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. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — April 25, 2013 @ 6:56 am

    i am such a sandwich person and I have been on the egg band wagon lately! Your sandwich looks down right incredible!! I don’t have time to make your sandwich this morning, but you inspired me to make egg sandwich for breakfast! Yum!! Loving your pictures!!!

    P.S. It’s Complicated is one of the best movies ever!!! I loved when she took Steve to her shop and made croissants!


  2. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 25, 2013 @ 7:08 am

    There you are with your perfect eggs! Gorgeous photography!


  3. #
    Abby — April 25, 2013 @ 7:20 am

    Gahh, best type of sandwich ever! Can’t wait to make this. And, chips on a sandwich? Duh. It’s the only way to eat hoagies!


  4. #
    Tasha @ ThatsSoYummy — April 25, 2013 @ 7:21 am

    This looks amazing drool worthy photos!


  5. #
    Vicky @ Recipe Adaptors — April 25, 2013 @ 7:21 am

    YUM! :-)

    That’s really all I can say!


  6. #
    Liz — April 25, 2013 @ 7:24 am

    My husband is a firefighter and works 24-hour shifts so the days he works me & my daughter sometimes have “breakfast for dinner” and when he asks what I made for dinner and I tell him, he totally has the same reaction! I HAS to be a man thing! lol


  7. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — April 25, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    LOL so many awesome things to comment on here! Firstly, did you notice that the title of your post rhymes? And second, all of your comments on It’s Complicated, having a bakery, and creepy but sexy older guys – I totally agree!!! LOVE that movie. As a kid, I was allll about the grilled cheese sandwich and I enjoyed mine plain, as in just cheese, obviously toasted, with gobs of ketchup. And breakfast for dinner – totally the meal of choice when my dad was away on business trips and my mum was in charge of dinner!


  8. #
    Tracy | Peanut Butter And Onion — April 25, 2013 @ 7:27 am

    I totally agree about that movie!! I want her garden.. I love the paths between each garden box…. where does she live , cause I’m moving there!!!!


  9. #
    Tracy — April 25, 2013 @ 7:42 am

    I love breakfast for dinner! We even call it BFD for short, but we’re weird like that. We also have the rare, but fun, FFY dinner…Fend For Yourself which means dinner can be anything at all as long as you cook/assemble/open container yourself :)
    This looks yummy!


    • Katriel — April 25th, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

      Love the “FFY” meal! Any time mom was out of town for any reason, he’d let us know we’d be fending for ourselves. Or he’d make a big pot of oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins in it for the kiddos who couldn’t quite fend for themselves.


  10. #
    Tieghan — April 25, 2013 @ 7:56 am

    I am with you. Eggs make everything better. This sandwich is the bomb! so crazy awesome. wow. cant even!


  11. #
    Amanda — April 25, 2013 @ 7:59 am

    All I have to say is: GET IN MAH BELLY!!!!!!


  12. #
    Jessica — April 25, 2013 @ 7:59 am

    My fiance will not eat breakfast for dinner, and it drives me crazy! I just don’t understand why. So when he’s not home, I usually make myself eggs. :-)


  13. #
    Simply Life — April 25, 2013 @ 8:09 am

    ugh, I would LOVE to eat this sandwich right now!


  14. #
    Nicole @ Curly Mommy — April 25, 2013 @ 8:10 am

    Omg, you haven’t mentioned that movie in awhile, and I sort of ummm, look forward to your obsessing over it because I obsess over it (AND we’re the same age, so I get it) I just want to jump into the tv and live in that beautiful house and eat chocolate croissants aaaaaall day. Oh, and your sandwich looks freaking ridiculous.


  15. #
    Jenny — April 25, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    Thank you thank you for sharing this recipe!! I always trust recipes you post, and now I’m definitely going to make these soon! And I always think of that scene in It’s Complicated too!! Such a fantastically made movie, really makes me want to live Meryl Streep’s character’s life.


  16. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — April 25, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    Stunning photographs…drooling!


    • Jessica — April 25th, 2013 @ 11:01 am



  17. #
    CHRISTOPHER — April 25, 2013 @ 8:28 am

    These look incredible. And I am a man and I love Brinner (Breakfast for Dinner)


  18. #
    Karla — April 25, 2013 @ 8:41 am

    Oh. My. Word. Pick me up off the floor. We’re having this tonight!


  19. #
    Elinor — April 25, 2013 @ 8:49 am

    OMG my man friend hates breakfast for dinner and it drives me NUTS!!! i used to do it all the time as a single gal. no more :(


  20. #
    Beth — April 25, 2013 @ 8:50 am

    I’m so glad to hear you say that it’s a common guy thing to not like breakfast for dinner. I was starting to think there was something seriously wrong with my husband. I feel like I should have asked him about it before we got married, like, right along with how many kids he wanted.


  21. #
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — April 25, 2013 @ 8:53 am

    I think a runny egg makes anything instantly great. I often kick this up a notch with Capicola and crust the outside bread (brochie) with parmesan. This looks too good to share.


  22. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — April 25, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    The first time I saw It’s Complicated I so didn’t really love it, but then it was on TV a few weeks ago and I recorded it and watched it 7 times in 3 days. The soundtrack alone! And that bakery? Forget owning it, I’d just love to bake there. YUM!


  23. #
    Louise — April 25, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    This looks absolutely delicious! I need this on Sunday for brunch…


  24. #
    Rayna — April 25, 2013 @ 9:05 am

    Cheese and bread and eggs. And breakfast. How can it get better?


  25. #
    amyt — April 25, 2013 @ 9:12 am

    I have to say – I’ve always like to put sour cream and onion chips on my sandwiches – THE BEST! There is just something about “It’s Complicated” it sucks me right in….all her food – I just want it. As for the breakfast for dinner – my hubby actually loves it :-) and I’m glad!!!!


