Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders

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Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders are inspired by the original decadent open-faced sandwich that originated at Louisville’s Brown Hotel, with turkey, Roma tomatoes, and Mornay sauce, topped with bacon and broiled to perfection.

» Pair these sliders with beef and cheddar sliders and baked fontina dip for a perfect party pairing.

Kentucky hot brown sliders

With all those ingredients, you really can’t go wrong and these sliders are the perfect way to experience it all without going into a food coma. One of these gooey and delicious sliders is just the right size to enjoy it.

I like to make these sliders for parties because not many of my friends have ever tried this sandwich before. It’s a fun center piece of discussion for the guests. They also make great appetizers for game day or you can even package them up and take them for tailgating.

What is a Kentucky Hot Brown?

This iconic sandwich was originally conceptualized in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt, a chef at Louisville Kentucky’s Brown Hotel. You can read all about it here. It was meant to be a sort of late-night snack after guests of the hotel attended their popular dinner dance.

The Brown Hotel is still serving the Kentucky Hot Brown to its guests and people who come from all around to try the iconic sandwich. Now you can try the sandwich for yourself at home with this recipe.

Kentucky hot brown sliders

Ingredients You Need

While there are some pretty typical things you should put into a Kentucky Hot Brown, you can sort of play around with those ingredients and use what you have or what you like best.

Ingredients for Kentucky hot brown sliders

The main ingredients you need are:

Sliced turkey – You can use roasted turkey slices which is great for using up leftover Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey. You could also just use sliced deli turkey.

Roma tomatoes – Roma tomato slices are the original, but you can use any type of tomato you have. Just slice it thinly.

Cheese – You really don’t have to add extra cheese on the inside of the sandwich, because there’s already cheese in the mornay sauce, but I like the extra stringy gooey goodness.

Mornay sauce – This is béchamel sauce with cheese added to it. To make bechamel, you’ll need butter, flour, milk and cheese. I use white cheddar cheese. You can also add Parmesan cheese for extra flavor.

Bacon – Cook a few slices of bacon. You’ll put the cooked bacon on the top of the sandwich.

Slider buns – I use King’s Hawaiian buns for these sliders, because they come in a pack that’s already sliced and baked together. They make for an easy preparation because the whole thing fits well into a 9×13″ pan.

How to Make the Sliders

Step One: Mornay Sauce

Start by making the mornay sauce. It’s super easy to make and just takes a few minutes.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter’s melted, add the flour, whisk it all together and and cook it for about 2 minutes.

Mornay sauce

Add the warm milk to the pan and stir constantly until the sauce thickens. Then add the mustard powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Go light on the seasonings and give it a taste, then add more if you want. I’m not a huge fan of nutmeg in savory foods, so I might even leave that out.

Lower the heat on the pan, add the grated cheese, whisk and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Then remove from the heat.

Step Two: Prepare the Sliders

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and lightly grease a 9”x13” baking dish. The Hawaiian rolls fit perfectly into the pan. Half the rolls and place the bottoms into the dish. Also, run a knife between the buns to cut them apart. This will help when trying to get them out of the pan to serve them.

Add a slice of turkey, a slice of cheese, and a slice of tomato to each slider. Break the bacon in half and criss-cross a piece of the top of each slider. Put the tops back on the rolls.

Add a spoonful of mornay sauce on top of each tomato slice. Then put the tops back on the sliders.

Layers of Kentucky hot brown sliders

Step Three: Butter Sauce

In a bowl, stir together the melted butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and dried onions. Pour or spoon the sauce over the top of the rolls so that each one gets covered well and the sauce runs down the sides.

Step Four: Cover & Bake

Cover the pan with foil and bake it for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more or until the tops are crispy and lightly browned.

Uncooked Kentucky hot brown sliders in baking dish

Tips for Making The Sliders

  • Separating each roll before adding any toppings makes it so much easier to serve the rolls after cooking. It can be very messy and difficult to cut through them later.
  • The moisture in the tomato can cause the top bun to slide off during cooking. A helpful tip is to slice the tomato and lay the slices on a paper towel to draw out some of the moisture before adding them to the sandwich.
  • If you want a less messy and/or less caloric sandwich, you can leave off the butter sauce that’s poured over the top.
Kentucky hot brown sliders

Variations To Try

The original Kentucky Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich that is broiled, not baked. So already we’ve got quite a variation going on here, by using slider buns and baking it.

There are so many variations you can make, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

  • Try using ham or chicken instead of turkey.
  • Add different types of cheese.
  • Leave off the tomato or replace it with something like pickles or jalapenos.
  • Spread mustard or horseradish on the bun before baking.

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Kentucky hot brown sliders
Yield: 12 Sliders

Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders are inspired by the original decadent open-faced sandwich that originated at Louisville’s Brown Hotel, with turkey, Roma tomatoes, and Mornay sauce, topped with bacon and broiled to perfection.

Ingredients

  • 1 package Hawaiian Rolls
  • 1 pound sliced turkey
  • 12 squares white cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and quartered
  • 12 slices tomato

Mornay Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a dash of nutmeg

Butter Sauce Topping

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. To make the mornay sauce, melt butter in a small sauce pan. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add milk and whisk together. Bring to a boil and whisk constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add shredded cheese and stir to combine. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  3. Cut the rolls in half and separate. Put the bottom half of the rolls into the prepared pan. Top with turkey, cheese, and tomato slices.
  4. Add a spoonful of mornay sauce on top of each. Set the tops on the rolls.
  5. In a bowl, stir together melted butter, Dijon mustard, dried onions and Worcestershire sauce. Pour or spoon mixture over the top of the rolls so each gets covered well and the sauce runs down the sides.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more or until the tops are crispy and lightly browned.

Notes

  • Separating each roll before adding any toppings makes it so much easier to serve the rolls after cooking. It can be very messy and difficult to cut through them later.
  • The moisture in the tomato can cause the top bun to slide off during cooking. A helpful tip is to slice the tomato and lay the slices on a paper towel to draw out some of the moisture.

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Kentucky hot brown sliders

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