Authentic Kentucky Hot Brown

A Kentucky Hot Brown is as synonymous with the Kentucky Derby as Mint Juleps themselves. But this year … only the authentic Hot Brown recipe would do.

Closeup view of a Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich

Kentucky Hot Brown History

The Brown Hotel developed this trademark sandwich back in the 1920s when more than 1,200 people would attend their dinner dances. In the wee hours of the morning, tired of dancing and needing refreshment, Executive Chef Fred Schmidt created this one-of-a-kind, enduring recipe that would become a standard at Kentucky Derby parties.

A Hot Brown is a hot open-faced sandwich with bacon, fresh tomatoes, roasted turkey, and melting cheese. 

The Brown Hotel

Brown Hotel Lobby

A now historic landmark, the Brown Hotel is a Louisville, Kentucky story of fairytale romance and unforgiving reality, played out against the backdrop of some of the most remarkable events of the early 20th century. The Great Depression, the Ohio River Flood of 1937, World War II – each of these milestone events helped to shape the history of our storied hotel.”

The Brown Hotel opened in downtown Louisville at the corner of Fourth and Broadway on October 25, 1923. That year, Louisville was the 34th largest city in the country with a population of 235,000. 

Vertical view of a Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich with Crispy Bacon

Closeup view of a Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich

Authentic Kentucky Hot Brown

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes

Kentucky Hot Browns are as synonymous with the Kentucky Derby as Mint Juleps themselves. But this year … only the authentic Hot Brown recipe would do.


  • 2 oz. butter
  • 2 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 16 oz. heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast
  • 2 slices of texas toast (crust trimmed)
  • 4 slices of crispy bacon
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, halved
  • paprika
  • parsley


  1. In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer; about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven-safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast.
  3. Next, pour one-half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place the entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble.
  4. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

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