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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

 

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

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

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70 comments on “Croque Monsieur Sandwich”

  1. Hi Liz! That sure looks so appetizing. And you are so right about having to please different palates!!

  2. It’s Complicated was sooo wonderful. Croque Monsieur and lavender ice cream were but 2 of the recipes I was inspired to make after the film. The inspiration is now reawakened =) Gruyere and brioche plus all the other ingredients you’ve listed are formidable!

    P.s. Love the warmhearted tales of your family adventures, Liz.

  3. That movie was shown here on tv around easter too, what are the odds. Croque monsieur is one of the best sandwiches ever. The bechamel takes it to a much higher level. Brioche and prosciutto, so sophisticated Liz, I love it! I´ve made croque salmon many times, with gruyere and chives. People love it.

  4. Can’t tell you the times we’ve made the restaurant rounds, reading menus, in various places around the world, so I appreciated your story. Good to know it’s not just us. That is one beautiful sandwich! Grilled ham and cheese with extra cheese on top? Yes, please!

  5. This has my mouth watering…even before 9:00 a.m. in the morning! Thanks for introducing me Croque-Monsieur, Liz. It’s lovely! …and you can never go wrong with Ina! Have a great Sunday!

  6. From now on, I’m going to start calling these Crispy Misters–love it! These look so good, Liz. Yum!

  7. Mmmm…I lOOOOOOve croque monsieur (and I love It’s Complicated) – and now I’m craving one. 😉

  8. I so enjoyed “It’s Complicated,” and I like how much Meryl Streep’s character cooks and bakes in the movie. It’s a foodie movie for sure! Your Croque-Monsieur looks delicious!

  9. Traveling with my husband is like you traveling with your family. Our tastes in food and our palates are so different and finding places to eat that satisfies all is challenging. Now this sandwich is sure to please my husband and I really do need to make it (confession: I have not made one before).

  10. What a fun trip with your family! There is a great deli not far from me and they feature this sandwich, after seeing yours, I have to try to make it at home now. Yum!

  11. Well , I don’t like girlified salad as well 😀 Well , Madame , your croque-monsieur looks substantial and pretty delicious to please the everyone !

  12. I have no idea why but this sounds so mouth watering right now

  13. oh how I love my croque-monsiuers and their sister the madame! Your trip to France sounds like when my parents took me (the pick young pre-teen) eater to Switzerland.

  14. Love It’s Complicated, love the pics of your family and love love love this sandwich!

  15. Oh I loved reading this! Our family ate crepes every day when we were visiting Paris a couple of years ago! Great photos and I love the movie It’s Complicated – not just the story, but the beautiful Santa Barbara setting and that fabulous bakery! Never knew there was a Croq McDo!

  16. I can say “crispy mister” a lot better than I can say “croque monsieur,” so I’m going with that. Your version with the gruyere sounds heavenly. What a fabulous trip with your family!

  17. I’ve made croque monsieur once…and it was Ina’s recipe. So good! I keep wanting to make them again, but typical of most food bloggers? I’m always on to the next recipe to write about. Now I just need to eat one in Paris to complete my experience. BTW? I love It’s Complicated!!

  18. it’s Complicated is one of my all time favorite movies, I just love Meryll Streep and Steve Martin!! Your Croque Monsieur looks perfect for lunch today! 🙂

  19. These simple French foods are by far my favorite. Don’t feel too alone with your eating while traveling – sounds a lot like our family too! I love the sandwich variations you gave, I’m not rummaging in my fridge to see what I can put together!

  20. This looks delectable! I have never had them on brioche, but I can imagine how much more wonderful they must taste. I so enjoyed see the photos of your kids from your vacation and hearing about your foodie experiences. It’s always such a challenge even preparing meals at home when everyone has such varying tastes!

  21. Can’t go wrong with a Croque-Monsieur, or Ina Garten!

  22. Hi Liz! Very nice croque monsieur! Haven’t seen one with that much milk! Would love to try this recipe!! Yumm!!! Definitely unique and “complicated” croque monsieur!! and the prosciutto is just another wonderful addition

  23. Croque-Monsieurs make the world a better place… mmmm! Thanks for this great recipe and fun story of your trip 😉

  24. Croque Monsieur is a seriously good dish. I haven’t had one for ages, although I did have a Croque Madame a few weeks ago at a restaurant. I need to make both of those again! France is such an amazing place to eat – I’ve never had a bad meal there. Fun post – thanks.

  25. I have never had a croque monsieur, they look so decadently good. Your post is great!!

  26. Oh my goodness!!! #1 these look AMAZING, and I MUST try them. #2 – I have never seen that movie, sounds great!

  27. Beautiful pictures as always – your dish looks delicious! Love your choice for the week~!

  28. This is one of my favorite brunch things! Looks great and your trip like such fun.

  29. I love a good croque monsieur with a good glass of white wine!

  30. Liz, I love your Italian tweak of the French classic: I would have never thought of using dried ham and parmesan. Excellent idea!
    Well, one has to be careful everywhere… I think I have had the worst pizza of my life in a – crowded and not by tourists- restaurant in… Italy.

