Croque Monsieur is a delicious French ham and cheese sandwich made with gruyere, parmesan, ham and a simple béchamel sauce, toasted in the oven.

Serve with a green salad and a small cup of French Onion Soup and you have the perfect Parisian meal!

Croque monsieur sandwich cut in half and served on a plate.

This Croque Monsieur recipe (and my other favorite French recipes) are inspired by the two trips to France I’ve taken over the years. You can find a Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame sandwich on almost every restaurant menu in Paris.

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The sandwich pictured above was from a patio lunch I enjoyed on the streets at Montmartre, Paris.

How to make Croque Monsieur:

1. Spread béchamel on bread. Lay all of your bread slices on the counter and spread a thin layer of béchamel sauce on each slice. (Béchamel is a simple white sauce made with butter, flour and milk.)

2. Add ham and cheese. Add one layer of ham and a sprinkle of cheese to half of the bread slices.

3. Top with bread.  Top the ham and cheese with another slice of bread, making sure to leave the béchamel facing up.

4. Finishing touches.  Sprinkle the top layer of bread with more parmesan and gruyere.

5. Bake. until bread is toasted and cheese is melted and bubbly.

Three process photos for layering bread with béchamel, ham and cheese to make croque monsieur.

For the Béchamel Sauce:

  • Melt butter in a saucepan.
  • Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes.
  • Gradually add milk, stirring well until the mixture is smooth. Cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened.
  • Season with a little bit of salt and pepper.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in mustard and nutmeg.

Béchamel sauce cooking in a saucepan with a whisk to stir it.

A few tips for success:

1. Quality ingredients matter.  Particularly fresh cheeses and good quality ham! Most of the places where we had Croque Monsieur in Paris used Emmental cheese, but I found that hard to find. I do know that Gruyere is commonly used as well, so either will work.

2. Make the béchamel ahead of time.  The béchamel can be made one day in advance to cut down on prep. Make it as instructed, allow it to cool. Place plastic wrap directly onto surface and chill.

A baking tray with toasted croque monsieur sandwiches, hot from the oven.

What is the difference between a Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame?

Both are very similar ham and cheese sandwiches but a croque madame is topped with a fried egg. The French word “croque” is based on the verb “croquer”, which means to bite or to crunch.  The names croque monsieur and croque madame translate to “mister” and “mistress” crunch.

To make this into a Croque Madame sandwich, make the recipe as instructed, then fry eggs (one for each sandwich, sunny-side up) in a separate skillet while the sandwiches toast in the oven. Place an egg on top each sandwiches.

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Recipe

Croque monsieur sandwich cut in half and served on a plate.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins
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Ingredients
  

Béchamel sauce:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • cups whole milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • dash of ground nutmeg

Sandwich:

  • 8 thin slices white sandwich breads
  • 5 ounces good quality ham about 8 slices
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese ,or Emmental cheese, grated (about 2½ cups)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

Béchamel sauce:

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring well until the mixture is smooth. Cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened. 
  • Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard and nutmeg. Set aside while you make the sandwiches, or make the sauce up to 1 week in advance.

Assemble sandwiches:

  • Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking tray with parchement paper and set aside.
  • Spread each bread slice with a layer of béchamel, spreading it all the way to the edges. Place 4 slices of bread, béchamel side up, on prepared baking sheet. 
  • Top each with a piece of ham, a handful of gruyere, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Place remaining slices of bread on top, béchamel side up, then top with remaining gruyere and parmesan cheese.
  • Bake at 425 degrees F for about 5-6 minutes, until cheese is melted, and then turn the oven to broil and broil until the cheese on top is lightly golden, 2-4 minutes.

Notes

Cheese:  Emmental cheese is often used for croque monsieur, but I found that hard to find, and I do know Gruyere is commonly used as well, so either will work.
Béchamel: Save on prep time by making the white sauce ahead of time. Make it as instructed, allow it to cool, place plastic wrap directly onto surface, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Croque Madame: To make this into a Croque Madame sandwich, make the recipe as instructed, then fry eggs (one for each sandwich, sunny-side up) in a separate skillet while the sandwiches toast in the oven. Place an egg on top each sandwiches. 

Nutrition

Calories: 658kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 25gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 657mgPotassium: 254mgSugar: 5gVitamin A: 905IUCalcium: 520mgIron: 0.9mg

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I originally shared this recipe October 2016. Updated August 2020.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just tried this recipe today and it turned out amazing, will be a go to for me in the future. Next time I would like to make my own Dijon mustard though.

  2. 3 stars
    Followed the recipe. Used brioche bread, but need the top and bottom more crispy. Do I need to brown bottom half in a cast-iron skillet, with a little butter, prior to baking and keep top under broiler longer? What say you?

    1. A croque Monsieur isn’t supposed to be crispy. At least none of the ones that I had in Paris were. Because of the bechamel sauce and cheese the bread doesn’t toast up like it would otherwise.

  3. Made this for the first time and loved it! Great recipe! I doubled the sauce because we’re ooey gooey sauce people! Delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    I love it! I used brioche bread, and managed to find emmental cheese too! This is so delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    This was easy and spectacular! For our vegetarian daughter, I added asparagus tips to make it more interesting since she didn’t get ham. She loved it!

  6. 5 stars
    Just made this as a special holiday brunch item. I followed the recipe exactly, and it exceeded my expectations. Decadent, fun texture contrasts, and delicious! The touch of dijon mustard in the béchamel sauce is a must! I confess that I used the béchamel while it was still slightly warm, but my bread was a touch on the stale side so all worked out well. Looking forward to making this again for dinner tomorrow night using the leftover béchamel. Thank you for an easy recipe, that is still fun and made the day seem special. I’ll try your recipe for chicken cordon blue next.

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