Bennigan’s Monte Cristo Sandwich

Bennigan’s Monte Cristo Sandwich – talk about guiding the lilly! This deep-fried triple-decker sandwich is served with red raspberry preserves.

Copycat Bennigan's Monte Cristo sandwich slices on a wood board.

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Monte Cristo Sandwich Origin

It is thought that the Monte Cristo sandwich was a variation of the classic French Croque Monsieur, which has a lot of variations of its own.

It was Disney that made it popular in the USA by serving it in restaurants at Disneyland Anaheim in the 1960s. From there, it spread across the land changing according to local tastes along the way.

Monte Cristo Sandwich recipes have evolved like barbecue sauce. They change according to where you are in the USA and the batter recipe is a tightly kept secret.

In many regions though, the Monte Cristo is a savory sandwich of fried ham and cheese.

Most often, it is dipped in its entirety in a batter and either pan-fried in butter or deep-fried in oil or fat. Other variations make the sandwich more sweet than savory. And still, others change out the ham for sliced turkey.

In some parts of the US, it is a closed, grilled sandwich. In others, it is an open sandwich with only the bread battered and fried, then assembled as a sandwich before being heated slightly under a broiler.

What Makes the Bennigan’s Monte Cristo Sandwich So Good? 

You’ve probably had French toast stuffed with jam or chocolate, but what about savory ingredients? A classic Monte Cristo is nothing more than French toast filled with turkey, ham, American and Swiss cheeses. It is sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with preserves.

The Monte Cristo sandwich recipe was developed sometime in the early 1900s as a derivative of the more complex Croque Monsieur, a popular cafe meal in France. It is the ultimate combination of sweet and savory ingredients that is perfect for brunch or a light meal any time of day. 

Why You Should Try This Recipe

Bennigan’s Restaurant version turns the traditional sandwich into a triple-decker and adds turkey and American cheese, making it even more filling for hearty appetites. It is an easy-to-cook sandwich that’s uniquely delicious, but maybe just as important, it can impress your guests on any occasion.

Bennigan’s Monte Cristo Sandwich Ingredients

To assemble the sandwich, you’ll need:

  • Honey wheat bread
  • Deli turkey
  • Deli ham
  • American cheese
  • Swiss cheese

Feel free to replace the wheat bread with other sweet or savory breads. Both brioche and sourdough are good options. 

The classic Monte Cristo sandwich recipe calls for Gruyère cheese and no American cheese, so you may want to swap the cheese selection based on what you prefer. 

For the egg batter, you’ll need:

  • Egg
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder

To fry a Monte Cristo, you’ll need 

  • Vegetable oil or butter
Copycat Bennigan's Monte Cristo sandwich ingredients on a marble surface.

How to Make a Monte Cristo

To assemble the sandwich:

  1. Place a slice of turkey and a slice of Swiss cheese on a piece of wheat bread.
  2. Top with another slice of bread. Add a slice of ham and American cheese, then cover with a third piece of bread. If you want, secure the sandwich with a wooden toothpick in each corner. Set the assembled sandwich to the side and finish making all the sandwiches. 

To fry the Monte Cristo sandwich 

  1. Whisk together the egg and water in a large shallow container, like a pie tin or casserole dish. Add the salt, sugar, AP flour, and baking powder and whisk until smooth. Set aside for later. 
  2. Warm the butter or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  3. While the skillet is heating up, dip both sides of a sandwich in the egg batter and place in the skillet. Repeat if there is room in the skillet for another sandwich.
  4. Cook the sandwiches until the cheese melts and the bread is golden brown, about three minutes per side. Place the cooked sandwiches on a baking tray, cover with aluminum foil, and place in a WARM oven.
  5. Add more butter or oil to the skillet and cook any remaining sandwiches. 

To serve the sandwiches:

  1. Remove the toothpicks from all corners of the sandwich.
  2. For a fancier presentation, cut off the crusts of the bread and slice the sandwich in half diagonally. 
Collage of making copycat Bennigan's Monte Cristo sandwich.

Special Equipment You Might Need

You can prepare this Monte Cristo sandwich recipe with basic kitchen equipment. You only need a skillet and a shallow container for dipping the sandwiches. 

