A Monte Cristo is a fried ham and cheesesandwich, a variation of the French croque-monsieur. In the 1930s–1960s, American cookbooks had recipes for this sandwich, under such names as French Sandwich, Toasted Ham Sandwich, and French Toasted Cheese Sandwich.Emmental or Gruyère cheese is typically used.
In most regions, the sandwich is savory rather than sweet. Traditionally, it is dipped in its entirety in egg batter and pan fried., though it may also be deep fried. Regional variations may include sliced turkey. In some areas of the US it is served grilled, in others as an open sandwich with only the bread battered and the assembled sandwich heated slightly under a grill or broiler. In the southern US, some restaurants serve a variation that is batter dipped and deep fried.
The Monte Cristo is sometimes covered in powdered sugar and served with preserves.