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Best Croque Madame

There are sandwiches and then there is my best croque madame sandwich. It takes a little preparation, but if you are looking for toasted sandwich perfection, look no further than my take on a classic croque madame recipe.

Toasted croque madame toasted sandwich topped with a fried egg.

This is the perfect croque madame recipe, a cheese and ham toasted sandwich, with a delicious layer of baked cheesy bechamel sauce and topped with a fried egg cooked to your liking. For me this is the ultimate comfort food perfection!

This traditional croque madame recipe is a great way to use up leftover roast ham from the weekend’s roast dinner. Although made with simple ingredients, this sandwich really does pack a punch in terms of flavour.

The best part of this easy croque madame recipe is that it is very simple to make a larger batch of the béchamel sauce. This allows you to store excess sauce in small containers in the freezer, ready to take out, defrost and make this easy dish for one when the craving takes you.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • The best toasted sandwich you’ll try as the flavours work so well together.
  • This recipe is easily doubled up to feed more diners.
  • A great way to use up leftover ham from the weekend’s roast dinner.

Recipe ingredients

Croque madame recipe ingredients set out individually.
  • Bread – use any variety of bread. I’ve gone for a crusty granary bread, but you could use sourdough bread, seeded bread or regular sliced white, wholemeal or granary bread, whichever you prefer.
  • Dijon mustard – I like to spread Dijon mustard on the sandwich as it has great flavour without being too hot.
  • Ham – use any variety of good quality ham in the sandwich. I’ve used leftover roast ham from the weekend’s roast dinner.
  • Cheese: I use grated Comte cheese both in the sandwich and also in the sauce.
  • Eggs – I top the sandwich with a fried free range egg.

Bechamel sauce ingredients

  • Butter – you can use either salted or unsalted butter, whatever you have to hand.
  • Flour – I use plain flour (all purpose flour) to make the roux that thickens the sauce.
  • Milk – when making the sauce I recommend using whole or semi skimmed milk.
  • Cheese – I use Comte cheese in the bechamel sauce. A more traditional option would be Gruyere which is a great option too as they are both cheeses with a great nutty flavour.
  • Nutmeg – a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg adds great flavour to a bechamel sauce.
  • Seasoning – I season the bechamel with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.

How to make the perfect croque madame sandwich

How to make béchamel sauce

  • Prepare the béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and stir to form a paste. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the paste for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

TOP TIP: Don’t skip this step as cooking the flour stops it from tasting raw in the sauce.

  • Now turn the heat up to medium and gradually add the milk a little at a time, stirring to ensure there are no lumps and that the sauce is smooth before adding another splash of milk.
  • Continue stirring the sauce until all the milk has been added and you a lovely smooth sauce, this will take approximately 10 minutes.
  • Add the grated comte cheese, a grating of the fresh nutmeg and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Now turn the heat down really low and keep the sauce warm while you prepare the sandwich.

Layer up the sandwich

  • Under a medium grill toast the 4 slices on bread on one side only. Remove from the grill and spread mustard over 2 slices on the non toasted side.

Top each with a slice or two of ham and the remaining grated Comte cheese. Place these two slices back under the grill to allow the cheese to melt. Once melted, remove from the grill.

  • Place the remaining 2 slices of bread over the slices containing the ham and melted cheese so that the toasted side is facing up.
  • Spread the béchamel sauce over the two sandwiches and then place back under the grill.
  • While these are grilling, quickly fry up the eggs to your liking. Remove the sandwiches from the grill and top each with a fried egg. Serve immediately.
Two plates topped with toasted croque madame toasted sandwiches topped with a fried egg.

Recipe variations

  • To make a vegetarian croque madame, swap the ham for some roasted vegetables like sliced mushrooms, bell peppers and courgettes (zucchini) and aubergine (eggplant). You will also need to swap the comte cheese for a vegetarian Swiss or Emmental style cheese. Another great alternative would be a vegetarian Parmesan style cheese.
  • Swap the roast ham for other slices of roast beef, like roast chicken or turkey. You could even add slices of cooked bacon or sausage to this sandwich.
  • Add in a layer of spinach for a Florentine style sandwich.
  • Leave the fried egg off the sandwich and you have the perfect croque monsieur.

Useful hints and tips

  1. Take time to allow the flour to cook when making the bechamel sauce. If you don’t cook out the roux properly the flour in the sauce will taste raw.
  2. The bechamel sauce is thick, thicker than a normal sauce, but this is as it should be. The sauce needs to be thick so that it coats the top of the sandwich. If too thin it will run down the sides making the sandwich soggy.
  3. I’ve used a whole grain bread but you can make this sandwich with pretty much any bread you like.
  4. Don’t walk away when toasting the sandwich otherwise you risk burning the sauce and the bread.
  5. Allergy advice: soya free and nut free. For comprehensive and detailed allergy advice go to Allergy UK.
Two plates topped with toasted croque madame toasted sandwiches topped with a fried egg.

