How to Make Delicious Ham, Cream Cheese and Pickle Roll Ups

Ham, cream cheese and pickle roll ups are a wildly popular easy appetizer that combines salty ham, tangy pickles and creamy, smooth cream cheese. These bite-sized roll ups are a classic party platter staple thanks to their simplicity, bold flavors and addictive munchability.

With just 3 main ingredients that can be customized in countless ways, it’s no wonder these tasty little rolls have stood the test of time. Read on to learn how to make these crowd-pleasing appetizers perfectly every time.

Ingredients for Ham and Pickle Roll Ups

The core ingredients for ham and pickle roll ups are

  • Deli Ham – Pre-sliced packaged ham or freshly sliced deli counter ham works well. Opt for thin slices that can be easily rolled.

  • Cream Cheese – Regular full-fat or reduced-fat both work. Let soften at room temp for easier spreading.

  • Pickles – Dill pickle spears or whole dill pickles are classic You can also use sweet pickles

How to Assemble Ham Pickle Roll Ups

Making these 3-ingredient roll ups couldn’t be easier. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Dry the ham – Pat ham slices with a paper towel to remove excess moisture for better adhesion.

  2. Spread cream cheese – Use a butter knife to evenly cover one side of the ham slice with a thin layer of cream cheese.

  3. Dry pickles – Gently pat pickles dry with paper towels so they don’t make the rolls soggy.

  4. Roll up – Place pickle near edge of ham and roll up tightly.

  5. Slice rolls – Use a sharp knife to slice the finished rolls into bite-sized, pinwheel shapes.

  6. Arrange on serving platter – Place finished rolls seam-side down on a serving tray and enjoy!

Handy Tips for Making Perfect Roll Ups

  • Choose fresh deli ham and cream cheese for the best texture and flavor.

  • Make sure cream cheese is softened for easy spreading.

  • Dry the ham and pickles well so the rolls don’t get soggy.

  • Chill rolls in the fridge for 30 mins-1 hour before slicing for clean cuts.

  • Seal airtight and store refrigerated for up to 2 days maximum for ideal freshness.

  • Slice only what you plan to serve right away to prevent drying out.

Creative Ways to Customize Your Ham Roll Ups

While the classic trio is always a crowd pleaser, you can also try these fun flavor variations:

  • Ranch cream cheese – Mix in ranch seasoning for a tangy twist.

  • Herbed cream cheese – Stir in dried dill, chives, garlic or onion powder into the cream cheese.

  • Spicy sriracha – Spread a thin layer of sriracha on the ham before adding cream cheese.

  • Different meats – Try turkey, roast beef or salami instead of ham.

  • Assorted pickles – Mix up sweet pickles, bread & butter pickles or relish.

  • Creative combos – Experiment with new additions like smoked gouda, mustard or horseradish.

The possibilities are endless for customizing these bite-sized treats to suit your unique tastes!

Serving Suggestions and Occasions

Ham, cream cheese and pickle roll ups make the perfect easy appetizer for:

  • Holiday parties and celebrations

  • Game day snacking

  • Bridal and baby showers

  • Birthday gatherings

  • Backyard barbecues

  • Weeknight family dinners

  • Fancy cocktail parties

  • Potlucks and pitch-ins

Make-Ahead Tips for Ham Pickle Roll Ups

The rolled up pinwheels can be prepared 1-2 days ahead:

  • Assemble roll ups but don’t slice them.

  • Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

  • When ready to serve, slice chilled rolls into rounds.

  • Only slice as many as needed for freshness.

Storing Leftover Ham Cream Cheese Pickle Rolls

  • Place uneaten rolls in an airtight container.

  • Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

  • To serve again, let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before slicing more rounds.

Troubleshooting Common Ham Roll Up Issues

Having trouble getting your ham pickle roll ups just right? Refer to these tips:

Rolls won’t stay rolled – Make sure cream cheese is evenly spread in a thin layer and ham and pickles are dried well first. Refrigerate rolled logs to help them hold shape before slicing.

Rolls fall apart – Chill rolls in the fridge before slicing to help hold pinwheels together better. Use a very sharp knife and gentle sawing motion to cut.

Rolls are soggy – Pat ham and pickles dry and don’t overfill with cream cheese. Don’t assemble too far in advance.

Rolls are bland – Use fresh, high-quality ingredients. Sprinkle ham with salt and pepper before rolling. Add herbs, spices or mustard to cream cheese.

Ham tears – Use thinner deli ham and spread cream cheese in a very thin, even layer. Roll gently starting from the short side.


Can I make them ahead of time?

Yes, assemble roll ups but don’t slice them. Refrigerate up to 2 days before slicing and serving.

Do I need to use real cream cheese?

No, you can use reduced-fat or light cream cheese varieties too. Just don’t use whipped.

What kind of ham works best?

Deli-sliced ham or thin sandwich ham works well. Avoid using shaved chipped ham.

Can I freeze the roll ups?

It’s best not to freeze them as the texture will suffer after thawing. Refrigerate only.

With this easy how-to guide, you’ll be able to impress guests with professional-looking ham, cream cheese and pickle roll ups anytime. Feel free to get creative with fun new flavor combinations to make this classic appetizer your own.

Ham, Cream Cheese & Pickle Roll Ups

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