This Monte Cristo Casserole is perfect for breakfast or brunch. Everything you love about the sandwich, transformed into an easy casserole.
If you love a good Monte Cristo sandwich like I do, but need to make more than one or two at a time, my oven-baked recipe will help you feed a crowd without the wait.
The ingredients and technique are exactly the same as making a Monte Cristo sandwich. But instead, everything is layered in a deep casserole dish and covered in a savory egg custard before going into the oven. The results are a perfectly cooked, gooey, melty Monte Cristo. It’s sturdy enough to cut and hold like a sandwich, and tender enough to eat with a knife and fork, like strata, for brunch.
Because this is being assembled in a casserole dish, there are a few delicious things we can get away with that we normally wouldn’t if making the sandwich in a skillet. We can make this overstuffed and triple-decker!
Prepping The Best Monte Cristo Casserole
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt, and onion powder until perfectly smooth. Set this aside and preheat the oven.
Cut the cheese into ⅛-inch slices and divide it into two equal portions for the casserole layers. Divide the ham into two portions as well, and set those aside. A 9×13-inch deep casserole dish will hold two rows of two and a half slices of standard sandwich bread. You’ll need 5 slices for each layer, with one of the slices cut in half.
What Kind Of Bread Should I Use?
Any bread will work well in this recipe, but a brioche loaf is my preferred choice. Brioche is a sweet yeast bread, made with lots of butter. Its soft, sweet, buttery flavor is a perfect match for the layers of Gruyere cheese and ham.
Look for brioche in the grocery store bakery section rather than the bread aisle. The bakery version is usually cut just slightly thicker than standard sandwich bread or the brioche in the sandwich aisle, and tastes better, too, in my opinion. The bakery can also slice a loaf for you, in which case, you’ll want half-inch (or slightly less) slices.
How To Assemble A Monte Cristo Casserole
Place the first layer of brioche into the bottom of the casserole dish. Slather this layer with mustard, a layer of cheese, and a layer of ham, overlapping as needed. Add the next layer of bread (making sure it’s facing the same direction as the layer below it), and starting with the mustard, repeat the layering process. Top with the last five slices of bread, and slowly pour the egg mixture over the top and sides.
Next, the bread needs to be pressed into the egg mixture, but because the brioche is delicate, the back of a spatula or small cutting board is recommended for this step. This way handprints and uneven depressions aren’t unintentionally left in the bread.
Place the spatula or cutting board on top of the brioche and gently push, allowing the egg mixture to soak into every slice of bread. Repeat this two or three times until the top layer is soaked and much of the egg mixture is no longer bubbling to the top when pressed. Let this stand for five minutes.
Place the casserole dish into the oven and bake for 55 minutes. The top should be browned and set (not soggy), and the cheese should be melted and bubbling. Remove the pan from the oven and let this rest for five minutes before slicing.
How To Serve Your Casserole
Just like the traditional sandwich, slices of Monte Cristo Casserole can be dusted with powdered sugar and served with strawberry or raspberry jam on the side. It makes the perfect breakfast, and also the perfect brunch, lunch, or dinner. Especially if you serve it with a side of fruit or a salad.Print
This oven-baked Monte Cristo Casserole feeds a crowd without having to make one or two sandwiches at a time.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, and set out raspberry or strawberry jam.
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this delicious casserole, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- 15 slices brioche bread
- ¼ cup grainy mustard, divided
- 18 oz. Gruyere or Swiss cheese, sliced
- 1 lb. sliced deli ham, any kind
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice 3 slices of the bread in half, vertically, and set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, salt, and onion powder until well blended and smooth. Set aside.
- In a 9×13-inch deep casserole dish line the bottom with 4 full slices of bread and 2 half slices to fill in the end gaps.
- Using half of the mustard, slather each slice of bread. Arrange half of the cheese in a single layer across the bread. Arrange half of the ham on top of the cheese, overlapping as needed. Top with bread slices, facing the same direction as the slices on the bottom. Repeat with remaining ingredients, beginning with the mustard.
- Pour the egg mixture on top of, and all around, the top layer of bread. Using a small cutting board or the back of a spatula, gently press on top of the bread slices to help them absorb the egg mixture. When the bread looks saturated, let stand 5 minutes.
- Gently press the bread into the custard before baking. Transfer baking dish to oven; bake 55 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Remove pan from oven, let stand 5 to 10 minutes before cutting and serving.