BENNIGAN’S | Monte Cristo Sandwich

Battered and Fried Ham, Turkey, Swiss & American Cheese Sandwich

by RRR
How to make Bennigan's Monte Cristo Sandwich

The 1990s were a time of great change and innovation in many aspects of American culture, and the restaurant scene was no exception. One name that stood out during this era was Bennigan’s, a popular chain of casual dining restaurants that left an indelible mark on the culinary landscape of the decade.

The Irish-American Ambiance

One of the standout features of Bennigan’s in the 1990s was its unique and inviting atmosphere. The restaurants were designed to resemble cozy Irish pubs, complete with dark wood paneling, stained glass windows, and brass fixtures. The warm and welcoming ambiance made it a perfect place for a casual meal or a night out with friends.

The Monte Cristo

Bennigan’s menu was a delightful mix of American classics and international influences. The restaurant was known for its signature dishes like the Monte Cristo sandwich, a deep-fried masterpiece of ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese, dusted with powdered sugar and served with raspberry preserves.

I worked at Bennigan’s when I was in college.  I suppose I had led a bit of a sheltered life because I had never before had (or even heard of) a Monte Cristo.  But I remember that hordes of hungover college students would flood into Bennigan’s late Sunday mornings, just to get the MC.  I couldn’t understand the appeal, until I was enlightened one Sunday morning, myself.  Not only did it seem to “cure” the effects of the previous evening’s bad decisions, but it was DAMN delicious.

I admit that this sandwich makes no sense, on paper that is.  But for all the reasons that the MC seems so wrong, it is so right.  The powdered sugar, the raspberry preserves, the crispy batter, the melty cheeses.  Ugh, stuff of dreams.

Bennigan’s Demise

Unfortunately, like many other restaurant chains, Bennigan’s faced challenges in the years that followed. It filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and closed many of its locations.  However, Bennigan’s left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who dined there. While the landscape of the restaurant industry has evolved over the years, the memories of Bennigan’s in the 1990s remain a cherished part of many people’s lives, reminding us of a simpler time when good food and good company were all that we needed for a memorable night out.

Crazy about Bennigan’s?  Try their other popular menu item, the Bayou Chicken

How to make Bennigan's Monte Cristo Sandwich

Bennigan's Monte Cristo Sandwich

Serves: 2 Sandwiches Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 1286 calories 38 grams fat
Rating: 3.8/5
( 4 voted )


  • Batter Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of Bisquick
  • 1 ¼ cups of half and half
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • Sandwich Ingredients:
  • 6 slices of honey wheat bread
  • 6 slices of deli ham (Boar’s Head preferred)
  • 2 slices of American cheese (Kraft Deli Deluxe pref.)
  • 6 slices of deli turkey (Boar’s Head preferred)
  • 2 slices of Swiss cheese (Boar’s Head preferred)
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Raspberry Preserves for dipping
  • Powdered sugar for finishing


In a very large mixing bowl, combine all batter ingredients and whisk until creamy and smooth with no lumps.  Set aside.

To build the sandwiches: Start with 1 slice of honey wheat bread.  Top with 3 slices of deli ham and 1 slice of American cheese.  Add another slice of bread and top that with 3 slices of deli turkey and 1 slice of Swiss cheese.  Top with final piece of bread.

In a large, deep pan, bring 1 1/2” of canola oil to 365 degrees.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toothpick each corner of the sandwich and cut the sandwich in half, diagonally.  Dip each half in the batter, fully coating the sandwich.  Using tongs, drop the sandwich into the fry oil, knocking off any excess batter into the batter bowl.  Only fry one half at a time so to not overcrowd the oil.  Make sure to turn the sandwich around, using the tongs, to fry each surface of the sandwich, including the edges.  Remove the sandwiches from the oil when each battered surface is the color of French toast.  Set aside on a paper plate to drain.  Continue the process until all halves are fried.  Place the sandwich halves on parchment-lined sheet tray and remove the toothpicks.  Finish the Monte Cristo’s in the oven for 5 minutes to ensure that the center of the sandwich is hot, and the cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven.  Slice each half, again, diagonally to make 4 quarters from each sandwich.  Dust the entire sandwich with powdered sugar and serve with raspberry preserves for dipping.

Serve with Shakey’s Mojo Potatoes and Enjoy!


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