Kentucky Hot Brown Recipe

This Kentucky Hot Brown Recipe is a delicious way to use up leftover turkey! This classic, comforting sandwich will transform your leftovers into a whole new meal!

Got leftover turkey??? Don’t forget to save those bones and make our super popular, super comforting Homemade Turkey Soup! Another delicious way to use up your leftovers from Thanksgiving is this open face Hot Turkey Sandwich!

Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich on a plate with fork and knife

What Is A Kentucky Hot Brown?

We’re big fans of open-faced sandwiches with gravy around here like this Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich! Even roast beef or turkey right from the deli on toasted white bread with brown gravy. This is the kind of meal that I used to make for the kids when my wife was away or wasn’t going to be home for dinner.

The classic Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich was created in 1926 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky by Fred K. Schmidt. A variation of traditional Welsh rarebit, which is a version that is typically made without any meat.

How Do You Make A Kentucky Hot Brown?

Kentucky Hot Browns are such a tasty way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or any holiday. Even if you don’t have leftover turkey you can grab a rotisserie turkey (or chicken) from the grocery store and still make these sandwiches.

  • Start by grabbing a few thick slices of crusty white bread or sourdough bread and layer them in a baking dish or on a sheet pan lined with foil. This recipe will make four open faced sandwiches but you can certainly half this recipe or double it if you need to.
Bacon and tomato slices on top of shredded turkey for open faced sandwiches
  • Place the bread on the bottom, followed by the leftover turkey, then thick slices of tomato and a couple of strips of cooked bacon.
  • Next make the Mornay sauce by melting butter in a saucepan and then adding flour to make a roux. Whisk in whole milk – yes whole, not anything else please – and bring the sauce to simmer to thicken. Let the sauce thicken for a few minutes and then whisk in the shredded cheese in batches so that it doesn’t clump together. Season the sauce with salt pepper and nutmeg and remove from the heat.
Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches in a baking dish before cooking
  • Pour the sauce over the tops of your layered sandwiches, there will be enough sauce for four sandwiches. Add fresh, chopped parsley on top and get them under the broiler.
Kentucky Hot Browns after cooking under the broiler

What Is Mornay Sauce?

Mornay sauce is a classic béchamel sauce with cheese added to it. You can add different cheese to a Mornay sauce like gruyere, cheddar or parmesan cheese. For instance, a Mornay sauce made with cheddar is what’s used to make macaroni and cheese.

How Do You Serve Kentucky Hot Browns?

Just grab an open faced sandwich and get it on a plate. These hot browns are an open faced, fork and knife sandwich that are deliciously messy and wonderful. Since there’s a few tomato slices on these sandwiches, were going to consider that a vegetable but you can easily add a roasted vegetable on the side or a serving of crispy, Homemade French Fries!

An open faced sandwich made with leftover turkey

What Other Cheese Options Can I Use For The Mornay Sauce?

We went with a sharp cheddar cheese mixed with some grated, nutty parmesan, but there are a few options that you can try!

  • Gruyere or Swiss Cheese
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Asiago Cheese
  • Munster Cheese
  • Gouda or Smoked Gouda Cheese
An open faced turkey sandwich recipe covered with cheese sauce

Can I Make This Sandwich With Leftover Chicken?

Of course! Leftover chicken is always a coveted ingredient in our house. We eat it as is, wrap it up in burritos, chop it up in salads or make sandwiches like the hot browns! Get creative and add a slice of ham, layer on some fresh spinach, or even add a layer of leftover stuffing if you have it!

Hot turkey sandwich with bacon and tomatoes

Looking For More Leftover Turkey (Or Chicken!) Recipes?

An open faced sandwich made with leftover turkey

Kentucky Hot Brown Recipe

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

These Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches are a delicious way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving! Thick slices of tomato and bacon with a creamy Mornay sauce!



  • 1 pound leftover turkey, shredded into thick pieces
  • 4 slices of thick-sliced white or sourdough bread
  • 8 slices of tomato
  • 8 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped parsley

For The Mornay Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated, good quality parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste


  1. Make the sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and let cook for 1 minute, then slowly pour in the milk while whisking to prevent any lumps from forming. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let cook for 3-4 minute to thicken. Whisk in the cheddar cheese in batches to prevent the cheese from clumping together, then add the parmesan cheese and whisk to combine. Season the sauce with the nutmeg (if using) and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
  2. Preheat the broiler.
  3. Place the bread onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or in a large baking dish. Divide the turkey between the slices of bread, then add 2 slices of tomato and 2 slices of bacon to each sandwich.
  4. Pour the sauce over the tops of each sandwich and then top with the chopped parsley. Place the sandwiches under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, watching closely so they don’t burn.
  5. Serve immediately with a fork and knife!

Recipe Notes

You can swap out the shredded chicken for turkey in this recipe! If you don’t have leftovers, grab a rotisserie chicken or turkey from the store, or even thick slices from the deli counter!

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven / Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: mantitlement, kentucky hot brown, bacon recipes, leftover turkey recipes, leftover chicken recipes, sandwich recipes, open faced sandwich, hot turkey sandwich

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4 Responses
  1. shelly (cookies and cups)

    This looks amazing! We totally need to try these. Also, no shame in powdered gravy…no shame at all :)

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