Croque monsieur

Croque Monsieur – A Parisian Bistro Classic

This Croque Monsieur recipe is fantastic for a quick lunch and can be served with a green side salad and fries – just like in Paris!

A Croque Monsieur is a really tasty hot ham and cheese sandwich made with a béchamel sauce (or white sauce). A French classic and a hallmark of Parisian bistro menus, this is a genuine recipe that you’ll find almost everywhere here in Paris. With practically no chopping needed, it’s actually really easy to whip up in under 20 minutes! Sounds good? Read on to discover how to make a classic Parisian sandwich.

What Makes a Good Croque Monsieur?

A really good Croque Monsieur needs really good ingredients! It’s a sandwich that’s more than the sum of it’s parts. Crunchy exterior, melted cheese and oozing béchamel – what could be better! In this section I’ll explain what exactly you’ll need to make a great Croque Monsieur.

Béchamel Sauce

The key to a creamy and well seasoned Croque Monsieur is a great béchamel.

Flour: White plain/all-purpose flour is used for the base of the béchamel sauce.

Butter: Unsalted butter is best for this to ensure that your sauce won’t be too salty. You can also use margarine in place of butter.

Milk: Full fat milk is best but you can use low-fat / skimmed milk.

Other flavourings: I love to add Dijon mustard to my Béchamel sauce – it adds a beautiful flavour and some extra heat! Grating some fresh nutmeg into the sauce is also a great classic flavour. Finally you can make it extra cheesy by adding even more cheese into

Ham, Cheese & Bread

Ham: A simple white ham actually is the perfect ham for a Croque Monsieur. Finely sliced you can use 2 or 3 slices – depending on how hungry you are! Avoid using fancy, expensive Italian or Spanish hams for this recipe.

Cheese: Comté, Gruyère or Emmental cheese is best. I love aged Comté and I often have leftovers on my fridge but use what you can! Cheddar and Swiss cheese would also work really well.

Bread: I use a thick slices of Pain de Campagne which means Country Loaf in English. White sourdough works really well. Haven’t got either? White sandwich bread is perfect for this and this is what most Parisian cafés and restaurants use!

What Do You Serve With It?

In pretty much any bistro in Paris you’ll find a Croque Monsieur served with green salad dressed with a classic French vinaigrette and a side of hot French fries.

For me it’s one of those perfect lunches in a Parisian café – especially during the summer when you can eat outside on their terrace!

I serve my Croque Monsieur with hot French fries and dressed green salad – just like in my local Parisian bistro!


Makes enough for 2 Croque Monsieur’s.

Béchamel Sauce

  • 15g plain/all-purpose flour
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Croque Monsieur

  • 4 slices of white bread
  • 4 slices of white ham
  • 250g cheese, grated (comté, emmental, gruyère)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)

How to Make a Croque Monsieur

  1. Firstly make the Béchamel sauce. Take a saucepan and place on a medium heat. Melt the butter and once melted, add the the flour.

  2. Stir constantly with a whisk or spoon and cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes. This is to cook out the raw flour (otherwise it’ll have a gritty texture and unpleasant flavour!).

  3. Add the milk slowly whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook for a few minutes or until the sauce is thick. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and Dijon mustard. Set aside.

  4. Preheat your oven to 200c/390f.

  5. Take your bread slices and spread 1 tsp of Dijon mustard on one side per sandwich. Add a 2-3 tbsp of warm Béchamel on top of the mustard. Then add the ham and 1/4 of the grated cheese. Put the the 2nd bread slice onto.

  6. Preheat a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat and melt a knob of butter. Once melted add the sandwich and brown both sides until the bread is crispy. Place the sandwiches onto a baking tray and top each sandwich off with Béchamel sauce and the rest of the grated cheese.

  7. Place into the oven and let the sandwich warm through and the cheese melt – about 6-8 minutes.

  8. Remove and serve with a green salad and French fries!


Croque monsieur recipe

What is a Croque Monsieur?

A Croque Monsieur is a hot grilled ham and cheese sandwich that was invented in the early 1910s in the Bel Age bistro in Paris. Originally situated on the Boulevard des Capucines, the legendary bistro no longer exists but it’s said that the owner invented the sandwich after running out of baguette for his daily sandwich. The owner decided to bake his own bread – a French version of what we know as white sandwich bread and the Croque Monsieur was born!

What’s the Difference Between a Croque Monsieur and a Croque Madame?

A Croque Madame is identical to a Croque Monsieur but with one addition – a Fried egg on top! You’ll usually find both sandwiches on menus in Cafés and Bistros in Paris.

Can You Reheat a Croque Monsieur?

Yes. Store the uneaten Croque Monsieur on an airtight container in the fridge. Once you’re ready to eat, place the sandwich into a 160c/320f oven for 15 minutes or until warmed through.

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