Who doesn't love a hearty breakfast sandwich? I know I do, and this beautiful croque madame is one of the best.
You may have heard of the croque monsieur, a hearty French sandwich made with Gruyère cheese, ham and Béchamel sauce. As its name suggests, it was created as a sandwich for the gents. I suspect that someone decided that we needed a version for the ladies. Hence the croque madame was born. You will recognize her by the fried or poached egg on top, which is said to resemble a ladies' hat. This is her distinguishing feature! As such, I think it's the perfect sandwich for breakfast or brunch!
We have an entire post dedicated to the croque madame sauce that we are using in this recipe. You can check it out if you would like more information.
You will need the following equipment to make this sandwich (affiliate links):
- Small saucepan. To make the sauce.
- Wire whisk. To make the sauce.
- Baking sheet. To toast the bread and melt the cheese.
- Large skillet (not needed if using a griddle). To cook the eggs.
- Griddle (not needed if using a skillet). To cook the eggs.
For the Sauce
Be sure to check out our post dedicated to this croque madame sauce for more information and tips for making it.
- Unsalted butter (2 tablespoons). Adds flavor and helps to thicken the sauce. You can also use salted butter. If you do, you won't need to add as much salt later.
- All-purpose flour (2 tablespoons). This is used to thicken the sauce.
- Warmed milk (1 cup). Be sure to warm the milk first. Warmed milk will prevent the butter from cooling down and solidifying. Making sure the milk is warm first will keep the sauce nice and smooth.
- Shredded Swiss cheese (¾ cup). You can also use Gruyère cheese, but it is more expensive than Swiss and not as readily available. Classic mornay sauce is traditionally made with Gruyère cheese (source). If you decide to try it, you can usually find it in the gourmet section of your grocery store.
- Dijon mustard (1 teaspoon). Adds flavor and blends very well with the ham and cheese.
- Salt & pepper to taste. You can add as much or as little as you like. Use freshly grated pepper for the best flavor.
For the Sandwich
- French bread or white bread (8 slices). Any firm bread will do.
- Unsalted butter (2 tablespoons). Unsalted to control the salt content in this recipe.
- Large eggs (4). Fried and placed on top of our croque madame sandwiches.
- Salt & pepper. To season the eggs. Adjust to your taste.
- Dijon mustard (4 teaspoons). Adds flavor.
- Thinly sliced Black Forest ham (½ lb). We love Black Forest ham in this recipe. Any thinly-sliced ham will do though.
- Shredded Swiss cheese (¼ cup). Add flavor and texture. We opted for Swiss, instead of the traditional Gruyère, because it's a little more affordable and readily available. Swiss works well for this recipe.
Please see our croque madame sauce post if you would like to see instructions and step-by-step photos for making the sauce. Full instructions for the sauce are also listed below in the recipe card.
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 3. Preheat the broiler on high.
They are basically the same, except a croque madame has a fried or poached egg on top.
It has been said that the egg was added because it resembles a woman's hat, making it a ladies' sandwich.
🥪 More Delicious Breakfast and Brunch Sandwiches
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- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk warmed
- ¾ cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt & pepper to taste
- 8 slices French bread or white bread
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- salt & pepper
- 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ lb Black Forest ham thinly sliced
- ¼ cup shredded Swiss cheese
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.
- Whisk in the flour until smooth. Let bubble without browning, whisking frequently for 1 minute.
- Gradually whisk in the warm milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring to a gentle boil, whisking frequently.Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in cheese and mustard.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the sauce to a bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, turning once, until toasted on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet or griddle. Season with salt and pepper, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are set to your liking, about 3-5 minutes.
- Preheat the broiler on high.Spread 4 toast slices with the Dijon mustard, dividing equally.Add an equal amount of ham and 1 tablespoon of the sauce to each slice. Cover with the remaining toast slices.Spread more sauce over the tops of the sandwiches and sprinkle each with the Swiss cheese.Broil until the cheese is melted and lightly golden, 1-2 minutes.Top each with a fried egg and serve.