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.
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 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).
- 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!
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. If you need help with the kneading step, my How to Knead Dough video tutorial has you covered.
- 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. Do you like this combination? If so, try my ham & cheese scones too.
- 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!
- 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) warm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7g) Platinum Yeast from Red Star instant yeast (1 standard packet)*
- 1 Tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil, plus more for pan and brushing on dough
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 and 1/2 cups (about 450g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 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
- Whisk the warm water, yeast, and granulated sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes. *If you don’t have a stand mixer, simply use a large mixing bowl and mix the dough with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula in the next step.
- Add the olive oil, salt, and flour. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes until combined.
- Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 5 full minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 5 full minutes. (If you’re new to bread-baking, my How to Knead Dough video tutorial can help here.) If the dough becomes too sticky during the kneading process, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour at a time on the dough or on the work surface/in the bowl to make a soft, slightly tacky dough. Do not add more flour than you need because you do not want a dry dough. After kneading, the dough should still feel a little soft. Poke it with your finger—if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. You can also do a “windowpane test” to see if your dough has been kneaded long enough: tear off a small (roughly golfball-size) piece of dough and gently stretch it out until it’s thin enough for light to pass through it. Hold it up to a window or light. Does light pass through the stretched dough without the dough tearing first? If so, your dough has been kneaded long enough and is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading until it passes the windowpane test.
- Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray—just use the same bowl you used for the dough. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes or until double in size. (Tip: For the warm environment on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the dough inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.)
- 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 5 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.
- Overnight/All Day Instructions: Prepare the dough through step 3, but allow the dough to rise for 8-12 hours in the refrigerator. (If it needs to be in the refrigerator for longer, use cooler water in the dough which will slow the dough’s rise and allow for more time.) The slow rise gives the dough wonderful flavor! When ready, continue with step 4. If the dough didn’t quite double in size overnight, let it sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before punching down (step 5).
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Stand Mixer or Glass Mixing Bowl with Wooden Spoon or Silicone Spatula | Dough Scraper | Baking Sheet | Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment Paper | Pastry Brush
- Yeast: Red Star Platinum yeast is an instant yeast. You can use active dry yeast instead. The rise time will be at least 90 minutes. 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!