Pickle Roll Ups
Make Pickle Roll Ups with just 3 ingredients! Sometimes called Minnesota sushi, this quick and easy Midwestern recipe features tart dill pickles rolled up in salty ham and cream cheese. It’s the perfect appetizer, snack, or side dish!
Easy Pickle Roll Ups
Pickle Roll Ups, also known as Minnesota sushi, is a favorite around here. It features slices of deli ham schmeared with cream cheese, rolled around a dill pickle, and sliced into bite-size rounds (see the sushi resemblance?!). They always disappear in a flash!
These handheld bites are fun to make and to eat. Popular in the Midwest, we serve them for backyard gatherings, picnics, game day parties and tailgating, and just as a snack – any time we’re looking for something delicious and fun.
Pickle roll ups are quick and easy to prepare, great for those times when you need a last-minute appetizer. All you need is ham, cream cheese, and, of course, pickles. Another easy pickle appetizer recipe is my dill pickle dip!
These roll ups are a variation on one of our favorite Minnesota State Fair eats, the Pickle Dog. The fair version features a pickle spear in the center (not a whole pickle) and is wrapped in pastrami instead of ham. And it’s left whole, not cut into individual pieces. It’s served super cold, a refreshing eat when it’s hot at the fair!
Why You’ll Love Minnesota Sushi
Our family loves pickles, so this recipe is always a win. Here are a few reasons why you’ll want to make Minnesota sushi, too!
- Short ingredients list. You only need 3 ingredients to make it!
- Perfect flavor and texture combo. Crisp tart pickle, meaty salty ham, smooth and tangy cream cheese – there’s a LOT going on in these simple bites.
- Easy to make. If you have a few minutes, you can make pickle roll ups. You can even get the kids involved with the rolling.
- Make ahead of time. This is the perfect easy appetizer or side for casual entertaining. I think that ham pickle roll ups are even better when made a few hours prior to serving, or even the night before. This gives them time to get super chilled and refreshing.
- Just plain FUN!!!!! There’s nothing quite like a pickle roll up. These always, always disappear FAST!
What You’ll Need
Here are the simple ingredients you’ll need to make ham pickle roll ups.
Scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredient amounts.
- Dill pickles: Use your favorite brand of dill pickle or see my recommendation below.
- Deli ham: Use good-quality ham that is not cut too thin.
- Cream cheese: I prefer to use a block of cream cheese rather than whipped cream cheese. Block cream cheese gives a firmer texture, which is better for cutting and eating.
What Pickles Should I Use?
I recommend using Gedney Whole Dills (a Minnesota brand) for the roll ups if you can find them. These pickles are about 4″ long and about 1″ or so in diameter. The pickles are crunchy and classic-dill-delicious.
If you can’t find this particular pickle, use your own favorite – just try to find a size that matches up to these. Do not use giant whole pickles.
How to Make Pickle Roll Ups
Pickle roll ups are quick and easy to make. Follow along with my method below to get started:
- Dry the pickles and ham. Line a large rimmed pan with paper towels and set the ham and pickles on the paper towels. Pat the ham and pickles dry with another paper towel.
- Spread cream cheese on the ham slices. On a cutting board or other clean work surface, spread the cream cheese evenly over each ham slice.
- Add a pickle to each ham slice and roll. Set a pickle on top of the cream cheese, then tightly roll the pickle up in the ham (but don’t roll so tight as to cause the cream cheese to squeeze out). Cut the uneven ends off – enjoy as a bonus while you finish these up or stash them away in the fridge for later.
- Slice the pickle roll ups. For the cleanest slices, place whole pickle rolls in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill, then slice into ½” pieces. Otherwise, just slice them right away – then place the pieces on a large plate or serving platter, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips to help you make these easy ham pickle roll ups:
- Use the right size pickles. I recommend using Gedney Whole Dills (a Minnesota brand). These pickles are about 4″ long, about 1″ or so in diameter. They are super crunchy and have that classic dill flavor. If you can’t find this particular pickle, use your own favorite – just try to find a size that matches up to these. Do not use giant whole pickles, though, as the ham slices won’t be big enough to wrap around the pickles very much.
- Choose good quality ham. I prefer to use good-quality ham slices that have a bit of sturdiness to them (not ultra-thin shaved ham, for example). I steer clear of any “chopped ham” varieties, but if you like that, go ahead.
- Dry the pickles and ham. This will help the cream cheese stick to the ham when you spread it.
- Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. I prefer to use a block of regular cream cheese, as it gives the best texture for both slicing and eating. Just be sure to set it out so it comes to spreadable room temperature before you start. If you want to use whipped cream cheese, just know that while it’s super easy to spread, it does give a softer, less dense texture to the finished pickle roll ups.
- Refrigerate the pickle roll ups before serving. I recommend refrigerating the finished pickle roll ups for at least 1-2 hours prior to serving, to thoroughly chill them so they’re extra cold and refreshing. You can even make these the day before. Store them well-covered on a plate or in an airtight container in the fridge.
This is a wonderfully simple and completely snackable recipe. If you want to change it up, here are a few suggestions:
- To make a “pickle dog”: This is one of our family’s favorite Minnesota State Fair foods. To make your own Minnesota State Fair pickle dogs, replace the whole dill pickles with dill pickle spears (Gedney brand preferred) and replace the deli ham with good quality pastrami. Prepare everything the same, except do not cut the rolled-up pickle spears into slices, leave them long and whole. (See the photo above.)
