Croque monsieur
A croque monsieur
Place of originFrance
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsBread, butter, ham (typically boiled), cheese (typically Gruyère), pepper and salt
VariationsCroque madame

A croque monsieur (French pronunciation: [kʁɔk məsjø]) is a hot sandwich made with ham and cheese. The name comes from the French words croque ("crunch") and monsieur ("gentleman").


There are references to the dish before the end of the 19th century. In 1891, La Revue Athlétique mentions them:

It is late and we are very hungry. What should we do for lunch? Ham becomes monotonous in the long run. The Diplomat, who is a bit of a gourmand, and in this he resembles Talleyrand, has an idea. "Let's make croque-monsieurs". Quickly, the toast, the butter, the Gruyère cheese, the ham, a little cayenne pepper and we are at work. One cuts, another butters, the third puts it all together into sandwiches that Vincent fries in the pan.
They are exquisite, the croque-monsieurs, a little big perhaps, made for the jaws of giants, but who cares? We eat them, we come back to them, we are delighted.[1]

In the early 1900s, bistro owner Michel Lunarca [fr] popularized the croque-monsieur.[2]


A croque monsieur is traditionally made with baked or boiled ham and sliced cheese between slices of pain de mie, topped with grated cheese and lightly salted and peppered, and then baked in an oven or fried in a frying pan. The bread may optionally be browned by grilling after being dipped in beaten egg. Traditionally Gruyère is used, but sometimes Comté or Emmental cheese as well. Some brasseries also add béchamel sauce.

Croque monsieur may be baked or fried so that the cheese topping melts and forms a crust.[3][4]


A croque monsieur served with a poached or lightly fried egg on top is known as a croque madame[5] (or, in parts of Normandy, as a croque-à-cheval). According to the Petit Robert dictionary, the name dates to around 1960. The name croque-mademoiselle is associated with its lighter, vegetarian version: made of the same bread, but with ordinary melting cheese, accompanied with chives, cucumber and lettuce.[3]

In the United Kingdom, a ham-and-cheese hot snack is called a toastie, and toastie makers are available to buy. In the United States, the Monte Cristo (a ham-and-cheese sandwich often dipped in egg and fried) is popular fare in diners.[6]

Variants of the sandwich with substitutions or additional ingredients are given names modeled on the original croque-monsieur, for example:

Name Added ingredients Reference
Barros Jarpa Variation with same ingredients from Chilean cuisine [7]
Barros Luco Made with roast beef instead of ham [7]
Croque provençal Tomato [8]
Croque auvergnat Bleu d'Auvergne cheese [9]
Croque norvégien Smoked salmon instead of ham [7]
Croque tartiflette Sliced potatoes and Reblochon cheese [8]
Croque bolognese / Croque Boum-Boum Bolognese sauce
Croque señor Tomato salsa
Croque Hawaiian Slice of pineapple
Croque gagnet Gouda cheese and andouille [10]
Croque Madame Fried egg [7]
Croque monsieur with bechamel Standard croque monsieur topped with bechamel sauce [7]
Francesinha Variation from Portuguese cuisine with steak, sausage, ham, melted cheese and a beer sauce [7]

See also


  1. ^ "En wherry. Trois semaines dans les broads du Norfolk". Gallica (in French). La Revue athlétique. 25 January 1891. p. 541. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  2. ^ "La savoureuse histoire du "croque-monsieur"". Le Figaro (in French). 4 April 2019. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Croque-monsieur et croque-madame font des enfants" (in French). aufimin cuisine suisse. 18 March 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Croque monsieur au four". Cuisine actuelle. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  5. ^ Dictionnaire général pour la maîtrise de la langue française, la culture classique et contemporaine. Paris: Larousse. 1993. p. 405. ISBN 2-03-320300-X. OCLC 29916226.
  6. ^ "History of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich". History of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Archived from the original on 8 March 2021. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Russo, Susan. The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches.
  8. ^ a b "All the Croque Monsieur Recipes You Will Ever Need". Archived from the original on 20 October 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  9. ^ Downie, David (23 July 2000). "Bread Winner". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ "Tracing the History of the Croque Monsieur Sandwich Paris Blog Oui Always Have Paris". Oui Always Have Paris. 11 August 2015. Archived from the original on 6 October 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.