This Kentucky Hot brown pizza takes comfort food to a whole new level! This fun twist on the classic open-faced sandwich includes a rich cheese sauce, plus smoked turkey, bacon, and thinly sliced tomatoes all baked to perfection on a delicious crust.
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My Keto Hot Brown Casserole has been a favorite on this site since it was originally posted two years ago. While Hot Browns are a regional dish from Louisville Kentucky, I like to think that I am doing my part to share this delicious concoction with the world.
It’s a tough job, right?
If you’ve never experienced a Hot Brown, then you are in for a real treat. The Hot Brown is an open-faced turkey sandwich that is smothered in a cheesy Mornay sauce (similar to an Alfredo) and topped with tomato and bacon.
Hot Browns were invented in Louisville Kentucky at the Brown Hotel and they are legendary around here. You can find a link to a traditional Hot Brown, as well as some more info on the history HERE.
I don’t know why hot brown pizzas aren’t a thing everywhere, or why I never thought of it sooner but I am so glad that I did!
The perfect pizza crust:
Pizza is only as good as it’s crust, so I don’t recommend skimping here. In the pizza pictured, I used my recipe for quick and easy pizza dough. It is a traditional pizza crust that is SO easy to make.
For tips, tricks, and other help with the crust be sure to check out my pizza dough post!
Feel free to swap the crust recipe I used with one of your favorites or even (in a pinch) store-bought pizza crust or dough.
Can this pizza be made keto or gluten-free?
If you are eating a keto, low carb, or gluten-free diet then have no fear, this recipe can easily be made low carb by swapping the traditional crust for a fathead dough (or any other dough that you enjoy)
For my tried and true fathead crust recipe head over to my original Hot Brown Casserole recipe post. Follow the instructions for the “bread” layer but instead of spreading it out into a 9×13″ pan, simply spread it out onto a 14-16″ pizza pan lined with parchment.
You will need to bake this keto crust at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes before adding the toppings to ensure that the crust bakes through. (I like to flip it after the initial bake, and before adding the toppings)
After adding the toppings you will increase the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the toppings are browned to your liking.
Kentucky Hot Brown Pizza Toppings and Possible Substitutions:
Butter – Don’t substitute this. Trust me!
Heavy Whipping Cream can be swapped with milk or half and half but the sauce will not be as thick or rich, so proceed with caution.
Romano Cheese is the traditional choice for hot brown sandwiches. However, I know some people don’t like it and it can be pricy and sometimes hard to find. You can swap the romano for parmesan or a parmesan and romano blend but just be sure to use fresh cheese and not the cheap powdery stuff.
Ground Nutmeg and Paprika are the traditional spices used in a hot brown. Sometimes I leave out the nutmeg, sometimes I don’t. But, I ALWAYS add the paprika!
Smoked Turkey Breast The recipe calls for thickly sliced roasted turkey. This is a GREAT way to use up leftover turkey but to save time I’ve used Oscar Meyer carving board turkey as well as roasted chicken. **Recently Sam’s Club has been carrying smoked turkey breast slices which work great for this recipe!**
Bacon – Whatever you do DO NOT leave off the bacon! You can reduce it slightly and feel free to save time by using bacon crumbles but for goodness sake, don’t skip it.
Roma Tomato – So here’s the deal … I hate tomatoes. They are one of the few foods that I just can’t eat. The only exception to my disgust is hot browns. The sauce and other toppings are so rich that you really need to acid from the tomato to balance everything out.
If you are like me and don’t like them much, I suggest slicing them paper-thin and allowing them to bake until they are slightly browned on top.
Roma tomatoes are the traditional pick and have the most tolerable flavor IMO, but feel free to use any other tomato that you enjoy or have on hand.
Fresh Parsley is another great way to help balance out the richness so if at all possible, I don’t suggest leaving it off.
Be sure to check out these other great recipes:
- Louisville Benedictine Dip or Spread
- Kentucky Burgoo | Slow Cooker, Low Carb
- Sugar-Free Mint Juleps
- Sugar-Free Bourbon Balls
- Kentucky Derby Pie | Keto, Gluten-Free
- Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole | Keto, Gluten-Free
- Quick and Easy Pizza Dough
- Upside Down Pizza Casserole | Keto
Kentucky Hot Brown Pizza
For the crust:
For the Sauce:
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- ½ cup Romano Cheese Shredded
- pinch Ground Nutmeg optional
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 cup Smoked Turkey Breast cut into bite sized Pieces
- ½ lb Bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1 Roma Tomato thinly sliced
- ¼ tsp Paprika
- Fresh Parsley chopped, optional for garnish
- Romano Cheese shredded, optional for garnish
- Stand Mixer with Dough Hook Attachment
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Then prepare the sauce: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the heavy cream and romano cheese. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer.
- Simmer for 10. minutes, or until the mixture has thickened, stirring frequently. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg then set aside while you prepare the crust:
- If you are using a pizza stone, then be sure to place the stone in the oven when the oven is cold and allow it to preheat along with the oven.
- For the crust: Pour the warm water into the bottom of a large bowl. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, then use the mixer bowol.Sprinkle the yeast over the water and allow it to dissolve slightly (for about 1 minute). Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix.
- Add the sugar, salt, and oil. gently stir. Add the flour in ½ cup at a time using a mixer with a dough hook to mix after each addition. Continue adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky and forms a nice ball in the bottom of the bowl. You may not use all of the flour. (if you don't have a mixer with a dough hook, simply mix the dough with a heavy spoon or spatula until the dough holds it's shape. Then, turn the it out onto a floured surface and kned the dough for 3-5 minutes, adding more flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticky.)
- Spread the dough out onto a 14-16 inch circle and place it on a baking sheet or preheated pizza stone.
- Spread half of the sauce onto the pizza dough. Top with the turkey, then the remaining sauce.
- Sprinkle the bacon over the pizza. Place the thinly sliced tomatoes evenly over the pizza.
- Bake for around 12-15 minutes until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned and the tomatoes are nicley roasted.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle with paprika, chopped parsley, and additional romano cheese if desired. Then, slice and serve!