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Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders

Time: 30 minutes
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These 30 minute Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders are outrageously delicious and easy to make. With ham piled high, gooey Swiss cheese, toasty buns, and my secret sauce, these sliders will have everyone begging for more.

A game-changer for using up leftover holiday ham or just because you’re craving ham and cheese sliders.

These sliders go great with my english pea salad!

Stack of 3 Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders on a plate.

Every holiday we make way too much ham… like triple the amount of what one can actually consume. Blame grandma for that, she acts as though we are feeding an army.

We also hate wasting food so it always gets repurposed into other things like bean soup or breakfast skillets. But nothing compares to these Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders. They are by far my favorite way to use leftover holiday ham. The meaty, cheesy, sweet and salty flavor combination is *chef’s kiss.*

This recipe was made for my fellow “no food waste” warriors! But I should clarify, this recipe is great for any thick-cut ham (leftover or not). You’ll also love…

  • My secret sauce! These sliders are slathered in a brown sugar mustard sauce. It gives them a sweet and savory crunchy topping that pairs so well with the ham and Swiss cheese.
  • They’re on the table in 30 minutes.
  • Only 7 simple ingredients, most of them you will have in your kitchen right now.
Lifting a slider from the pan with gooey swiss cheese pulling from the other slider.

The BEST Ham for Ham and Cheese Sliders

If you want to make deliciously epic Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders, then it has to be thick and meaty ham! Smoked ham, uncured boneless ham, and bone-in spiral hams all work great. You definitely want to stay away from over processed lunch meat, it tends to be thin and dries out as the sliders bake.

I should also mention sweet versus savory hams. Some hams are coated in honey, brown sugar, or other types of sweeteners to give them a sweet and crunchy exterior. Other hams are coated in spices to accentuate the natural sweet flavor. Both can be used, but I do prefer a naturally flavored or lightly sweetened ham.

A slider taken from the pan to see the layers of the other sliders left in the pan.

Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders Ingredients

  • Slider Buns: I used brioche rolls that I sliced into sliders, but white, pre-sliced, slider buns will work as well. I do not recommend using Hawaiian rolls, they tend to make this recipe too sweet.
  • Ham: Thickly sliced leftover ham is what I use. I want my sliders to be meaty and there’s nothing better than using leftover holiday ham.
  • Swiss Cheese: Ham and swiss is a classic combination, so why mess up a good thing? I use slices of cheese but shredded works too. Some great substitutes for swiss are gruyere, which is in the swiss family, havarti, and monterey jack cheese.
  • Unsalted Butter: This is the base of our sauce that we will slater on the top buns. It will need to be hot and melted so the brown sugar can slightly dissolve. Don’t swap it for salted butter, it’s too salty.
  • Brown Sugar: Feel free to use light or dark, whatever you have on hand in your pantry.
  • Dijon Mustard: Adds flavor and tang. I prefer the flavor of Dijon but you could also use brown mustard or yellow mustard with little difference in taste.
  • Onion Powder:
  • Poppy Seeds: Other than for visual appeal, poppy seeds add nuttiness and texture to the soft bun.

These aren’t ingredients, but you’ll also want to grab a basting brush and a 9×13 baking dish. They are the perfect size for fitting 12 sliders. I use my glass pyrex that comes with a lid, it makes clean-up and storing leftovers a breeze.

Ingredients. Brioche slider buns, leftover ham, swiss cheese, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, unsalted butter, garlic powder, and poppy seeds.

How to Make Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders

Here’s a super short summary of the steps, just so you know what to expect. The recipe card further down will have complete details and instructions.

1. CONSTRUCT the sliders into a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish: bottom slider buns, half of the swiss cheese, ham, remaining cheese, and the top buns. Using a sharp knife, cut the sliders into 12.

2. SLATHER the top buns with a mixture of melted unsalted butter, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and poppy seeds.

