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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RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

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

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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
    Really good. My son loves it. In fact, he loves when we have ham because he knows that Croque Monsieur are in his future.

  2. 5 stars
    These are perfect – *just* like the ones in Paris! It’s a rainy Sunday and I was craving this so badly. I didn’t realize the recipe would be so easy. I sort of guesstimated the measurements for the bechamel sauce (making only enough for 2) – and I also added garlic paste to the butter, letting it cook before adding the garlic.
    This recipe is truly a keeper. Thank you!!

  3. 5 stars
    Love the recipe, thanks! I was thinking about it and I think Croque does not really mean crunch. It means more bite or munch in English, and since it is a perfect café or bistro food, I’d rather translate it as the Gentleman’s quick bite/munch. Cheers!

  4. My dad and I made this right before I left for college— Amazing and easy recipe!! Very Very delicious 🙂
    Just be sure you have dijon mustard!! It pulls the whole dish together and we forgot it 🙁

  5. Amazingly tasty! Followed the recipe (except for nutmeg, which I didn’t have at home) and the result came out delicious. Wish I had prepared more 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I missed the croque madame I used to have at my favorite restaurant, so I made this at home and served it with freshly made eggy potato salad. It was delicious 😋

  7. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Super easy to make, I love a recipe that seems impressive but is actually super easy.
    Be careful using parchment paper with the broiler though. I’m not sure if it was the type of parchment paper I had or if the rack was too close to the broiler but the paper got completely burnt and started smoking intensely.
    Thankfully my sandwich was fine!!

  8. 4 stars
    This tastes great! I’d recommend lightly roasting the bread before spreading the bachamel or it ends up a little soggy.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 5 stars
    Valerie

    It was absolutely delicious I had done this so often after months in France and it was great to be reminded and stirred into action once again

  16. 5 stars
    Delicious!
    Used leftover baked ham which was such a tasty way to use leftovers. Very similar to what I frequently ordered in France.

  17. 5 stars
    Used this recipe for my first time making a Croque Monsieur, substituted bacon for ham (pre cooked of course) and it turned out amazingly! My girlfriend loved it and we’ll definitely be making this again!

  18. 5 stars
    Made it exactly as described and my roomateS and I loved it! This is very similar to my French Canadian mom’s recipe which is what I was craving and looking for. Added the fried egg in top too!

  19. 5 stars
    This was so easy to make and delicious! I served it on homemade bread, with a salad with homemade Italian dressing. Thanks for sharing this recipe- can’t wait to try it in France!

  20. I made this recipe but i change the ham with tuna. It turns out very well. So delicious and it so easy to make it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  21. 5 stars
    Had enough ingredients to make three sandwiches between my husband and I. We LOVED every bite and even though we were stuffed we we sad to be done! Wish I could show everyone just how beautiful it came out!

    1. Croque monsieur à la dinde. Most of the time if you jazz up a croque monsieur, you’d just add the au or à la before the ingredient in French that you’ve jazzed it up with :). Some exceptions are the croque madame (with a fried egg on top) or the Monte Cristo (fried in an egg batter)…

  22. 5 stars
    This is an excellent recipe. It was better than other croque monsieur recipes I have tried. Instructions were easy to follow and times in the oven were spot on.

  23. I had a croque monsieur in Paris and kinda remember it being open faced- not two pieces of bread. Is there a version like that?

  24. 5 stars
    Just made your croque monsieur and it was outstanding. When I was in Paris years ago, I bought a croque monsieur almost everyday from the local bakery and this brings back frond memories. Thanks so much for posting it.

  25. 5 stars
    Really good! I added a little more mustard to my sauce to give it a little more kick and used the cheese I had on hand (quesadilla cheese and shredded jack) but it still turned out amazing!

  26. 5 stars
    Made it for supper this evening. The recipe was easy to follow and the results were delicious. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for the wonderful recipe really loved the bechamel sauce.

  27. Tried it today for a quick lunch for my daughter and son in law and they loved it. I just used whatever cheese I had . Asiago and parmesan and it was amazing they said. I am a vegetarian! Also added some sliced red onions!!

  28. Back in the mid 70s I visited France for the first time and enjoyed many Croque Monsieur sandwiches. Not one of them was made with béchamel. The bread was buttered on the outside. The inside of the bottom bread had mustard and a slice of ham. On top was a slice of gruyère. The whole thing was put in the oven and then broiled. Delicious and not so caloric.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience–I’m not surprised someone else could have made it differently, and you could make it your own way if that’s what you’d like 🙂 In my trips there this is how it’s been served for me 🙂

  29. 5 stars
    This is amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe . We love it. Just bought sour dough bread to try out tonight and I can’t wait. This will be the 3rd time I’ve made this for dinner. One of my favorite sandwiches of all time.

    1. I am so thrilled you’ve made this croque monsieur so many times! Thank you so much for your kind comment. I hope you get to try more of my recipes soon <3

  30. 5 stars
    Prepare tu receta y estuvo perfecta y el sabor delicioso, muchas gracias desde Queretaro, México

  31. 5 stars
    I made this for fun with my mother in law and they were amazing. The cheese was a little expensive but worth every penny!