This copycat recipe for sweet-meets-savory Disneyland favorite Blue Bayou Monte Cristo Sandwiches is a family favorite of ours!  Monte Cristo Sandwiches are made with rich challah bread stuffed with ham, turkey and cheese, then battered and fried, dusted in powdered sugar, and dipped in jam!  Rich, over the top, and perfect for brunch or dinner!

An image of a Monte Cristo ham and cheese sandwich on a white plate with jam for dipping.

Disneyland Blue Bayou Monte Cristo Sandwiches

If you have ever been to Disneyland, you have probably seen the Blue Bayou restaurant in New Orleans Square, even if you have never eaten there.

The entrance is in New Orleans square, but the dining area is inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, set on the water in the dark and lit dimly by flickering candles and lampposts as though it were a perpetual evening.  You hear the water slapping against the sides of the ride boats as they glide past and the Disney-magicked sounds of a swamp on the bayou.  The boats are far enough away that it doesn’t feel like the diners are being gawked at through their entire meal.  

It feels like the calmest, quietest, coolest place in the park and it is wonderful.

And then your server brings out your monte cristo sandwich (because once you’ve had one it’s the only thing you will want to order there ever and forever more) and man that is some serious Disney magic.  The first time I tried a Monte Cristo sandwich, I had to be coaxed to try it with the jam and was shocked at how good it was.  It’s a ridiculous idea and oh-so-wrong but oh-so-right.  I mean, c’mon.

I’m not one of those Disney die-hards who thinks all the food at the park is amazing, but their monte cristo sandwich recipe is the real deal.  You can also order it at the New Orleans Cafe, although the Blue Bayou has way more ambiance.  

But honestly?  Monte cristo sandwiches are easy to make at home and they taste every bit as good as the ones you can get at Disneyland.  Probably better even.  My monte cristo sandwich recipe came from an old Disney cookbook that we probably lost or donated in a move years ago, but not before I had made these many times and added it to my recipe collection.

Seriously, Disneyland’s Blue Bayou Monte Cristo sandwiches have to be the most magical food at the most magical restaurant in the most magical place on earth.

What is a Monte Cristo Sandwich?

It’s sweet-meets-savory in sandwich form that is reminiscent of a donut (or maybe a beignet?), but in a dinner sort of way and stuffed with ham, turkey and cheese.  It gets dipped in a simple batter, then fried and dusted in powdered sugar.  Then you dip it in jam.  

JAM!  Crazy, I know.  But the very best kind of crazy.

An image of a battered and fried Monte Cristo Sandwich that has been dusted with powdered sugar and served with raspberry jam for dipping.

Monte Cristo sandwiches are best when made with a nice, thick rich bread like homemade challah.  If challah isn’t available though, you could use brioche bread or even Texas toast.  You just want something that will hold up to the batter and not immediately fall apart.

I prefer to use meat sliced thicker than I would normally get at the deli counter, just because I like the texture of it in the sandwich better than the thinly sliced stuff.  But regular sliced deli meat is fine if that’s what you have on hand!  This is also a great recipe to have around Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter when there is leftover turkey or brown sugar glazed ham to be used up.

This recipe is really just making a light batter, then assembly and frying.  Which makes it not an everyday kind of meal, but definitely a treat every once in a while. 

Why do they call it a Monte Cristo Sandwich?

From what I can tell, it was Disneyland that first named this riff on the classic French Croque Monsieur a Monte Cristo sandwich.  But really, it’s just a leveled up take on a grilled cheese or a ham and cheese melt.  

According to one source, Disneyland first introduced the Monte Cristo sandwich on the menu at the Blue Bayou in 1966, 11 years after the park first opened on July 17, 1955.  Before that, it was often just called a French Sandwich, Toasted Ham Sandwich, or French Toasted Cheese Sandwich.

How to Make a Monte Cristo Sandwich

Creating the perfect Monte Cristo starts with basic sandwich assembly.  Stack layers of bread, meat, and cheese together.  You may want to secure the sandwich with toothpicks if you think it might fall apart.  

An image of slices of swiss cheese on top of turkey and ham deli meat for making Monte Cristo sandwiches. An image of ham, swiss cheese, and turkey on challah bread.

Then whip up the easy batter of flour, egg, milk, baking powder, salt, and water.  Dip the whole sandwich in the batter, turning to coat both sides, then carefully lay it in a large skillet filled with 1/2-inch of hot oil (around 340 degrees F).  

Fry until golden brown on one side, then turn the sandwich carefully with tongs so as not to let it fall apart, and fry on the other side until totally golden all around and the cheese inside is hot and melty.

Slice the sandwich in half and sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar, then serve with raspberry or blackberry jam.  This really is the BEST Monte Cristo Sandwich you will ever have!

An image of a Monte Cristo sandwich like the kind you at at the Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland.

More Sandwich Ideas!

And here are a few more decadent sandwich recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers:

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Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Yield: 4 sandwiches

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

These copycat sweet-meets-savory Disneyland favorite Blue Bayou Monte Cristo Sandwiches are made with rich challah bread stuffed with ham, turkey and cheese, then fried, dusted in powdered sugar, and dipped in jam!  Perfect for brunch or dinner!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

Batter

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk

Sandwich

  • 8 slices challah bread, 1/2-inch thick
  • 2/3 pound sliced deli ham
  • 2/3 pound sliced roasted turkey
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 3 cups canola oil, for frying
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • Raspberry or blackberry jam

Instructions

  1. In an 8x8-inch baking dish, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whick together the eggs, water and milk, then add to the flour mixture. Whisk thoroughly until smooth and no lumps of flour remain, then set aside.
  2. On each of 4 slices of bread, arrange one slice of ham, turkey, and swiss. Top with the remaining bread slices, then using a sharp knife, slice each sandwich in half on the diagonal. You may wish to insert toothpicks to hold everything together until the sandwich is fried.
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat to between 365-375 degrees. If the oil starts to smoke, turn the temperature down. Working carefully, dip half of each sandwich into the prepared batter, lift out and allow excess batter to drip off, then lower gently into the hot oil. Repeat with the other half of the sandwich. Work in batches and do not crowd the pan.
  4. Cook in the oil for about 3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side of the sandwich for another 3 minutes, until golden brown on both sides.
  5. Gently remove each diagonal sandwich half from the hot oil using tongs and set on a paper-towel lined baking sheet. Place in a warm oven until ready to serve. Repeat the process with the remaining three sandwiches, frying each sandwich one at a time and allowing the oil temperature to come back up between each batch.
  6. When ready to serve, dust each sandwich with powdered sugar and serve with raspberry or blackberry jam on the side.

Notes

I like using either Black Forest ham or ham-off-the-bone, sliced a little thicker than normal at the deli counter.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 768 Saturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 185mg Sodium: 2077mg Carbohydrates: 50g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 4g Protein: 45g

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