I am turning into a sandwich person.

Croque Madame with Crispy Ham I howsweeteats.com

And I have never been a sandwich person. But wouldn’t this turn you into a sandwich person too? For sure.

These days, I love a good sandwich. The attributes of a “good” sandwich obviously differ for everyone but for me? I need just a little bit of meat (or none at all), a lot of cheese (preferably different kinds), a bunch of texture (in whatever form that wants to appear) and not many vegetables at all. And it mustmustmust be toasted. Must.

I know this description sounds eerily like a grilled cheese buuuuut… whatever. I like what I like!

Croque Madame with Crispy Ham I howsweeteats.com

For example, I’ve never been a huge fan of deli meat – though I have to admit that it’s appeal is greatly heightened when I can add potato chips inside my actual sandwich. Have you done this? Do this. It basically consumed my Sunday afternoons as a child, back when I was sort of a sandwich person once a week.

However, on nights when my dad worked late and my mom made breakfast for dinner (best meal ever?), she would also fry some ham and it tasted perfect on a sandwich with eggs. I use the term “fry” loosely because if you just put thinly sliced ham in a hot skillet, it crisps up perfectly.

Gah. It’s so freaking delicious.

As a side note and at the risk of making a blanket statement, do men generally just not like breakfast for dinner? Because my dad wasn’t (isn’t) a fan and my husband can’t even grasp the concept. What is wrong with them?

Croque Madame with Crispy Ham I howsweeteats.com

You may know that my obsession with croque monsieurs began after seeing It’s Complicated, where Meryl Streep (hi lady crush) makes a perfect one for Steve Martin (hello man crush) and Alec Baldwin (hey creep but sexy and weird crush) ends up eating the leftovers. WHY DO I LOVE THAT MOVIE SO MUCH. It’s the only movie I’ve ever downloaded on to my computer because I felt the need to have access to it instantly, all the time. If you actually knew just how many times I have viewed said movie, it would kill you. I live for the soundtrack. I have the most embarrassing, non-secretive infatuation with that film. And uh, no, it’s not because there are cute guys my age in it. I’d much prefer to be friends with the 50-year olds in the film.

I also sort of want to own that giant bakery/cafe that Meryl has in the movie, but I have no interest in working that hard on something like that in real life. I am not a baker. So if somebody could just give me enough money that I could OPEN a store like that and own it and pay people to work in it so I would have somewhere cute to go eat everyday, that would be awesome. Yeah. That’s a great idea.

Croque Madame with Crispy Ham I howsweeteats.com

Just when I thought that a little meal (with the ultimate movie fantasy) couldn’t get any better, I had an incredible croque madame for brunch one Sunday a few months ago and nearly lost my mind. Eggs are sort of like bacon. Practically everything gets better with eggs. And now… I’m kinda ticked that I didn’t add bacon here? But that would be trashing this up waaaaay too much. A whole different meal. We can do that later.

The highlight of these sandwiches for me has always been the gruyere sauce. I mean, it’s like making sauce for mac and cheese and then… putting it on your sandwich. It’s like putting fondue… on your sandwich. It’s putting tons of gooey cheese… on your sandwich. And the crispy ham. Ugh. I’m just done. So done.

Somebody rescue me from a croque madame coma.

Croque Madame with Crispy Ham I howsweeteats.com


Croque Madame with Crispy Ham

Yield: serves 2

Total Time: 30 minutes


1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup milk (2% or whole is best)
1/2 cup freshly grated gruyere cheese
pinch of salt, pepper + nutmeg

1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham
1/2 cup freshly grated gruyere cheese
4 slices whole grain bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add ham in batches, turning with kitchen tongs and cooking until crispy on all sides. Remove and place on a plate.

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and cook until golden, about 1-2 minutes, to create a roux. Add milk and stir constantly until slightly thickened, then reduce heat and add in gruyere. Stir until melted, then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Heat a large electric griddle or skillet over medium heat. Take four slices of bread, spreading a small amount of the cheese sauce on each slice, leaving a bit of sauce for topping the sandwiches at the end. Top two slices with the ham, then cover with the other slice of bread, cheese-side down. Add butter to the skillet or griddle, then cook and until both sides are golden and crispy.

While sandwiches are cooking, cook the eggs as you desire.

