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Mini Croque Monsieur

October 24, 2020 (Last Updated: November 3, 2020)

This delightful mini croque monsieur recipe is a perfectly easy, perfectly elegant and exquisitely delicious breakfast or brunch idea that will impress any guest! With ham, crispy gruyere and each slice of baguette coated in dreamy béchamel sauce, you’ll be amazed just how tasty a little sandwich can be!

This petite version of the more traditionally substantial croque monsieur is nicely bite-sized, takes just 10 minutes to bake, and can easily be reheated for later!

6 mini croque monsieur with a small ham rose garnishes and parsley on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by flowers.

The croque monsieur first made its appearance on café menus in Paris around 1910 as a quick snack, and was first noted in Proust’s In Search of Lost time in 1918.

To those unfamiliar with the croque monsieur, it may appear to be a simple ham and cheese sandwich. But little do they know, this cheesy delight is smothered in béchamel sauce; a savory white sauce that adds a hint of nutmeg and dijon.

A mini croque monsieur with a small ham rose garnish and parsley on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by others.

I love making these for brunch parties, but also for Sunday brunch with my husband. One big one tends to fill me up, but 2 tiny ones are absolutely perfect!

For a perfectly precious brunch buffet spread, I would serve these lovely croque messieurs with these prosciutto and melon appetizers, some beautifully garnished deviled eggs and a sparkling brunch cocktail like this pear and ginger cocktail or pink grapefruit and cucumber cocktail!

A whisk in a sauce pan full of creamy béchamel sauce.

Here’s the Process!

  1. First, we’ll make the pretty ham roses (optional)
  2. Next, we’ll make béchamel sauce
  3. Then, we’ll coat slices of baguette with the sauce
  4. Finally, we’ll top the bread with gruyere and ham, then bake.

A Few Tips!

1. You can make the béchamel sauce ahead of time.

Béchamel sauce is a simple combination of butter, flour, milk, dijon mustard and a few spices. It only takes about 10 minutes to make, but if you want to get your croque messieurs done in a jiffy, you can make this sauce a whole day ahead of time. Just be sure to store it in a sealed container. When ready to use, you may want to heat it in a sauce pan to bring it back to a more spreadable consistency.

2. Make sure the tops don’t slip!

On the last step, when you move your baking pan from the lower rack to the top rack, and turn up the heat, the ham tends to expand and the cheese melts rapidly, so the tops may slip right off. Simply watch carefully through the oven glass when doing this step to make sure the tops stay secure.

3. If gruyere is too expensive…

I don’t know about your grocery store, but just 6 ounces of gruyere can run about $8-$11 in Brooklyn. If that’s a bit too pricey, you can substitute gruyere with an emmental cheese which is a kind of (less expensive) Swiss. It’s a similarly hard cheese with a sweet, salty, earthy, complex flavor like gruyere that melts just as well.

Common Questions:

1. What is the difference between a croque monsieur and a croque madame?

A croque madame is simply a croque monsieur with a sunnyside-up or poached egg on top. Some say it’s a “madame” because the sunnyside-up egg looks like a lady’s hat. There is also a less common “croque mademoiselle” that’s a vegetarian version of a croque monsieur with chives and cucumber.

2. What does “croque” mean?

The word “croque” comes from the verb “croquer” which means “to crunch.” Monsieur means “mister,” so the literal meaning is “crunchy mister.”

3. Can croque monsieur be re-heated for later?

Yes! You can refrigerate croque monsieur for at least 5 days in a sealed container and then simply reheat in a 350 F. (175 C.) oven for 10 minutes and serve.

4. What do I need to make mini croque messieurs?

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Sauce pan
  • Whisk
  • Foil or parchment-lined baking sheet

How to Make Mini Croque Monsieur – Step by Step

1. Make Ham Roses

If you intend to top them with pretty ham roses, make those first so you can pop them on top as soon as croque monsieurs are done.

A collage of 4 numbered images showing how to make ham roses.

  1. Slice 1 piece of ham into ½ inch slices.
  2. Slice 1 piece of ham into ¼ inch slices.
  3. Carefully roll the ½ inch slices into a rose, then roll the ¼ inch slices around the other.
  4. Place roses in a container and refrigerate until croque messieurs are finished and ready to serve.

2. Make Béchamel Sauce

A collage of 4 numbered images showing how to make béchamel sauce.

  1. Over LOW-MEDIUM heat, add 2 tbsp. unsalted butter to a sauce pan and melt.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. flour and whisk into the butter.
  3. Add 6 oz. (170 mL) whole milk to the pan and whisk, making sure flour and butter are perfectly mixed. Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens. This takes about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Once sauce has thickened, remove from heat. Add 2 tsp. dijon mustard, a nice sprinkle of nutmeg, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper. Set aside.

