The classic Louisville Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich gets a makeover! All the best parts of the open face turkey sandwich transformed into a bubbly, cheesy, Hot Brown skillet dip that is perfect for watching the most exciting 2 minutes in sports on Derby Day!
Before we get to the skillet dip, we need to talk about the famous sandwich!
What is a Kentucky Hot Brown?
This unique dish was born in the 1920’s at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky by chef Fred Schmidt. Dreamt up like so many of my recipes, late at night after a night of dancing and partying, it is elegant comfort food!
Instead of the hotel guest’s usual after dancing fare, Chef Schmidt presented them with a toasted open-face turkey sandwich, topped with bacon, fresh tomatoes, and a creamy Mornay sauce.
Even thought I am a sucker for bacon, the cheese sauce ties it all together.
If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious easy Hot Brown Skillet Dip recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
What is the hot Brown recipe?
To make the classic Hot Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich, you start by making the Mornay sauce. A creamy classic béchamel sauce is made with Pecorino Romano cheese instead of Gruyère cheese.
Then roasted turkey is sliced and piled high on a thick piece of Texas Toast. A tomato is cut in half and added to the dish. The Mornay sauce is poured over the turkey and toast and placed under a broiler.
Once the Hot Brown is bubbly and golden brown, the dish is removed and topped with a couple slices of bacon. Roasted turkey, creamy cheese sauce, and BACON!!
The Hot Brown is famous all year long, but because of its birthplace, it’s also a popular dish to serve at the Kentucky Derby!
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How to make hot brown dip
Step One: Mix the cream cheese, chopped turkey, shredded cheeses, bacon, and sour cream until combined.
Step Two: Spread into an oven proof skillet. Top with more cheese!
Step Three: Bake in the oven until warm and bubbly.
Step Four: Remove from oven and top with parsley, more bacon, and fresh tomatoes. Enjoy with crackers!
Hot brown recipe variations
Not only can you make the hot brown into a dip and a skillet dip that you can make in advance and then cook and serve it all in one skillet, but you can also bake it into bread bowls.
Mini Bread Bowls to be exact. I want to give you all the options available so you can make the best choice for you Derby party. And who’s mouth doesn’t start watering at the mention of cheesy bread bowl dips? I know I do!
After I whipped up a batch of this Hot Brown Skillet Dip, I kept a few servings out of the skillet and spooned it into a hole in the dinner roll. A little extra cheese sprinkled on top of the dip and a bread cap on top, I baked them in the oven until golden and bubbly.
Forget the open face sandwich route, these dinner rolls became the best mini bread bowls filled with creamy hot brown dip. Pulling off the top revealed gooey cheese and a hot dip.
Kentucky has a rich food history, so there is no shortage of classic Derby Foods that have been served for years.
Derby Pie, Benedictine Sandwiches, Beer Cheese, Bourbon Balls, Country Ham Biscuits, and Burgoo are always served and the recipes are rarely changed.
They are so good they don’t need to be! Need more Derby Party Ideas? Check these out!
Can I use a different cheese?
You can, mozzarella is super melty but I would recommend a nuttier cheese like Gruyère or Asiago.
Do I have to make it in a skillet?
No, you can add the dip to a casserole dish or a full size bread bowl and bake it like that.
Can it be made ahead of time?
You can make the dip up to a day in advance. Any longer and you would want to leave out the tomatoes and add them just before baking.
Can I freeze the dip?
You can freeze the dip but the texture might vary a little afterwards.
Rich, smoky, gooey, meaty, toasty, melty, and perfect for the middle of the night or the middle of the day!
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Other Kentucky Derby party food
- Derby Pie Brownies
- Derby Pie Dip
- Derby Pie Bites
- Derby Pie Cheese Ball
- Benedictine Cheese Ball
- Bourbon Balls
- 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
- 6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 6 ounces turkey (cooked and diced)
- 6 strips of bacon (cooked and chopped fine)
- 2 Roma tomatoes (diced small)
- 1/4 cup Romano cheese (grated)
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp dried mustard
- 1/4 cup parsley (fresh, chopped fine)
- salt and pepper to taste
- crackers and dinner rolls for serving
Hot Brown Skillet Dip
- Set aside 2 ounces of sharp white cheddar cheese, a little parsley, a tablespoon of the chopped bacon, and a few tomatoes pieces for garnishing.
- Combine the cream cheese, remaining sharp white cheddar cheese, remaining bacon, turkey, sour cream, Romano cheese, remaining tomatoes, paprika, dried mustard, remaining parsley, salt and pepper.
- Spread the dip in an 8-inch cast iron or oven-proof skillet.
- Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350F for 25 minutes.
- When bubbly and golden brown around the edges, remove the skillet and garnish with bacon, parsley, and tomatoes.
- Serve warm with crackers or toasted baguette.
Hot Brown Mini Bread Bowls
- Bake the dinner rolls per package instructions.
- Cut a round section off the top and hollow out most of the bread in the center.
- Combine all the dip ingredients as above, reserving little white cheddar cheese for topping later.
- Scoop into the dinner rolls.
- Sprinkle the tops with cheese and replace the dinner roll tops on the rolls.
- Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges are starting to brown,
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
- Serve warm with a Mint Julep or and Oaks Lily!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 397mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 14g
This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.
This recipe inspired by this one.
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