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Croque-Monsieur Sandwich sliced and stacked on a white plate with grapes and strawberries

Croque Monsieur Sandwich

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The Croque Monsieur Sandwich is a French classic made with ham and cheese, topped with a cheese sauce, then baked before a final broiling.

This upscale French Grilled Cheese Recipe got the picky hubby’s attention. He wasn’t sure how to pronounce the French name, but he definitely won’t forget it! If you’re looking for a lunch recipe to impress, this croque monsieur is the answer!

Croque-Monsieur Sandwich sliced and stacked on a white plate with grapes and strawberries

Croque Monsieur Sandwich

The croque or crispy mister, as it translates from French, is basically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a smear of mustard. Gruyere is the cheese of choice and the recipe I selected from Ina Garten included a topping of bechamel with even more Gruyere. Baked then broiled, it is an unpretentious, yet extraordinary treat.

I first made these in 2013, after a trip to France. I cooked only one to photograph, but after the guys took care of my leftovers, they requested more! The chicken parmesan I made for dinner went into the fridge for another night!  Gooey and obviously irresistible, you’ll have to give these croque monsieur sandwiches a try. It’s an out of the ordinary, memorable grilled cheese recipe!

Family on Omaha Beach, France

The family on Omaha Beach in Normandy

What is a Croque Monsieur?

This “gentleman’s sandwich” was first documented on Parisian menus in 1910. The croque monsieur started out as pub fare or a quick snack. Either baked or fried, this crispy grilled cheese originally contained boiled ham and cheese. Later versions were topped with bechamel and cheese and broiled to make an even tastier grilled cheese recipe!

Here are some of the variations of the Croque-Monsieur sandwich via Wikipedia:

  • Croque madame or croque-à-cheval (topped with a fried or poached egg)
  • Croque provençal (with tomato)
  • Croque auvergnat (with bleu d”Auvergne cheese)
  • Croque gagnet (with Gouda and andouille)
  • Croque norvégien (with smoked salmon instead of ham)
  • Croque tartiflette (with sliced potatoes and Reblochon cheese)
  • Croque bolognese / Croque Boum-Boum (with Bolognese sauce)
  • Croque señor (with tomato salsa)
  • Croque Hawaiian (with a slice of pineapple)
  • “Croque McDo” sandwich at found at French McDonald’s
Kids on Normandy Beach, France

Our First Tastes of This French Grilled Cheese Recipe

Here’s the story of our first tastes of a croque monsieur. It was a Sunday evening, after a long day of touring the picturesque abbey of Mt. Saint Michel and the Normandy beaches. We ended up on the quiet main drag of Saint-Lô looking for a bite to eat.

We walked by restaurant after restaurant, reading menus, ruling out one spot after the next, as our stomachs growled with hunger, till we finally landed at a pub…where only 3 regulars sat at the bar. Some menus were dusted off…and despite a major language barrier, we all ordered a Croque-Monsieur, a French classic.

As we waited patiently for our meal, I surmised that these French ham and cheese sandwiches were being retrieved from deep inside a freezer, taken from a frost-covered box. Underwhelmed, but starving, we all cleaned our plates. Surely, that was not typical of this famous snack which started appearing in Parisian cafes in 1910. I vowed to make my own when we returned stateside. And now you can, too!

French Ham and Cheese Sandwich stacked on a square white plate

More Sandwiches You’ll Love:

A Croque Monsieur on a white plate with a red handled knife

This post was originally shared in April 2013. The text and photos were updated in 2019.

Croque-Monsieur Sandwich sliced and stacked on a white plate with grapes and strawberries

The Recipe: Croque-Monsieur Sandwich

A French ham and cheese sandwich topped with a luscious cheese sauce!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour (I use Wondra brand to prevent lumps)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A few grates of fresh nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere (grated)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices bread (I used Brioche)
  • Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 slices very thin Prosciutto per sandwich (thicker sliced Virginia ham may be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour (I use Wondra brand to prevent lumps)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A few grates of fresh nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere (grated)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices bread (I used Brioche)
  • Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 slices very thin Prosciutto per sandwich (thicker sliced Virginia ham may be substituted)

Instructions

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for a couple minutes. Slowly pour the milk into the mixture and cook while whisking constantly till the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
  3. Toast your bread in a toaster, remove, then spread half the slices with with mustard, followed by 2-3 slices of Prosciutto on each. and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top each with another piece of toasted bread. Place sandwiches on a baking sheet. Cover the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving.

Notes

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1 sandwich

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 463Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 1189mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 24g

HOW MUCH DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?

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70 comments on “Croque Monsieur Sandwich”

  1. I’m always game for trying something new especially when it looks this good.

  2. I love that you came home to make your own version of these, Liz! Looks like you’ve perfected them. Putting these on our menu!

  3. I love this dish! The Croque Madame — with the egg on top — is pretty good too. Your version looks terrific. And traditional. I often make this more as an open-faced sandwich, with a healthy spread of the sauce on top. Gooey, but good. 🙂

  4. To be honest, I have never heard of Croque Monsieur. After seeing your pictures and reading the recipe I will have to make one. It really sounds amazing

  5. Lizzy Croque Monsieur is one of myfavorite sandwich and this looks delicious !!!

  6. Ham and cheese go really well together in these sandwich. I am drooling over that cheese sauce! Such sweet family photos!

  7. I’ve never made a croque monsieur at home, but of course I’ve had them at plenty of French cafes. That’s got to be one of the best thing about a French cafe, in fact – especially the super-casual sort. Its such a fantastic sandwich.

  8. Liz,
    My husband says he eats everything but I’d have to leave out the nutmeg for him to eat these – definitely a picky palate too. They look so good – just the word prosciutto makes my mouth water.
    Annamaria

  9. Yikes, Liz, I’m sorry you had mediocre croque monsieurs in France, of all places! Good thing you’re a magician in the kitchen and was able to whip up this decadent, indulgent treat yourself. This looks incredible! I love how you tried to healthy it up w/ the asparagus and strawberries 😉 You’re definitely right – don’t even think about the calories, just enjoy every single bite!

  10. Great anecdote about your travels. We’ve had similar situations where we’ve searched and searched for that perfect foodie experience while abroad, only to find ourselves starving and settling on something typical or underwhelming. It makes me wonder how to have that perfect “foodie” experience while traveling.

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