3. Assemble and Bake Croque Messieurs

A collage of 4 numbered images showing how to slice bread, smear with sauce, slice ham and place on bread.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. (220 C.). Slice a baguette into 12 slices, a little over ½ an inch.
  2. On a foil or parchment-lined baking pan, lay baguette slices down and liberally coat each piece with béchamel sauce.
  3. For perfectly-sized ham for your bread, fold a slice in half and use a piece of baguette to cut around. Repeat with 6 more slices.
  4. Place the ham you cut, and the extra pieces of each slice on top of 6 slices of bread.

A collage of 4 numbered images showing how to slice cheese, and assemble croque monsieur on a baking sheet.

  1. Thinly slice 4 oz. gruyere (113 mL) into ¼ inch slices.
  2. Place 2 slices of cheese on top of ham.
  3. Place the tops, béchamel side down, on the ham and cheese, then coat each top with one more thin layer of béchamel sauce.
  4. Add a few more pieces of cheese on top. Place baking sheet on the BOTTOM RACK, and bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove pan and place on TOP RACK. Increase temperature to 450 F. (230 C.). Allow cheese to bubble and brown on top for 2-3 minutes. Remove, place ham roses and parsley leaves on top and serve.

A mini croque monsieur with a small ham rose garnish and parsley on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by others.

I hope you love this mini croque monsieur recipe as much as I do!

Now help yourself to more rosy inspiration!

And for more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!

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6 mini croque monsieur with a small ham rose garnishes and parsley on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by flowers.
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5 from 1 vote

Mini Croque Monsieur

This delightful mini croque monsieur recipe is a perfectly easy, perfectly elegant and exquisitely delicious breakfast idea that will impress any guest!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: French
Keyword: mini croque monsieur
Servings: 6 croque monsieur
Calories: 297kcal

Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • sauce pan
  • whisk
  • Foil or parchment-lined baking sheet

Ingredients

For Ham Roses - Optional

  • 2 slices french ham - or smoked ham
  • 6 parsley leaves - for garnish

For Béchamel Sauce

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 6 oz. whole milk
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • nutmeg - a nice sprinkle
  • salt  - a nice sprinkle
  • pepper - a nice sprinkle

For Croque Monsieur

  • ½ baguette - 12 ½ inch slices
  • 6 slices french ham - or smoked ham
  • 4 oz. gruyere cheese - or emmental cheese

Instructions

For Ham Roses - Optional

  • Slice 1 piece of ham into ½ inch slices. Slice 1 piece of ham into ¼ inch slices. Carefully roll the ½ inch slices into a rose, then roll the ¼ inch slices around the other. Place roses in a container and refrigerate until croque messieurs are finished and ready to serve.

For Béchamel Sauce

  • Over LOW-MEDIUM heat, add 2 tbsp. unsalted butter to a sauce pan and melt.  Add 2 tbsp. flour and whisk into the butter. Add 6 oz. (170 mL) whole milk to the pan and whisk, making sure flour and butter are perfectly mixed. Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens. This takes about 3-5 minutes. Once sauce has thickened, remove from heat. Add 2 tsp. dijon mustard, a nice sprinkle of nutmeg, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper. Set aside.

For Croque Messieurs

  • Pre-heat oven to 425 F. (220 C.). Slice a baguette into 12 slices, a little over ½ an inch. On a foil or parchment-lined baking pan, lay baguette slices down and liberally coat each piece with béchamel sauce.
  • For perfectly-sized ham for your bread, fold a slice in half and use a piece of baguette to cut around. Repeat with 6 more slices. Place the ham you cut, and the extra pieces of each slice on top of 6 slices of bread.
  • Thinly slice 4 oz. gruyere (113 mL) into ¼ inch slices. Place 2 slices of cheese on top of ham. Place the tops, béchamel side down, on the ham and cheese, then coat each top with one more thin layer of béchamel sauce.
  • Add a few more pieces of cheese on top. Place baking sheet on the BOTTOM RACK, and bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove pan and place on TOP RACK. Increase temperature to 450 F. (230 C.). Allow cheese to bubble and brown on top for 2-3 minutes. Remove, place ham roses and parsley leaves on top and serve.

Notes

Make sure the tops don’t slip.
On the last step, when you move your baking pan from the lower rack to the top rack, and turn up the heat, the ham tends to expand and the cheese melts rapidly, so the tops may slip right off. Simply watch carefully through the oven glass when doing this step to make sure the tops stay secure.
To reheat croque monsieur:
Reheat in a 350 F. (175 C.) oven for 10 minutes and serve.
Nutrition facts are an estimate.

Nutrition

Serving: 1croque monsieur | Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 666mg | Potassium: 182mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 432IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 241mg | Iron: 1mg

 

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