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croque monsieur is the cheesiest, crunchiest ham and cheese sandwich

Croque Monsieur: The Best Ham and Cheese Sandwich You'll Ever Eat

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Stacey
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This really is the best ham and cheese sandwich you'll ever eat. Loaded with cheese this crispy delight is a surefire hit!



Béchamel sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm milk
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

High Quality Bread 

  • 8 slices high quality white bread (see note)

Sandwich filling 

  • 4 pieces of fresh baked ham (or deli ham - see note #1)
  • 4 cups shredded emmantaler cheese
  • 2 1/4 cups shredded gruyere
  • 1 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (approx.)
  • Béchamel sauce

Optional Garnish

  • fresh thyme sprigs


  1. Make your béchamel sauce first. Add butter to a pot and melt it (low-to-medium heat), then add the flour and mix. Should cook and constantly stir for a few minutes. We want to cook the raw flour taste out of it. Add the warm milk and stir (I heated in microwave). It should thicken in a few minutes or less. Then add the fresh grated parmesan cheese and stir. Add a pinch each of salt, pepper, nutmeg and stir. TASTE IT here to make sure there is enough salt. Stir once more and set aside to let cool down. If it's not thick enough add a pinch more flour and stir then a little more cheese and stir.
  2. Shred all your cheeses and put in bowls. 
  3. Have your ham slices ready to go. 
  4. Put your bread on a sheet pan to start assembling your sandwiches. See note#6 below. You may choose to heat your bread slices in the oven for 5-10 minutes first - a lot of people do this. The particular bread I chose didn't need that, but other breads I'ved used do. You don't want the slices golden brown, just lightly toasted. Once that is done, take the slices out of the oven and THEN start with building your sandwiches.
  5. HERE’S THE LAYERING ORDER: (my video shows this very well) Béchamel on bottom slice > ham slices on top of béchamel > shredded gruyere and parmesan (if using) on top of ham > thin layer of Dijon mustard on top slice > Place top slice on sandwich > spread the rest of béchamel on top of the sandwich > distribute emmantaler cheese on top of sandwiches > any leftover cheese can be added to the tops as well. 
  6. Put sandwiches in a preheated oven at 425 degrees and cook for 7-10 minutes until cheese melts and bread toasts a bit. 
  7. Move oven rack up closer to the broiler and switch broiler to high to brown and crisp your sandwiches for about 5 minutes. Keep your eye on them here or they could burn. (see note below)
  8. Let sandwiches cool a few minutes before serving.


  1. I used leftover Easter ham so the pieces were thicker. If you’re using deli ham, I would say 2-3 slices per sandwich would work depending on the size of your bread. 
  2. The cheese. The packaging for the emmantaler cheese read .65 lbs and I got almost four cups shredded from that. The gruyere package read .445 lbs and I got 2 ¼ cups shredded from that. 
  3. If you can’t find emmantaler cheese you can use all gruyere. 
  4. You’ll see in the video that I had a little extra shredded cheese at the end which I added to the tops of the sandwiches. I left no shred behind! 
  5. For the warm milk, I microwaved it for 45 seconds. 
  6. Some recipes call for you to lightly toast your bread in the oven before you assemble the sandwiches. I decided not to do this because of the bread I chose. I use this brand frequently and I know that if you toast it too much it works against you. It’s your call if you want to toast the bread for a few minutes, then pull the bread out and start assembling the sandwiches. 
  7. Broilers run down the center of our ovens so it was necessary for me to shift the sheet pan around at the broiling stage so all the sandwiches got crispy.
  8. As mentioned in the blog post: you really must use high quality bread when making a gourmet sandwich. I used Nashoba Brook Bakery sliced French bread.