  31. Mmmmm! Croque madames are my favorite variation on this sandwich – SO GOOD!

  32. It’s comforting to know you have challenging eaters in your house too. I seem to be permanently cooking at least two different meals every night and I don’t know why I do this. My mother made one meal and we all ate it – we didn’t dare voice what we needed included or excluded xx

  33. I love croque monsieur! I think it is my fav french sandwich. Great list, Liz! I had no idea about the croque hawaiiawan.

  34. Croque Monsieur is one of my all time favorite sandwiches Liz! I have never made one at home but now I feel like I need one now! Love the movie It’s complicated too 🙂

  35. How delicious, love that you used brioche!

  36. We went to Paris for our honeymoon 5 years ago. That was the first time I tried a Croque Monsieur. Loved it! Thanks for sharing the recipe (and all the variations)!

  37. Everything about a Croque Monsieur is what I love, but I still haven’t made one yet or even eaten one. Looks wonderful!

  38. I really need to try a croque monsieur – they sound absolutely fabulous!

  39. I love that movie and anytime I see anyone eating a croque monsieur I think of that scene! Good choice

  40. Definitely thought of “It’s Complicated” before I got to the end of your post!

  41. I whipped up a version for Food ‘n Flix and we loved them. I make them now with only one slice of bread. Gives me the opportunity to add more sauce! 🙂 Excellent choice for this week’s theme.

  42. I love croque monsieur! Nothing can beat a sandwich covered in bechamel and cheese!

  43. I love croque-monsieur, but when I was a kid my brother told me it had crocodile in it! Suffice to say that I didn’t try one until I was a bit older!

  44. I’ve been to that area of France and saw the abbey of Mt. Saint Michel. It’s always disappointing when the food is not as good as you have dreamed of. I actually remember the food on that street up to the abbey being disastrously disgusting – all fast food and we ate very badly there. On the other hand, we had some lovely food in St Malo when we left the main tourist drag. I haven’t heard of these sandwiches but all that cheesy white sauce sounds like you have a winner there.

  45. I have a discriminating daughter when it comes to travel menus too!
    We loved Normandy and MSM. I had very low expectations of our food at the abbey, but we actually had a decent meal on the way up. (Not great, but decent.) A well-made croque monsieur is worth waiting for.

  46. Your crispy mister looks so good that I want to rush to the kitchen and make myself a large portion immediately!

  47. I’m so glad you made these because I have been wanting to try them! You gotta love all that cheese!

  48. Dear Liz, Delicious looking. I enjoyed the movie Its Complicated too. Thank you for sharing those great pictures of the family. It is always fun to see pictures.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  49. I haven’t seen It’s Complicated yet! I’m going to have a good little chuckle when I get to the scene you mentioned. Of course, I will be thinking of your croque monsieur! 🙂

  50. Oh, OK it means “crispy mister”. I used to think of it as Mr’s Croque, whatever croque meant. Sounds like a very delish sandwich 🙂 I guess it would do no harm if I used cheddar, right?

  51. Mmmm so many people love Croque Monsieur and after reading your recipe, I see why 🙂

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  52. One of my favorite movies! I LOVE Meryl Streep! These sandwiches look amazing too!! Thanks for sharing!

  53. Liz, you need to go back to France immediately and re-train them how to make this French classic. I had one delicious Croque Monsieur on my very first visit as a teen. Since then, however, my experience has been the cheapest of cheap bread, plastic cheese, plastic ham. It is such a shame when it can be so fantastic when it is done properly – as you demonstrate so well.

  54. There are a lot of terrible croque monsieurs out there, but yours looks to die for! I love Meryl Streep but haven’t seen It’s Complicated yet – I must do soon!

  55. Before I read the post I immediately thought of “It’s Complicated”. It’s one of the movies that keep me company while I’m baking. Ever since that movie I’ve wanted to try the cripsy mister, thanks for sharing the recipe and family pics. I would have very high hopes for dining in France also.

  56. Oh liz, I sure want to try this sandwich. I’ve seen the one from Ina, and somehow I missed the scene in Meryl and Steve’s movie. But yours here has me fixated, no wonder your sons asked for more. I know earlier I mentioned the 4 food groups on the plate, but I got to tell you, I’d forego the two groups on the sides for more…sandwich!

  57. This was such a fun Sunday Supper topic this week. 🙂 Ina Garten’s bechamel version reminds me a little of a Louisiana hot brown. Either way, you can’t go wrong with more creamy, cheesy goodness.

  58. I have never made one of these kinds of sandwiches… now I’m wondering why? It looks fabulous. 🙂

  59. Looks like one can drive on that beach! Nice photos of your family and I enjoyed the foodie tales. I can just imagine you enjoying Nutella crepes with your boys and that lovely view. Too bad about the French classic let down. You made up for it later though and the family was appreciative – so it makes for a good story. 🙂

  60. 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.

  61. 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!

  62. 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

  63. 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.

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

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

  66. 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

  67. 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. 🙂

  68. 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!

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

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