Homemade Ham & Cheese Pockets

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.

Freezer-friendly comfort food goodness! Homemade Hot Pockets on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Freezer-friendly comfort food goodness! Homemade Hot Pockets on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 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).
  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!

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

Homemade Ham & Cheese Pockets | sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.
  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!

Homemade Ham & Cheese Pockets | sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade ham & cheese pockets on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade Ham & Cheese Pockets | sallysbakingaddiction.com

Freezer-friendly comfort food goodness! Homemade Hot Pockets on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Freezer-friendly comfort food goodness! Homemade Hot Pockets on sallysbakingaddiction.com

More Surprisingly Simple Homemade Breads

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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
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

  • 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

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!

Bagel varieties

Freezer-friendly comfort food goodness! Homemade Hot Pockets on sallysbakingaddiction.com

160 Comments

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  1. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    I love that these are freezer friendly! That way whenever I’m hungry, I can just take these out of the freezers and heat them up. It’ll be my choice for breakfast any day.

  2. Could you freeze before baking? Sweet varieties also sound terrific!!  

    1. You could, I’m sure, but I’ve never tried that.

  3. I just died over these! Yummmm, how can you beat ham and melty cheese wrapped in yeasty goodness!!!

  4. Apart from the ham, could you also put in other types of meat like chicken? Would you have to cook it a bit first?

    1. Absolutely- and yes, cook it first.

  5. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg says:

    Sally – What an awesome idea! I would love a bbq chicken and chicken version of these homemade hot pockets. I’ve steered away from artificial and frozen foods over the years, so these are a wonderful alternative to a childhood favorite. 😀 

  6. Cheese and Chinese says:

    Oh my I want one of these right now!

  7. Sally, I just noticed that in your pics the pockets have slits in the top, but the directions don’t include them. Could you please advise?? I showed these to my husband and he said ” Wouldn’t they be great with pizza inside” then I read you are working on that!! Yes!!! Thank You for this great recipe. I make your pizza dough all the time and we Love it!!!

    1. Sorry about that! It’s in step 4– just added that part. I forgot it before!

  8. Looks yummy! But please the pepperoni version!!! Would love to make those to impress my brother and also my boyfriend (who eats hot pockets all the time. I’m sure this recipe would be so much better!)

  9. Leah @ Grain Changer says:

    These remind me of one of my favorite dinners growing up! My mom was big into “Once A Month Cooking” and would make and freeze a bunch of rolls stuffed with cheese and ham and then wrap them up in tin foil. When we were ready to eat them, we’d pop them in the oven for a bit and then BAM – dinner done. They were SO delicious and I think mom loved them most – a true crowdpleaser that took her literally zero time! Thanks for the trip down memory lane! And believe it or not, these look about 50x better than my mom’s (DON’T TELL). 

  10. These look delicious! I’m still guilty of eating hot pockets so this is a fantastic and much healthier alternative. Do you think I could use your whole wheat pizza crust instead? One of my favorite recipes of yours. 🙂 I think you’d also like make ahead breakfast sandwiches; all you need to do is layer deli meat, cheese, and an egg patty (I usually put chopped up sautéed veggies in them and bake the patties in the oven) on an English muffin, bag them individually, stick them in the freezer and voila… Breakfast to to go!

    1. Yes to the whole wheat pizza dough instead! I’ve seen freezer breakfast sandwiches like that online– and I have yet to try it!

  11. Now you’ve made me hungry !!!!  Just a few days ago I made (using puff pastry) apple and cheese pockets that were pretty darn good . . . but these will top that for sure.  Here goes the leftover (there always is) Easter ham.  Can just picture these pockets on my brunch table if we don’t eat them all first.  Thanks & Happy Easter to you!   

  12. I too am guilty of eating ham and cheese hot pockets equaling a large quantity over the years , and I am totally excited to try these with leftover Easter ham. Great idea to use it up after Sunday. Thank you for an easy recipe and one that is take to work friendly too!

  13. Sally, thank you so much! I am also trying to stay away from the ingredients in the grocery store offerings and am always eating breakfast in the car so these are perfect to grab, heat and go. Plus, I love ham!

  14. Omigosh!  These totally remind me of Runzas, which is a fast food restaurant in my home state of Nebraska.  Just the golden, buttery tops make me want to whip some up for lunch right now! 

  15. These look delicious!  Years ago I used to eat Hot Pockets almost daily so it’s great to have a real food alternative!  I use your whole wheat pizza dough recipe every single week for our pizza nights (and always have some extra in the freezer) so I can’t wait to make these from that dough!  I assume they would be just as delicious?  Thank you for continuing to provide us with such great recipes!