- Ranch pickle roll ups: Mix the room-temperature cream cheese with dry ranch seasoning.
- Make it hot! Sprinkle some finely chopped fresh or pickled jalapeno slices over the cream cheese and roll them up with the pickle.
- Make them easier to grab: Set the pickle roll ups upright, resting on the ham, with a toothpick poked into them for easy appetizer grabbing.
- Use baby pickles and salami: Use whole baby pickles and wrap them in pieces of salami that have been spread with cream cheese.
What to Serve with Ham Pickle Roll Ups
Pickle roll ups make a perfect grab-and-go snack, appetizer, side dish, or cocktail hour nibble. Here are some of my serving suggestions for ham pickle roll ups:
- Alongside other appetizers. Fried pickles, shrimp dip, salsa, air fryer shrimp – I have so many appetizer recipes to choose from!
- At a bbq. Serve pickle roll ups at your next bbq or picnic gathering. They add a fun, flavorful crunch when served with grilled mini peppers with goat cheese, grilled margarita shrimp, beer can chicken, or turkey burgers.
- With fun entrees. These are fabulous alongside other fun dishes, such as chicken fries, chopped cheese sandwiches, sloppy joes, and chicken cheesesteak!
- Next to macaroni salad. Cold, creamy macaroni salad is a favorite with pickle roll ups. Try my Hawaiian macaroni salad, my mom’s macaroni salad with ham and cheese, or bacon ranch pasta salad.
- With cocktails. I love a salty bite with a cocktail! Some favorites that would go great with pickle roll ups include a classic mojito, classic Manhattan, or a bourbon margarita – or browse my entire collection of cocktails.
- Non-alcoholic drinks. A tall, cold glass of lemonade is a delicious, summery complement to pickle roll ups. Try my strawberry lemonade, blueberry lemonade, or blueberry basil lemonade recipes.
Can These Be Prepared in Advance?
Yes, you can make these in advance. In fact, I highly suggest this, to let them get super chilled.
You can make pickle roll ups a few hours ahead of time, or even the day before. Place them on a serving tray or plate, cover them tightly with plastic, wrap and store them in the fridge. Or just store them in an airtight container.
What to do with Pickle Juice
My sister Jessica would never think of throwing out an ounce of dill pickle juice. It’s a probiotic powerhouse – she drinks it straight!
But if drinking pickle juice isn’t your thing, here are a few other ways to use it:
- As a marinade. Marinate chicken wings in the pickle juice before grilling or frying.
- Pickle other things. Add hard boiled eggs, sliced cucumbers, or blanched green beans to a jar of pickle juice.
- Add to soups. This makes a flavorful addition to bacon cheeseburger soup, booyah, and tomato bisque.
- Add to other sauces. Add pickle juice to barbecue sauce, tartar sauce, or cocktail sauce in place of plain vinegar.
- For potato salad. Boil potatoes in the pickle juice before making dill pickle potato salad.
- In cocktails. Add pickle juice to a bloody mary or martini. Or use pickle juice instead of lemon juice for a fun twist on a whiskey sour!
- Freeze it. Freeze pickle juice in ice cube trays to chill your bloody mary.
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- 8 whole dill pickles (see Notes below)
- 8 slices good quality deli ham (see Notes below)
- 8 ounces (1 block) regular cream cheese, at spreadable room temperature (see Notes below)
- Line a large rimmed pan with paper towels and set the ham out in a single layer. Pat the ham dry with another paper towel.
- Add the pickles to a dry area of paper towels and pat them dry with another paper towel.
- On a cutting board or other clean work surface, using a butter knife, spread the cream cheese evenly over each ham slice. I aim for about 1½ tablespoons of cream cheese per ham slice, but the amount may differ depending on the size of your ham slices and your own personal preference.
- Set each pickle on top of the cream cheese, on a short side of each ham slice.
- Tightly roll each pickle up in the ham (but don't roll so tight as to cause the cream cheese to squeeze out). Cut the uneven ends off - enjoy as a bonus while you finish these up or stash them away in the fridge for later.
- For the cleanest slices, place whole pickle rolls in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple hours, then slice into ½" pieces. Otherwise, just slice them right away - then place the pieces on a large plate or serving platter, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve: I do recommend refrigerating the finished pickle roll ups for at least 1-2 hours prior to serving, to thoroughly chill them so they're extra cold and refreshing. It also helps to start with chilled pickles. You can even make these the day before.
For the dill pickles: I recommend Gedney Whole Dills (a Minnesota brand). These pickles are crunchy and classic-dill-delicious. They're about 4" long, about 1" or so in diameter - a great size for making pickle roll ups. If you can't find this particular pickle, use your own favorite - just try to find a size that matches up to these. Do not use giant whole pickles.
For the ham: I recommend using good quality ham slices that have a bit of sturdiness to them (not ultra thin shaved ham, for example). I steer clear of any "chopped ham" varieties.
For the cream cheese: I use a block of regular cream cheese. While whipped cream cheese is easier to spread, I prefer the thicker texture of a cream cheese block for both slicing and eating. Just be sure to set out the block so it comes to spreadable room temperature before you start.
To make a "pickle dog": This is a favorite eat that we enjoy at the Minnesota State Fair. Just replace the whole dill pickles with dill pickle spears (Gedney brand preferred, but not required) and replace the deli ham with good quality pastrami slices. Prepare everything the same, except do not cut the rolled up pickle spear into slices - leave it long and whole. (See the photo in my post, under "Variations")
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 124Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 611mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.