Kids Week: Homemade Hot Pockets

Okay, I have a confession to make. Yeah, yeah, I’m all Miss I-Do-This-Whole-Food-Blogging-Thing and I really do love to cook. But I hate, hate, hate (I’m THRICE using the word “hate” here) figuring out what to feed my kids for lunch.

I found out I was pregnant with my son right after I graduated from college, so up until that point, I had always either taken leftovers to school/work for lunch or I just got something to eat on campus. So after he was born and particularly once he started eating, like, REAL people food, lunch became something I dreaded, particularly since he was (and still is, but not as bad as he used to be) an extremely picky eater. PB&J, mac and cheese, and the occasional chicken nuggets made me feel really guilty, and since I usually eat what my kids are eating, I got really sick of the usual toddler rotation.
Well, I was asked to bring a snack for his class at church. Because they ate their snacks at kind of an awkward time, I wanted to make sure they were getting enough “good stuff” to last them another couple of hours until lunchtime, but I also wanted it to be kid-friendly. I set out to make filled breadsticks, but they actually came out more like Hot Pockets. And since I find the idea of Hot Pockets ingenious, but the actual Hot Pockets themselves vile and unfit for human consumption, I fell in love with the idea of having these in my freezer and then being able to heat them up for a quick lunch. And Mr. Pickypants? He loves these, too.
I filled these ones with ham and cheddar, but you could do any other kid-friendly combo. For grown-ups, you could do steamed broccoli, Italian dressing-marinated and grilled chicken, and mozzarella cheese or roast beef and Swiss. You can also add salad dressings in there for flavor but quite honestly, I’ve tried it a couple of times and the dressing seems to get lost in the sandwich somewhere. If you love the idea of using some kind of dressing or condiment, I think you’re better off dipping the sandwich after it’s been baked.
Now…the OTHER thing I love (but didn’t have a chance to make) is breakfast pockets. They’re pretty much individual servings of Sara’s Easy Breakfast Crescent Braid, only you roll it up the way I’ll show you here. Basically, instead of ham and cheese, layer some almost-completely cooked scrambled eggs, cooked bacon or sausage, shredded cheddar, and then bake it up. I can’t tell you HOW many times I made a PB&J for my son to eat for breakfast (shut it…he can’t take cereal in the car! πŸ™‚ ) on the way to preschool only to find that he’d pulled the bread apart, licked the peanut butter off, and had jam all over his hands and peanut butter all over his face. The breakfast pockets, on the other hand, can’t be quite so easily dissembled so the tastiest portions can be removed.
Homemade Hot Pockets
Desired fillings (I used about 6-8 oz. of ham and 4-6 oz. sharp cheddar)
Prepare dough through the first rise. After dough has risen the first time, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle, probably about 16×8 inches big (16 inches long, 8 inches tall). Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 8 equal portions.

Leaving a little bit of a “margin” on the right and left sides, add toppings with the cheese going on last. Stretch the dough out a little to give yourself a bit more dough to work with. Fold the left side over the middle and then the right side over that. Starting at the bottom of the “mummy,” tightly roll the filled dough, stretching it very gently as you go to make sure you’re getting a tight seal. Place on a sprayed cookie sheet and repeat with remaining dough. When finished, cover the pan with a clean cloth and preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
When oven has heated, bake pockets for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. For shine, you could brush the tops with a bit of egg white mixed with water during the last 5 minutes of baking, or you could rub a little butter on top of the rolls while they’re still hot.

And honestly, these are just as good not-hot as they are straight from the oven, so if you or your honey are looking for something to take to work and eat for lunch but don’t have access to a microwave, these will still be pretty darn good!

Bake according to directions and allow to cool. Place in a Ziploc freezer bag, squeezing out all the air. When ready to serve, just pop in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (depending on how fast your microwave cooks).

