Ham Roll Ups

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From Minnesota with love, Ham Roll Ups are a delicious party appetizer made deli ham, cream cheese, and pickle spears. They are salty, addictive, and the perfect tasty bite!

Ham roll ups on a light blue plate.


 

There’s just something about ham pickle roll ups that only makes you want another after your first taste. And yes, they are one of my favorite easy appetizers, perfect for snacking solo or with a group. If girl dinner was a single food, Ham Roll Ups would be it.

These little piggy pinwheels (also known as “Lutheran Sushi”) are definitely more common in the Midwest (especially Minnesota) than in other states, but if everyone knew how good they are and how easy they are to make, all that could change in a heartbeat.

By the way, if dill pickles sound awful rather than awesome, try swapping the pickles for tender stems of green onion or a small bunch of fresh chives. That’s how we made them in Wisconsin, and they were epic. You can also use hard salami instead of ham in these cream cheese roll ups and bell peppers instead of green onions and pickles.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for ham roll ups on a countertop.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Deli ham: My favorite ham in the world is Badger Baked Ham. Beyond a good brand (Boar’s Head Deluxe Ham is also excellent), choose a ham that has uniform slices rather than unevenly shaved ham. Or substitute honey ham, corned beef, roast beef, turkey, or any deli meat you love.
  • Cream cheese: You can use regular block cream cheese, but I usually buy the whipped variety because it’s easier to handle and spreads well. If you buy the block, just be sure to soften it up a bit.
  • Pickle spears: Claussen’s refrigerated pickles are my favorite, but there are lots of good brands out there, and everyone has their favorites. Buy the spears and slice them in half, or buy the halves and slice them into quarters or more.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Working one at a time, place a slice of ham on a cutting board or other clean work surface. Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture in a thick layer edge-to-edge over the meat.
Ham roll ups being assembled on a cutting board.
  1. Position a pickle spear along the short end of the ham and roll it up tightly in the ham and cream cheese blanket. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Wrap in plastic wrap for longer storage. When ready to serve, cut into bite-sized pieces and devour.
Ham roll ups on a light blue plate.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: One batch of this recipe makes 16 whole pickle roll ups. That’s enough for at least 8 servings (if each person eats 2 whole pickles worth) or more if served as part of a buffet with lots of options.
  • Storage: Keep chilled until serving time (wrap in plastic for longer storage times). Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Make the roll ups the day before you need them (without cutting into pieces) and keep them chilled in the refrigerator in an airtight container so they can firm up. When you’re ready to eat, cut them into slices with a sharp knife.
  • Serve them whole: It just saves you the trouble of eating 16 or 20 slices. A decent compromise is to cut each roll up in half.
  • Toothpicks: You can skewer the pieces with toothpicks, which make them easy to pick up and keeps the deli ham firmly attached to the pickle.
  • Improvise: If the pickles you have are small, use the whole thing rolled up in the cheese. Or make smaller roll-ups if you have smaller slices of meat. Once you make one, you’ll get the hang of it, I promise.
  • Pickle roll-up dip: Mix 1 (8-ounce) block softened cream cheese with 6 finely chopped pickle spears and 2 ounces finely chopped deli ham. Chill to blend flavors and serve with pretzels and crackers.
  • Flavor town: Fancy it up with herbed cream cheese or another flavor (chive and onion, jalapeño, or garden vegetable) and make it even more delicious. Some diehard fans mix a packet of ranch seasoning into the cream cheese before spreading. Other people substitute Dijon mustard for the cream cheese, or mix the two together in a bowl.
  • Mexican Tortilla Rollups: For a make-ahead appetizer recipe that’s zesty, cheesy, and perfect for parties, try Mexican Tortilla Roll Ups on flour tortillas. If you like creamy dips, then you’ll love this easy snack idea!
  • Taco Tortilla Roll Ups: Take taco dip on the road with my easy Taco Tortilla Roll Ups recipe. This make-ahead appetizer idea will have everyone coming back for seconds (and thirds).
  • Veggie Roll Ups: Veggie Roll Ups are a tasty riff on that Midwestern classic, Veggie Pizza. Make the same filling with fresh veggies and cheddar cheese but spread on tortillas instead of crescent rolls so they’re easier to tote along to parties.
  • Costco Copycat Turkey Roll Ups: Learn how to make Turkey Roll Ups at home, just like the ones from Costco. They are easy to make, cheaper, and tastier than the store-bought version, and you don’t have to fight the crowds to enjoy them.
Midwest Charcuterie board on a gray countertop.
Ham Roll Ups are a perfect addition to your next Midwest Charcuterie Board. Also pictured: Dill Dip with fresh veggies, Toasted Baguette slices, Mini Cheese Balls, Cream Cheese with Pepper Jelly, Candied Pecans, Homemade Mustard, and Mini Cheese Balls.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a ham roll made of?

