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The Best Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich Stack with a Twist

Celebrate Derby Day with these keto-friendly Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches! This modern twist on a classic recipe uses low-carb wraps instead of bread. These tasty sandwich stacks will have your guests chomping at the bit for seconds!

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Are you looking for the perfect recipe to serve at a Kentucky Derby watch party?

Odds are you’ve seen suggestions for Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches!

But what if you follow a low-carb lifestyle? Or a gluten-free diet?

How can you make these delicious sandwich recipe ideas work for you?

Keto Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich stacks on a plate at a Derby Day dinner party.

The key is to be a little creative and think outside the Hawaiian roll or sandwich bread box!

With a few adjustments, you and your guests will be enjoying a delicious Kentucky tradition.

You may even decide these Hot Brown Stacks are better than the original…

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History of the Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich

Let’s start at the beginning, though. What is a Hot Brown Sandwich anyway?

This sandwich is a staple on menus throughout Kentucky all year long: it’s not just a Kentucky Derby kinda thing!

It was created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, hence the name Hot Brown.

A chef named Fred Schmidt came up with a variation of Welsh rarebit which is a cheese sauce served over toast.

The Hot Brown Sandwich is an open-faced sandwich with turkey, bacon, and tomatoes covered in a cheesy Mornay sauce and then baked.

Recently, lots of slider recipes have popped up featuring Hawaiian rolls baked in a savory buttery sauce. Of course, there have been some Hot Brown Sandwich versions of these yummy sliders.

I decided to try my hand at combining the two types of recipes to make something brand new that’s both gluten-free and low carb.: Hot Brown Sandwich Stacks.

How to Make a Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Hot Brown Sandwich

While there are some keto-friendly breads on the market, most of them aren’t sturdy enough to make this kind of sandwich.

The breads have a tendency to get a little soggy and just don’t toast the same way.

Ingredients to assemble a keto-friendly Kentucky hot brown sandwich.

Enter Julian Bakery!

They make a variety of health food products that cater to a variety of dietary needs, including Paleo, Keto, gluten-free, Vegan, and more.

I noticed that they had Coconut Wraps that were keto-friendly and gluten-free and the wheels started turning!

What if I used these wraps to create a Hot Brown style of sandwich instead of using bread?

Maybe I could use them to make Hot Brown pinwheels.

While that did work, I couldn’t fit as much turkey, bacon, and tomato into each pinwheel as I wanted.

The solution? Cut the wraps into quarters and layer the traditional Hot Brown ingredients between them!

The result is delicious.

It’s the perfect thing to serve at a Kentucky Derby Day party, for lunch, or a simple dinner.

Keto Kentucky hot brown sandwich made from coconut wraps on a plate.

Ingredients to Make Keto Hot Brown Stacks

This is what you’ll need to make these Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich Stacks:

  • Julian Bakery Coconut Wraps These thin wraps are made entirely from different parts of a coconut! They’re sturdy enough to use as wraps, and bake up perfectly to make these layered sandwiches.
  • Oven-roasted turkey breast Look for the kind that’s sliced from an actual turkey breast instead of the pressed deli meat variety.
  • Bacon Need I say more? Everything’s better with bacon, right?! Be sure to cook it so it’s nice and crisp.
  • Tomatoes I wanted to minimize the amount of tomato juice so I used the smallest insert in my favorite chopper to finely dice grape tomatoes and then drained the excess juice. You could also thinly slice Roma tomatoes and drain them on paper towels.
  • Baby Swiss Cheese The traditional Hot Brown Sandwich is covered in a cheesy Mornay sauce, so why not add a little cheese to the sandwich itself? The cheese helps the layers to stick together during baking and it’s delicious too!
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese Not only does fresh Parmesan cheese add some fresh, nutty flavor, it also helps “glue” the layers together.

Now it’s time to amp up the flavor with my variation of the Delish buttery sauce that went viral on Facebook a few years back! You’ll need:

And finally, you’ll need the ingredients to make a classic Mornay Sauce.

Ingredients to make a Mornay sauce in measuring containers.

This is what you’ll need:

  • Butter
  • All Purpose Flour (or this gluten-free flour) Note: I know all purpose flour isn’t strictly keto-friendly, however you only use 1 Tablespoon which works out to be less than 1 net carb per serving so I went ahead and used it because I’m also watching my fat intake. If you’re gluten intolerant, a GF all purpose flour will work too. You can also use this Keto Cheese Sauce recipe instead if you prefer.
  • Whole milk
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Hot sauce
  • Coarse ground black pepper

Tips for Making Mornay Sauce

Mornay sauce is just a fancy way of saying cheese sauce.

Don’t let the name fool you: it’s very simple to make, and the flavor of a homemade cheese sauce is worth the effort!

The best part about making your Mornay sauce from scratch is that you get to choose what kind of cheese you want to use. You can even use a blend of cheeses.

I used Gruyere cheese, a mild, slightly nutty flavored cheese that melts really smoothly.

Other cheeses that would work well with a Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich are sharp white cheddar or Swiss. You can even add in shredded Parmesan.

