Savory Dutch Baby (Croque Monsieur)

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
July 3, 2023 | Updated on April 10, 2024

This savory Dutch baby is a fluffy, buttery baked pancake topped with a decadent bechamel sauce and salty, thinly sliced ham. Whether you serve it for brunch, lunch, or dinner, this cheesy, eggy, herby dish is definitely going to be a hit!

This dutch baby recipe is inspired by my Croque Monsieur recipe–check it out! If you are looking for more dutch baby recipes, check out Strawberry Dutch Baby Recipe, Apple Dutch Baby next!

savory dutch baby with ham and bechamel sauce in a skillet

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Brunch is never boring when I make a savory Dutch baby. Everything– its name, appearance, and taste, makes it the centerpiece of any meal. Each forkful is rich and flavorful; fresh herbs, a drool-worthy cheese sauce, and a generous amount of Virginia ham make this dish downright irresistible!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy – Simply combine the ingredients in a blender, add them to a hot skillet, and bake! The sauce is also super easy to make.
  • So Versatile – Enjoy a savory or sweet Dutch baby. This dish is easy to customize with whatever toppings you’d like!
  • Great Anytime Meal – It’s a great way to start the day but hearty enough for dinner so enjoy it morning, noon, or night.
savory dutch baby with ham and bechamel sauce

What is a Dutch baby?

A Dutch baby is a large, German-style pancake baked in a hot cast iron skillet. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating one, it’s like a cross between a pancake, popover, crepe, and Yorkshire pudding. Traditionally, it is served with sweet toppings.

savory dutch baby with ham and bechamel sauce in a skillet

Tools You’ll Need

Ingredients You Will Need for a Savory Dutch Baby

It’s hard to believe that something so impressive and indulgent can be made with pantry staples.

Bechamel

  • Whole milk: This enriches the sauce, making it velvety smooth and creamy.
  • Fresh thyme: This is a great infusion of earthy, minty flavor.
  • Garlic: Add this for a savory, garlicky taste.
  • Unsalted butter: This is an essential ingredient for any roux.
  • All-purpose flour: This is yet another essential ingredient.
  • Nutmeg: Add freshly grated nutmeg for depth of flavor.
  • Dijon mustard: This adds a spiced, zesty flavor.
  • Gruyère: Add grated cheese for a deliciously nutty flavor.
  • Seasoning: I use freshly grated nutmeg, Diamond Crystal kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.

Savory Dutch Baby

  • All-purpose flour: This key ingredient makes up the basic structure of the pancakes.
  • Whole milk: Ensure it is at room temperature.
  • Large eggs: Ensure it is at room temperature.
  • Dijon mustard: This adds a spiced, zesty flavor.
  • Seasoning: I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Fresh herbs: I add chopped chives and thyme for a fresh herby flavor.
  • Unsalted butter: Use unsalted in order to control the sodium.
  • Cheese: Use freshly grated gruyère and parmesan cheese.
  • Virginia ham: Slice it thinly.

How To Make a Savory Dutch Baby

This recipe is easy but involves some multitasking. Prepare the bechamel sauce before baking the Dutch baby. And while it bakes, prepare your topping (in this case, the ham).

Make Bechamel

  1. Place milk, thyme, and smashed garlic in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until milk mixture is warm through. Do not allow to bubble or come to a boil. Simmer on low for 15 minutes to infuse milk thyme and garlic flavor. Remove and discard thyme and garlic just before adding to the four butter mixture. Set aside.
  2. In a separate saucepan over medium heat, add butter and flour, whisking until evenly mixed. Cook for 3 minutes and take care to not let the mixture brown.
  3. Gradually add the warm milk and whisk until smooth. Repeat until milk is fully incorporated in the bechamel. Keep a consistent stir for 3 minutes then add nutmeg, salt, dijon, and pepper. Cook for another two minutes, then stir in gruyere, whisking until the cheese fully dissolves. Set bechamel aside and preheat oven to 425°F.
three step process of how to make bechamel sauce

Savory Dutch Baby

  1. Combine flour, eggs, milk, dijon, salt, and pepper in bowl and use an immersion blender to mix until well combined. Add chives and thyme and whisk with a fork until combined.
  2. Heat 10″ cast iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Lower heat to low and add butter. Once melted, add batter to the skillet then top with gruyère and parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pancake is golden brown and perfectly puffed.
  3. While the Dutch baby is baking, warm up the ham on a skillet until warmed through. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
  4. Remove the pancake from the oven and top with ham and desired amount of bechamel sauce. Enjoy!
wet savory dutch baby in a skillet
cooked dutch baby in a cast iron skillet.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Savory Dutch Baby Recipe

