Croque Madam Sandwich Recipe

If ever there were an Instagram-worthy brunch or breakfast sandwich, it's the croque madame. A gorgeous layering of crisp buttered bread, ham, Gruyere cheese, more bread, and a fresh fried egg to top things off isn't just hard to beat, it's almost unbeatable. Of course, that goes for taste as well. Decidedly indulgent, these sandwiches are satisfying at every bite and sure to keep your appetite sated for hours to come. 

And while a croque madame sandwich may seem intimidating to make at first, with a bit of time management skills — critical to all cooking, really — you can make these sandwiches a success the first time you give them a go, and you'll soon master the meal.

Once you get this recipe down, "there are lots of ways to branch out for [unique] takes on the sandwich, says chef and food writer Liz Capozzoli of Owl Baking. But for this one, we'll "keep this dish traditional." Were you to order a croque madame at any fine French bistro, this is the sandwich you could expect to find gracing your plate. Except no bistro required here, because you'll soon have this delectable classic ready to serve care of your own kitchen.

Gather your croque madame ingredients

With a croque madame sandwich, it's all about having good ingredients and using them well. The better your ham, cheese, and bread, the better the sandwich will taste. But you'll also need to handle things with care: too much browning (aka burning) and the flavors will be off; too little heat, and the cheese won't melt. And so on. 

To follow the recipe, you'll need 1 1/4 cups of whole milk, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour, salt and pepper to taste, a dash of nutmeg, 2 tablespoons of butter (unsalted or salted, softened), four large slices of a good artisan bread (French bread or sourdough, e.g.), 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, ten slices of ham (thin and preferably uncured),  1 3/4 quarters cups of Gruyere cheese, shredded (and with a 1/4 cup reserved and set aside), and two eggs for frying.

Prepare the croque madame's Béchamel sauce

Let's start by making the Béchamel, a sauce that imparts seriously rich flavor to the sandwiches. In a small saucepan, add the milk and heat over low/medium heat until it's hot but not quite boiling, then remove it from the stove and set aside.

In a separate small saucepan, melt the butter. While whisking, add the flour into the pan with the butter and stir until a thick paste forms. Continue to cook and stir the mix for about one minute, then add the milk while whisking and mix until combined. At this time, add the salt and pepper to taste along with the nutmeg.

Continue whisking over the heat for several minutes until the sauce becomes thick. Now remove the Béchamel from the heat and set it aside.

This is a good time to turn the broiler on high (525°F if you can set a specific temperature) and set aside a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.

Make the base of the croque madame sandwiches

Preheat a skillet over low/medium heat and have it at the ready — the bigger the better. Note you can also do this step on a griddle provided you have some sort of lid or cover you can use to trap heat.

Spread the butter evenly on one side of each slice of bread, then place the bread butter side down in a large skillet (if your skillet doesn't fit all four slices of bread at once, you'll need to do it in batches).

Spread the mustard on the upright side of each slice of bread, then lay slices of ham on top of the mustard. Next, spread about a half cup of Gruyere cheese on the other slice of bread, meaning one without mustard and ham.

Cover the bread slices and allow them to cook until the cheese melts and the underside of the bread is golden and crisp. Now flip the slice of bread with the melted cheese onto the slice with the ham, and transfer the sandwich to the baking sheet you prepared earlier. (Repeat if needed due to smaller skillet space, or move right on.)

Pour the Béchamel on the croque madame sandwiches

When both sandwiches are ready (and yes, they would be rather delicious as-is), pour a generous amount of the Béchamel over the tops of the sandwiches (you may have some béchamel leftover, no need to use it all, and briefly warm the sauce if it's too thick to flow).

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the sandwiches and place the cookie sheets in the oven under that hot broiler.

Fry the eggs and finish the croque madame sandwiches

While the sandwiches are broiling, which should last only between three and five minutes, or until the tops get golden and bubbly, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of additional butter or oil, and crack the eggs individually into the pan and fry. The aim here is to achieve a runny yolk.

Once the sandwiches are finished, remove them from the oven and top each with a fried egg. (And yes, a poached egg would also be great here, but that's a whole other level of work). Serve the beautiful croque madame sandwiches immediately to the thrill of your brunch companions.

Croque Madam Sandwich Recipe
5 from 10 ratings
This croque madame will transport your taste buds to a French bistro without having to leave your kitchen. It's the perfect sandwich to impress at any brunch.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
2
servings
croque madame sandwich on plate
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 ¼ c whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (unsalted or salted, softened)
  • 4 large slices of artisan bread (French bread or sourdough)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 10 slices of ham (preferably uncured)
  • 1 ¾ cup of Gruyere cheese, shredded (reserve ¼ c and set aside)
  • 2 eggs
Directions
  1. To make the Béchamel sauce, in a small saucepan, add the milk and heat over low/medium heat until hot. Then, remove from the stove and set aside.
  2. In a separate small saucepan, melt the butter. While whisking, add the flour into the pan with the butter and stir until a thick paste forms. Continue to cook and stir for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the milk while whisking and mix until combined. At this time, add the salt and pepper to taste along with the nutmeg. Continue whisking for several minutes until the sauce becomes thick. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Preheat a skillet over low/medium heat. Spread the butter evenly on one side of each slice of bread, and place the bread, butter side down in a large skillet (if your skillet doesn't fit all 4 slices of bread at once, you'll need to do it in batches).
  5. Spread the mustard on one slice of bread. Add the ham on top of the mustard and add about ½ a cup of Gruyere cheese to the other slice of bread. Cover and allow the cheese to melt and the underside of the bread to get golden and crisp.
  6. Flip the slice of bread with the cheese onto the slice with the ham, and transfer the sandwich to the baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Repeat steps 4-6 for additional sandwiches if needed.
  7. When both sandwiches are ready, pour a generous amount of Béchamel over the tops of the sandwiches (you may have some béchamel leftover).
  8. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the sandwiches and place into a preheated oven broiler set on high. Broil for about 3-5 minutes or until the tops get golden and bubbly.
  9. While the sandwiches are broiling, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of additional butter or oil and fry your eggs, aiming for a runny yolk.
  10. Once the sandwiches are finished, remove from the oven, top each with a fried egg, and then serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 1,213
Total Fat 77.7 g
Saturated Fat 41.4 g
Trans Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 420.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 56.6 g
Dietary Fiber 6.0 g
Total Sugars 12.7 g
Sodium 2,945.3 mg
Protein 71.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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