Other Posts from Kids Week:
Hand-Tossed Ice Cream
Frozen Pudding Pops
Edible Playdough and Finger Paint


  1. Oh my goodness, those look good. If it wasn't 10pm I would get started on a batch. I, too, like the idea of Hot Pockets but not the nastiness that is the commercial ones. This would also be perfect for my picky hubby who doesn't do sandwiches, or leftovers, for lunch but loves Hot Pockets.

  2. Breakfast is actually the hardest meal for my kiddos–so I love, love, love (yes–thrice 'love), the thought of PBJ for b-fast!! GENIUS!

  3. What a good idea. Dale loves hot pockets, and Will is loving ham right now, so between the two of them, I'm sure these would get eaten! Thanks Kate!

  4. Genius! I'll definitely have to try these babies out. My 18 month old isn't really a picky eater, but has the same tendency as yours – pull apart the PB&J to get the good stuff. And as for my hubby – those days of "I'll just run to Sonic for lunch" are OVER! Homemade Hot Pockets – HERE WE COME!

  5. Can't wait to try them out on the family! I can even envision a dessert version with a fruity filling and a cream cheese glaze…

  6. I also dread lunch time for my toddler & myself. These will be great to keep in the freezer with our mini meatballs & sausage balls.

  7. These look easy to make (especially with a bread machine!) and would be yummy too. My 3 year old could even help with them! Great idea!

    melacan at hotmail dot com

  8. Lunch is hard enough just for me! I'm not quite ready to thinking about feeding 2 more little mouths πŸ™‚

    But as always, these look super yummy!

  9. I think I'll add the kids initials to these (dough, on top). Anything with their initials, they'll at least try.

    And, AMEN to the hot pockets comment. I remember being so upset that my mom wouldn't buy them. I thought they would be SO good. Then, I tried one. Gag! It amazes me that they sell enough of them to actually keep making them.

  10. I've made something like this with pepperoni and mozzarella (a bit like stromboli?). The ham and cheese ones I've made with bread dough which I don't particularly love so I can't wait to try the pizza dough! Oh we ventured out on our own with banana-pb-chocolate pudding pops and lemon-strawberry pudding pops. Both were not too bad. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  11. Anything i can make ahead of time and pop in the freezer for the daycare lunches is a good idea πŸ™‚ I'll put some of these together this weekend and see how it goes!


  12. For the life of me, I cant figure out how to make any kind of homemade dough come out right, I will be making these with Pillsbury biscuit dough. πŸ™‚

  13. I love that one day of labored cooking = a week, at least, of tasty lunches ready to go in the freezer. Thanks for the great idea with lots and lots of variety.

  14. I've been making these lately (with normal bread dough) and they have been a lifesaver. My fav adult filling is a southwest chicken. (on my food blog) I need to try with the breadstick dough….cause I know the breadsticks are yum!

  15. These look delish! Thanks for sharing all your ingenious ideas with all us non-creative food folks (like me)!

  16. Jen, I should've been more specific (and thanks for reminding me–I put it in the instructions)! πŸ™‚ Anyway, yeah, just go ahead and bake them and when they're cool, place them in a Ziploc freezer bag and squeeze all the air out. When you're ready to eat them, just pop 'em in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and you're good to go!

  17. Those look delicious! If they are as good as the pizza bites you posted a while back I will be making them often.

  18. What a great idea! I also have two very picky kids who about 90% of the time don't eat what I make. I'm excited to give these a try.

  19. We make homemade pizza once a week so I am excited to mix it up and try a new variation!! Maybe tonight for dinner in fact!

  20. What a great way to mix things up. My toddler doesn't particularly care for sandwiches and ends up eating a lot of the sandwich components individually: string cheese, lunch meat, crackers, etc. This will be something new to try! [Not to mention that my husband also loves hot pockets!]

  21. What a great recipe. I gag at the thought of Hot Pockets, but these I could do. I'm always scared of making my own dough though. I think I need to go check out how you do it.

  22. I make a turkey stromboli rolling the entire length of dough up and cooking it in the oven. These look even better because it's like your own pint sized serving. Delicious!

