The Next Generation of Grilled Cheese: Monte Cristo Sandwiches

When I was younger, my dad would pack jam and cheese sandwiches for camping and fishing trips. They might not have been the most pristine sandwiches, but they kept well. Later in life, I was introduced to the Monte Cristo sandwich–still the same jam and cheese but with ham and mustard added in and either grilled or fried. It was an upgrade tp the classic grilled cheese sandwich I never knew I needed.

  • Not Your Ordinary Grilled Cheese! It’s more than just grilled cheese, and it tastes so much better with the combination of ham, cheese, raspberry jam, and mustard between two slices of bread and fresh out of the grill or fryer.
  • Great-tasting! You wouldn’t think that raspberry jam and mustard would ever belong on the same sandwich, but with the other flavors from the sandwich, it just works, and you won’t find a better sandwich.
  • You can grill it or fry it! You have options for your Monte Cristo sandwich, whether you want to grill it like a grilled cheese or dip it in batter and deep fry it.
  • So many variations! You’re not limited to the flavors. You can use any deli meat, jam, sauce, cheese, or bread that you want. The only requirement is that you have some combination of sweet and spicy, meat and cheese, and bread that has been fried or grilled into one tasty sandwich.

The Original Monte Cristo Sandwich

This is an old French sandwich circa 1910. It became popular in America in the 1930’s and then seem to drop out of sight in the 1960’s. My dad loved Monte Cristo sandwiches. As a child, it seemed that they were popular in diners and other casual recipes. Either way, they were made with meat, usually ham, and a soft cheese, raspberry jam, and mustard or a hot sauce. They are now a type of sandwich, a meat and cheese sandwich cooked like French toast or deep fried. We’ve maintained the sweet layer with either jam or a flavored honey.

How to Make Your Monte Cristo Sandwich: Grilling or Deep Frying

Grilling Your Monte Cristo

To grill your Monte Cristo sandwich, you can cook it just like you would French toast or a grilled cheese sandwich. Dredge the sandwich through an egg mixture and then grill it on a hot griddle until both sides are golden brown. The result is much like a French toast sandwich but much better.

Frying Your Monte Cristo

Frying a Monte Cristo sandwich is much like deep frying stuffed French toast. You dip it into a tempura batter until it’s covered and put it into a hot deep fryer until it’s golden brown on both sides. The result is a nice, crispy sandwich with the fried batter to tie everything together.

How to Use the Monte Cristo Sandwich as a Template

Starting with the Basics

As mentioned earlier, the Monte Cristo sandwich has become more of a sandwich type, making it a great template for variations. To make your variations, you need to stick with the basics of the sandwich, but then you can let your imagination soar from there:

  • Sandwich bread
  • Deli meat
  • Cheese
  • A sweet layer of jam or honey
  • A spicy layer of sauce or mustard

Choose your jam here.

Choose your honey here.

Try our Thai Sweet Chili Sauce here.

Recommended Flavors

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices hearty bread
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices of provolone or Swiss cheese
  • 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham

Directions:

  1. Set aside eight slices of hearty bread.  If all you have is very light bread that may come apart when dipped in the egg mixture, toast the bread.
  2. Mix the eggs, milk, salt, dry mustard, and white pepper together in a shallow bowl.
  3. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on the bread slices.  Place a slice of cheese on four of the slices.  Spread jam on the four cheese slices.  Cover the jam with the deli ham.  Add another thin layer of jam, then cheese, and then top with the remaining bread slices to make a sandwich.
  4. Heat a griddle or large frying pan.  Melt a little butter just before frying the sandwiches.
  5. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture, turn the sandwich in the egg mixture, and place the sandwiches on the hot griddle.  Fry as you would a grilled cheese sandwich, turning the sandwich when one side is golden brown.  Serve hot. 

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Set aside eight slices of jalapeno bread. 
  2. Mix the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl. Gradually whisk in flour.
  3. Mix mayonnaise and south of the border seasoning together and spread on slices. Place a slice of cheese on four of the slices. Place the ham over the cheese. Add another layer of cheese. Finally add a tomato slice on top of the second slice of cheese and top with the remaining bread slices to finish the sandwiches.
  4. Heat a griddle or large frying pan.  Melt a little butter just before frying the sandwiches.
  5. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture and place the sandwiches on the hot griddle.  Fry as you would a grilled cheese sandwich, turning the sandwich when one side is golden brown.  Serve hot. 

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices hearty bread
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices of provolone or Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham
  • a dash of dried chipotle peppers or hot sauce (optional)

Directions:

  1. Set aside eight slices of hearty bread.  If all you have is very light bread that may come apart when dipped in the egg mixture, toast the bread.
  2. Mix the eggs, milk, salt, dry mustard, and white pepper together in a shallow bowl.
  3. Make the honey spread by mixing the honey, mustard, and peppers together. Set it aside.
  4. Place a slice of cheese on four of the slices. Layer the honey mustard spread on the four cheese slices. Top with ham. Add another thin layer of the spread, followed by more cheese, and topped with the remaining bread slices to finish the sandwich.
  5. Heat a griddle or large frying pan.  Melt a little butter just before frying the sandwiches.
  6. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture, turn the sandwich in the egg mixture, and place the sandwiches on the hot griddle.  Fry as you would a grilled cheese sandwich, turning the sandwich when one side is golden brown.  Serve hot. 

Like this recipe? Share it with your friends now!

(Updated from May 24, 2014)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share on Facebook
Tweet
Follow us