Preheat the broiler on your oven. Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet and cover the tops with the remaining cheese sauce and grated cheese. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, then top each with an egg. Enjoy!

Croque Madame with Crispy Ham I howsweeteats.com

P.S. whose ultimate movie fantasy involves Steve Martin and food? What?

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113 Responses to “Croque Madame with Crispy Ham.”

  1. #
    allie@sweetpotatobites — April 25, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    the croque madame sandwich is amazing – i need more of them in my life. and i basically want to live in the bakery in it’s complicated. now i need to go watch that movie again.


  2. #
    AllieKris — April 25, 2013 @ 10:50 am

    Yeah… my husband thinks my crush on Steve Martin is odd but I mean come on…from The Jerk to SNL to FOB to It’s Complicated… he’s the best!


  3. #
    Shawnee — April 25, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    Not to sound like a total creep, except I probably will sound like a total creep, but following your blog I secretly think “OMG we would so be the besties of besties.” And now that I know you share my obsession with It’s Complicated, it’s pretty much confirmed things! My husband can’t believe how much I watch that movie, and that movie started my infatuation with croque madame/monsieurs! Totes making this, this weekend while watching It’s Complicated, for the gazillionth time! Thanks for the inspiration!


    • Jessica — April 25th, 2013 @ 10:58 am

      not creepy at all!


  4. #
    joelle @ on a pink typewriter — April 25, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    I don’t even like deli ham, but this looks awesome! I want to recreate this with bacon or prosciutto.


  5. #
    steph@stephsbitebybite — April 25, 2013 @ 10:58 am

    This deliciousness would surely turn me in to a sandwich person too!


  6. #
    Mr. & Mrs. P — April 25, 2013 @ 11:03 am

    Wow.. We want this right now!!! Looks delicious!!! Flawless photos!!!


  7. #
    SaltySweetSour — April 25, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    Sandwiches are food of the gods in my book. They’re sort of the perfect food. Joey Tribbiani had it right.


  8. #
    Heather G. — April 25, 2013 @ 11:13 am

    Yes.. in general men do not like breakfast for dinner! Why is that.. breakfast is the best meal–why not have it twice? You could have it as breakfast.. even lunch–brunch anyone? But, never dinner. On the other hand, I asked my Mom what she was fixing for supper–“omelets,” she said, “and hashbrowns.” Oh.. the jealousy.. my DAD likes breakfast for dinner :-)


  9. #
    lynn @ the actor's diet — April 25, 2013 @ 11:22 am

    I am pretty sure my husband would be down with breakfast for dinner, but only the savory stuff. I, on the other hand, would say yes to waffles/pancakes any time of day. That sandwich looks divine!

    P.S. I heart Steve Martin


  10. #
    Emily Kaz — April 25, 2013 @ 11:28 am

    This looks delish! We love croque monsieurs around here so I’m sure we’ll like this as well. Also, my husband is down for breakfast any meal of the day. He often suggests pancakes for dinner, so I think it might be just you. ;)


  11. #
    FashionEdible — April 25, 2013 @ 11:32 am

    Cooking up ham and eggs with some cheese as we speak. Sans bread, unfortunately. So definitely not quite as exotic as yours but still delicious. I do love Croque Madames!


  12. #
    Cici Z — April 25, 2013 @ 11:32 am

    It’s Complicated. One of my top 5 favs! Will be trying this for sure!!!! Yummo!


  13. #
    Emily — April 25, 2013 @ 11:36 am

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a weird, old-man crush on Steve Martin. He’s old enough to be my dad!


  14. #
    Emily — April 25, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

    Yummmm!!! I’ve always wanted to try/make Croque madams and monsieurs but this has me putting it on my menu immediately! No more waiting!!! My boyfriend actually loves breakfast for dinner, but only if its of the savory variety.


  15. #
    Sarah — April 25, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

    Maybe he’s the exception, but my guy loves breakfast for dinner, perhaps even more than I do. He’s a very “anytime is a good time for pancakes” kind of person, haha.

    (also, I have a weird old man crush on Anthony Hopkins, so don’t worry, I think it’s natural :P)


  16. #
    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — April 25, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

    I just watched Ina make a Croque Monsieur, and I remember thinking to myself, “why haven’t I made this before?” I’m thinking that again right now looking at your Croque Madame. Looks SO tasty!


