This delicious French classic for a Croque Monsieur Recipe is a pan-cooked sandwich stacked high with ham, bechamel, and shredded cheese!
I don’t know about you, but I grew up eating sandwiches. It doesn’t matter if it was a grilled cheese or a steak sandwich, chances are that was my lunch most of my youth and it’s still going down today.
This classic French sandwich started to pop up on menus at cafés all across Paris in the early 20th century. It’s known as the gentleman’s sandwich loaded up with toasted bread, cheese, bechamel, and ham, and you can still find it today on menus all across Europe and the United States.
These are the simple ingredients needed to make a Croque monsieur.
- Bechamel – One of the 5 mother sauces, this delicious creamy sauce really makes this sandwich.
- Bread – I prefer to use an artisan-style loaf as it adds more texture and flavor to the recipe but you can also use 2 slices of wonder bread, although I don’t recommend that.
- Cheese – Traditionally shredded comet cheese is used but you can also use gruyere, swiss, or parmesan.
- Ham – Black forest ham works really well for this recipe but also any country style roasted ham is fantastic as well.
How to Make It
Follow these quick instructions to make a Croque monsieur:
Toast two slices of bread in a large pan or on a griddle with melted unsalted butter over medium-low heat or until toasted and then flip them over to toast the other side.
On one slice of the toasted bread, spread the Dijon mustard all over the top.
Add several slices of the ham over the top of the mustard. Feel free to use as much as you’d like, I prefer 4-6 pieces.
Spread on a few tablespoons of bechamel onto the ham.
Sprinkle on some of the shredded cheese onto the bechamel.
Place the other toasted bread on top, spread on some more bechamel, and then generously sprinkle on some more cheese.
Cook under the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
Croque Madame Vs Croque Monsieur
While both of these sandwiches have a different name, they are incredibly similar to one another. The only difference is that the Croque madame has a fried or poached egg on top of the Croque monsieur, that’s it.
How to Eat It
If the sandwich is right out of the broiler, it’s pretty hot so it’s best to use a knife and a fork. Once it cools down a touch it’s good to simply eat it with your hands.
Recipe Chef Notes + Tips
Make-Ahead: This sandwich is meant to be eaten as soon as it comes out of the broiler, but it can be reheated very easily.
How to Reheat: Place the sandwich on a cookie sheet tray and bake in the oven at 350° for 5-7 minutes or until hot and the cheese is melted.
How to Store: Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This will not freeze well.
Since artisan bread has large slices you will most likely have to cook this in batches.
More French Recipes
Croque Monsieur Recipe
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 slices of artisan bread
- 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 16-24 slices of country ham
- 1 bechamel recipe
- 2 cups shredded comte cheese
- Preheat the broiler to high heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a very large pan over medium-low heat until melted.
- Add 4 slices of bread to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted and lightly browned.
- Flip the bread over to cook on the other side.
- On two of the pieces of toasted bread add 1 tablespoon of mustard to each spreading it around to cover.
- Add 4-6 slices of ham to the top of the toast with mustard and then evenly spread/layer on as follows: 2 to 3 tablespoons of bechamel, ¼ cup shredded cheese, a slice of toasted bread, 3-4 tablespoons of bechamel and ¼ cup of shredded cheese.
- Place under the broiler on high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browned.
- Slice the sandwich and garnish optionally with chopped parsley.
- Repeat the process to make the other 2 sandwiches.
- Make-Ahead: This sandwich is meant to be eaten as soon as it comes out of the broiler, but it can be reheated very easily.
- How to Reheat: Place the sandwich on a cookie sheet tray and bake in the oven at 350° for 5-7 minutes or until hot and the cheese is melted.
- How to Store: Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This will not freeze well.
- With the leftover bechamel sauce, you can make potatoes au gratin, chicken nachos, biscuits, and gravy, or lasagna Bolognese.
- Since artisan bread has large slices you will most likely have to cook this in batches.