Croque Monsieur: the tasty French recipe for a hot ham and cheese sandwich

Total time: 30 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 3 people
By Cookist

The Croque Monsieur is the ultimate cheese sandwich—it’s basically a French hot ham and cheese sandwich made with fresh bread, white béchamel sauce, ham, and cheese slices. And you know this sandwich is going to be good if it’s invented by the French!

In the oven, the bread becomes crispy, while the cheese and béchamel become bubbly and melty. Serve it for breakfast, lunch, or a side to a warming, flavorful soup. Either way, you’ll fall in love with this cheesy sandwich! Don’t think this is just another cheese and ham toast, it will become your new sandwich favorite!

What Is Croque Monsieur?

The Croque Monsieur (pronounced krohk-muh-sju) is a French hot ham and cheese sandwich made with fresh bread, white béchamel sauce, ham, and melty Gruyere or Swiss cheese slices. The assembled sandwich is broiled, producing a bubbly and melty sandwich.

The name literally means “mister crunch”, and is a very accurate description of this yummy sandwich!

You will also get a sweeter variation of the Croque Monsieur—the Monte Cristo. Order a Monte Cristo, and you will get a Croque Monsieur dipped in an egg wash, pan-fried, and then dusted with powdered sugar.


Croque Monsieur Vs Croque Madame

A Croque Monsieur is a sandwich made with ham, Gruyere or Swiss cheese, occasionally béchamel sauce. A croque madame is a croque monsieur served with a poached or fried egg on top.

Homemade Croque Monsieur Ingredients

Bread – use dense bread like sourdough, ciabatta, or oat bread. You can also use fresh sandwich bread if you want.

Mustard – use Dijon mustard and not American mustard.

Cheese – use Gruyere, Swiss, Cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack for best results,

Ham – use smoked ham for better flavor.

How To Make Croque Monsieur

Béchamel sauce

Start by making the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir continuously until there are no visible specks of flour. Add the remaining béchamel ingredients, making sure to stir while the mixture cooks and thickens.


To assemble the sandwich, smear about a tablespoon of mustard on one slice of the bread. Add a cheese slice, then a ham slice—then repeat with another layer of cheese and ham. Top with the second slice of bread. Add a smear of béchamel on top of the bread and top it with a slice of cheese.


Place the sandwiches in the oven, taking care to place them lower in the oven, as the cheese may burn. The sandwiches are done when it is cheese brown and bubbly.


Tips For The Best Croque Monsieur

To make a vegetarian version, you can leave out the ham, and use sauteed mushrooms instead.

Because mozzarella has a rather bland flavor, it’s best not to use it for this recipe.

If you want to change this into a Croque Madame, you can simply add a fried egg on top before serving.

How To Serve Croque Monsieur

In France, you will typically see a Croque Monsieur served in bistros for lunch. But these days, it’s popular the world over for both breakfast and lunch! Serve it on its own, or with a side salad or fries.

How To Store Homemade Croque Monsieur

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Can You Freeze Croque Monsieur?

Yes! The Croque Monsieur can be frozen and made ahead of time. Simply assemble the Croque Monsieur ahead of time, wrap with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

When you want to serve them, allow them to thaw and cook as per the recipe.

sourdough bread
6 slices
1 tbsp
Unsalted butter
2 tbsp
All-purpose flour
1 tbsp
180 ml
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
35 g
freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch
salt and pepper to taste
swiss cheese or gruyère cheese slices
sliced ham
Melted butter
2 tbsp


Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Brush both sides of the bread with melted butter and pop them in the oven to toast on both sides.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour and cook them together stirring constantly.

Add the milk, cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook the sauce on medium heat until it thickens.

Switch the broiler on too high. To assemble the sandwich, smear some of the mustard on one slice of the toasted bread.

Then arrange a row of cheese, ham, and then another row of cheese and ham.

Top with the other slice of bread, smear some of the béchamel on top of the bread and top it with a slice of cheese.

Put the sandwiches in the oven, but do not place them at the top of the oven, as the cheese may burn. Sandwiches are done when the cheese is brown and slightly melted.


You can also make a sweet version by using fruit preserves and dusting with powdered sugar.

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