If you can’t be in France you can still enjoy Mini Croque Monsieur appetizers. An easy French inspired appetizer with puff pastry and a béchamel sauce. Your guests will love this take on a French classic.
Try making these scrumptious French appetizers for your next brunch, cocktail party or Derby party. Made with puff pastry, and an easy béchamel sauce, they’ll be your new favorite go-to appetizer.
Mini croque monsieur appetizers are inspired by an all time favorite French dish, a Croque Monsieur. It’s basically an open faced ham and cheese sandwich topped with a cheesy béchamel sauce and then placed under the broiler.
Go with a French theme at your next get together and serve these along with French onion crostini and grab some escargot from the market. While it may not be what the French would serve for appetizers, it will remind you of why we love French food!
The only problem with a true croque monsieur recipe is that there’s a lot of bread and it’s smothered in a cheesy béchamel sauce, maybe not the healthiest of lunches but worth every calorie!
If you’re in France and don’t know what to order, you can never go wrong with a croque monsieur, it’s almost always on the menu. While wonderful, it can be a little heavy and requires a knife and fork. These French appetizers, on the other hand, capture the essence but in miniature form.
They are one of my most requested appetizer recipes from my friends, next to sausage balls, and one that I serve over and over again. You can make these French inspired hors d’ hoeuvres in advance and then pop them in the oven before everyone arrives.
They smell so delicious it’s hard to wait for them to cool. They are trés bon while hot, but just as good once they’re at room temperature. No utensils necessary, the perfect finger food appetizer.
If you’re going to serve this at a party, get some helpful tips along with 25 delicious game day appetizer recipes to choose from.
Why Mini Croque Monsieurs are the PERFECT appetizer
- Easy to prepare
- Can be made ahead of time
- Can be eaten with your fingers, no utensils needed
- They are good warm and at room temperature
- All your guests will love them and want the recipe
Ingredients you’ll need to make croque monsieur appetizers
- Puff pastry – I only use a brand that has butter in the ingredients like Dufour or Trader Joe’s. Brands without butter will still work for the recipe, you just miss out on that buttery pastry.
- Ham – any type of cooked ham will work. If you don’t have leftovers, get a few slices from the deli.
- Gruyere cheese – It just doesn’t taste like a real croque monsieur without gruyere. However, that being said, you can use other hard cheeses like parmesan or your favorite.
- Mustard– I prefer a whole grain dijon
- Pantry items – flour, butter, milk and an egg.
Which brand of puff pastry should you use
There are three brands of puff pastry in my area, Pepperidge Farms, Dufour and Trader Joe’s. The difference between them is butter. Dufour and Trader Joe’s use butter and Pepperidge Farms uses shortening. I prefer Dufour any time I can get it, you can really tell the difference, but you will pay for that difference. Trader Joe’s is almost as good and great on your budget but is only available from October through December.
I’ve used Pepperidge Farms many times and it works for this recipe. If it’s available and within your budget, I would recommend using Dufour or Trader Joe’s for a more flaky and buttery texture.
Is it hard to make a béchamel sauce
Absolutely not, and it’s so handy to know how to make one. I use it in my Lasagna, Macaroni and Cheese, Hot Browns and many other recipes. It’s the same technique as you would use to make a roux for Crawfish Etoufee.
You start by heating butter and add flour letting it cook until the flour is hot. Next you slowly add milk or if making a roux, some type of broth. It starts out very thick but as you gradually add the liquid it thins out. It needs to cook slowly until it thickens to just the right consistency.
How do you make the best party appetizers
As fancy as these sound, they’re very simple to make and can be prepared in advance.
Step 1: make the sauce
Start by making the béchamel sauce so that it can cool a little. Melt butter, add flour and then slowly add milk cooking until it has thickened. Then add a little mustard and salt and pepper.
Step 2: assemble
Roll out the puff pastry and cut it into into rounds, then top with the béchamel sauce. Sprinkle the top with chopped ham and gruyere.
Make sure you chop the ham into small pieces so that they’re easier to eat. Once assembled, you can refrigerate until ready to bake.
I made these the first time on a night when the girls had gone to a concert and got home rather late with a friend. I figured they might be hungry and want a late night snack. When I got up the next morning there were only a couple left which they quickly ate for breakfast. I would have heated them a bit, but they swear they were perfect at room temperature.
I’ve made these so many times, they are my go-to appetizer when friends are coming over.
How to store French starters
Prior to baking, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 1-2 days. If you have any left over, they can stay at room temperature for 1-2 days. After that refrigerate or freeze them. To reheat, place in the oven for 5 minutes at 350º.
Croque monsieur FAQs
It’s basically a ham and cheese sandwich smothered in a mustard béchamel sauce and cheese, YUM!
The man difference is the amount of butter. Pepperidge farm has no butter, so it’s a great choice if you are vegan. Dufour and Trader Joe’s puff pastry is mostly butter.
While best warm, they are still fabulous at room temperature making them the perfect party appetizer.
They are great re-heated, just place in the oven for a few minutes.
You can assemble these and then wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake. These are best served right out of the oven.
Need some more ideas for easy finger food appetizer recipes
- Pinwheels with Spinach and Prosciutto for a savory treat.
- For a quick and easy appetizer, try Mushroom in pastry.
- Make some Cheese Crackers weeks in advance.
- Try something a little sweet and savory with Sweet and spicy Dates.
- Cheddar sausage balls are always a hit
- Puff pastry with caramelized onions for more French inspired finger food
- Messy but delicious Buffalo chicken wings
- Roasted nuts can’t be beat
- Awesome bite sized potato skins
- Thumbprint cookies with tomato jam
- French onion soup inspired crostini
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More Favorites from Butter & Baggage
Mini Croque Monsieur
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 ½ tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- 1 sheet puff pastry 14 oz
- ½ cup ham diced
- 1 cup gruyere shredded
- 1 egg lightly beaten with water
- Preheat oven to 425º. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, add flour and stir constantly for about three minutes, until smooth. Slowly add milk while whisking for about 5 minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat and add mustard. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Roll out pastry slightly into a 13 X 15 rectangle and cut into rounds with a 2 inch biscuit cutter. Use a smaller cutter to make a circle inside each round without cutting all the way through. Poke the center with a fork.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the edges of the rounds with an egg lightly beaten with a tablespoon of water.
- Top each round with about ½ teaspoon of the béchamel, some chopped ham and shredded cheese. (You will have some bechamel left over. Sprinkle pepper on top.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and puffy.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Try using Dufour puff pastry if you can find it.
- You can assemble and refrigerate before baking.
- You can make them vegetarian by leaving off the ham.
- If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, use a knife to cut around a small glass.
- These can be served warm or at room temperature.