What to Serve Bennigan’s Monte Cristo Sandwich With 

Traditionally, the de rigor side for a Monte Cristo was a small bowl of jelly for dipping, but if the idea of ham, turkey, cheese, and jelly doesn’t sound too great, there are other options. Here are some suggestions you may want to try:

  • Add a sprinkling of powdered sugar. The main characteristic of a Monte Cristo sandwich is the balance of sweet and salty flavors. Adding a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top heightens the contrast, especially if you aren’t using jam. 
  • Coffee. A cafe au lait or French press coffee may be the more traditionally appropriate beverage for pairing with a Monte Cristo. However, if you prefer something stronger, a cappuccino or espresso would work just as well. 
  • Fruit salad. A bowl of fresh fruit pairs well with this sandwich. Mixed berries or sliced melons are both excellent choices. Stay away from citrus since the tartness can be too intense. 
Copycat Bennigan's Monte Cristo sandwich, fries, and pickle slices on a plate.

How to Store Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Save yourself a lot of time in the morning and cook these sandwiches the night before. They will reheat beautifully in the morning, and you’ll be able to feed a large group all at once.

Just prepare and cook the sandwiches per the recipe instructions and allow them to cool completely. Place a paper towel on the bottom of an airtight container and lay the sandwiches on top. Cover with more paper towels and the lid. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Do not freeze them.

What’s the Best Way to Reheat Monte Cristo Sandwiches

You can reheat multiple sandwiches hands-free in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Lay the sandwiches on a baking tray.
  3. Warm in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese melts. Flip the sandwiches halfway through the cooking time.
Copycat Bennigan's Monte Cristo sandwich with raspberry jam.

Love Bennigan’s? Try these copycat recipes!

Be sure to check out more of my easy sandwich recipes and the best copycat restaurant recipes here on!

Copycat Bennigan's Monte Cristo sandwich slices on a wood board.

Bennigan’s Monte Cristo Sandwich

While Bennigans may not be around anymore, you can still enjoy their famous Monte Cristo sandwich at home. 
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bennigans Recipes, Monte Cristo Sandwich
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 915kcal


  • 9 slices Wheat bread
  • 3 slices Deli turkey
  • 3 slices Deli ham
  • 3 slices American cheese
  • 3 slices Swiss cheese


  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • vegetable oil for frying


  • Place turkey and Swiss cheese on one slice of bread and ham and American cheese on another slice of bread. Place third slice in-between and secure the triple-decker sandwich in the corners with toothpicks.
  • Place egg in mixing bowl, add water and beat together. Add salt, sugar, flour, and baking powder. Beat batter until smooth.
  • Dip sandwich in batter and carefully cover all the sides and surface. Carefully place in hot oil and fry until golden. When the sandwich has turned a warm gold color remove it from the hot oil and place it on a paper towel. Let cool for a few minutes before removing the toothpicks. Before serving slice into fourths and sprinkle with powder sugar.
  • Serve with raspberry preserves, pickle garnish, and your favorite French fried potatoes.


Calories: 915kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 1735mg | Potassium: 903mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Calcium: 801mg | Iron: 5.9mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Jack

    5 stars
    Pretty much the #1 reason I went to Beenigan’s
    I didn’t use wheat bread because I don’t remember Bennigan’s using it. Also, this is a double decker sandwich. A triple decker would have 4 slices to make three levels.
    Just good stuff.

  2. LRuss

    5 stars
    I just made these and they were a big hit! The tip to wrap prepped sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate a couple hours worked great!

    • Phylis

      Since we are not eating fried foods and my husband has mentioned Bennigans Monte Christo as one of his all time favorites, I tried this in a George Foreman grill with butter spray and it came out tasty.

  3. Mark

    Ran a Bennigan’s for several years before they started mass closing. Here is how to make them the real way. 1 slice bread down, stack Turkey and Swiss on it, then middle slice bread. Put Ham and American Cheese on then top slice of bread. Pull out plastic wrap over the edge of the table and lay it over the sandwich. Smash the sandwich as flat as you can get it and keep rolling it pulling towards you to keep it tight. Fold over plastic wrap on edges to make sure it has no air leaks. Put in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Bread should be fresh and moist when you start your assembly. After it has sat, pull it out and cross cut in an X from corner to corner to get 4 pieces. Dip it in “Tempura Batter”, that is what we used and make sure it’s well coated. Drop it into a 350 degree fryer until Golden Brown. I preferred to let it get a little darker to make sure cheese is melting inside. Once out of fryer, put it on an absorbent tray and or stack of paper towels and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Dip in Raspberry Preserves. If done correctly, the sandwich will not fall apart in fryer as the sandwich should be very dense.