FAQs

What is the difference between croque monsieur and croque madame?

In terms of the sandwich they are both identical and prepared the same way with a topping of baked bechamel sauce. However, a croque madame is also topped with a fried egg.

Why is it called croque madame?

It is called a croque madame, as the fried egg on top is thought to resemble a woman’s hat.

Can croque madame be made ahead?

This is a sandwich that is best served warm. However, you can make the sauce ahead of time and warm it up when you are ready to enjoy.

Can you freeze béchamel sauce?

Béchamel sauce, also known as white sauce, is a great make ahead sauce and freezes really well. You can make a larger batch of the cheesy béchamel, use some to make the sandwich, then store the rest in portions in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost the sauce in the refrigerator then warm up gently in a saucepan when ready to use.

Pin the recipe

Pinnable image with recipe title and toasted croque madame toasted sandwich topped with a fried egg.

Additional recipe suggestions

If you like this recipe then try some of my favourite egg based recipes:

For similar recipes have a look at my Ultimate Guide to Brunch featuring all my favourite brunch recipes, along with useful hint and tips for hosting your own brunch.

Toasted croque madame toasted sandwich topped with a fried egg.

Croque Madame

Croque madame – cheese and ham toasted sandwich, with a baked layer of cheesy bechamel topped with a fried egg. Comfort food perfection!
5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 663kcal

Ingredients

Béchamel Sauce

  • 25 g butter
  • 20 g plain flour
  • 150 ml whole milk
  • 80 g comte cheese (grated)
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Sandwich

  • 4 slices bread
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2-4 slices good quality ham
  • 20 g comte cheese (grated)
  • 2 large free range eggs

Instructions

Make the béchamel sauce

  • Prepare the béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and stir to form a paste. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the paste for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. This cooks the flour and stops it from tasting raw in the sauce.
  • Now turn the heat up to medium and gradually add the milk a little at a time, stirring to ensure there are no lumps and that the sauce is smooth before adding another splash of milk.
  • Continue stirring the sauce until all the milk has been added and you a lovely smooth sauce, this will take approximately 10 minutes.
  • Add the grated comte cheese, a grating of the fresh nutmeg and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Now turn the heat down really low and keep the sauce warm while you prepare the sandwich.

Layering up the sandwich

  • Under a medium grill toast the 4 slices on bread on one side only. Remove from the grill and spread mustard over 2 slices on the non toasted side.
  • Top each with a slice or two of ham and the remaining grated Comte cheese. Place these two slices back under the grill to allow the cheese to melt. Once melted, remove from the grill.
  • Place the remaining 2 slices of bread over the slices containing the ham and melted cheese so that the toasted side is facing up.
  • Spread the béchamel sauce over the two sandwiches and then place back under the grill.
  • While these are grilling, quickly fry up the eggs to your liking. Remove the sandwiches from the grill and top each with a fried egg. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Croque Madame
Amount Per Serving
Calories 663 Calories from Fat 351
% Daily Value*
Fat 39g60%
Saturated Fat 20g125%
Cholesterol 270mg90%
Sodium 1031mg45%
Potassium 374mg11%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 1145IU23%
Calcium 692mg69%
Iron 3.5mg19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •

Course : Brunch, Lunch
Cuisine : French
Keyword : Easy, Quick, Simple
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Recipe Rating




5 from 6 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Sisley White - Sew White

Monday 18th of March 2024

Loved making this. It was so delicious.

Lesley

Tuesday 19th of March 2024

Glad you enjoyed it Sisley.

Chloe

Wednesday 13th of March 2024

Gives me the feels every time I see this. I made one the other night and when I say one, I mean two and I didn't share!

Lesley

Tuesday 19th of March 2024

Thank you Chloe, this is easily my favourite sandwich.

Cat

Monday 11th of March 2024

Oh wow. This was absolutely incredible! I'll have to stop myself making it every week!

Lesley

Tuesday 19th of March 2024

I know exactly what you mean Cat, this sandwich is a real treat and it's really hard not to indulge all the time.

Hazel

Sunday 10th of March 2024

I couldn't resist making these Croque Madame sandwiches and I wasn't disappointed. Oh my goodness so, so good!

Lesley

Monday 11th of March 2024

Thank you Hazel, I'm glad you enjoyed them, this is easily my favourite sandwich.

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Friday 7th of February 2020

[…] Croque Madame – Lost in Food […]

5 from 6 votes (2 ratings without comment)