baking sheet and divide the turkey (or chicken) among the toast and layer tomatoes on top of the turkey. Pour mornay sauce the top of each sandwich.
  2. Place pan under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until mornay sauce is golden and bubbly.
  3. Place bacon in an “x” over each sandwich and garnish with parmesan and parsley.

Recipe adapted from the Brown Derby.

Kentucky Hot Brown - Cheesy, gooey, salty, savory... this is SUCH a good sandwich. Especially for Derby Day.


  1. mmmmmm…..you are correcto in where it originated my friend. and if you are ever in louisville, you need to go to the Brown Hotel and try it there. i have, and it was deelish!! it was my first experience with the hot brown actually! yours looks amazing, now i want one too!

    1. That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking as I ate it. I used chicken this time around (I rarely cook turkey just because), but I TOTALLY want to try it with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers this fall!

  2. Good gravy! (really)
    But seriously, I mentioned to a friend that this was Kentucky Derby weekend and Cinco de Mayo and we are serving Mexican at home on Saturday and Kentucky yummies on Sunday. He asked what kind of yummies were Kentuckan? (His word, not mine) I told him we would be having Hot Browns and Derby Pie. He said both sounded definitely like they originated with the back end of a HORSE…

    Made me giggle.

  3. Oh, goodness! I made these for dinner tonight and they’re SO GOOD! I didn’t really know what to expect as it seems like such simple ingredients, but all combined? Heaven! All of the ingredients blend and compliment each other perfectly. Love it! Thanks for sharing the recipe! We’ll definitely be making these again!

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