Ham and Cheese Crescent Rolls

A platter of baked ham and cheese crescent rolls with an orange and striped dish towel beside it.

5 from 2 reviews

Homemade Ham and Cheese Rolls that are soft and fluffy will win the show at any upcoming party. These crescent rolls made from scratch and wrapped around black forest ham and Swiss cheese will be the talk of the town. The perfect buttery go-to appetizers are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.



Homemade Bread Dough

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening, heaping
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 packages Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 cup warm Water
  • 2 Eggs, slightly beaten
  • Approximately 78 cups Flour, more for kneading

Ham and Cheese Crescent Rolls

  • 1/2 cup Melted Butter, extra for brushing on baked rolls
  • 23 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 2 lbs Sandwich Sliced Black Forest Ham
  • 1 1/2 lb Block of Swiss Cheese (cut into 4 inches lengthwise and 1/23/4 inch widthwise-squared)


  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, shortening, salt, and boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
  • In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 cup lukewarm water (105-115°F). Stir until dissolved. Set in a warm place (microwave works great) for 10-15 minutes until the yeast has risen and the foam is doubled in size.
  • Add the beaten eggs and yeast mixture into the melted shortening mixture. Make sure the shortening mixture has cooled to room temperature.
  • Stir in 5 cups of flour. Continue to add the remaining flour one cup at a time. At this point, I use my hands to fully combine the ingredients. The texture of the dough should be somewhat sticky but firm enough to work with.
  • Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Continue adding small amounts of flour to the surface as necessary when the dough becomes sticky again.
  • Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, bounces back when pressed with your fingers, and is no longer sticky.
  • Butter a large mixing bowl along with the ball of dough using the 2 tablespoons of butter. Cover with a dishtowel and place in a warm area. A microwave or oven works great (see notes). Let rise for 1 hour.
  • Punch down the dough and divide it into two large balls. Roll out each ball to a large circle about 19-inches in diameter. It should shrink back to 17 or 18 inches.
  • Generously brush the rolled-out dough with melted butter and sprinkle with Italian Seasoning.
  • Using a pizza cutter, cut the circle like a pizza, making 16 triangular wedges with each circle. A total of 32 with both balls.
  • Fold a piece of sliced ham into thirds and lay it lengthwise onto a piece of sliced dough. Add a cube of Swiss cheese widthwise across the ham.
  • Roll each triangular bread dough wedge starting with the ham and cheese from the wide end. Tuck the pointed end under the roll. Continue with each piece of dough.
  • Place the crescent rolls onto an un-greased cookie sheet with 2 inches between each roll. Brush more butter on the outside and sprinkle with more Italian seasoning.
  • Cover with a dishtowel and set in a warm place. Let rise for one more hour until the rolls have doubled in size.
  • While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Bake the rolls until golden brown, approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Brush melted butter on the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.
  • ENJOY!


  • Over-kneading will cause the bread to be tough and chewy. Under-kneading gives more of a flat-looking loaf with a dense texture. Eight to ten minutes is a pretty good marker for how much time is needed.
  • Before kneading, the dough is sticky and messy. Sprinkle some flour on the work surface and begin the kneading process.  To prevent the dough from sticking to the surface or your hands, sprinkle with more flour as needed.
  • How to know if the kneading is complete: There are a few different tests to see if the dough is ready to rest and rise.
    • The Window Pane Test. Pull a small ball (about the size of a golfball) from the dough and hold it between your thumbs and fingers. Stretch it outward into a thin and translucent sheet. If it does not break, the gluten is well-developed and the kneading process is done. If it pulls apart, it needs some more kneading time.
    • The Poke Test. Give the dough a firm poke with your finger then release. If the indentation bounces back right away, you’re good to go. If the dimple from the indentation does not fill back up, it’s time for a little more kneading.
    • The Smooth and Shiny Test. When kneading is finished, your ball of dough will have a firm texture with a smooth and shiny surface.
  • Temperature and moisture are the keys to a rising dough. A good external temperature should be around 76°.
    • Put a bowl of water into the microwave and heat it until it’s slightly boiling. Carefully exchange the bowl of water for your bread dough bowl.
    • Another option is to turn your oven to 200°F for two minutes and then immediately turn it off. Place the bowl in the middle section of the oven.
  • Punching down the risen dough deflates it and releases the built-up air so that you can roll it out and form it into the desired shapes. Knead it two or three times before rolling it out. Then form it into two separate balls.
  • Place the round ball in the center of a lightly floured work surface and press down with your hand to flatten it out. With a rolling pin, begin in the center and roll outward in all directions.
  • A pizza cutter works great to cut the dough into pizza-sliced shapes. Cut the circle in half, then half again. Continue to cut each piece in half again until you end up with 16 slices of buttered dough.
  • Can you freeze the dough? Yes. Freeze it before the first rise. Once you knead the bread, place the dough on a parchment-covered baking sheet covered and freeze it for one hour. Remove it from the freezer, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and place it in a ziplock freezer bag. Return the dough to the freezer where it can be stored for up to one month.
  • Pull the frozen dough out of the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Place the dough in a buttered bowl to rise for the first time. It will take extra time for the dough to double in size, probably twice as long. Punch it down, roll it out and shape the rolls then let it rise a second time. Continue following the recipe as above.
  • Can you freeze baked Ham and Cheese Rolls? Yes. Bake as directed and let cool. Place the rolls on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for one hour until frozen. Take them out and place them in ziplock freezer bags. The baked rolls will store in the freezer for up to three months.


Keywords: ham and cheese crescent rolls, homemade crescent rolls, ham and cheese rolls, crescent roll ham and cheese

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