Croque Monsieur Recipe

Croque monsieur is a French sandwich made with ham, smothered in creamy béchamel and nutty Gruyère, and broiled till crispy and golden. Served with a green salad, it’s perfect for brunch, lunch or dinner, and a simple and crazy delicious way to use leftover ham.

My parents and I often end up in French bistros when they visit us in Montreal. They love a lively atmosphere with good wine and good food even more than I do! They also love brunch. This all goes to explain why I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen my stepdad order a Croque Monsieur over the years.

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A croque monsieur sandwich sliced in half and served on a plate with a gherkin pickle.

I, on the other hand, had never so much as tasted one until I made these for Phil and I on New Year’s Day. I was looking for something easy to use up some leftover Christmas ham, and Croque Monsieur sprang to mind.

If you’ve never had one either, it is basically a ham and cheese sandwich (though I’ve often seen them served open-faced here), covered in creamy béchamel and nutty Gruyère, and broiled to golden perfection. In Paris, the béchamel sauce is reportedly an optional component, and presentation varies from one brasserie to another. A croque madame is a croque monsieur with a fried egg on top!

In any case, it is delicious, and really easy and quick to make at home – if you’re not flying to Paris anytime soon.

Croque monsieur sandwich sliced in half and served on a plate with a gherkin pickle.

How to Make a Croque Monsieur

The first step is to make an easy béchamel sauce. If you’re intimidated by French sauces, don’t be! Béchamel especially is really simple. The main thing is to whisk constantly. This is crucial for a smooth and creamy lump-free sauce. I added a bit of minced onion to mine for extra flavor, and a pinch of nutmeg. Stirring in some of the cheese at the end made it extra thick and, well, cheesy.

onion being sauteed in butter in a saucepan for bechamel sauce, and a second photo of cheese being added to cooked bechamel.

You can use many types of bread for a croque monsieur, from brioche to sourdough. I opted for sourdough, relatively thinly sliced at about 1/2 inch thick. You can even use regular sliced white sandwich bread in a pinch. I toasted the bread before assembling the sandwich because I was afraid the béchamel would make it soggy, and I think this is key for a golden, crispy sandwich.

Assembly of a croque monsieur. Dijon spread on two slices of bread, and the same two sliced covered with bechamel, ham and cheese

You can use pretty much any good quality ham. I had some leftover from Christmas, but deli ham is typically used and would work just as well.

Slather half the toasted bread slices with tangy Dijon mustard and a thick layer of béchamel. Add the ham and half the remaining cheese and top with the other bread slice. Smother with remaining béchamel and cheese and broil till golden and bubbly.

Two croque monsieur sandwiches on a baking sheet, ready to be broiled.

It’s a thing of beauty, and perfect served with a green salad with vinaigrette to balance the richness of the sandwich. Try these for brunch, lunch, or an easy dinner-with-Netflix.

Closeup of a croque monsieur sandwich sliced in half and served on a plate with a gherkin pickle.

Enjoy xx

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Closeup of a croque monsieur sandwich sliced in half and served on a plate with a gherkin pickle.

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Products I Used to Make this Croque Monsieur Recipe

Closeup of a croque monsieur sandwich sliced in half and served on a plate with a gherkin pickle.
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Croque Monsieur

Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Keyword ham and cheese sandwich, Ham sandwich
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 1239 kcal
Author Ann

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 4 ounces sliced ham

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler on high. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Make the béchamel: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, a minute or two. Add the flour and cook for one minute, whisking constantly. Add the milk and keep whisking to break up any lumps, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in a half cup of the cheese.

  3. On the prepared baking sheet, toast the bread slices under the broiler on both sides until golden. Keep a close eye on them as they will burn quickly!

  4. On two of the bread slices, spread a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Slather with a thick layer of béchamel sauce. Add sliced ham and a half cup of cheese. Top with the two remaining bread slices to make two sandwiches. Transfer the sandwiches to the aluminum-lined baking sheet. Top the two sandwiches with the remaining béchamel and cheese. 

  5. Broil until the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 5 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
Croque Monsieur
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1239 Calories from Fat 603
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 67g 103%
Saturated Fat 36g 180%
Cholesterol 215mg 72%
Sodium 2071mg 86%
Potassium 636mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 85g 28%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 10g
Protein 71g 142%
Vitamin A 34.2%
Vitamin C 1.3%
Calcium 153.7%
Iron 32.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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