Easy Make-Ahead Ham & Cheese Hawaiian Sliders

Make-Ahead Ham & Cheese Hawaiian Sliders are the perfect meal for game day, picnics, potlucks, or easy weeknight dinners! They are simple to make and only take 20 minutes to heat in the oven!! Definitely one of our family’s favorite freezer meals!!

Close up shot of make-ahead ham & cheese hawaiian sliders stacked on a tray.

Easy Make-Ahead Ham & Cheese Hawaiian Roll Sliders

These tasty make-ahead sliders are my go-to easy freezer meal pick for potlucks, picnics, family get-togethers – really anytime I need to take food for a crowd!

They are so easy to make, can be prepared in large batches, and they are out of this world delicious! Time and time again they have proven to be a successful crowd favorite.

There is just something uniquely delicious about the combination of salty ham, melted Swiss cheese, and tangy honey mustard sauce all wrapped in warm, sweet Hawaiian rolls that will have you, or your guests, craving more!

They also make for an easy weeknight dinner.

But the best part, for me as a busy mom, is that no kid has ever complained about having to eat these “mini sandwiches” – not even once – so that is a HUGE win at my house!

Overhead shot of ingredients for making make-ahead sliders.

Ingredients for Make Ahead Sliders

There are a couple of options for this easy recipe, but let’s start with the basics.

For these make-ahead sandwiches, you’ll need:

  • Hawaiian sweet rolls – I’ve used the brand name (King’s Hawaiian) and also several grocery store versions of sweet rolls before, and both have worked well. I don’t recommend trying to substitute dinner rolls here though.
  • deli ham – thin sliced is better. I’ve used honey ham and black forest ham – either works great! You can even use slices of leftover ham too if you’re looking for ways to use up leftovers.
  • sliced Swiss cheese
  • honey mustard salad dressing – you can use a plain honey mustard here or even a dijon mustard if you prefer a more tangy taste. We just like the extra sweetness that the salad dressing lends.

For the delicious buttery sauce on top of the rolls, you’ll need:

  • melted butter
  • dry minced onions
  • course-ground or stone-ground mustard
  • poppy seeds (optional)
Process collage showing how to cut the rolls for make ahead sliders.

Preparing Your Hawaiian Sweet Roll Sliders

To start, remove any packaging from your slider rolls and carefully slice horizontally through the entire bunch. (Use a long bread knife or other serrated knife for best results, and be very careful not to cut yourself!)

You will then have one large top piece and one large bottom piece.

Gently separate your top and bottom pieces and lay them side by side.

Next, spread your dressing on both the top half of the rolls AND the bottom half of the rolls.

Substitution Tip

You can use a bottle of regular honey mustard here if you prefer. My family likes the honey mustard salad dressing because it is just a little sweeter.

Overhead process collage of the cheese and meat layers for make ahead sliders.

Next, lay out your pieces of cheese to cover your bread, again on both halves of the rolls. This will help protect the sliders from soaking up moisture from the meat and becoming too soggy.

Next comes the ham. Layer it on the bottom half of your rolls only.

I use an entire package, but you may opt to add less (or more) depending on your personal preferences.

Pro Tip

If you are making these sliders for a potluck or outdoor picnic, you can fold the ham into smaller pieces to align with the individual rolls. This will make it so that the sandwiches can easily be pulled apart without as much cutting.

When we make these for home, I just lay the full slices of both meat and cheese on and then cut the sandwiches once they come out of the oven.

Once you have added the ham, gently flip your top portion of the rolls (with the cheese on it) and lay it over your bottom section, lining up the two halves as best you can.

Overhead process shot showing the final steps of putting the make ahead sliders together.

Making Hawaiian Sliders Ahead of Time

To prepare these easy sliders as a freezer meal, your next step is to carefully pic up your giant “sandwich” and place it in a 9×13 dish that can go into the freezer.

Pro Tip

I prefer to use aluminum steam table pans for this meal. They are 9×13 and about 3 inches deep. I find mine at Sam’s Club. But if you’re not a Sam’s Club member or don’t have one close by, you can find them online or at most restaurant supply stores. I’ve also seen them at dollar stores and Walmart, often labeled as a “roaster” pan.

If you want to skip the freezer and just make these right now (and who wouldn’t, I mean, really?), place them in a 9×13 prepared baking dish lined with aluminum foil. Or use a steam table tray here, too.

Make the butter sauce for the top of your sliders by melting your butter in a small bowl and then gently stirring in the minced onions, course-ground mustard, and poppy seeds (if you are using them).

Overhead shot showing how to add butter topping to the make ahead sliders.

Use a pastry brush or silicone basting brush to spread the butter mixture all over the tops of the rolls.

Make sure not to leave any of that buttery deliciousness in the bowl – you want it ALL on those sandwiches, every last drop!

If you don’t have time or space to freeze them, you can also choose to make these easy sliders a day in advance and store them in the refrigerator and then bake the next day.

Make ahead sliders in a freezer container with label and heating instructions.

Freezing Your Make-Ahead Ham & Swiss Sliders

Now, simply cover your dish and label!

Sam’s Club also sells these aluminum lids for the steam table trays, but you can also just use regular ol’ aluminum foil and they will do just fine. No need to get fancy.

Be sure to include the date and reheating instructions if you are putting them in the freezer!