    • marcee

      I’m trying this 2marro I love Bennigans Monte Cristo’s… do you deep fry this …? if so what temp, and how long? Or just fry each side in a pan with grease a couple inches deep then flip and do the other side…If so how long and what temp…thanks for this!

  4. Bre

    5 stars
    Wow! I made this Monte Cristo last night and it was like I was at Bennigans again. It was great. Thank you so much for this recipe, I truly appreciate this. I will be making this again for lunch today lol! So happy I came across this site.

  5. lovestocook

    Actually they use a wheat berry bread wrap it in cellophane for 1 day that way it will stay together dont cut before frying

    • Brentsky

      Taken right from Bennigan’s menu

      World Famous
      Monte Cristo
      Honey wheat bread layered with
      tender ham, roasted turkey, Swiss
      and American cheeses.
      Batter-dipped, gently fried and coated
      with powdered sugar. Served with
      red raspberry preserves for dipping.



  7. Amaris Ledoux

    Just tried this tonight…it was exactly perfect! Thanks for posting this! I have been wanting a monte cristo for a while, and decided to take matters into my own hands since the bennigan’s closed nearby. Again…..phenomenal!

  8. Lorna S

    Bought my son a deep fryer for Christmas. Today I am making my first monte carlo. I have missed them so much. Can’t wait!

  9. melissa jordan

    just a hint that we do at our restaurant for the monte. after u build the sandwich wrap tightly in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at the very least 1hour or even overnight if possible. when ready to cook un-wrap and batter and fry. and if the bread has a hole in it put it in the middle or when frying the oil will soak in to the sandwich

  10. guest

    If your in the mood and the area, the Bennigan’s in Warsaw, Indiana is still open. Its in business with a Ramada hotel and the Wagon Wheel Theater. The one in Angola, IN was still open last time I was up there a few years ago too(also hooked up to a hotel).

    • Debi

      5 stars
      I live in Indiana. My sister was a manager of a Hardee’s in Angola, IN uber long time ago. I wonder if Bennigan’s is still open there. Man I used to love that restaurant 😔

  11. Kylene

    I made these today with this recipe. I also tried it in a sugar free funnel cake batter and I have to say it was really good… Just some food for thought…

  12. Eva

    One trick to keep the sandwich from falling apart while frying, is to cut the crust off the bread, then wrap each triangle tightly in plastic wrap. Squeeze the edges of the triangle down. Can be made up a day ahead and kept in the fridge. Where I used to order these, they didn’t even need toothpicks when preparing them this way 🙂

  13. Ash

    I just made these last night and they were delicious. I substituted smoked cheddar cheese for the american and it was delicious! I also used Challah for the bread just for my own personal taste but thank you thank you thank you for this. I have been craving this for so long since they went out of business!

  14. margo

    The Bennigans in Chicago I went to actually cut them in fourths dipping each separately. and I do believe the crusts were cut off. Thank you for this is great to have

  15. J.Maurer

    Oh my gosh!! My son has been wanting a Bennigan’s Monte Cristo since they closed and now he is in the kitchen making one!!! He is SO happy!!! Thank you.

  16. Tony

    I made theses last night, and have a few things I will change for next time. I agree with Don about cutting the sandwiches in half before frying, especially if you don’t have an industrial sized deep fryer. Also, I will cut the crusts off of the bread, and smash the samdwiches down pretty well before battering. This way there is less fluffy bread to act like an oil sponge when the sandwiches are deep fried. Great taste, and it went perfect with my wifes home made raspberry preserves!

    • Missyyancey23

      If you make the sandwich the night before and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, store in the fridge overnight. It helps with the spongy bread you’re talking about.

  17. Don

    This recipe was perfect. I used hot pepper cheese instead of american, I cut the sandwiches in half, then wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for a few hours before I battered and fried them. This help to keep them together while dipping them in the batter.

5 from 7 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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