This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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.

This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast.

ham and cheese pockets with one pocket cut in half showing ham and cheese filling

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

ham and cheese pockets

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:

  1. Yeast: I use Platinum Yeast from Red Star. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Oil: A couple Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil adds wonderful flavor to the dough.
  5. Salt: Salt adds necessary flavor.
  6. 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!

2 images of dough in a glass bowl after rising and dough cut into 8 pieces

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.

  1. Make the dough.
  2. 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!
  3. Shape the dough. Flatten each piece of dough into a rectangle (about 4×6 inches). Place the shaped dough onto prepared baking pans.
  4. Add ham & cheese. Place the ham and cheese on one side, then fold the dough over to fully enclose it. Do you like this combination? If so, try my ham & cheese scones too.
  5. Pinch the edges. Seal the pockets up as best as you can—use a fork to crimp the edges.
  6. Brush the sides & tops with egg wash. The egg wash helps brown the tops and gives each a beautiful sheen.
  7. Cut 2-3 slits into the tops.
  8. Bake.
  9. 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!
rolled out dough for ham and cheese pockets
ham and cheese on top of pieces of dough for ham and cheese pockets
2 images of ham and cheese slices and brushing egg wash onto a ham and cheese pocket
ham and cheese pockets

Two Other Filling Ideas

You can use this dough and recipe to make other flavors of homemade pockets. Here are two of my favorites.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
ham and cheese pockets with one pocket cut in half showing ham and cheese filling

More Surprisingly Simple Homemade Breads

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
ham and cheese pockets with one pocket cut in half showing ham and cheese filling

Homemade Ham & Cheese Pockets

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 pockets 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Make freezer-friendly homemade ham & cheese pockets with this easy recipe!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Platinum Yeast from Red Star (1 standard packet)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) warm water, about 110°F (43°C)
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (438g) 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

Filling

  • 8 slices cheese or 2 cups shredded (I use sharp cheddar)
  • 16 thin slices deli ham or 2 cups cubed ham

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

overhead image of a variety of bagels

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi- I want to refrigerate and pop in the oven in 4 hours. Do I wrap each calzone Individually in plastic wrap to prevent another rise and bring to room temp before placing in the oven?
    How should I proceed .. thanks very much !

    1. Hi Ann, no need to wrap the calzones individually. You can simply place them on a baking sheet and then gently cover the sheet with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap. Enjoy!

  2. Hiii–I make these every week but no matter what I do, the bottoms burn to char within 10 minutes. They’re still delicious regardless of this but…any tips?

    1. Hi Bec, it’s possible that your pans might be causing the bottoms to overheat quickly, but you can try either moving the pan down a rack (away from the heating element) or cooking for longer on a lower temperature. Hope this helps!

      1. Moving the pan to bottom of the oven 100% fixed the problem, thank you so much!

  3. Can I use already prepared dough? Pizza dough perhaps.

  4. Hi Sally! What would the bake time be if I made mini pepperoni pizza ones? Like, half the size of the normal ones?

    1. Hi Marvel, you can certainly make these smaller, but we’re unsure of the exact bake time. It will be less, but keep a close eye on them. Hope you enjoy them!

  5. My family of 8 love these! I just put their individual favorite pizza toppings in. My husband loves;cooked, crumbled ground beef, cheese, onions, pickles, BBQ sauce (not too much just to coat beef or else it runs out of bun). My daughter loves chicken & Alfredo sauce with peppers. This dough is by far the best I’ve tried & been making these for 20+ years!

  6. Sally, these are very tasty. I made them
    for dinner tonight for my husband and I and we both enjoyed them. We will have the left overs for lunch tomorrow . I made 6 instead of 8, so mine were a little bigger and they didn’t look as pretty as yours, but still delicious!

  7. Can you make this with bread flour instead of all purpose flour? Would I need to increase/decrease the hydration levels?

    1. Hi Claire, You can substitute the same amount of bread flour for a chewier crust, but you may need to add a couple extra Tablespoons of water since bread flour contains more protein than all-purpose flour.

  8. My dough raised too much; my pockets turned out like regular bread (you could not even see the fork markings) although it was delicious! What did I do wrong?

  9. Made these today and my husband and I loved them! The dough is so easy and deliciously light. I’ll need to practice for a better seal on the pockets though, as some of the cheese ran out. Any tips to share? Also do cheese slices or grated cheddar make for a tastier bite? Thank you SO MUCH for your recipes. I really enjoy trying your bakes! Cheers for 2022!

    1. Hi Wendy, Try moistening the tips of your fingers and sealing them shut with your hands instead of a fork. Let us know if you try that again and it works better! We use a sharp cheddar – either slices or shredded cheese!

  10. can the ham and cheese hot pockets be left out for a picnic lunch? if so how long can they be left out?

    1. Hi Irene, these ham and cheese pockets are best served hot, so we don’t recommend leaving them outside for too long.

  11. How long do you think I would want to parbake these if wanted to freeze them and have them ready to drop in my air fryer for an easy lunch? I can experiment of course, but tips and hints would be awesome.

    1. Hi Josh, we haven’t tested with these ham & cheese pockets so can’t offer much advice. Maybe 7-10 minutes? Let us know what you try!

  12. Excellent recipe!! I was looking for a “hot pocket” type recipe and hoping that my little people would enjoy it. Bam! This was wonderful! Most recipes called for puff pastry which my husband doesn’t like so this was awesome! Ill definitely be keeping this one for easy make ahead lunches or to take during long days out.

  13. This is a fantastic recipe. Most recipes for “hot pockets” call for puff pastry and my husband is not a fan. We made these with chicken and another time with pizza fillings. My 3 year old didn’t want the pockets so I left one flat and put pizza toppings on it. Awesome versatility!

  14. These are great! Made them tonight with pepperoni and mozzarella, left off the egg wash, and brushed with garlic butter and parsley flakes after they were done. Fantastic! I’m thinking of doing a breakfast version for my kids. Not sure what fillings I will try first but these would be awesome and easy to make for a quick breakfast on the go!

  15. I’d like to make a big batch of these and freeze ahead of time for school lunches. My child won’t have access to a microwave at school and would have eat them cold or room temp at lunch time. What would be the best way to defrost one to put in a lunch box?
    Overnight in the fridge? Microwave in the morning?

    Any other savoury recipes that you recommend for taking to school?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Kristen, we haven’t tested this recipe with GF flour, but many of our readers report success using 1:1 swaps with brands like Bob’s Red Mill or Cup4Cup. If you give anything a try, we’d love to know how it turns out for you.

  16. it doesn’t look like you do a second rise after you have filled the dough and crimped together…is that true? Seems like it might make the dough very dense? I am anxious to try these, but am used to do doing 2 rises…once as a blob and once after shaping…for my doughs.

    1. Hi Deb, that’s correct. If you let the shaped pockets rise, they will puff up too much. This is actually like my pizza dough recipe, which only has 1 rise too (and a short rest period).

  17. If I were to do a sweet version, what fillings would you recommend? My family loves dessert pizzas & these would be a handy on the go breakfast idea.

    1. Hi Heidi, you could try the fruity filling from these berry turnovers or even the cream cheese filling from these breakfast pastries (see the recipe for the cream cheese filling in the recipe Notes section). Let us know what you try!

  18. This dough was really easy to work with-it didn’t tear when folding over, and the edges sealed well even though I only used my fingers to seal the edges. I added steamed broccoli to some of the pockets. Yummy!