Enjoy a classic St. Louis sandwich at home! This Gerber sandwich is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner, game day and more.

It’s a delicious open faced sandwich topped with garlic butter, ham and provel cheese that will have you begging for more!

A gerber sandwich on a white plate, sprinkled with paprika with a side of chips.
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A gerber is a hot open faced sandwich made famous in St. Louis. It’s made with a crusty french bread lightly coated with garlic butter, ham and of course, provel cheese.

While Provel is not available everywhere, but it’s also great with sliced mozzarella or provolone. Finally, it’s sprinkled with a dash of red pepper.

When baked, it’s an incredible open faced sandwich that words just cannot describe! It was first made in 1973 and then duplicated by an array of restaurants throughout the city.

This is one of my most loved recipes, as my Mom frequently made it when I was growing up and now I make it for my kids. I’m so excited to share it with you!

This sandwich is so much more than that… it’s pure comfort food, and I can’t wait for you to try it! Along with Gooey Butter Cake and Ted Drewes Chocolate Sauce, this is one of my favorite St. Louis recipes!

A gerber sandwich on a white plate, sprinkled with paprika with a side of chips.

Gerber Sandwich

Gerber sandwiches are a quick and easy dinner that even the kids can help make. It warms up even the chilliest of nights. Even better, everyone enjoys them (and therefore consumes without a fuss). 

One of my favorite things about the Gerber, is how quick and easy it is to make. Although not to be enjoyed everyday, it’s a great option for an after school dinner when you have no time on your hands. It’s a real treat and you will be the favorite parent for sure! 

While I don’t have the official recipe, this is how my mom always made it and I know that you will love it, too!

A gerber sandwich on a white plate, sprinkled with paprika with a side of chips.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Wholesome – This sandwich is warm, comforting and filling.
  • Quick Weeknight Dinner – So easy to make, with minimal ingredients.
  • Crowd Pleaser – This is a meal the whole family will love!
Gerber sandwiches on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Butter – I like to use salted butter to really add flavor to the toasted bread. 
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic is mixed with the melted butter and spread on the bread for the most delicious bite!
  • French Bread – French bread is crusty on the outside and wonderfully soft and fluffy in the middle. It’s the perfect vehicle for the rest of the ingredients.
  • Ham – Sliced thin.
  • Cheese – I love to use provel cheese, a St. Louis staple, because it melts beautifully, but provolone and mozzarella are also delicious options.
  • Paprika – Paprika is sprinkled over the sandwich for a little touch of color and an amazing flavor that complements the smokiness of provel.
Melted butter in a white bowl with a basting brush next to it.

How To Make A Gerber Sandwich

  1. Prep – Preheat oven and line a baking sheet.
  2. Layer – Spread butter and garlic onto open faced french loaves, top with ham and cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
    Bread, sliced open on a parchment lined baking sheet. Gerber sandwiches on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake – 15 minutes until toasted and cheese is gooey.
    Gerber sandwiches on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Enjoy! Serve warm.
Gerber sandwiches on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Tips

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil before adding the open faced sandwiches. The sandwiched will be easily removed from the sheet and it makes clean up a breeze.
  • Be sure to bake the sandwiches in a pre-heated oven. This will ensure that the sandwiches are warmed all the way through.
  • These sandwiches are best eaten straight out of the oven, but if you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container and keep n the fridge for 2 to 3 days. You can then gently reheat the in the oven before serving.
A gerber sandwich on a white plate, sprinkled with paprika with a side of chips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you buy provel cheese?

You can buy provel cheese at any St. Louis grocer (or surrounding areas) including but not limited to Schnucks, Dierbergs, Aldi, Walmart, Sams and Hy-Vee. If you’re not a local, order provel cheese online!

What is provel cheese?

Provel cheese is St. Louis staple! It’s a processed cheese made with a combination of cheddar, Swiss and provolone and it has a buttery and slightly smokey and tangy flavor. It has a low melting point so it is deliciously melty!
It was created by Costa Grocery on the Hill, now Roma Grocery in 1947 to add gooeyness to mozzarella, without being stringy.
A common misconception is that provel cheese is a blend of provolone and mozzarella and while the name might make sense, it’s truly white cheddar, Swiss and provolone.

It’s known as “St. Louis-Style Cheese” and for good reason! You’ll find it on just about everything in St. Louis including pizzas, salads (like this Italian Salad) and of course sandwiches like the Gerber.

An open face gerber sandwich on a white plate

How to Store

  • At Room Temperature –These sandwiches can sit out while serving for up to two hours safely. Of course, they are best right out of the oven.
  • Refrigerate – You can refrigerate your gerbers for up to three days when wrapped in an airtight container. Slowly reheat in the oven.
  • Freeze – Flash freeze on a sheet pan before wrapping tightly and storing in your freezer for up to three months.

More Sandwiches

A gerber sandwich on a white plate, sprinkled with paprika with a side of chips.
4.80 from 20 votes

Gerber Sandwich with Provel Cheese

This Gerber Sandwich is a St Louis classic. In basic terms it's a ham and cheese sandwich, but in reality it is so much more than that! This open faced sandwich is quick and easy to make with just a handful of ingredients, it's too good not to try! 
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
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Ingredients  

  • ½ cup butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder or minced garlic
  • 1 loaf french bread halved
  • 12 slices ham sliced thin
  • 6 slices provel cheese sliced thin – can substitute mozzarella or provel
  • ½ teaspoon paprika or red pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Place the French bread halves on a lined baking sheet.
  • In a measuring cup, mix butter and garlic. Spread onto french bread.
  • Top with ham and cheese.
  • Sprinkle a touch of paprika or red pepper.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and cheese is gooey.

Julie’s Tips

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil before adding the open faced sandwiches. The sandwiched will be easily removed from the sheet and it makes clean up a breeze.
  • These sandwiches are best eaten straight out of the oven, but if you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container and keep n the fridge for 2 to 3 days. You can then gently reheat the in the oven before serving.
Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 428mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 208IU | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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As seen on MSN and Country Living. Do you have a local favorite? I’d love to know!

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25 Comments

    1. They are all a form of red pepper. We typically use paprika, but if you want more of a kick, go for cayenne. Enjoy!

  1. It’s been years since I heard about the Gerber! We used to live a few blocks from Ruma’s and grew up eating those sandwiches! So yummy! I’m going to makes those for my boys this weekend. Thanks for the tip!

  2. The original and last Ruma’s Deli is still going in south St Louis county (Mehlville).
    Their Prosperity (open faced roast beef sandwich) and baked Mostaccioli are very good too. A tip to make this even faster is, buy the garlic bread already made in the foil bag from most local grocery stores. Also, after you bake it, turn the oven on broil and bubble up and slightly brown the cheese. But keep a very very close watch. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. I love Ruma’s – we are making the Gerbers and Prosperity sandwiches for a family get together tomorrow. Any one have a recipe for the mostaciolli sauce????