This glorified grilled cheese is a French brasserie staple that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The melted Gruyere, salty ham, and creamy béchamel meld together between two pieces of crunchy golden toasted sourdough bread.

The croque monsieur is a simple, versatile sandwich to have in your repertoire. You can make it in the oven or in a pan; you can pour the béchamel on top or spread it between the bread; you can even put an egg on top to create the even more decadent croque madame: you are the master.

My favorite part of this recipe, besides the melty cheese, is the super-rich béchamel, or white sauce, that you can make in the microwave. Not only is it good on this sandwich, it is also the base of cheese sauces for mac and cheese or fettuccine Alfredo.


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Servings: 1

2 slices bread
1 or 2 slices cheese, traditionally Gruyere, but you can use Swiss, cheddar or any kind you like
2 thin slices ham
1 tbsp butter

For the Béchamel sauce:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup milk
2 tablespoon grated parmesan (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Photo by Alex Furuya


For the Béchamel:

1. Mix the melted butter and flour and microwave until it bubbles, about 30 seconds.

Photo by Alex Furuya

2. Whisk in milk and microwave again until it bubbles, about 30 seconds.

Photo by Alex Furuya

3. Remove from microwave and whisk until smooth.
4. Heat at 30 second intervals, whisking between each, until the sauce is thickened.

Photo by Alex Furuya

5. Season with salt and pepper

For the sandwich:

  1. Spread butter on both slices of bread. The buttered sides will be on the outside, allowing the bread to brown.

    Photo by Alex Furuya

  2. Layer the cheese, ham, and béchamel onto the bread and close the sandwich.

    Photo by Alex Furuya

  3. Place into a pan on medium heat and cook until golden on one side, flip and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

    Photo by Alex Furuya

  4. Top with any remaining béchamel and enjoy.

    Photo by Alex Furuya

Still in need of more easy French food?