These Ham and Cheese Soft Pretzel Sliders are the perfect finger food for your tailgate party on game day. Everyone loves a good soft pretzel bun!
Can you feel it in the air? Football is right around the corner! Only a few more days! By now, you probably know where you’ll be watching the games, but do you know what you’ll be eating? Or, better yet, what dish will you be making to impress your friends? Because we all know that football is really all about the food…right?
Every year we host a Super Bowl party and I keep joking to our friends they had better bring some good food to share! I should probably stop, as I’m just raising the bar for myself! Our typical spread includes my favorite white cheese dip with chips, buffalo chicken bites, oven-fried pickles and some sort of sweets with lots of drinks. And, when I say “typical” I mean that at least one of these dishes will appear. Then, I always have to try new recipes in search of new favorites. When asking for suggestions from Ben for what kind of new recipes I should add to our football menu, he immediately responded that whatever it is, it needs to go well with beer. I think he said it like this, “For the Super Bowl, everyone wants food that goes with beer.” After chuckling at him for a few minutes, I realized he was quite serious, so that’s how I came up with this idea for Ham and Cheese Soft Pretzel Sliders. Soft pretzels and beer are always a perfect pair. And with ham, cheese and mustard sandwiched in between? Can you say, “TOUCHDOWN!”??
I used my favorite soft pretzel dough recipe to make these little sliders. The best thing about this dough? You can easily prep them in advance (baked and all!) and then store them in the freezer until game day. Once game day arrives, just pop them in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes and they’re just as good as fresh! These sliders are really great for any party. You can easily change up their festive look by finding banner toothpicks (as pictured here) to match any occasion. I bought these cute little football flags two years ago when they were on clearance right after that year’s Super Bowl, then finally unpacked them this year from our storage unit just in time for this season’s game! Score!
Wherever you are watching the game, try to take these little sliders with you. Make the pretzels today, so on game-day all you need to do is warm them back up, slice them in half, and stuff them with your favorite deli meat and cheese. Broil them for a few minutes if you choose to serve them extra warm and somewhat crispy (as I prefer). Then, watch your friends scarf them down! They’ll be paying no attention to the game, and every bit of attention on trying to grab the last roll! Other game day dishes you can try:
Now, for the slider recipe:
- 4 Tablespoons butter , melted
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt , plus more for topping
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
- 22 ounces (about 4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil (nonstick) spray, for pan and bowl
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cups baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk , beaten with 1 Tablespoon water (for egg wash)
- Thinly sliced deli ham (I used Black-Forest)
- Thinly sliced deli cheese (I used Swiss)
- Mustard (I used a fancy mustard from a jar)
- Optional: unsalted butter and garlic salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, sugar, salt and 1 1/2 cups warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Add the flour and mix with the dough hook attachment on low speed. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl, wipe the bowl and then spray with the vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, turning once to cover both sides with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with vegetable oil; set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan or stock pot, then add the baking soda.
Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface or pastry mat. Divide into 24 equal large pieces (about 1.5 oz each). Shape each into a ball, then gently roll to form a slight football shape. Place onto the parchment lined baking sheets.
Working with six pretzels at a time, boil each pretzel for 30 seconds. Use a large slotted spoon or spatula to remove from the water and return to the pan. Brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash then sprinkle with kosher or pretzel salt. Use a sharp knife to gently score a vertical line in the center of each dough ball.
Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes.
(At this point, you can freeze the pretzel rolls after cooling to room temperature. When ready to serve, rewarm in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, then continue with the next steps.)
Preheat oven to broil. Slice each pretzel roll in half and place open-faced on a baking sheet. Lightly butter the top side and sprinkle with garlic salt (optional). On the bottom half, layer a small thin slice of ham and top with a small thin slice of cheese. Repeat with as many of the pretzel rolls you can fit on a baking sheet. Broil, open-faced, for about 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the pretzels are crispy. Remove from oven, let cool until able to handle then spread a little bit of mustard on each top roll and close the sandwiches. Place on serving platter. Repeat with remaining rolls. Serve immediately.
Recipe Note: The more fresh the soft pretzels are when you freeze them, the better. Freeze up to 1 month. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes (until heated through).