  • It’s best to blend the Dutch baby mixture. This adds air to the eggy batter which results in a light, airy texture once it is baked.
  • Use room temperature eggs and milk for the best results. If the ingredients are cold, the pancakes won’t rise.
  • Remember to preheat the skillet before adding butter and the pancake mixture. This is a crucial step if you want the Dutch baby to properly puff up. A scalding hot skillet also leads to buttery, crispy edges.
  • Do not open the oven while it cooks or it will deflate.
  • This is best enjoyed fresh out of the oven.
two slices of ham cooked in a cast iron skillet

Variations

  • Sweet Dutch Baby – Make it without the sauce and instead add powdered sugar, sliced fruit, and syrup when it’s cooked.
  • More Savory Dutch Baby Toppings – If you’re not adding the bechamel sauce, try adding gravy instead. Also consider adding bacon, smoked salmon, prosciutto, arugula, or mushrooms. For cheese, I suggest burrata or parmesan.
  • Vegetarian Savory Dutch Baby – simply omit the ham in order to make this a meatless meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called a Dutch baby?

Ironically, a Dutch baby is not from the Netherlands but rather Germany. The name derived from an American restauranteur’s daughter mispronunciation of the term “Deutsch” (the German word for German) as “Dutch.”

Why did my Dutch baby fall?

If your Dutch baby does not rise, a few factors may be the culprit. The ingredients were too cold, the mixture wasn’t mixed well (either too much or too little), the pan wasn’t hot enough, or you needed more butter.

Are German pancakes and Dutch babies the same?

Yes. A Dutch baby is just another name for a German pancake.

savory dutch baby with ham and bechamel sauce in a skillet

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savory dutch baby with ham and bechamel sauce in a skillet

Savory Dutch Baby (Croque Monsieur)

5 from 1 vote
This savory Dutch baby is a fluffy, buttery baked pancake topped with a decadent bechamel sauce and salty, thinly sliced ham. Whether you serve it for brunch, lunch, or dinner, this cheesy, eggy, herby dish is definitely going to be a hit!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 3 people
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American, French

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Immersion Blender or Whisk

Ingredients

Bechamel

  • cups whole milk
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • pinch nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup gruyère, grated
  • teaspoon kosher salt, Diamond Crystal, or to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Savory Dutch Baby

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole milk, room temp
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons gruyère, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan, freshly grated
  • 5 ounces Virginia ham, thinly sliced

Instructions

Make Bechamel

  • Place milk, thyme, and smashed garlic in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until milk mixture is warm through. Do not allow to bubble or come to a boil. Simmer on low for 15 minutes to infuse milk thyme and garlic flavor. Remove and discard thyme and garlic just before adding to the four butter mixture. Set aside.
  • In a separate saucepan over medium heat, add butter and flour, whisking until evenly mixed. Cook for 3 minutes and take care to not let the mixture brown.
  • Gradually add the warm milk and whisk until smooth. Repeat until milk is fully incorporated in the bechamel. Keep a consistent stir for 3 minutes then add nutmeg, salt, dijon, and pepper. Cook for another two minutes, then stir in gruyere, whisking until the cheese fully dissolves. Set bechamel aside and preheat oven to 425°F.

Savory Dutch Baby

  • Combine flour, eggs, milk, dijon, salt and pepper in bowl and use an immersion blender to mix until well combined. Add chives and thyme and whisk with a fork until combined.
  • Heat 10" cast iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Lower heat to low and add butter. Once melted, add batter to the skillet then top with gruyère and parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pancake is golden brown and perfectly puffed.
  • Meanwhile while dutch baby is baking, warm up ham on a skillet until warmed through. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
  • Remove the pancake from the oven and top with ham and desired amount of bechamel sauce. Enjoy!
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savory dutch baby with ham and bechamel sauce in a skillet

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1 Comment

  1. Heather says...

    5 stars
    I never leave comments and don’t usually make recipes with no reviews but I’m so glad I made this, it was unbelievably delicious comfort food. I only had a 5-6 inch cast iron pan so ended up making two Dutch babies, one for lunch and the other for dinner that I split with my , it was so good. I f followed the recipe pretty much exactly, the only thing I would do differently next time is make the Dutch baby first and then make the béchamel while the Dutch baby is in the oven to save time . I would definitely recommend making this resort

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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