  26. #
    erin @hooleywithaz — April 25, 2013 @ 9:17 am

    our panini maker is my favorite appliance. that is to say, i am definitely a sandwich person. especially breakfast sandwiches.


  27. #
    Faith — April 25, 2013 @ 9:17 am

    That sandwich sounds amazing- and I don’t even like ham! I don’t think ALL men hate breakfast for dinner, because growing up it was always my dad’s idea, and my boyfriend loves it.


  28. #
    LisaG — April 25, 2013 @ 9:20 am

    Good gawd I could devour that sandwich. I love when Adam Sandler makes the sandwich in Spanglish movie. Makes you have to have it.


  29. #
    Hilary — April 25, 2013 @ 9:21 am

    Glad to know I’m not the only one with a weird love for that movie!


  30. #
    Ashley — April 25, 2013 @ 9:22 am

    Totally enjoyed all the commentary in this post. :) My dad does breakfast for dinner but Chris does NOT. He will take an egg on a veggie burger, though. I love that the egg is on top here with cheese underneath. Like a double stacked open-faced sandwich. Hope you get the bakery/cafe someday…hahaa


  31. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — April 25, 2013 @ 9:24 am

    I desperately want that bakery too!!!! It is my favorite scene in the entire movie–when they make croissants at like 1 am, because yeah, that’s realistic (NOT). I have am opening iTunes so I can check out the soundtrack…because I forget what it was like.

    Where did you get those gorgeous blue pottery plates?


    • Jessica — April 25th, 2013 @ 11:03 am



  32. #
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — April 25, 2013 @ 9:29 am

    I LOVE It’s Complicated to the point where I thought I was the only creep who had seen it 758 times… good to know I’m not alone! Also, I’ve always wondered (but have been to lazy to Google) what the Croque Madame was, so thanks for solving that mystery! lol.


  33. #
    Chantel — April 25, 2013 @ 9:32 am

    yum!! I love anything with an egg on top; its kind of a sickness. If I see a dish with an egg on top on a restaurant menu, it’s mine, the other ingredients do not matter. haha, so excited to try this one out!!


  34. #
    Sarah McBride — April 25, 2013 @ 9:32 am

    I love sandwiches and your photos made that look completely irresistible! Thanks!


  35. #
    Arthur in the Garden! — April 25, 2013 @ 9:33 am



  36. #
    A Bowl Of Mush — April 25, 2013 @ 9:50 am

    I loooove Croque Madams! And Croque Monsieurs! I think I’m turning into a sandwich person too…I have recently been obsessing over mozzarella, tomato and pesto toasties…

    If you like the movie It’s complicated, you will for sure like the movie Something’s Gotta Give!


    • Jessica — April 25th, 2013 @ 11:00 am

      i do like that movie!


  37. #
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — April 25, 2013 @ 9:53 am

    So when are you going to open a restaurant?!


  38. #
    Pippa@popovertopippas — April 25, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    I too want to own the bakery/cafe in It’s Complicated, but I agree with you.. it sounds like so much work! Your Croque Madame looks delicious.


  39. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — April 25, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    I’m dying right now.


  40. #
    Kate — April 25, 2013 @ 10:01 am

    That looks amazing and makes me hate the stupid turkey sandwich I brought for lunch.


  41. #
    Holiday Baker Man — April 25, 2013 @ 10:15 am

    Waking up here…bleary eyed….stomach grumbling and now this! Awesome!


  42. #
    Kristin — April 25, 2013 @ 10:18 am

    Seriously – like so many others on here, breakfast for dinner is ALWAYS met with “meh” in my house. It’s what my kids request when my husband works late. Why is that?!? Seriously the best dinners ever!


  43. #
    Amanda — April 25, 2013 @ 10:18 am

    My mom used to make breakfast for dinner when my dad worked late too! He is retired now and gets annoyed when my mom makes it now. He just goes and orders take out…but we dont really care. I dont think all men are like this. My fiance could eat breakfast any time of the day..one of the many reasons I love him.


  44. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — April 25, 2013 @ 10:24 am

    That is one amazing sandwich!!! Oh and we LOVE breakfast for dinner (husband included!) YUM!!!


  45. #
    Candice — April 25, 2013 @ 10:41 am

    “It’s Complicated” is movie crack. If it’s on, I have to watch it. No choice. I also want her bakery, but b/c it looks like she doesn’t have to work hard for it. She’s so breezy at work. And I want her big house all to myself.


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

      that’s exactly right! she makes it look so easy.


  46. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — April 25, 2013 @ 10:45 am

    Mm everything about this is good!


  47. #
    Anne — April 25, 2013 @ 10:45 am

    Um, I knew we were secretly invisible internet best friends.
    I LOVE “ITS COMPLICATED” – SERIOUSLY LOVE IT. I agree with you on all points….particularly as its a movie divorced 50 years and….I’m not. But stlil. LOVE IT.
    I actually love how “pretty” everything in the movie is; from the clothes to the furnishings to the kids.

    I also adore putting an egg on anything…and had one of the best croque madame of my life at Bouchon bakery. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

    Eggs 4-eva,
    Anne (your invisible internet best friend)


  48. #
    Jessica — April 25, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    Speaking of Steve Martin…I hope you’ve seen the movie Shopgirl (and/or read the book by Steve Martin). If not, get ready to fall deeper into your old dude crush with him!


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

      no… i’m a bad crusher. i must.


  49. #
    Shannnon — April 25, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Oh.My.Heavens. This looks amazing. And my husband hates breakfast for dinner too! What the heck is wrong with these men??!!!


  50. #
    Cate — April 25, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    Anything that starts with a roux and ends with adding cheese is #1 in my book!



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