Monte Cristo Sandwich

Monte Cristo sandwich is a holy alliance of ham, cheese, and mustard sandwiched together with French toast rather than sliced bread and smothered in maple syrup. They’re inexpensive to make and on the table in just 30 minutes.

Maple syrup being poured over a monte cristo sandwich that is on a piece of parchment paper.

Monte Cristo. Sounds sorta pretentious, doesn’t it? Don’t let the highfalutin name fool you. This anytime-of-day sandwich indulgence is essentially a leftover ham and cheese sandwich that collided with a grilled cheese but with French toast masquerading as the sliced bread.

It may seem a touch quirky, this collision of sweet and savory, but the unlikely combination of eggs, ham, cheese, mustard, custardy bread, and maple syrup or jam is lovely for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any other time your curiosity merits making it. This particular recipe swaps sturdy English muffins in place of spongy white sandwich bread but suit yourself.


Why our testers loved this

There’s a whole bunch of reasons our recipe testers devoured these classic French sandwiches. They loved that it could be served at any meal of the day and were especially smitten with the creamy texture of the custard-soaked English muffins.

Victoria F. encourages everyone to “Give it a try—you won’t be sorry!”

Notes on ingredients

  • Eggs and cream–The cream custard coats the English muffins to create a creamy center and crusty exterior, similar to French toast.
  • English muffins–The open structure makes them perfect for these sandwiches, as there are plenty of nooks and crannies for the custard to soak into. You can substitute regular thick-cut sandwich bread, if you prefer.
  • Gruyère cheese–The nutty flavor of Gruyère pairs extremely well with the sweet jam and salty ham. We highly recommend using Gruyère, but you could substitute a different type of Swiss cheese.
  • Ham–You can use thin-sliced deli ham or feel free to use leftover baked ham.
  • Jam or syrup–Red currant jelly is the classic choice, but we love it with raspberry jam, too.

How to make this recipe

  1. Whisk the eggs, cream, salt, and sugar together. Soak the English muffin halves in the custard for 10 minutes.
  2. Assemble the sandwiches. Top a soaked English muffin half with a slice of cheese, some ham, and a schmear of mustard. Top with the other English muffin half.
  3. Cook the Monte Cristo sandwiches. Fry the sandwiches in butter in a skillet until browned on one side. Flip and transfer to a 350°F oven to finish cooking.
  4. Serve, topped with jam or syrup.

Recipe FAQs

What’s the best jam for a Monte Cristo?

The classic choice is a sweetly tart red currant jelly, but we think raspberry is a fantastic option, too.  

What is the difference between a Croque Monsieur and a Monte Cristo?

Both sandwiches hail from France and are traditionally served there in cafés and patisseries. Both sandwiches include ham and Gruyère cheese.

Here’s where the difference is: A Croque Monsieur is a simple sandwich layered with béchamel sauce and baked. A Monte Cristo is dipped in egg batter, deep or pan-fried, and then dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with jam or maple syrup.

Intrigued by both? Check out David’s Croque Monsieur Casserole.

Helpful tips

  • Don’t crowd the skillet when cooking the sandwiches. Make them in batches or use a second skillet, if necessary.
  • These easy Monte Cristo sandwiches are a great way to use up leftover ham.
  • Leftover sandwiches can be wrapped in foil and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. To reheat, place the foil-wrapped sandwich in a 400°F oven until heated through.

More great sandwich recipes

☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Maple syrup being poured over a monte cristo sandwich that is on a piece of parchment paper.
The monte cristo sandwich may sound fancy, but it's really nothing more than the collision of a ham and cheese sandwich and French toast. Not fancy. But definitely delicious.

Prep 20 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 30 mins
Breakfast
French
4 servings
338 kcal
5 / 3 votes
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Ingredients 

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 English muffins split
  • 4 thin slices Gruyère cheese
  • 4 thick or 8 thin slices smoked ham
  • Dijon mustard to taste
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Your favorite jam, pure maple syrup, and/or confectioners’ sugar for serving

Directions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and sugar. Place the English muffin halves, cut side up, in a single layer in a baking dish or roasting pan. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top and let the muffins soak until saturated, flipping the muffins once, about 10 minutes.
  • Using a fork or tongs, lift a muffin half from the batter, letting the excess liquid drip back into the bowl, and place it on a plate, cut side down. Place a cheese slice on top of the muffin, followed by 1 or 2 slices ham. Top with a schmear of mustard. Sandwich with another English muffin half, cut side up. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  • In a large ovenproof skillet over medium to medium-low heat, heat 1 tablespoon butter until it melts, tilting the skillet to evenly slick the surface with butter. Carefully arrange the assembled sandwiches in the pan and cook until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. (It may be necessary to cook the sandwiches in batches so as not to crowd the skillet. Add more butter to the skillet in between batches if necessary.)
  • Using a wide spatula, flip the sandwiches. Slide the skillet into the oven and bake just until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes, flipping the sandwiches once again halfway through.
  • Serve right away. Don't forget to pass jam, maple syrup, and/or confectioners’ sugar at the table.
Print RecipeBuy the This Is a Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Notes

  1. Avoid overcrowding–Don’t crowd the skillet when cooking the sandwiches. Make them in batches or use a second skillet, if necessary.
  2. Use up leftover ham–These easy Monte Cristo sandwiches are a great way to use up leftover ham.
  3. Storage and reheating–Leftover Monte Cristo sandwiches can be wrapped in foil and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. To reheat, place the foil-wrapped sandwich in a 400°F oven until heated through.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 338kcal (17%)Carbohydrates: 28g (9%)Protein: 12g (24%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 11g (69%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 229mg (76%)Sodium: 945mg (41%)Potassium: 176mg (5%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 804IU (16%)Vitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 89mg (9%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This Monte Cristo sandwich recipe was simply delicious. The English muffin tastes “homemade” after it’s soaked in the custard and cooked. The ham adds just the right amount of smokiness, the Gruyère is creamy and flavorful, and the mustard complements everything in the most subtle way.

I sprinkled it with confectioners’ sugar and served it with pure maple syrup. It was a hit.

Great for breakfast, lunch, brunch, and heck—even dinner! Give it a try—you won’t be sorry!

We served these simple and delicious Monte Cristo sandwiches for a mid-morning brunch accompanied by a bowl of fresh fruit and real maple syrup. I heard nothing but cheers! The muffin-to-custard ratio was perfect and soaked together nicely in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.

I found it easy to start a custard-soaked muffin half in the pan and then build the sandwich in the pan quickly while the first muffin half began to cook. The oven finish in a buttered pan resulted in a nice crust on the outside of each Monte Cristo. It also allowed the custard batter soaked up by the muffins to finish cooking through so it wasn’t soggy and ensured the cheese melted to a precise gooeyness.

This recipe will be a future go-to recipe.

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