If you make the cheese sauce too soon and you notice it getting too thick, add some more milk over medium-low heat, about a teaspoon at a time until it’s the right consistency again.

You want the sauce to be thin enough to spread over the sandwiches.

How to Assemble a Hot Brown Sandwich Stack

The difference between a regular Hot Brown Sandwich and these Keto Hot Brown Sandwich Stacks is mostly in the bread or lack thereof…

First, cut the Julian Bakery Coconut Wraps into quarters, fry up the bacon, and finely chop the tomatoes.

Now, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread half the butter sauce on the paper.

Place six of the Coconut Wrap quarters on the baking sheet.

Top each quarter with half the roasted turkey, 1 tablespoon of the chopped tomatoes, and half a slice of crumbled bacon.

Kentucky hot brown sandwich stacks made from Julian Bakery coconut wraps on a baking sheet before baking them.

Place another quarter of the Coconut Wrap on top of each stack and top it with a slice of Swiss cheese.

Add a third piece of the Coconut Wraps and top it with the rest of the roasted turkey, another tablespoon of diced tomatoes, and the rest of the crumbled bacon.

Sprinkle a tablespoon of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese over top and place the fourth quarter of the Coconut Wraps on top.

Evenly divide the remaining butter sauce over each sandwich stack and spread it to the edges.

Kentucky hot brown sandwich stacks made from Julian Bakery coconut wraps on a baking sheet after baking them.

Now, bake the sandwich stacks until they’re golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Top each sandwich stack with some of the Mornay sauce, a third of a slice of bacon, some more diced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Serve immediately!

Woman holding a plate with a Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich Stack and a forkful.

Can Hot Brown Sandwiches Be Reheated?

Anything can be reheated, however, these sandwiches are best the day you make them.

If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container without the Mornay sauce on them.

You can reheat them in the oven to crisp them back up or warm them in a skillet.

The Mornay sauce can also be reheated in a saucepan over medium-low heat. You will need to whisk in a little more milk to smooth it out.

Be sure to leave a star rating and review after you make the recipe! This helps other people to find and enjoy it too.

Keto Kentucky hot brown sandwich made from coconut wraps on a plate.

Keto Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich Stacks

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

The classic Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich, made with a low carb twist! Oven roasted turkey, Swiss cheese, diced tomatoes, and bacon are layered between keto-friendly coconut wraps. A cheesy Mornay-style sauce drizzled over top makes for a decadent, healthy-ish sandwich. Perfect any time, but especially for a Derby Day party!


Butter Sauce

Whisk together melted butter, Dijon mustard, Truvia Brown, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.

Sandwich Stacks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the Julian Bakery Coconut Wraps into quarters.**

Drizzle half of the butter sauce on the parchment paper-lined baking pan.

Place six of the coconut wrap quarters on the baking sheet.

For each sandwich stack:

Put 1 ounce of roasted turkey on top of each coconut wrap and top with 1 tablespoon of diced tomatoes, spread evenly over the turkey.

Top with another quarter of the coconut wraps.

Place one slice of Swiss cheese on top. Tear the bacon into bite-sized pieces and spread evenly over the cheese.

Top with another quarter of the coconut wraps.

Place 1 ounce of roasted turkey on top and top with 1 tablespoon of diced tomatoes, spread evenly over the turkey. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Top with the last quarter of the coconut wraps.

Evenly divide the remaining butter sauce over each sandwich stack and spread to cover it.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, until browned.

Mornay Sauce***

While the sandwich stacks are baking, prepare the Mornay sauce.

In a small, heavyweight saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

Whisk in the flour and cook until lightly browned and bubbly.

Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Continue whisking until the white sauce thickens.

Stir in the shredded cheese until melted.

Whisk in hot sauce and ground pepper.

To Plate Sandwich Stacks

Place each sandwich stack on a plate. Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of the cheese sauce. Top with 1/3 slice of bacon and 1 tablespoon of diced tomatoes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.


These sandwiches are best served and consumed the day they're baked. If you have any leftovers, don't top them with the cheese sauce. Wrap the stacks in parchment paper and place in an airtight container. Reheat them in the oven to crisp them back up. The Mornay sauce can be reheated but may need to be thinned with additional milk. Whisk in milk while reheating the sauce, a teaspoon at a time, until smooth.


* Substitute regular brown sugar for a non-keto version.

** To make these into appetizer portions, cut each quarter into quarters. Assemble as directed, dividing the ingredients for each layer into fourths.

*** If the Mornay sauce sits too long before you use it it will thicken. To reheat it to the correct consistency, place the saucepan back over medium heat and whisk it continuously. You may need to thin the sauce with a little additional milk. Whisk in milk, a teaspoon at a time, until smooth.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 488Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 21gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 79mgSodium 563mgCarbohydrates 9gNet Carbohydrates 7gFiber 2gSugar 5gProtein 34g

Please note that we are not medical or nutritional professionals. We include nutrition information for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. However, due to wide variations in brands, nutrition data is subject to change for every user. Nutrition data is calculated using My Fitness Pal Pro. All sugar alcohols are subtracted from the final carb count. Please refer to our complete Nutritional Disclosure for more details.

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