  17. #
    Larry — April 25, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

    Literally, my mouth just watered up SO HARD because of this thing! I have a love affair with croque madames (ironic, isn’t it?) and this looks like it would be the best one that would have ever had the pleasure of touching my lips.
    We need to spend a week together, and then I can go on a juice cleanse for a month afterwards (lord knows I would need it).


  18. #
    Liz — April 25, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

    I have had that movie on DVR for well over a year and watch it about every other week. It’s the only reason I’ve ever made Croque Madame ( and even think I can attempt to make chocolate croissants). I also laugh hysterically when Meryl asks Steve if he has ever “poked smot”. I want to be her in that movie!


  19. #
    MelissaD — April 25, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

    Do you poke smot?


  20. #
    Melinda — April 25, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    I just had my first Croque Madame in Paris last week and it did not look near as good as yours does. YUMMMM


  21. #
    Marianan — April 25, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

    Not gonna lie…I eat ALL of my sandwiches with the chips stuffed into them. They just taste so much better that way. I’m glad to see I am not the only weird-o who does this :)


  22. #
    JanetFCTC — April 25, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

    I’m the same way about sandwiches. They have always just kind of…well… bored me. This one however doesn’t look boring…at…all. I’ve always wanted to try now. Methinks now is as good a time as any :-D


  23. #
    L. Rowan McKnight — April 25, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

    Awesome Boyfriend loves breakfast for dinner. So does Oldest Friend, and Step-Dad. Not so sure about Grumpy Brother, but he’s a professional curmudgeon, so it’s difficult to tell.

    And this sammie looks delish.


  24. #
    Ellie @ Ginger Bear Kitchen — April 25, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

    The runny egg yolk all over that sandwich looks sooo amazing.

    P.S. I love potato chips on my sandwiches. PB&J with chips is simple perfection!


  25. #
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — April 25, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

    So happy that you’re becoming a sandwich person. Now we get to enjoy all of these amazing sandwich recipes! :)


  26. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — April 25, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

    I’m a sandwich person lately, too!! Annnnnd I like it :)


  27. #
    Jade Sheldon — April 26, 2013 @ 1:33 am

    I want to live in that movie. I want to be one of Meryl’s children in that movie… But lets get serious, if I were one of her children, I would be obese and never moving out… And I think I’m still okay with that…


  28. #
    katie — April 26, 2013 @ 6:08 am

    Oh my. I’m so with you. I saw It’s Complicated with my Grandmother on Christmas Day and have since been infatuated with everything about that movie. Lake Bell, Lake Bell’s tattoo, the California coast, and yes–the perfect (apparently cheap and French) Croque Monsieurs, her incredible fictional cafe, those amazing chocolate croissants (stoned or sober)–oh! And what about that lavender honey ice cream?! I just can’t even. Love love the movie, this post, your blog. Thank you everyday for your humor and love of (cooking, cocktails, photos, makeup, food porn) life.


  29. #
    Kristi @ Cherry Jasmine — April 26, 2013 @ 7:27 am

    Oh yum… now I’m totally craving this for breakfast! Looks fantastic!


  30. #
    Kelly — April 26, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    Once again I am lured out of my lurker-cave – I put potato chips on sandwiches as a kid all the time (well, when I could get away with it)! I mean, hello, adds saltiness and texture in one fell swoop!

    I also have to remark on the breakfast-for-dinner thing – in my house it’s exactly the opposite. My husband would eat breakfast for dinner (or lunch, or snack, or second breakfast, or for no reason at all) EVERY. DAY. We’re talking every meal, here. The man is a breakfast maniac. Me, not so much – I kind of have a take-it-or-leave-it (but mostly leave it) attitude toward breakfast food. I think it’s because my dad loved bfast-for-dinner and so my mom made it a lot when she didn’t want to cook ‘real food,’ LOL (plus my dad is a picky eater so eggs/bacon/biscuits/toast/homefries were always a homerun, whereas you never could be sure if anything else would be).

    Maybe it’s an opposites-attract thing? I mean, if you are very pro-bfast-for-dinner and your husband is firmly against, and my husband is pro and I’m against, perhaps we’ve finally discovered the secret to a happy marriage? It should be on pre-marital counseling questionnaires from here on.


