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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.What is Croque Monsieur
If you’ve never had a Croque Monsieur then you may 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 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…
I really like classic French recipes with ham and cheese. For example, these Ham and Cheese Crepes or Crepes with Ham, Egg, and Cheese are among my favorites.
So, it’s no surprise that I also really like a good classic Croque Monsieur. You can find a number of different recipes online with some subtle variations. But I really like the classic one featured in my printable recipe below.
Popular Variations of Croque Monsieur
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 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 (at the time I publish this recipe) 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 a simple green salad or any other light salad of your choice. If you’re looking for suggestions, you may want to check out this awesome compilation of 35 Amazing Detox Salads.
But if you choose to go a little heavier you can always serve it with something like a Potato Salad or a Rice Salad.
You could also serve it alongside a delicious French-inspired soup like:
What equipment do I need to make this Croque Monsieur Recipe?
You don’t need much here:
- Frying Pan and whisk for the béchamel; (
- 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 Croque Monsieur or Madam or Provençal or Norwegian, I’m curious….
More French Recipes to Try:
- Perfect French Cheese Board
- Chicken Provencal with Shallots and Garlic
- Perfect French Crepes
- Potato Leek Casserole – Potato Dauphinoise Gratin
- Acorn and Butternut Squash Gratin Casserole
- Broccoli Au Gratin
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 tablespoons of the béchamel sauce on top of each sandwich, add a little bit more shredded cheese, and place in the toaster oven for a 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.
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Lisa | Garlic & Zest
I want to dive through the screen for a taste of this sandwich — Croque Monsieur’s are one of my favorites — and I always indulge whenever I’m in France. Might have to make one this week — because I know I won’t be able to stop thinking about this one.
Thanks Lisa. it is one of my favorite sandwiches too 🙂
This recipe looks amazing! So much cheesy goodness!
Thank you Amy!
That bechamel sauce! OH my goodness I wish I could eat every bit of that sandwich right this minute! How have I never had this before??
Hi Christina. I can assure you that you will like this sandwich 🙂
Oh my gosh… If you only knew how badly I wanted this on my breakfast table right now. This looks absolutely scrumptious. Bookmarking, pinning, and sharing this beauty!
Thank you so much Traci! I’d invite you if I had leftovers 🙂
Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
This sandwich is calling my name. Nothing beats a great sandwich…and when you can make GOURMET sandwiches like this…even better. Love tasting the flavours of the world without leaving home. YUM!!
Thank you Gloria!
TOTALLY salivated over this recipe. I gave up meat but can’t wait to try the Croque Norwegian!
Hana the writer
I can see how passionate you are for classic recipes.. I am guilty as well. Ha ha But darling, I’m afraid you made the secobd version of Croque Monsieur. It is true that Gruyère cheese is french but it was Emmental cheese that was traditionally used in this sandwich.. typically known today as Swiss chesse. A slice of it in btween layers of ham and grated cheese to go on top with pinches of salt and pepper. Gruyere cheese can be used but if you were opting to prepare a traditional recipe.. it was made with Emmental cheese.