Your ham & cheese sliders will live happily in your freezer for up to 2 months. But once you tasted them, you’ll probably never have to worry about them staying around that long…

A pile of warm make-ahead ham & cheese sliders in a tray ready for a party.

Heating your Make Ahead Hawaiian Roll Sandwiches

When you’re ready to feast, pull your tray of sliders out of the freezer and allow it to thaw in your refrigerator overnight. (These do MUCH better heated from thawed – I do not recommend trying to heat directly from frozen.)

The next day, simply pop the tray of sliders into the oven and bake, covered, in a preheated oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-25 minutes.

If you are skipping the freezing, then cover your slider sandwiches with a layer of aluminum foil and bake directly after preparing them. Same time and temperature as above.

Suggestions for Customizing

Although I used a lot of pictures to help show basic steps, these sliders really only take a few minutes to make!

Don’t be afraid to make some tweaks to this basic slider recipe – there are lots of different variations you could try, including:

  • Turkey & cheddar – either as written or swap out the honey mustard sauce with pesto.
  • Roast beef & cheddar – swap out the honey mustard sauce for horseradish. Yum!
  • Chicken, bacon, & cheddar – use ranch dressing in place of the honey mustard.
  • Thanksgiving sliders – use sliced turkey and add a layer of cranberry sauce between the cheese and meat (so it is not touching the rolls directly).

And if you aren’t a fan on onions, replace the minced onions in the topping with a dash of onion powder and a bit of Worcestershire sauce.

Make ahead hawaiian sweet roll sliders on a tray at an outdoor picnic.

Sliders for One or Two

For a smaller freezer meal if you’re only cooking for one or two people, you can make these as written and then split the rolls into two smaller trays.

Check your grocery store or local dollar store as I’ve often had good luck finding trays that were about half the size of the 9x13s, which work perfectly for a half sheet of the sliders.

Another option is to make the full tray of sliders but then portion them into individual sandwiches. Store them in airtight containers. You can reheat in the microwave or use the air fryer for a crispier option.

FAQs

Can I make sliders ahead of time and refrigerate them?

Yes, you can make them up to 24 hours in advance and keep them refrigerated. Just make sure to wrap them tightly in foil or store them in an airtight container to maintain freshness. You don’t want to make them more than 24 hours in advance as the quality will go downhill quickly and you risk getting sad, soggy sliders instead of toasty, melty goodness.

Can I freeze make-ahead sliders?

Yes, you can! I know it seems counter-intuitive, and that everything in you is screaming that there is no way these frozen sliders will be anything but a soggy and sad mess. But TRUST ME! If you follow the steps above, you will get delicious make-ahead sliders that turn out golden brown and toasty! I can’t explain the magic. (Well, I could, but you didn’t come here for a science lesson…) Just trust me on this one. Make a tray and try it out for yourself!

Can I use regular dinner rolls instead of Hawaiian sweet rolls?

While you can technically use dinner rolls or even potato rolls as a substitute, the sweetness and soft texture of the Hawaiian rolls give these sliders and distinct flavor and appeal that you cannot get with other rolls, so I don’t recommend this particular substitution.

If you like these Hawaiian Sweet Roll Sliders, check out this recipe for Prep-Ahead Teriyaki Sliders with Broccoli Slaw for an interesting option – my family LOVES them!

Close up of a ham and cheese hawaiian sweet roll slider.

Make Ahead Ham & Cheese Hawaiian Sliders

Servings: 12 sliders
Course: Freezer Meal Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
These Make-Ahead Ham & Cheese Hawaiian Sliders are the perfect meal for game day, picnics, potlucks, or easy weeknight dinners! They are simple to make and only take 20 minutes to heat in the oven!! Definitely one of our family’s favorite freezer meals!!
4.4 from 85 votes
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EQUIPMENT

  • Aluminum Steam Table Trays

INGREDIENTS
 

  • 1 package Hawaiian sweet rolls
  • 9 oz deli ham thin sliced
  • 10 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup honey mustard salad dressing or honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons butter , melted
  • 1 teaspoon dry minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon course-ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Remove rolls from package, lay flat, and slice in two (so you have one single top piece and one bottom piece). Separate and lay side by side. Spread with dressing.
  • Layer Swiss cheese slices over both sections of sandwiches, covering as much as possible.
  • Layer ham over the bottom section of sandwiches. Carefully pick up top and flip over onto bottom section. Place sandwich rolls into aluminum pan. (Or if baking fresh, place into foil lined 9×13 dish.)
  • In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir. Brush or pour over tops of sandwiches.

TO FREEZE:

  • Cover aluminum pan tightly with lid or aluminum foil. Label (be sure to include reheating instructions.) Place in freezer and store up to two months.

TO REHEAT:

  • Thaw overnight in refrigerator (skip this step if cooking from fresh).
  • Bake in 375F oven, covered, for 20-25 minutes until centers are heated through and cheese has melted.

NOTES

For a smaller freezer meal if you’re only cooking for one or two people, make these as written and then split the rolls in half and place in two separate trays.
Another option is to make the full tray of sliders and then portion them into individual sandwiches before reheating.  Store them in airtight containers in the freezer.  Thaw and then and reheat in the microwave or use the air fryer for a crispier option.

NUTRITION

Serving: 2sliders | Calories: 154kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 357mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 176IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 130mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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38 Comments

  1. Hi! How can I keep these warm at an outdoor picnic after baking them at home ? Any tips are deeply appreciated 🙏

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