Ham roll ups are traditionally made of deli ham, cream cheese, and pickles or green onions.

Can I make cheese pinwheels the night before?

Roll pinwheels of all kinds up the day before you need them, wrap them individually, and store them in the refrigerator. They’re completely effortless to bring to parties, plus you only have to cut up what you need. Any leftovers make a great lunch or snack.

More appetizer recipes

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Ham roll ups on a light blue plate.

Ham Roll Ups

From Minnesota with love, Ham Roll Ups are a delicious party appetizer made deli ham, cream cheese, and pickle spears. They are salty, addictive, and the perfect tasty bite!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Calories 216
5 from 63 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Working with one slice of ham at a time, lay ham on a flat surface. Spread evenly with cream cheese, going all the way to the edges.
  • Place one pickle spear half on the short edge of the ham slice and roll tightly. Repeat with remaining ham, cream cheese, and pickles. Slice or serve whole.

Notes

  1. Deli ham: My favorite ham in the world is Badger Baked Ham. Beyond a good brand (Boar’s Head Deluxe Ham is also excellent), choose a ham that has uniform slices rather than unevenly shaved ham. Or substitute corned beef, roast beef, turkey, or any deli meat you love.
  2. Cream cheese: You can use regular block cream cheese, but I usually buy the whipped variety because it’s easier to handle and spreads well. If you buy the block, just be sure to soften it up a bit.
  3. Pickle spears: Claussen’s refrigerated pickles are my favorite, but there are lots of good brands out there, and everyone has their favorites. Buy the spears and slice them in half, or buy the halves and slice them into quarters or more.
  4. Yield: One batch of this recipe makes 16 whole pickle roll ups. That’s enough for at least 16 servings (if each person eats a pickle’s worth) or more if served as part of a buffet with lots of options.
  5. Storage: Keep chilled until serving time. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 2 whole picklesCalories: 216kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 14gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 1373mgPotassium: 222mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 388IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 65mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

    1. Hi Rebecca, Deli slices are usually between 1/16” to 1/8,” hope this helps! – Meggan

  1. These are great for on-the-go as well! I use the entire slice of ham and add in a sliver of celery, lettuce and cheddar. Don’t forget the mustard.5 stars

  2. Looks nummy! You said it was make ahead, but didn’t mention they can be frozen too. Pickles, ham and cream cheese will freeze well. Freezing and then slicing after thawing is great when you’re having a large get-together. So glad to find an add-in to the regular ham and cheese roll ups. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks!5 stars

    1. Hi Felicia! Thanks for the great idea of freezing them! I never thought about that. Hope you love them! -Meggan

  3. Just the other day a friend of mine referred to these as “Lutheran Sushi”! It cracked me up! I think that the best thing about midwestern cuisine is how everything has about a thousand different names, depending on where you’re located.5 stars

  4. My sister-in-law (from Michigan) calls them goat peckers and serves them unsliced!  A favorite of her family!5 stars

    1. GOAT PECKERS!!!! Hilarious. Serving them unsliced is the sign of a hostess with the mostest. The first time I saw them presented unsliced, I felt like the world finally made sense. :D Thanks for your comment Nanette!

    2. Maybe that’s a Michigan thing calling them goat peckers I live in Michigan and that’s how we have always referred to them also.5 stars