#FestiveFoodies: Kentucky Hot Brown Pizza

The Kentucky Derby is taking place today! Have you ever watched it or attended? I can’t say I’ve done either, but it is on my list of things to do at some point in my life.

Since I don’t really know anything about horse racing, maybe I should start off by hosting a viewing party for it. Dresses, big hats, tons of Kentucky food and lots of bourbon! That sounds right up my alley actually…

(Note to self: plan Kentucky Derby party next year)

The bloggers in Festive Foodies decided there was no better of a way to celebrate the day than by sharing lots of Kentucky and derby related recipes with you. Ellen of Family Around the Table is our hostess for this event.  At first I planned on making mint julep brownies but then I realized I’d never blogged the hot browns I made.

I made them in slider form a few years ago and like then, the pictures turned out just “meh”. Sliders are not easy to photograph so I decided to get a little creative and take the traditional sandwich and turn it into pizza instead.

Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches were created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville back in the 1920’s. It was as an alternative to ham and egg late night dishes. Traditionally the sandwich is served open-faced on toasted bread, topped with sliced turkey, crispy cooked bacon and a cheese sauce. That’s where the similarities end though, as there are multiple versions of the recipe from there.

Some choose to make a Mornay sauce using Gruyere cheese. Others make the cheese sauce using white cheddar. American cheese is another option. The sandwich can be topped with tomato slices, pimientos, or mushrooms.



#FestiveFoodies: Kentucky Hot Brown Pizza

Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches are messy, but putting the ingredients on top of pizza dough makes it less messy but just as tasty!

  • Author: NicholeL
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 32 mins
  • Total Time: 42 mins
  • Yield: 8 slices 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Baking


For the Mornay Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp dry yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 oz. white cheddar cheese, grated

For the Pizza:

  • 1 pizza dough
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


  • 34 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 small tomato, sliced
  • 34 slices deli turkey
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


For the Mornay Sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the flour and whisk until fully combined and the mixture takes on a slightly nutty smell, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly until incorporated.
  3. Continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken.
  4. Add in the dry mustard, nutmeg and pepper.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, whisking until fully combined. Allow to cool slightly.

For the Pizza:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a pizza sheet with non-stick and roll out the pizza dough onto the sheet, making sure to create a crust high enough to hold in the cheese sauce.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil on top of the dough and brush to coat. Sprinkle with the garlic powder.
  3. Prick the pizza dough with a fork on the crusts and center to stop it from rising too much. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.
  4. Remove the dough from the oven and begin assembling the pizza.
  5. Spread the cheese sauce over the pizza (you will likely have extra), followed by the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  6. Tear up the slices of turkey and arrange them over the pizza. Repeat with the crumbled bacon and finally the tomato slices. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
  7. Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the cheesy is bubbly and melted.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top, slice pizza and serve.

Keywords: kentucky hot brown, pizza, cheese sauce,

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The idea of deli turkey on a pizza is a little weird, until you try this pizza. I could not get over how good it was. The cheese sauce provides a nice base, the bacon a little crunch and the tomatoes the perfect amount of sweetness. The only thing I would change is I’d probably double do it with pimientos and tomatoes, because I love both of them and I really think there should never be a wasted opportunity to use pimientos.

Check out what other great recipes were made by the Festive Foodies!



  1. Love the idea of turning this into a pizza Nichole…pure genius.

  2. What a great idea to make a favorite sandwich into a delicious pizza!

  3. Pizza is my favorite food, and I just love when someone creative puts a new spin on it! Looks amazing!

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