  23. I too hate lunch time. ugh.

    We're having pizza for dinner tonight, so I think some of the dough will be re-purposed to try these, they look great!

  24. I'm glad to know these freeze well. I've always wanted to try freezing homemade hot pockets, but wasn't sure how they would be when microwaved after being frozen.

    tari.mcdonald @ gmail . com

  25. what a great idea! My sister in law is pregnant and has been eating hot pockets a lot. I keep telling her how they're full of chemicals but she says they're easy. Now I can make some for her that will be healthier and not be so full of preservatives and stuff I can't pronounce.

  26. Will definitely be trying these! I think even my Mr. PickyPants will like these (as long as they have cheese). Thanks for sharing!

  27. Lunch time really is the worst. I've been meaning to make some hot pockets. Your post gave me the boost I needed. Thanks!

  28. I totally relate to what you say about lunch time and eating kids food. I have ups and down with this. Currnetly I'm taking it easy by packing a small smoothie, cheese stick, granola bar, fresh fruit, maybe a little sandwich, yogurt and those sort of things. Everybody's happy.

  29. What an easy way to change things up, you could even change up the fillings so that doesn't get old. thanks for the idea.

  30. I do something similar. I use a cream cheese/ranch mixture and spread it inside, then the ham and cheese. We call them "ham roll-ups". Always yumm-o for little ones! I'm LOVING the freezer idea. Thanks.

  31. These look really good. I was just wondering if it would be ok to use the pillsbury pre-made pizza dough for those of us who are too busy (lazy) to make homemade dough?!

  32. YOurs look WAY better than my first attempts. Thanks for a better recipe than the one I conjured up a few months ago and lost my faith in.

  33. I totally hear ya about hating lunch time. These look tasty. I love the idea of having them in the freezer and just popping them in the microwave.

  34. I think I'm about to become my son's hero. He begs for hot pockets and thinks his friends houses are so cool to have them. Can't wait to try!

  35. It's so nice to know that other people (especially foodies such as yourselves) despise lunch like I do. Thanks for the help!

  36. have you heard jim gaffigan's bit on hot pockets? it's hilarious, anyway these look way more delicious, can't wait to make them.

  37. Just tried these and my husband LOVED them! My only complaint was they were a little "bready." I don't know if rolling the dough thinner and cutting them smaller would have helped, but they were still SUPER delicious and I will be making them again (and probably often).

  38. I just baked up a batch today, and WOW, they are great!

    I try to avoid white flour as much as possible, so I subbed whole wheat flour for 1/2 the white and they came out fabulous!

  39. I made these yesterday and they are great! Like the author says, they are good hot and cold, and make great lunch-at-work food. Thumbs up!

  40. Yes, I know I'm crazy late in the game on these. I'd stumbled onto y'all not too long ago, and then kept putting off giving these a try – my mistake! Took them to church last night as I help w/ sign-in before my kids have choir (read: they get bored and antsy for an hour, while I try to corral them in and help others at the same time). So, last night I packed up dinner for them and took it with us – what a HIT! They adored them! I loved that they were self contained and I knew that they weren't full of junk. Win-win!!! Thanks!

  41. My husband has such a pizza pocket obsession… I think I'm going to try this out and see if I can save us some money…

  42. These were amazingly easy to make and soooooo good! Thanks for such a great recipe. I made these for my boys last night, and the gobbled them right up. Even better is that my husband and I loved them too.

  43. Mine didnt turn out nearly so pretty… but they were definitely yummy! I might use a pre-made dough next time because mine was too sticky.

  44. I found this page a few weeks ago and finally got round to trying them! Turned out delicious, we had homemade tomato sauce, pepperoni, bacon and cheese! Your pizza dough was easy to make and turned out perfectly! THANKYOU! A new fave thats for sure =)

  45. I'm way late in the game on this one, but was so happy to find these. I too hate, hate, HATE lunchtime with my 2 picky eaters, and am hugely in favor of quick and easy lunches. This is one of those recipes that is (very little) work on the front end, with a huge payoff on the tail end when you freeze most of the batch for later use. What a LIFESAVER!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you (yes, three thank yous)! I made the ham and cheese, a southwestern chicken fajita one, and a chicken brocolli cheese one. All delicious, all enjoyed. Thanks again!

