Croque Madame: A classic French sandwich made with buttery brioche, tender ham, sharp gruyere, creamy béchamel, and topped with a gooey fried egg!
I love recipes that you can eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (which is exactly what I did after I made this Croque Madame sandwich.) Seriously. It’s THAT good!
Take fresh, thick, sweet brioche and pile on thinly sliced ham, sharp gruyere, and creamy bechamel. Top with another slice of brioche, more bechamel, parmesan cheese, and a fried egg and you’ve got yourself the greatest sandwich of all time.
What is croque madame?
Croque madame is a classic French sandwich made with grilled ham, gruyere cheese, a bechamel aka a white sauce, and a fried egg.
It’s crispy, buttery, cheesy, and obviously, delicious!
What’s the difference between croque madame and croque monsieur?
A croque monsieur is a french grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a little bechamel. Add a fried egg and you’ve got yourself a croque madame.
The name croque monsier is based off the french verb croquer (“to bite or to crunch”) and the word monsieur (“mister”).
The addition of the egg on a croque madame is said to resemble a woman’s hat. Thus, the madame (“woman”) in the name!
Before you can assemble the actual sandwich, you’ll need to make a quick bechamel. Don’t let the fancy name scare you, it’s a very simple white sauce containing only six ingredients!
Béchamel Sauce – a classic creamy white sauce.
- Butter – makes the sauce ultra-creamy.
- Flour – combines with the butter to create a “roux” which thickens the sauce.
- Salt – brings out the flavor of the other ingredients.
- Nutmeg – adds a nice, nutty sweetness. A little pinch goes a long way. This is often the secret ingredient to a white sauce.
- Milk – the base of the sauce.
- Parmesan Cheese – adds a salty, sharp flavor to offset the creaminess. It’s also used as an additional topping for the sandwich.
Other Sandwich Ingredients
- Brioche – a soft, buttery, and subtly sweet bread that’s toasted to perfection.
- Gruyere Cheese – a creamy and nutty cheese that melts into ooey, gooey, deliciousness.
- Ham – adds a nice, smoky flavor to the sandwich.
- Butter – buttering the bread before cooking creates that crunchy, golden-brown texture and color.
- Eggs – fried to perfection to finish off the sandwich.
Because the ingredient list is so simple, be sure to use good quality bread, cheese, and ham! I’m normally not one to splurge, but I think it’s worth it in this case!
Use local ingredients from mom and pop shops or check out the freshly baked bread, thinly sliced meat, and gourmet cheeses at your grocery store!
How to make croque madame
Once you’ve made the homemade bechamel, this sandwich is quickly assembled, pan fried, and baked!
- Use a whisk to mix the ingredients for your béchamel sauce in a saucepan.
- Cut the brioche and layer a slice with cheese, ham, and sauce. Top it off with another brioche slice.
- Cook in a large nonstick pan. Remove and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat.
- Top with another layer of béchamel and parmesan and cook in the oven while you fry an egg.
- Remove sandwich from the oven, top with your fried egg, and devour!
If you’re left with some extra ham from this recipe, check out these 7 Easy Recipes to Make with Leftover Ham.
How to store
This sandwich is best eaten immediately, but feel free to make the bechamel in advance. The béchamel sauce can last in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.
Make this for brunch this weekend with a side of mimosas and we’ll be right there with you!
Croque Madame (Ham, Cheese, and Fried Egg Sandwich)
Equipment for this recipe
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
Other sandwich ingredients
- 1 loaf brioche
- 1 oz Gruyère cheese shredded (you could also use 1 slice Gruyere)
- 8 slices thinly sliced ham 2 per sandwich
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- butter softened to spread on bread
- 4 large eggs fried
- Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Then whisk in flour. Continue whisking and cooking for 2-3 minutes. The flour mixture will be thick.
- Slowly whisk in milk, about 1/2 cup at a time. For the first cup, let the flour mixture absorb the milk before adding in more milk. It will first look like a paste, and then slowly thin out.
- Continue to cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens. This will take about 5-8 minutes.
- Once thick, whisk in the salt, nutmeg and ½ cup parmesan. Continue whisking until the cheese melts.
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly while you get your other sandwich ingredients ready.
Assembling the sandwich
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat and preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
- Cut the brioche into 8 thick slices. Lay out 4 slices and top with the sliced or shredded gruyere.
- Next, top the cheese with the ham slices and a spoonful of bechamel. Top with the other brioche slices.
- Gently spread the top side of brioche with the softened butter.
- Preheat a large nonstick pan over medium low - medium heat. Place the brioche sandwiches into the pan with the buttered side down. While the brioche is browning, butter the second side of the brioche.
- Cook for about 2 minutes, or when the bottom is golden. Once golden, flip the sandwich over and brown the other side.
- Once the second side has browned, remove from the pan and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Top each sandwich with 2 tablespoons of béchamel and 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese.
- Place in the oven to melt the cheese, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, top each sandwich with a fried egg and serve immediately!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post was originally published March 11, 2015 and has been updated to provide more detailed content.