3. BAKE uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the sliders are warmed through. Keep reading for my favorite sides and dipping sauces to serve with these Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders.

Sides and Sauces for Ham and Cheese Sliders

These Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders are super delicious on their own, but the right sides and sauces can take these handheld sandwiches to the next level!

Pairing them with flavorful sides like vinegar-based slaws or mayo-based salads, and punchy sauces really complement the savory and sweet flavors. Here are a few of my favorites:

Stack of 3 sliders on a plate and more in the background with a Dijon aioli dressing on the side for dipping.

Make Ahead Information

These Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders are perfect for making ahead of time, up to 2 days in fact. All you have to do is construct, cover with an airtight lid, and refrigerate them.

Once you’re ready to bake the sliders, slather the butter and brown sugar mixture over the top and pop them in the oven.

Storing Information

Any leftover sliders should be stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. They will last up to 4 days, sometimes longer depending on your refrigerator and the container you stored them in.

You can eat leftovers cold, or reheat them in the microwave or toasted oven.

Lifting a slider from the pan to put it on a plate for serving.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How many people do these Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders feed?

This recipe makes 12 sliders in total. If you’re making them for dinner, at 2 to 3 sliders a piece, it can feed 4 to 6 people. As an appetizer or snack, at 1 to 2 sliders a piece, it can feed 6 to 12 people. If you need more sliders you can double this recipe and bake them on a large sheet pan.

Can I freeze Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders?

No, I do not recommend freezing these sliders. Whether it’s freezing leftovers or freezing a whole pan of sliders, it’s a bad idea. The texture of an unthawed bun is hard and soggy all at the same time, and it’s not the greatest. These Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders are best freshly made.


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Enjoy Entirely, Elizabeth
Stack of 3 Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders on a plate with more in the background.

Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders

Elizabeth Swoish
Leftover holiday ham transformed into ridiculously delicious Brown Sugar Ham and Cheese Sliders. They are a 30 minute recipe everyone will be wanting more of.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Servings 12 sliders
Calories 172 kcal

EQUIPMENT

INGREDIENTS
  

  • 1 12 pack slider buns - brioche
  • 12 slices swiss cheese
  • 1-2 pounds ham - *please see notes below for details
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoon onion powder

INSTRUCTIONS
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 °F. Lightly grease a 9×13 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place bottom slider buns in baking dish. Top with 5 slices of Swiss cheese, then the ham, the remaining slices of Swiss cheese, and finally the top slider buns.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the sliders into 12 to seperate them.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together melted unsalted butter, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, onion powder, and poppy seeds.
  • Using a basting brush, slather the top buns with the sauce.
  • Bake the sliders covered for 15 minutes and uncovered for 5 minutes, or until the buns are toasty and the cheese has melted.
  • Remove sliders from the oven and serve immediately.

RECIPE NOTES

The BEST Ham for Ham and Cheese Sliders

It has to be thick and meaty ham that is either naturally flavored or lightly sweetened. Smoked ham, uncured boneless ham, and bone-in spiral hams all work great. Stay away from over processed and thin lunch meat.
 

Storing Information

  • Refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. 
  • Freezing and storing at room temperature is not recommended.
 

Make Ahead Information

These can be made up to 2 days before serving. Just construct, cover with an airtight lid, and refrigerate. Slather them with the sauce once you’re ready to bake them. 

Metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.

Tried this recipe?Feel free to share a rating and comment below. Don’t forget to tag me on social media, or use the hashtag #EntirelyElizabeth – I would love to see what you’ve made!
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By Elizabeth Swoish on March 30th, 2024
Elizabeth Swoish holding a camera up to her eye taking a photo.

About Elizabeth Swoish

Elizabeth Swoish is the founder and CEO of Entirely Elizabeth. She is a self-taught foodie and mocktail enthusiast with a business degree in data analysis. Read Elizabeth's food journey or connect on your favorite social media channels.

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