Croque-Monsieur: Classic French Grilled Cheese

Croque-Monsieur: Classic French Grilled Cheese

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 4 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 9 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
996 Calories
63g Fat
44g Carbs
63g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 996
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 63g 81%
Saturated Fat 34g 170%
Cholesterol 247mg 82%
Sodium 2610mg 113%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 63g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 996mg 77%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 779mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The croque-monsieur is a classic French grilled cheese sandwich that's a mainstay of Parisian cafes, bars, and bistros, not to mention innumerable take-out counters.

Served with a side of French fries and a little pile of salad greens, a Croque-Monsieur is everything that's great about eating in Paris—even their snacks are somehow sublime and otherworldly.

Combining a creamy béchamel sauce with nutty Gruyère cheese, the croque-monsieur is grilled cheese perfection. Keep in mind that most places that serve Croque-Monsieurs have stacks of the things made ahead of time, and they'll warm one up for you when you order it. And yet they're still delicious.

The recipe that follows will make one sandwich, but you can double it to make two. You can substitute Jarlsberg or even Monterey Jack for the Gruyère.

In case you were wondering, croque-monsieur translates literally to "Mr. Crunch." Best name for a sandwich ever.

1:30

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Ingredients

  • 2 slices white bread

  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter, or softened unsalted butter

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese, or a combination of Gruyère and Emmental

  • 1/2 cup béchamel sauce

  • 1 to 2 slices ham

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to broil.

    Croque-Monsieur: Classic French Grilled Cheese ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Trim the crusts off of the bread, making the slices as square as possible.

    Trim the crusts off of the bread

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Spread both slices of bread with butter.

    Spread both slices of bread with butter

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Flip bread over and spread them lightly with Dijon mustard.

    Flip bread over and spread them lightly with Dijon mustard

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. In a bowl, combine the cheese and half of the béchamel sauce, and mix until the cheese is fully coated.

    In a bowl, combine the cheese and half of the béchamel sauce

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Divide the cheese mixture in half. Spoon half the cheese mixture onto one slice of bread (on the mustard side, not the butter side), and spread it evenly. Lay the sliced ham atop the other slice.

    ham and cheese on top of slices of bread

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Press both halves of the sandwich together.

    Press both halves of the sandwich together

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Spray a bit of cooking spray onto the surface of a nonstick pan. Heat the pan over medium heat until the oil is hot and glistening but not quite smoking.

    greased pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Place the sandwich into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the bread is a nice shade of golden-brown.

    sandwich in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Use a nonstick spatula to flip the croque-monsieur over. Lower the heat a bit and cover the pan. Cook for another minute or two, or until the second slice of bread is also golden brown, and the cheese inside the croque-monsieur is fully melted.

    sandwich cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  11. Transfer the sandwich to a cutting board. Top with the remaining cheese mixture, then spoon the other half of the béchamel over the top.

    Top the sandwich with the remaining cheese mixture, then spoon the other half of the béchamel over the top

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  12. Place sandwich on a sheet tray and broil the sandwich, béchamel-side up, for a minute or two until the top of the sandwich is nicely browned. Serve right away.

    Croque-Monsieur: Classic French Grilled Cheese

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.

Recipe Variations

  • Muenster, Gouda, Fontina, and Comté are good to use instead of or in combination with the Gruyère.
  • Substitute sliced cooked chicken breast for ham.
  • Instead of white bread, use sourdough. Leave crusts on.
  • Top finished sandwich with a fried egg to make a croque madame, possibly named because the egg resembles a ladies' hat.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.