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Croque Monsieur

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  30 min
  • Calories: 751
    a homemade croque monsieur sandwich on a plate served with pickles and stone ground mustard
    Photography by Gayle McLeod

    It’s hard to improve upon a classic grilled cheese sandwich, that is, unless you are a grilled ham and cheese croque monsieur.

    Let’s Make a Homemade Croque Monsieur, Oui?

    Before we get out our knife and fork for this sandwich, we should address what is croque monsieur? It is essentially a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, but made even better with a layer of thick and creamy béchamel sauce. When we think about the pronunciation of croque monsieur, we imagine Steve Martin in The Pink Panther, trying to pronounce “hamburger.” With that in mind, the best we can recommend for ordering a croque monsieur on your next French vacation is to try this out: croak muh-syur. And If you liked it then you shoulda put an egg on it–that is, in the croque monsieur vs croque madame conversation, the sandwiches are one and the same but a Croque Madame has a fried egg on top!

    bread, ham, Gruyère, butter, flour, milk, dijon and spices in bowls to make croque monsieur

    Sandwiches For Every Occasion

    While we believe a glorious croque monsieur is the perfect sandwich, we have a few other great sandwich recipes we like to have up our sleeves. Like the French Dip Sandwich or Meatball Sub Sandwich, when you’re looking for a hearty, two-hand sandwich. Diner classics like The Best Egg Salad Sandwich, Patty Melt, and this Reuben Sandwich call for a side of chips and soda pop. If you’d like to take a real flavor journey, we recommend the Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Sandwich or our Pineapple Pulled Pork Sandwich recipes.

    How To Make Croque Monsieur

    1. Make the béchamel sauce. Béchamel is one of the cornerstone sauce recipes in French cuisine, called the “mother sauces”, and is made of flour, butter, and milk mixture.

    2. Build the sandwiches. Butter the outside of the bread slices, and pile the ham and grated cheese onto the bread, closing the sandwich with the other slice of buttered bread. What cheese is traditionally used in a croque monsieur? Our recipe calls for the classic Gruyère, but Comte or Emmental are also commonly used.

    3. Bake the sandwiches in the oven for about twelve minutes, flipping halfway through.

    4. Top the sandwiches with the béchamel sauce and return to the oven for another toast, this time under the broiler. Cook until nice and bubbly and brown, about four minutes max.

    5. Serve these sandwiches warm, with a sprinkle of chives, fresh thyme, and black pepper, if desired.

    milk being poured into a pot with melted butter to make a béchamel sauce
    homemade béchamel sauce in a pot made with milk, butter, flour, dijon, fresh thyme, salt and nutmeg

    Tell Me More About The French Croque Monsieur

    Sometimes it’s difficult to translate precisely from French to English, but what does Croque Monsieur mean literally? The word croque comes from the verb croquer, meaning “to bite” in French and monsieur means “mister” or “sir.” Like many recipe origin stories there’s a few different versions, but most place the croque monsieur showing up in the early 1900s. Today it is one of the most prevalent sandwiches around France, showing up as a ready-made on grocery shelves, and in cafes and homes across the country.

    4 slices of buttered bread topped with ham and Gruyère cheese ready to be baked and make croque monsieur
    4 slices of buttered bread topped with ham, Gruyère cheese and another slice of buttered bread ready to be baked
    4 baked croque monsieur sandwiches topped with homemade béchamel sauce and Gruyère cheese ready to go back in the oven
    4 homemade croque monsieur sandwiches fresh out of the oven topped with béchamel sauce and melted cheese o a baking sheet

    Tools You’ll Need

    Add More French Flair To Your Cooking Repertoire

    French cuisine always has a place in our kitchens. Here’s a few of our favorite French recipes that we hope you try:

    a homemade croque monsieur sandwich stacked on a plate served with pickles and stone ground mustard

    J’Adore Les Sandwiches!

    Did you make this easy croque monsieur recipe? Show us how you ham and cheese! Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Bon appétit!

    Croque Monsieur

    • Serves: 4
    • Prep Time:  5 min
    • Cook Time:  30 min
    • Calories: 751

    Ingredients

    For the Béchamel sauce

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

    For the for the sandwiches

    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, softened
    • 8 thick slices white sandwich bread
    • 12 slices deli ham
    • 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

    For serving

    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives, optional
    • Freshly cracked black pepper

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center position.

    2. Make the béchamel sauce. Add the butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk until melted. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture is combined and the butter begins to bubble, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Add the thyme and cook, whisking, until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes more. Whisk in the mustard, salt, and nutmeg, then remove from 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-sides down on a sheet pan. Place three folded slices of ham on each, and top each with 1/4 cup grated cheese. Top with the remaining slices of bread, butter-sides up.

    4. Bake until bread is golden brown and cheese has melted, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip, and repeat on the other side. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and turn on the broiler.

    5. Evenly pour the béchamel sauce over the sandwiches, then top with the remaining cheese (about ¼ cup per sandwich). Broil until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

    6. Sprinkle the sandwiches with chives, fresh thyme, and black pepper, if desired. Serve warm.

    Nutrition Info

    • Per Serving
    • Amount
    • Calories751
    • Protein34 g
    • Carbohydrates34 g
    • Total Fat52 g
    • Dietary Fiber0 g
    • Cholesterol167 mg
    • sodium1855 mg
    • Total Sugars5 g

    Croque Monsieur

    Questions & Reviews

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    • Kay

      This is such a delicious sandwich, oh my gosh. The sauce and second addition of cheese is just incredible. My husband and I LOVED it.

      Thanks Kay, so glad you both enjoyed it!