With just five ingredients, you can whip up our favorite easy lunch: Ham and Cheese Stromboli. We take frozen bread or pizza dough, layer it up with salty ham, gooey white American cheese, and then roll it up and bake. Simplicity at its finest, and oh-so cheesy.
HAM AND CHEESE STROMBOLI
There are few things better in life than a classic gooey and crispy ham and cheese melt. Unless it’s a Ham and Cheese Stromboli, which is infinitely better.
Our Italian Stromboli has become so popular, I decided to share my Mother-in-Law’s other Stromboli recipe as well. Which I should have done in the first place, because in her house, one does not come without the other.
And if we’re being totally honest, this version is my favorite. There’s just something super comforting about warm ham combined with the melty, gooey wonderfulness that is white American cheese. Pair it with a crispy, crunchy exterior, and a soft center, and I’m DONE.
What we love most about her Ham and Cheese Stromboli is it’s the perfect lunch to throw together with very little effort, pleases kiddos and adults alike, and if you have a big family, feeds a crowd.
And did we mention it’s only five ingredients???
Let’s do it.
INGREDIENTS IN HAM AND CHEESE STROMBOLI
Dough. My mother-in-law always uses this frozen bread dough, which is found at pretty much any grocery store. It’s perfect, the only caveat is it takes quite a bit of time to defrost. If you can remember to pull it out and defrost it in the fridge overnight, you’re good to go. I’m super guilty of not planning ahead very well, so if you’re anything like me, you can swap out the frozen bread dough for refrigerated pizza dough, no big deal.
Ham. When we’re using only a few ingredients, it’s important you try to get good-quality stuff. I always try to use Boar’s Head Black Forrest Ham when making this Ham and Cheese Stromboli. If I’m trying to watch nitrates and get something a little more natural, I’ll go with their simplicity line.
If you like an element of sweet and salty, you could also use a honey ham.
Cheese. My husband’s family has turned me on to the beauty of white American cheese. Honestly, I didn’t even know the stuff existed before I met him. All I knew was the yellow Kraft American cheese I grew up with. White American cheese can be found behind the deli counter, and again, I recommend using Boar’s Head for the best quality.
Basil. Just a little bit of dried basil on the inside of the Stromboli and the outside adds just a little bit of an herb-y kick we love.
Egg. To get that sheen and crispy golden exterior, you’ll need to brush the outside with a little egg wash. All you need is one egg plus a little bit of water.
LET’S MAKE HAM AND CHEESE STROMBOLI
Defrost the dough. As we mentioned before, if you’re using frozen bread dough, you’ll want to pull it out overnight. Transfer it to a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough defrost in the fridge overnight. Pull it out two hours before you’re ready to assemble and bake, so it can rise a little bit at room temperature.
If you’re using refrigerated pizza dough, simply lest the dough rest for 15 minutes at room temperature before removing from the bag and rolling out.
Roll out the dough. Sprinkle a large surface with a little bit of flour. Flour a rolling pin. Gently roll out the dough to form an 8×13 rectangle. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Transfer the dough back to the parchment lined baking sheet. (You can also just leave the dough on the parchment and roll it out on there as well.)
Layer ‘er up! Start with a layer of ham from edge to edge. Cover with cheese. Lay another layer of ham on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with dried basil. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper.
Roll! Tightly roll up jelly-roll style. Pinch the edges to seal. I like to pinch the ends to seal and then fold under a little bit so the roll looks uniform.
Bake. Cut three or four slits in the top of the ham and cheese stromboli to let the steam escape. Whisk egg and water together. Take a pastry brush and brush the top and sides with egg wash. Sprinkle with more basil, salt and pepper. Pop in the oven and bake until golden brown, crisp, and cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.
Rest! It’s really important to let the Stromboli rest before cutting. Otherwise the cheese will just ooze out immediately.
CAN I PREPARE ITALIAN STROMBOLI IN ADVANCE?
Yes! You can prepare the Italian Stromboli up to baking. Place on the sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. Unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend making it from start to finish ahead of time, as it’s best served pretty quickly after resting from the oven.
If you do have leftovers, just zap them in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. They will lose the crunch factor, but they will still be cheesy and delish.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Be sure your dough is completely defrosted and risen before assembling.
- Layer on the meats! Make this a club by adding sliced turkey and crispy bacon. The more stuffing, the better!
- If you don’t have dried basil, you can also use dried Italian seasoning or thyme.
- If you don’t have eggs for an egg wash, no big deal!
- Feel free to use yellow American, Swiss or provolone instead of white American cheese. You just want to make sure it’s a cheese that melts nicely.
- Use a serrated knife to slice the ham and cheese Stromboli. If you use a regular chef’s knife, you risk smashing the Stromboli.
IF YOU’RE LOVING THIS RECIPE, DON’T MISS THESE!
- This French take on a classic ham sandwich is one of our favorite of all time -the Jambon Beurre. We take good-quality ham, brie, and butter and nestle it between a baguette and plenty of pepper arugula. A classic!
- Another one of our favorite easy lunches for grownups and kiddos are these Pizza Poppers. Completely addictive.
- We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our Margherita Grilled Cheese – if you haven’t tried this yet, you MUST.
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED
- Our favorite baking sheets. We also love these for a more affordable option.
- This is BY FAR the best serrated knife on the planet. We’ve had it for nine years and it’s still as good as new.
- Parchment paper
- We use a Pastry Brushh for so many reasons, so it’s always good to have one on hand.
- 1 lb frozen bread dough or refrigerator pizza dough
- 3/4 lb good-quality deli black forrest ham
- 8 slices white american cheese (from the deli counter)
- 1 tsp dried basil, plus more for garnish
- 1 egg + 1 tbsp water
- baking sheet
- If defrosting, pull out the bread dough the night before and follow instructions to defrost.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lightly dust a large working surface as well as a rolling pin. Roll the dough out to a rectangle 8x13 inches long. Transfer the dough to the parchment covered baking sheet.
- Lay ham across the dough. Layer cheese on top. Cover with another layer of ham. Sprinkle with basil. Season with a little bit of salt and black pepper.
- Tightly roll up the dough, jelly-roll style. Tucks the ends over and pinch eveyrthing closed. (You can also brush the edges with egg wash to help them seal. Cut three slits in the top of the stromboli. Take a pastry brush and brush the top with egg wash. Sprinkle with more dried basil and plenty of salt and pepper.
- Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Let the stromboli rest for 5 minutes before gently slicing with a serrated knife. Serve right away.