  31. #
    Stephanie — April 26, 2013 @ 10:51 am

    I know that exact scene in It’s complicated! LOVE that movie. Now we just need the lavender honey ice cream too, right? ;)


  32. #
    Carina — April 26, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

    I saw your post on these last night and immediately got a huge craving for them. I even texted my man telling him not to eat any sandwiches in the next 24 hrs. because this is what I was going to make for lunch today. Amazing. Super yummy, and I have to say that your recipe by far exceeds the dry and listless croque monsieurs and madames I had in Paris. The boyfriend loved it, he had two! Thanks for another great recipe.


  33. #
    Dalila G. — April 26, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

    I have always been a sandwich person……..LOVE them!
    This is one that I will be making very soon, your pictures, which are beautiful, tipped the scales to YES!!!
    Breakfast is sweet anytime of the day, no food rules in our household.
    Have a great weekend! :-)


  34. #
    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions — April 26, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

    Oh we totally do breakfast for dinner at least once a week! #weeklyrequirement


  35. #
    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — April 26, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

    I’ve recently become a sandwich person too … I would love this!


  36. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — April 27, 2013 @ 9:16 am

    Now that is a gorgeous sandwich! I’ve always been a sandwich person :) this is something I need to make!


  37. #
    Nicole — April 27, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    This looks delicious and I’m totally with you on my obsession with It’s Complicated. I also have the sound track, I just love the music. Not to mention it has some of my favorite actors. How can you go wrong with a Steve Martin movie? I’m currently obsessed with him in A Big Year.
    I think this weekend I must try this croque madame and I think I also need a chocolate croissant.


  38. #
    Joanna — April 27, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

    Love this! However- if you want to make it even better and breakfast- I’ve made a similar version with a french toast for my bread. Definitely makes it a knife and fork sandwich, which this already really is, but sooooo good with the sweet and salty and cheese and runny yolk and crispy ham, YUMMO.


  39. #
    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — April 27, 2013 @ 6:44 pm

    I am so in love with this sandwich. Throw a fried egg on just about anything, and I’m there. And seeing as how my husband ate a cheeseburger at the farmer’s market for breakfast this morning, I think I’m going to need to make breakfast for dinner real soon. Just to even things out.


  40. #
    Lizzy — April 29, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

    I’m so relieved to know I’m not the only 30 year old with an obsession with the move “It’s Complicated.” That is definitely the only movie I have recorded and saved on my DVR.

    I see this sandwich and that movie in my very near future!


  41. #
    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — April 30, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    Uh, you’re turning ME into a sandwich person. I married a sandwich person, and posts like this make me feel like I really need to get my sandwich on more often. Ah-MAZING.


  42. #
    carey — April 30, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

    Yes, breakfast-for-dinner IS the best!


  43. #
    Ambar — April 30, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

    I have been totally into sandwiches lately! glad I’m not the only one:)


  44. #
    Natalie @ In Natalie's Shoes — May 1, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    It’s Complicated is a fabulous movie. Breakfast for dinner is a MUST. Hello pancakes and scrambled eggs with b-b-b-bacon?! Heaven.

    I cannot wait to stuff my face with this recipe. My bikini hates you though.


  45. #
    Sarah O. — May 3, 2013 @ 11:41 am

    My man doesn’t like breakfast for dinner either! It blows my mind, since if I could eat nothing but pancakes ever again, I would do it with no remorse.


  46. #
    Nicole — May 7, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    I love putting chips in sandwiches! I was actually photographed with a picture of a chip-wich by the Austin-American Statesman once for a story on weird guilty pleasures: http://galleries.austin360.com/gallery/guilty-pleasures-020812/#376479


  47. #
    Valentina (Many Kitchens) — May 7, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

    Slightly obsessed with the croque Monsieur at Buvette in NYC if you ever get a chance. Now I can make my own! Thank you!


  48. #
    jeff — July 2, 2013 @ 12:56 am

    ha! just found this recipe tonight and am in love with it. i’m in the same boat with you – i can’t even tell you how many times i’ve watched that movie (and this coming from a guy!). my partner has no idea why i watch it so much, but glad there is someone else out there that loves that movie as much as i do :)


  49. #
    Michelle — August 1, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

    This is the ultimate breakfast sandwich, soooo rich and filling. Delicious!



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