Croque Monsieur: quick and easy French ham and grilled cheese sandwich, made with gruyere and bechamel sauce. Recipe via

Croque Monsieur (French Ham and Grilled Cheese Sandwich)

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The only thing better than a fantastic grilled cheese sandwich is a French grilled cheese sandwich, also known as a croque monsieur. This French sandwich is a staple at bistros and cafes, and for good reason!

Croque Monsieur

The name of the sandwich, croque monsieur, loosely translates to mister crunch. This is most likely a play off the crisp nature of the sandwich as its baked or fried to a crisp. 

Like most French foods, a croque monsieur is all about inducing feelings of pleasure, regardless of how easily and quickly it can be put together. 

Why would you simply fry a cheddar cheese sandwich like Americans do when you can add delicious ham, dijon, bechamel, and fancy gruyere? The French are always looking to indulge and completely delight in their meals, even when its a relatively simple and convenient meal. 

Croque Monsieur: quick and easy French ham and grilled cheese sandwich, made with gruyere and bechamel sauce. Recipe via

I love making croque monsieur sandwiches as a substitute for dinner when I’m looking for something warm and easy, but comforting too.

They are also fantastic picnic sandwiches, believe it or not. 

I usually wrap the croque monsieur in some parchment paper when it’s warm out of the oven, and then wrap that in foil and pack in my picnic basket. It loses some of that crisp factor, but it’s still warm and gooey when I unwrap it. 

Croque Monsieur: quick and easy French ham and grilled cheese sandwich, made with gruyere and bechamel sauce. Recipe via

The basic components of a croque monsieur are, as mentioned: ham, dijon mustard, cheese, bechamel sauce and, like any French recipe commands, good bread.

If you were to add a fried egg on top, then it would become a croque madame, which is also splendidly delicious. 

I bake my croque monsieur rather than fry it, as I just find it easier and slightly healthier. Not that we’re looking to be healthy here with this recipe, per se, but still, if it doesn’t make a big difference in taste, why not try to be good where we can be. 

Croque Monsieur: quick and easy French ham and grilled cheese sandwich, made with gruyere and bechamel sauce. Recipe via

You can of course use any good, melt-y cheese that you have on hand, but a quality gruyere is the surefire way to go. It’s got tons of flavor and will just make your croque monsieur over-the-top scrumptious. 

Croque Monsieur: quick and easy French ham and grilled cheese sandwich, made with gruyere and bechamel sauce. Recipe via

Croque Monsieur

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

An irresistible French ham and grilled cheese sandwich recipe.


  • 8 slices of sourdough toast, (see note)
  • 8 oz. gruyere cheese
  • 8 slices of black forest ham, (see note)
  • 1 recipe bechamel sauce (see below)
  • dijon mustard

Becamel Sauce

  • 1 cup whole milk, (245 grams)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, (14 grams)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, (15 grams)
  • salt
  • pepper


Create the bechamel sauce

  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until steam rises from the milk, but it has yet to boil. Don't let the milk boil. 
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan. One melted, add the flour and stir to create a bubbly, paste-like mixture. Stream in the hot milk, whisking as you do. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, taste-test, and add more if needed. 
  3. Stir the bechamel sauce over low heat until it's thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. 

Create the sandwich

  1. Turn on the oven's broil setting. Toast your bread slices in the toaster. Spread dijon mustard over half of the bread slices. 
  2. Top half of the bread slices with 2 slices of ham each. Then top the ham with some shredded cheese. 
  3. Place the remaining bread slices on top of the ham and cheese to assemble the sandwiches. Spread about 1 -2 tbsp bechamel sauce over the top of each sandwich. Add some more shredded cheese on top of the bechamel. 
  4. Set the sandwiches on a baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven until the cheese is beginning to melt and bubble. Move the sandwiches to the top rack for about 30 seconds, keeping your eye on it and removing when the cheese starts to obtain little golden spots. 


You can use any kind of white bread that you like. The French traditionally use a brioche-type of bread. Sourdough tends to work really well for this recipe. 

Try to get medium to thick slices of ham rather than the thin deli kind. If you do get the paper thin deli kind, then use 3 to 4 slices rather than the recommended 2 per sandwich. 

To elevate the flavor of your bechamel, a great chef trick is to infuse the milk with a small wedge of onion, a pinch of ground cloves, and a bay leaf. Strain the hot milk before combining the milk with the roux (the butter and flour mixture). 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 519
Croque Monsieur: quick and easy French ham and grilled cheese sandwich, made with gruyere and bechamel sauce. Recipe via





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  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your suggestions for “make ahead” Croque Monsieur is ingenious!!!!! I hate last minute stress!!! I will definitely do this! You are so kind to detail it for me! Do you think it will be “too much” if I also make your Frisée salad with lardons with this? Maybe omit the egg? (But it’s so good!!) As a simple (and make ahead!) appetizer I also plan to make your Cheddar Crackers along with Raspberry Royal. I also want to make Coeur a la Creme for desert, but already bought the raspberries for another recipe!

    I printed off a gazillion recipes from your site this morning! I look forward to trying all of them! Thank you!!! I’m so glad I found your site! I also fell in love with Paris and France when we were there a few years ago. The experience never “leaves” on, as your Hemingway quote says!

    1. You’re so welcome!! As for the egg on the frisée salad, technically a croque madame version of this sandwich would have an egg on top so I don’t think your entire meal would be too much if you include the egg in the salad. Personally, however, I tend to just do a side of mixed greens with french vinaigrette when I make a croque monsieur at home. 🙂

  2. Your Croque Monsieur looks awesome! I would like to serve this for guests, and I like to cook ahead as much as I can. Do you think I can make the cheese sauce ahead of time? Or where can I save time? I would like to serve it with your Frisée Salad. Yum! So glad I found your website!

    1. Hi Xenia, here’s what you can do to make this recipe as make-ahead as possible: The day before you have guests, assemble the sandwiches by taking the UN-toasted sourdough and adding the mustard, ham, and shredded cheese to it. Add the remaining UN-toasted slice of bread on top, then wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and place in the fridge (like you would with a school lunch!). Also the day before your guests come, you can create the bechamel sauce. As soon as you’ve prepared the bechamel sauce, run a rubber spatula along the edge of the sauce pan and pour a very thin layer of milk on top of the sauce. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the sauce to cover, making sure the wrap is touching the actual sauce. Let the sauce cool, then pop the saucepan with sauce into the fridge overnight. The next day before your guests come, rewarm the bechamel over very low heat on the stove. Then, unwrap the sandwiches and pop them into the toaster oven/oven to warm up and toast. Remove them from the oven, pour the bechamel sauce and add more of the shredded cheese (just like the existing recipe card directs), and pop the sandwiches back into the oven until the cheese is bubbly (again, just like the recipe card instructs). Hope you and your guests enjoy! 🙂

      1. Your technique for “make ahead” Croque Monsieur was perfection! It turned out perfectly for my bridal shower! I brought the sandwiches to room temperature and spritzed the sandwiches with olive oil spray when I put them in the oven to toast, prior to adding the bechamel. Delicious! Perfection! Thank you!

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