This Classic Croque Monsieur Recipe is easy to prepare and is a taste emersion right to the middle of Paris. For this recipe you can use any type of ham; so by all means, feel free to use any leftovers that you may have from this Easter.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.
If you’ve never had a Croque Monsieur then you may be wonder what it is. Simply put, it’s a ham and cheese sandwich with Dijon mustard and topped with béchamel sauce. It’s then toasted to perfection – bubbly and golden brown.
You can find this popular French sandwich all over the France. I’ve even heard that there are some governmental restrictions as to how to price Croque Monsieur, so it remains affordable for everyone. Pretty cool…
So, it’s no surprise that I also really like a good classic Croque Monsieur. You can find number of different recipes online with some subtle variations. But I really like the classic one featured in my printable recipe below.
If you’re curious about some of the other variations, you may find it interesting that Jamie Olivier adds Dijon mustard to his béchamel sauce and uses turkey instead of ham and Julia Child used mozzarella instead of Gruyere (you can read about it here).
For me, Gruyere is a must. It adds such a nice nutty flavor. Mozzarella melts well, but it lacks in the flavor department. I’ve also seen recipes without béchamel. Even though they may be easier to prepare, again, for me it’s a must for a Classic Croque Monsieur.
If however you decide to forego the béchamel, then add a ton of shredded cheese on top of a sandwich and broil it until bubbly.
If you want to see how to make a classic béchamel, I put a tutorial in this recipe for Pan Seared Ribeye with Mahon Menorca and Pepper Cheese Sauce. The béchamel is a base for this sauce. You just substitute Gruyere cheese, instead of Menorca, and add some nutmeg, and less pepper.
So what should be included in Classic Croque Monsieur?
The list of ingredients is short:
- Very good bread – like rustic round, French, Italian or even sourdough;
- Good quality ham (sliced but not very thin);
- Gruyere Cheese;
- Butter; &
It’s important to use really good quality ingredients for this recipe, as the recipe is short & hard to hide an inferior ingredient with seasoning. Obviously we are now a few weeks away from Easter and I think that this is a really good recipe to pin if you’re also giving some thought about your leftover ham. It would work fantastic in this recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions about Classic Croque Monsieur:
What does ‘Croque Monsieur’ mean?
Loosely translated, it means: “crunchy man.” (isn’t that funny?)
What’s the difference between Croque Monsieur and Croque Madam?
Simple…just add an egg on top of Croque Monsieur and you’ll have Croque Madam.
Are there other variations of this, other than Croque Madam?
Yes, if you add tomato to it you’ll have a ‘Croque Provençal;’ if you use salmon instead of ham, you’ll have ‘Croque Norwegian.’
What is the difference between Croque Monsieur and a Monte Cristo?
A Monte Cristo is sort of like a combination of Croque Monsieur and French Toast. Ham and cheese sandwich is dipped in the egg and fried up on both sides.
What shall I serve my Croque Monsieur with?
Because it is not a light sandwich, I’d suggest something light on a side, like simple green salad or any other light salad of your choice. If you’re looking for suggestions, you may want to check this awesome compilation of 35 Amazing Detox Salads.
What equipment do I need to make this Croque Monsieur Recipe?
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
You don’t need much here:
- Frying Pan and whisk for the béchamel; (this stone-derived non-stick pan is actually my newest favorite pan; I use it all the time; never had a better one)
- Grater for the cheese;
- Toaster oven, to toast the sandwiches (if you don’t have it, toast the bread on a pan with a little bit of butter on both sides and then once your sandwich is assembled place it under the broiler in your oven and you will be just fine);
If you love grilled cheese sandwiches, you’ll love this elevated ham and cheese sandwich. Please let me know if you like it Croque Monsieur or Madam or Provençal or Norwegian, I’m curious….
Classic Croque Monsieur Recipe
- 4 Slices Rustic Bread Sourdough or Brioche
- 4 slices Ham thick
- 1,5 cup Gruyere Cheese shredded
- 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tbsp Butter unsalted
- 1 tbsp Flour all-purpose
- 1 cup Milk
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Pinch of fresh Nutmeg
Heat up your milk either in a saucepan or microwave but make sure it is not boiling.
In a frying pan, melt the butter. Once melted, add flour and whisk well. Start adding warm milk gradually until all milk is incorporated and the sauce is smooth and thick.
Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
Lightly toast your bread for a few minutes in a toaster oven. Once toasted spread mustard on one slice of the bread and add ham and cheese on the other slice. Put the slices together and repeat with the remaining bread.
Spread about 2 tablespoon of the béchamel sauce on top of each sandwich, add a little bit more shredded cheese and place in the toaster oven for few minutes until the cheese starts to melt.
Change the settings to broiler and broil the sandwich until the sauce is bubbly and golden (for about 30 seconds). Remove from the toaster and cut in half. Enjoy.
If you don't have a toaster oven, you can toast your bread on each side in a frying pan with tablespoon of butter. Once your sandwich is assembled you can bake it in the oven. Heat up your oven to 400F and place the sandwich there for a few minutes until the cheese melts. Change the settings to broil and broil your sandwich for about 30 seconds.
** It is best to use thick sliced ham (like one from Easter leftovers), but if you have thin sliced deli ham, use at least 4 slices per sandwich.