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Croque Madame

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Croque Madame sandwich with fried egg on a plat with a fork and knife

Piled high with ham, melted Gruyère, creamy béchamel, and topped with a fried egg, the French bistro classic croque-madame is an indulgent meal fit for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

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A Sandwich By Any Other Name...

Shakespeare may disagree, but we think names matter! Take this recipe, for instance. If we told you about a recipe for a ham, cheese, and egg sandwich your interest level would likely fall somewhere between ambivalence and mild curiosity. But there’s something a little enticing about the name ‘croque-madame’ sandwich. You feel like you want to know what it is, and maybe you’d even like to try making one, right?

5 sliced of brioche bread on a cutting board with butter and a small knife
Side view of a Croque Madame sandwich on a baking sheet
open face Croque Madame with gruyere cheese and ham

What Is A Croque-Madame?

A croque-madame is a French bistro classic that begins with sliced ham and shredded Gruyère cheese layered onto thick slices of white bread. Fresh thyme and stone-ground mustard flavor a simple, creamy homemade béchamel sauce, that is poured over the toasted ham-and-cheese sandwich.

And then—because the French really know how to make a sandwich—the whole rich, gorgeous, béchamel-drenched thing is topped with even more shredded Gruyére. Pop it in the oven until it starts to bubble and your house smells like heaven.

Last but not least, to make it a truly classic croque-madame sandwich recipe, we top it with a fried Fred Meyer Cage Free Egg and some peppery microgreens. The result is rich, melty, and ooey-gooey sandwich perfection.

a hand putting whole grain mustard into a béchamel sauce with fresh thyme and nutmeg.
two hands holding a baking tray with four Croque Madame sandwiches on it.

What’s the Difference Between a Croque-Monsieur and a Croque-Madame?

In French, croque-monsieur means “mister crunch.” The sandwich likely dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and (supposedly) to a bistro owner who got clever when he ran out of baguettes. After some quick thinking (and ham bought from the village butcher), he used a loaf of pain de mie (similar to thick-sliced sandwich bread) and toasted it until it had the crunch of a baguette. The sandwich was a hit, and the croque monsieur has since become a staple in French cuisine. The sandwich becomes a croque-madame (“madam crunch””) when a fried egg is put on top of the finished sandwich.

Classic Croque-Madame Ingredients:

  • Thickly-sliced white bread.
  • A smooth béchamel sauce.
  • High-quality sliced ham.
  • Grated Gruyère cheese.
  • A perfectly fried egg.
Croque Madame sandwich on a plate, with a glass of water and side salad
Croque Madame sandwich with melted cheese and fried egg

The Elements, Perfected.

What could be just a simple ham and cheese sandwich becomes so much more when each element of the croque-madame’s ingredients are done right.

  • The croque-madame filling: good quality, freshly sliced ham and a real Gruyère with a nutty and assertive bite that you shred yourself right before melting
  • Thick slices of whitebread: thickly sliced and fluffy white bread, like Texas toast. It’s ideal for soaking up the croque-madame’s béchamel sauce.
  • Béchamel making your own croque madame sauce is crucial. Whole-grain mustard, fresh thyme, and grated nutmeg give the creamy béchamel sauce a certain je ne sais quois.
  • A runny, fried egg: the fried egg is what differentiates a croque-madame from a croque-monsieur, and it’s why we love them so very much. Supposedly, the croque-madame is called that because the shape of a fried egg resembles that of a ladies’ wide-brimmed hat.. We use fresh Kroger Co. Family of Stores Cage Free Eggs and fry them in melted butter one at a time in a nonstick skillet.

Tools You’ll Need:

Croque Madame sandwich with béchamel, a fried egg and melted cheese on a plate with a fork and knife
Two hands cutting into a Croque Madame sandwich on a plate

More Meal-Worthy Sandwiches To Love:

Need more swoon-worthy sandwich recipes in your life? We’ve got you covered.

  • Everyone’s favorite sammy gets a grown-up makeover in this green goddess grilled cheese sandwich loaded with avocado, sprouts, spinach, asparagus spears, and a flavor-packed green goddess spread.
  • Crusty bread, melty cheese, and thinly sliced steak find their bliss when dunked into a homemade au jus, making this French dip sandwich a meal you won’t soon forget.
  • Crisp ciabatta, homemade pesto, and a perfectly runny fried egg takes the beloved BLT to new heights of greatness in our heirloom BLT with pesto.
Croque Madame sandwich

Croque-Madame: The Best Sandwich Ever?

This croque-madame had us at Gruyère. And then again at béchamel. And then it really got us with the runny fried egg on top. Can you relate? Did you make this croque-madame recipe and love it as much as we do and have the pictures to prove it? If so, post those babies to Instagram and tag us using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

This sponsored post is written by TMP on behalf of Fred Meyer Stores. The opinions and text are all ours. Thank you for supporting the brands we love.

Croque Madame

Originally published: August 19, 2016

  • Serves:4
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Calories:960

Ingredients

Béchamel Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Sandwiches

  • 8 thick slices white bread
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, softened
  • 12 slices deli ham
  • 2 cups grated gruyère cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or more butter
  • 4 large eggs

For Serving

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 cups microgreens
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. .

  2. Make the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is beginning to foam, sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds; the mixture will clump together and bubble. Slowly add the milk, whisking until mixture is smooth. Add the thyme and continue to cook, whisking, until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Whisk in mustard, salt, and nutmeg to combine. Remove the skillet from the heat and discard thyme stems.

  3. Make the sandwiches. Spread 1 tablespoon butter onto one side of each of the bread slices. Place four of the bread slices butter side down on a baking sheet. Place three folded slices of ham on each, and cover each pile of ham with 1/4 cup grated cheese. Top with the remaining slices of bread, butter side up.

  4. Toast sandwiches on the center rack for 6 minutes, or until the bread is lightly golden and the cheese is melted. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn on the broiler.

  5. Pour the béchamel sauce evenly over all of the sandwiches. Top the sandwiches with the remaining cheese, dividing it evenly. Broil until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, carefully crack the eggs into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not yet firm, about 5 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully transfer 1 egg on top of each sandwich.

  7. Top the sandwiches with chives, microgreens, and black pepper before serving.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories960
  • Protein42 g
  • Carbohydrates48 g
  • Total Fat66 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol363 mg
  • Sodium1185 mg
  • Total Sugars8 g

Questions & Reviews

Avg: 5