Jambon Beurre: The French Sandwich (Recipe)

Get the recipe for the classic jambon beurre sandwich from France. From the types of ham, bread, butter, accompaniments, drinks and more.
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This Recipe includes

baguette Baguette
ham Ham
butter Salted Butter
spinach (Optional) Salad mache or baby spinach
avocado (Optional) Avocado

Why we love it

The Jambon beurre is not not a sophisticated dish, but it is a perfect example of a simple, rustic French dish that never fails to please. Before the American burger came to France, it was the jambon beurre that reigned supreme. A simple sandwich it was meant as an easy lunch, to be put together quickly and eaten on the go.

Unlike the traditional Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame sandwiches may need a bit more finesse to prepare, but the Jambon beurre sandwich is easy enough to be prepared by anyone, even a child. Jambon means “ham”, and beurre means “butter” and that is literally all it was.

The Jambon beurre has lost a bit of its allure in recent years due to the rise of the burger, and also because most French workers gained employee rights of access to a subsidized canteen. Nonetheless, it still remains quite popular, with original variations of the traditional recipe showing up in more upscale brasseries and cafés across France.

Types of Ham

There are several types of charcuterie hams that you can pick for your jambon beurre sandwich. All the hams are usually pre-cooked, salted or smoked.

Types of meatsDescription and Examples
Jambon blanc ou cuitsCooked hams, which are the most typical types of ham.
Eg: used in children’s ham sandwiches.
Jambon cruSalt-cured hams for less than 4 months.
Eg: Ham from Bayonne, de Parme (prosciutto in italien), d’Auvergne, Serrano
Jambon sec Salt-cured hams for more than 4 months
Eg: Ham from Ardennes, Ardeche, Corsica
Jambon fuméSalt-cured hams that are then smoked.
Most jambon blancs and jambon cru also come in a smoked version.
Saucissons Salt-cured sliced sausages
Eg: Rosette, chorizo, saucisson de Lyon, saucisson d’Arles

You can pick whichever type of ham you like. The traditional ham used is the most common jambon blanc, but I prefer to use jambon cru.

Types of Bread

The most common bread used in a jambon beurre is a baguette. But a baguette is not just a baguette. There are several types, with each French bread being different in appearance, texture, and taste.

A baguette classique is sometimes called the baguette parisienne (parisian baguette) or baguette blanche (white baguette). This is the baguette that you will most often see in supermarkets and grocery stores across France.

For more specialized baguettes, you may have to go to a boulangerie (bread bakery). Other types of baguette include:

  • Baguette tradition – sometimes called baguette de campagne (country baguette) or baguette rustique (rustic baguette), it is made with a flour that doesn’t use additives. It also takes a longer time to rise and lasts longer.
  • Baguette aux céréales – includes small amounts of cereals like barley, oats, rye, or corn baked in with the flour.
  • Baguette aux graines – includes small amounts of grains like lin seeds or sesame seeds baked in with the flour.
  • Baguette moulée – similar to the classic baguette, except the dough is poured into a mold, which generally gives it a more homogeneous appearance. (Usually for industrial breads.)
  • Demi-baguette – the half baguette is half the length of a normal baguette, and is perfectly sized for sandwiches like the classic jambon beurre if you have a smaller appetite.

I like to use a baguette aux grains, but you can choose whichever you prefer.

Types of Butter

With a variety of hams and baguettes in France, you can imagine there are also several types of butter:

  • Le beurre cru – raw or unpasturized butter
  • Les beurres fin et extrafin – pasturized fine butter that is made within 72 hours of milk collection
  • Les beurres salés et demi-sel – salted and semi-salted butter
  • Le beurre tartinable ou facile à tartiner – easy-to-spread butter
  • Les beurres allégé et léger – low fat butter
  • Le beurre sec – dry butter whose fat content is 84%, 2 % points more than in standard butter
  • Le beurre de baratte – a richer type of butter that includes cream
  • Les beurres AOP – butter from 3 regions (Isigny butter, Charentes-Poitou butter and Bresse butter) which is protected by the AOP designation

In addition, margarine is also a French invention, having been created to feed soldiers in difficult times, due to the threat of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870.

The most popular type of butter in a jambon beurre sandwich is the lightly salted butter.

What to serve with it?

Since the Jambon beurre sandwich is usually served at lunchtime as a lighter meal, it is usually served by itself, or with a small salad. Other heartier options would be with a vegetable soup like mushroom soup or minestrone.


What drinks to serve with it?

You can serve the jambon beurre sandwich with a light red beaujolais or the loire valley. (Beer is not really common at lunchtime, but red wine is perfectly acceptable at lunch in France, even at work).

jambon beurre sandwich

French Jambon Beurre Recipe

Nassie Angadi
An easy French Jambon Beurre recipe for a quick lunch or dinner.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Main dishes
Cuisine French
Servings 1
Calories 1807 kcal


  • 1 baguette
  • 2 tablespoons salted or regular butter
  • 3-5 slices of ham eg. coppa, jambon cru, jambon blanc, etc.
  • 4-5 slices of avocado (optional)
  • Handful leaves of salad mache (optional)


  • Cut the baguette lengthwise.
  • Slather the butter liberally on the inside of the baguette.
  • Add the ham and any optional ingredients inside and close the sandwich.
  • Serve immediately.


Serving: 1gCalories: 1807kcalCarbohydrates: 195gProtein: 116gFat: 67gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 39gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 247mgSodium: 5399mgFiber: 22gSugar: 22g
Keyword butter, ham, sandwich
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If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !

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