    1. I’m sure just as tasty with the whole wheat!

  16. Natalie Munoe says:

    Good idea! Ham and cheese on the go? Yes, please! Fun. Also fun? Jim Gaffigan’s “Hot Pocket” bit. And the cake one that plays right after it if you let the youtube keep going. LOL. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-i9GXbptog

    1. HAHAHAHAHA I love it

  17. demeter | beaming baker says:

    I’m looking, I’m looking! (Oh, and I’m also drooling, btw.) Sally, just so you know, some of my favorite words of all time are: comfort foods, hand-held, and don’t even get me started on bliss. Chocolate bliss, PB bliss, hot bun bliss… 😉
    Love that you used your out-of-this-world pizza crust recipe for the bun. And that Red Star Platinum yeast: I swear, whenever I go buy yeast, all I can hear is you saying, “buy the Platinum! Do it!!” Haha.
    Meanwhile, did you notice how your SBA watermark lines up beautifully with the orange silpat border in the fifth photo? 
    These pizza pocket beauties remind me of the 100%-made-with-love savory empanadas my mom made us all growing up. She’d make a gigantic batch in advance and bake ’em up right before a big trip, so us kids would have something to eat. I know, she was and still is the best mom in the world. <3
    Future pizza pocket requests: How about using some of that Sweet Baby Ray's glorious BBQ sauce you got, pineapples and jalapenos in one? 
    Have a great weekend Sally! Enjoy your Easter brunch with the fam. 🙂 xo

    1. Yes I cropped the photo in so the watermark lines up! Ha! #nerd

      I have to do the BBQ sauce/pineapple version!!

  18. Natalie Munoe says:

    Sorry! Didn’t mean to post that twice. It said it didn’t post the first time and I even reloaded the page to make sure it wasn’t there (which it wasn’t!) before typing it out the second time. Sheesh. Again, my apologies. Good thing Jim Gaffigan is funny and talks all about food. LOL.

  19. I made these but instead of cheddar/ham I used fresh mozzarella/pepperoni. After they came out of the oven we dipped them in warm homemade pizza sauce. SO good!

    1. Oh my gosh dipping in warm pizza sauce, I love that!

  20. I am curious if they stay molten hot for a while and instantly become ice cold within minutes like a Hot Pocket? Hopefully one day I will not be lazy and actually make these instead of buying Hot Pockets.

    1. They stay warm and melty for awhile after baking– but you’ll want to eat them warm of course!

  21. Reporting back! I made the ham & cheese hot pockets yesterday! But I used your whole wheat pizza dough recipe for these to make them a tad healthier. And on some of them I added some cooked mushrooms! Next time, I’m definitely doing the original white bread recipe you used here. Still good with the whole wheat version though. Next time, I’ll remember to roll out the dough better before stuffing. Made extra for lunches throughout the week!

    1. Perfect!! Thanks for reporting back!

  22. I read this post yesterday, and it just so happenened that I had all of the ingrendients, no grocery store trip needed on a snowy afternoon. My three-year-old loved helping from start to finish, she was so proud of herself! It was such a fun recipe to make with her. I am usually a complete failure at any kind of yeast dough, but this turned out perfectly! We used half of the dough to make four pockets, so homemade barbecue chicken pizza is on the menu for tonight. Thanks, Sally!

  23. Sally! I just made these! As soon as I saw it pop into my inbox I knew I would be making them this weekend! It’s my first time using yeast and making my own dough so was a little nervous but they turned out great! I made them for my girls (2.5 and 4) as they are very fussy eaters! They loved them so I am sure I will be making them again soon! I did forget to cut air pockets in the top but didn’t seem to do it any harm. Thank you for this recipe!! 

  24. I made this dough in the bread machine.  YUM.  My new go-to pizza and Stromboli dough!

  25. Ashlyn // Dollop Of Yum says:

    These hot pockets look fantastic!  They look like such a perfect comfort food.  Definitely going to have to try these out soon. 🙂

  26. Hi Sally! Just a quick question. Up to how long can I keep the leftover hot pockets frozen? Trying it out today! Thanks a lot! 🙂

    1. about 3 months. Have fun and enjoy!

  27. I unfortunately only have about a 3/4 cup of All-purpose flour on hand. I do have some Cake flour though. Can I use 3/4 cups of AP flour and the rest Cake Flour for the pizza dough?

    1. Cake flour is much too light. If anything, you could use bread flour instead.

  28. I made these today for lunch for my family! They were so easy and so yummy!!! 

    1. Much easier than you’d think, right? So glad you made them!

  29. Love making my own pizza dough. It’s cheaper and tastier than store bought. Now that you’ve mentioned pizza pockets, though, I’m already thinking about those! But these look just as good and I’ll try them first before I go crazy with flavour variations 🙂 

  30. Made these yesterday to use up lunch meat before it could go bad. I did turkey breast and cheddar and also roast beef and provolone. They were excellent and great for a quick meal!

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