Cheese/ Lunch/ Pork

Croque Monsieur

August 1, 2022 by Chris Collins

Here I’ll show you the easiest and most irresistible way to make a classic Croque Monsieur!

Croque Monsieur has to be one of the most famous sandwiches in the world. And boy is it a good time. If you’ve never tried it before, heck if you’ve never even heard of it before, follow me because you are in for a treat.

close up shot of hand lifting half of croque monsieur showing filling

Béchamel Sauce

The mighty Croque Monsieur has a few different iconic elements to it, but possibly the most iconic part is the béchamel sauce. Yes, a sandwich slathered in béchamel sauce, dreams really do come true.

Croque Monsieur Béchamel Sauce

  • Flour, Butter & Milk – To make the classic béchamel sauce.
  • Gruyere – This is a key ingredient in a Croque Monsieur. A lot of recipes place this inside the sandwich, but I much prefer it melted through the sauce.
  • Nutmeg – Highlights the nutty tones of the Gruyere.
  • White Pepper – I find this blends through the sauce better than black pepper.

When it comes to making the sauce, you’ll want it fairly thick. Too thin and it’ll just soak into the bread and spill off the top of the sandwich. A thick béchamel sauce will ensure you end up with a nice crisp sandwich.

Process shots: add butter to pan (photo 1), stir to melt (photo 2), whisk in flour (photo 3), whisk in milk (photo 4), stir in cheese (photo 5), season with nutmeg, white pepper and salt (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make bechamel sauce for croque monsieur

Making a Croque Monsieur

When it comes to making the sandwich, it truly couldn’t be more simple. First things first, let’s take a quick look at what you’ll need:

  • Bread – You want something fairly firm (like Sourdough), just so the sandwich can keep its structure as it cooks. Soft sandwich bread isn’t suitable for this recipe.
  • Dijon Mustard – A classic addition to a Croque Monsieur. This goes on the inside of the bread (you only need a touch – a little goes a long way!)
  • Ham – Some slices of good quality ham. I recommend folding it in to create a bit of height/texture in the sandwich.
  • Cheese – To go inside the sandwich. Use ‘Swiss Cheese’ or Emmental.
  • Butter – To toast the sandwich.

Process shots: butter bread (photo 1), flip over and spread with mustard (photo 2), add Swiss cheese to one side (photo 3), fold in ham (photo 4), add more cheese (photo 5), add bread mustard-side down (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make a croque monsieur

Cooking a Croque Monsieur

To cook the Croque Monsieur, you’re essentially going to fry it as you would a grilled cheese, then top it with the sauce and whack it under the grill until golden and bubbly.

Do you have to bake a Croque Monsieur?

In short – no. I find that if you fry the sandwich fairly low and slow, enough to crisp the outside and start melting the cheese on the inside, there’s really no need to bake the sandwich. You only need a quick stint under the grill to crisp up the top.

Process shots: add sandwich to pan over low-medium heat (photo 1), fry both sides until golden (photo 2), spread over béchamel sauce (photo 3), sprinkle over parmesan then place under the grill (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing how to cook a croque monsieur

Serving a Croque Monsieur

This is a hefty sandwich, so wear your eating pants! I typically serve this for a big Lunch if I’m particularly hungry. If you’re looking for something on the side, this is what I had at a cafe in Paris when I first ever had this dish, and it’s what I have always served since then:

  • Fries – Store-bought French Fries or you can whip up some of your own Baked French Fries.
  • Side Salad – A simple rocket/arugula salad which consists of rocket, shaved parmesan and a 2:1 ratio of extra virgin olive oil: balsamic vinegar. Just shake the oil and vinegar in a jar with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Can also alter the ratios if you prefer it more vinegary.

How do you eat a Croque Monsieur?

This is one of the very select few sandwiches that are acceptable to eat with a knife and fork 😆

Make it a Croque Madame!

If you want to turn a Croque Monsieur into a Croque Madame you can fry up an egg whilst the sandwich is under the grill and plonk it on top to serve!