  46. So Yummy!!! I just found your site from Make it and Love it and I'm so glad I did!! We have been a rut with quick meals and that tends to lead to a lot of eating out but I decided to give this a try so that we could have some leftovers in the freezer. The only problem with them is that there weren't any leftover! My family ate all of them! I'm now throwing together a second batch! Thank you so much!!

  47. I use Rhodes frozen dinner rolls for the dough in my "hot pockets". Makes the whole thing even easier. You can use 1 roll for kid-sized rolls or to be economical or 2 rolls for adult-sized rolls or if you just really like a lot of breading. For my breakfast ones, I use eggs, 1 slice Am. cheese, sausage and country gravy, mixed all together. While making bierocks one day (which my kids DON'T LIKE!), I made some just for them with just hamburger and Am. cheese, like mini-cheeseburger pockets. They can squirt k/m inside and even put a pickle slice in. BIG hit!!

  48. Delicious! I used turkey and mozzarella but added some baby spinach and leftover red pepper I had on hand as well. Then I topped it all off with s few sprinkles of the garlic bread seasoning recipe from your site. Tasty stuff!

  49. I made these today and they were so yummy. They DO taste like hot pockets! Especially the one that I didn’t roll (stopped after the “mummy” fold because my dough was ripping). Thanks for posting this recipe!

  50. Oh! I’ve been looking for a breakfast I can make the night before so school mornings won’t be filled with sugary cereal and hyper kids. This is perfect.

  51. I want to make these and freeze them for school lunches. My sister argues that they’ll be a soggy mess when they defrost in a lunch box, or will still be partially frozen. What say ye?

    1. I would probably defrost them first because they would be wrapped up and you might run into some sogginess issues. You could always do a dry run and leave one in a lunchbox for a few hours and see what happens! πŸ™‚

  52. I baked the bread sticks and was wondering if I would be able to stuff them somehow, low and behold, I can! These will be fun to fill! Thanks for posting.

  53. My 21 year old son is a VERY picky eater. He, his girlfriend and myself all made these one night. One thing my son DOES love is alfredo and chicken. So I stuffed these yummies with penne noodles mixed with alfredo sauce and cut up chicken. I then sprinkled your garlic powder recipe on top with some butter. Oh my goodness were they delish !!! A funny thing…after making these, I saw at the grocery store where Hot Pockets (yuck) had the same thing as a special edition…LOL…anyways, thanks for the great receipe. I’m sure my son will be experimenting with different fillings now.

  54. I want to thank you! I made these last night to freeze for my three boys to snack on this week. Well, they never made it to the freezer πŸ™‚ My 9 yr old “the picky one” said that they were better than the ones from the store! Everyone absolutely loved them and this was my first time using yeast. Next time I will have to make 16. Thanks again for sharing!!!

  55. My kids are so picky, especially my 2 year old. I made these into Pizza Pockets, and they LOVED them. I couldn’t believe how much they ate. My 2 year old esp. My husband was even surprised at how good they were. They ate them so fast tonight, we ran out too quick. So, now I’m starting on a second batch. Thanks for this easy recipe. I love that it’s easy, takes very few ingredients, and easy enough for my kids to help. Makes it fun and yummy for everyone.

  56. I absolutely LOVE Hot Pockets and I am absolutely shocked and appalled that you don’t πŸ˜› that aside, I am so going to try this idea. I love Hot Pockets, but the caloric value of the suckers is something I really do not appreciate.

  57. Just came across this recipe on Pinterest! I’ve got my dough rising and am excited about making these for a Super Bowl party I’m going too! Thanks!

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