Make your own ham & cheese pockets from scratch using my simple pizza dough, ham, and your favorite cheese. They’re total comfort food and easier to make than you think! See my recipe notes for freezer-friendly instructions.
Will you just look at these?! Homemade pizza dough + ham & cheese = handheld bliss!
You may have grown up eating microwaved hot pocket snacks. Though I really don’t buy them anymore, I’m not ashamed to say that I loved them. (And still do!) A few years ago, I actually started I making my own using homemade dough. You can freeze them, microwave them, eat them on the go, etc. And, the best part of all, you can definitely taste the homemade difference!
Homemade Ham & Cheese Pockets Video
Homemade Dough Ingredients
Have you ever made my pizza dough before? I hope you have– it’s the only dough I’ll use for homemade pizza. It’s really simple to make and is actually the same dough we use for today’s ham & cheese pockets. You can also use it to make garlic knots, pepperoni pizza rolls, and cheesy breadsticks, too!
Here’s what you’ll need to make the dough:
- Yeast: I use Red Star Platinum yeast. I have the best results when I use this instant yeast. The Platinum yeast is fantastic because its careful formula strengthens your dough and makes making working with yeast simple. You’ll see and taste the difference. I’ve been a fangirl for years! You only need 1 standard packet of yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons).
- Water: I tested this dough recipe with different amounts of water. 1 and 1/3 cups is the perfect amount. Use warm water to cut down on rise time, about 100-110°F. Anything over 130ºF kills the yeast.
- Flour: Use unbleached all-purpose white flour in this recipe. Bleaching the flour strips away some of the protein, which will affect how much water the flour absorbs.
- Oil: A couple Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil adds wonderful flavor to the dough.
- Salt: Salt adds necessary flavor.
- Sugar: 1 Tablespoon of sugar increases the yeast’s activity and tenderizes the dough, especially when paired with a little olive oil.
Though the warm ham & melty cheese filling is fantastic, the crust is the best part. This bread tastes phenomenal!
Baking with Yeast Guide
Overview: How to Make Homemade Ham & Cheese Pockets
Here’s a quick overview of the process. For full instructions, scroll down for my complete recipe.
- Make the dough.
- Divide the dough. Slice the dough in half, then cut each half into quarters. You’ll have 8 pieces of dough for 8 homemade pockets!
- Shape the dough. Flatten each piece of dough into a rectangle (about 4×6 inches). Place the shaped dough onto prepared baking pans.
- Add ham & cheese. Place the ham and cheese on one side, then fold the dough over to fully enclose it.
- Pinch the edges. Seal the pockets up as best as you can– use a fork to crimp the edges.
- Brush the sides & tops with egg wash. The egg wash helps brown the tops and gives each a beautiful sheen.
- Cut 2-3 slits into the tops.
- Enjoy! They are incredible right out of the oven because the bread is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s a miracle in hand-held form. Just be careful when taking that first bite because the center is very hot!
Two Other Filling Ideas
You can use this dough and recipe to make other flavors of homemade pockets. Here are two of my favorites.
- Chicken, Broccoli, & Cheese Filling: Mix 2 cups chopped cooked broccoli, 1 cup chopped cooked chicken (such as rotisserie chicken), 1 cup shredded cheese, 2 Tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt, plus a pinch of salt and pepper together. Spoon/spread onto the 1 side of your dough rectangles (as you do with the ham and cheese) before folding up/assembling.
- Pepperoni Pizza Filling: Spread 1 heaping Tablespoon of your favorite pizza sauce onto the 1 side of each dough rectangle (as you do with the ham and cheese). Divide 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese and 3/4 cup of mini pepperonis between each and layer on top of the sauce.
More Surprisingly Simple Homemade BreadsPrint
Make freezer-friendly homemade ham & cheese pockets with this easy recipe!
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum yeast (1 standard packet)
- 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) warm water, about 110°F (43°C)
- 3 and 1/2 cups (440g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for work surface
- 1 Tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk
- 8 slices cheese or 2 cups shredded (I use sharp cheddar)
- 16 thin slices deli ham or 2 cups cubed ham
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes until the mixture is foamy. If the yeast doesn’t dissolve or foam, your yeast is dead. Start again with active yeast. Add flour, sugar, olive oil, and salt. Mix by hand or with the dough hook on low speed for 1 minute. Once all of the ingredients are mixed, slowly knead for 7 minutes by hand or with your dough hook on low-medium speed. If your dough is too wet, add up to 1/4 cup more flour. After kneading, your dough should be smooth and elastic. Poke it with your finger – if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large mixing bowl that has been greased lightly with olive oil. Turn it over to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm environment (about 75°F or 80°F/24°C or 27°C)* for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Once risen, punch the dough down to release the air. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife, slice dough in half. Then slice each half into quarters. You’ll have 8 pieces of dough, as shown in the photo above. Flatten each piece with your fingers or use a rolling pin. You want each piece of flattened dough to be about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide. They don’t have to be perfect rectangles, as you can see in my photos! Transfer flattened dough to the baking sheets. Place the cheese (I fold the slice in half) and ham (2 slices for each) on top of the dough on one side, then fold the other side over top. Pinch the edges to seal as best you can. Use a fork to crimp the edges. Brush the tops and sides of each pocket with egg wash, then slice 2-3 slits in the tops for air vents (use a super sharp knife to do that).
- Bake the pockets for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Make sure to rotate the baking sheet once or twice during bake time. Remove pockets from the oven and allow to cool on the pan until ready to handle and serve.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The pockets can be made through step 4 then covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Then bake as directed. You can also freeze the baked pockets, which is what I do. After the pockets cool, wrap them individually in aluminum foil and freeze. Then microwave for 2-3 minutes on high or bake at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes. No need to thaw. To make just the dough ahead of time, see freezing and thawing instructions in my pizza crust post.
- Warm Environment: For the warm environment, I heat up my oven to 200°F (93°C). Then, I turn the oven off and keep the door slightly opened. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, I close the oven door to trap warmish air inside. If you are not using an instant yeast, your dough will take longer to double in size.
- Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
Keywords: ham & cheese pockets
Also freezer-friendly: homemade bagels! I take you through each step, so you fully understand what’s happening. They’re surprisingly simple to make, too!