Hey, why not check out my funky twist on the classic and try my Madame Crumpets!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this Croque Monsieur shall we?!

overhead shot of croque monsieur on large white plate with fries and salad

How to make Croque Monsieur (Full Recipe & Video)

close up shot of hand lifting half of croque monsieur showing filling

Croque Monsieur

Here I'll show you the easiest and most irresistible way to make a classic Croque Monsieur!
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Servings (click & slide): 2 sandwiches
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Calories per serving: 797kcal
Cost per serving: £4 / $5

Equipment:

  • Small Pot or Pan, Whisk & Wooden Spoon (for béchamel sauce)
  • Large Non-Stick Pan & Spatula/Turner (if it's not oven safe you'll also need a baking tray)
  • Bread Knife & Chopping Board
  • Cheese Grater

Ingredients (check list):

Sandwich

  • 4 fairly large slices of Bread, sliced to around 1/2" thickness (see notes)
  • 4 - 6 slices of good quality Ham (2-3 per sandwich)
  • 4 square slices of Swiss Cheese (see notes)
  • 1oz / 30g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Butter, as needed

Béchamel Sauce

  • 1 cup / 250ml Milk, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup / 50g Gruyere, grated
  • 2 tbsp EACH: Flour, Butter
  • 1/8 tsp EACH: Nutmeg, White Pepper, Salt

Instructions:

  • Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small pot or pan over medium heat. Whisk in 2 tbsp flour, then very gradually pour in 1 cup milk, whisking as you go to avoid lumps. Stir in gruyere until melted, then stir in nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Remove from heat and place to one side.
  • Spread 4 slices of bread with butter, then flip over and spread with a thin layer of dijon mustard. Top 2 of the slices with a slice of Swiss cheese, then fold in 2-3 slices of ham. Top the ham with another slice of cheese, then add bread mustard-side-down (so both sandwiches are buttered on the outside).
  • Add both sandwiches to a large non-stick pan over low-medium heat. Fry until they turn deep golden on the bottom with the cheese just starting to melt in the centre, then flip and fry the other side until golden. Don't crank up the heat, you want the centre to cook.
  • Spread over the béchamel sauce (give it a quick stir over heat if you need to loosen it up) then sprinkle over parmesan. Place under the grill and broil on high until golden and bubbly. If your pan isn't suitable to place in the oven, place the sandwiches on a baking tray and then pop them under the grill.

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Bread - Try and use a fairly firm loaf i.e something like a Sourdough. Some French varieties also work well too. Just don't use soft sandwich bread, it won't hold up and the sandwich will turn to mush!
b) Cheese:
  • Gruyere - A key ingredient. Some recipes call for Comte, which also works nicely, so sub that if you don't have gruyere.
  • Swiss Cheese - Some stores simply call it 'Swiss Cheese' but in terms of specifics I recommend Emmental or Leerdammer (which is Dutch, but it is very similar the Emmental).
  • Parmesan - This is for a final punch of flavour, but also to help the tops of the sandwiches crisp up nicely!
c) Baking vs Grilling - A lot of recipes call for the sandwiches to be baked. However, I find that if you fry the sandwiches on a fairly low heat long enough to start melting the cheese in the centre, you don't need to bake. Grilling is necessary to crisp the tops though. 
d) Serving - If you want to make it a Croque Madame you can plonk a fried egg on top. I usually serve with Fries and a simple rocket/arugula side salad (rocket, shaved parmesan and 2:1 ratio of extra virgin olive oil: balsamic vinegar). Just shake the oil and vinegar in a jar with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Can also alter the ratios if you prefer it more vinegary. 
e) Calories - Per sandwich with no egg or sides assuming 3 slices ham and 2 tsp butter each.

Your Private Notes:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Croque Monsieur
Amount Per Serving
Calories 797 Calories from Fat 432
% Daily Value*
Fat 47.98g74%
Saturated Fat 28.002g140%
Trans Fat 0.597g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.042g
Monounsaturated Fat 13.737g
Cholesterol 160mg53%
Sodium 1656mg69%
Potassium 676mg19%
Carbohydrates 45.7g15%
Fiber 2.1g8%
Sugar 10.49g12%
Protein 45.62g91%
Vitamin A 1472IU29%
Vitamin C 0.3mg0%
Calcium 966mg97%
Iron 3.32mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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