These gooey-hot German ham and cheese sliders are the perfect game-day or holiday treat! The pretzel rolls, added bratwurst, sauerkraut, and pickles are a GAME CHANGER.
I am sure anyone has had the standard baked ham and cheese sliders by now. And while those are SO GOOD, I thought why not make them even better? And maybe a bit German??
So I used pretzel siders instead of Hawaiian rolls (a solid choice) and added grilled bratwurst, cooked sauerkraut, and sliced pickles into the melty cheese middle. Is your mouth watering yet?? You could go the homemade pretzel sliders route (follow my pretzel buns recipe, then make them half as big).
You then top them with the most delicious butter sauce that combines melted butter, poppy seeds, minced onion, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Finally, they are baked to melt the cheese and to crisp up those slider tops.
These German ham and cheese sliders will be the perfect game day treat to emerge hot from your oven and to celebrate those Kansas City Chiefs at the next Super Bowl or for their Germany games. But the sliders also shine as an easy lunch or dinner option and are always the first appetizer gone during the holidays.
I complemented the traditional ingredient list for ham and cheese sliders with a couple of delicious items to make them more German.
- Ham. I used Black Forest style cooked ham from the NYC-based German-style butcher Schaller and Weber. The ham has a wonderful smoked flavor and works so well in the ham and cheese sliders. However, if you have any holiday ham left over, this would be a great way to use that up, too.
- Cheese. I used a combination of sliced Swiss and Gouda cheese.
- Slider Buns. Hawaiian rolls are traditionally used for ham and cheese sliders, but using pretzel rolls is next level. You could make homemade pretzel sliders by using my pretzel roll recipe and making the rolls half as big. However, if using a shortcut, I recommend using Pretzilla pretzel sliders. Either way, do not use the added pretzel salt in my recipe or the packets that come with purchased rolls. You can save them instead for when you're making my authentic German pretzel recipe.
- Bratwurst. Of course, you could use any Bratwurst for this recipe, but to get the authentic German flavor, I recommend using Schaller & Weber's amazing German-style cooked Bratwurst. Unlike most American bratwurst, these are already cooked, so they just need to be heated to temperature (160 degrees Fahrenheit or 71 degrees Celsius). I slice the bratwurst links open longways, then grill them in a grill pan on the cooktop. I then add the sauerkraut once I flip them over. This way some of the bratwurst grease will have extracted to help cook the sauerkraut.
- Sauerkraut. I use a jarred sauerkraut like this one from Schaller & Weber. The ingredients should only list sauerkraut and salt.
- Pickles. I love using German-style vinegar pickles, then slicing them longways to add just in between the cheese and sauerkraut layer.
- Butter. You use melted butter in the sauce and I usually buy grass-fed butter.
- Mustard. Traditionally Dijon mustard is used, but I like using a German-style mustard like Schaller & Weber's Düsseldorf mustard (which has a slight horseradish flavor to it without being too spicy).
- Worcestershire Sauce. To help add umami to the sauce.
- Onion. I use dried minced onion, which goes in the sauce. I have tried using fresh onion before, but it burns too easily.
- Poppy Seed. The poppy seeds in the sauce help add a nutty flavor and they're so good!
How to make them
Making these German-style ham and cheese sliders is simple.
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celsius and get out a 9 by 13 inch casserole dish. No need to add parchment or butter to the bottom of the dish.
Bratwurst & Sauerkraut
You'll start by slicing the Bratwurst links open longways, then cooking them in a grill pan on both sides. Once you flip them over, add the sauerkraut until they are finished browning and reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (or 71 degrees Celsius).
Next, you'll make your sauce for topping by melting the butter and adding in all other ingredients.
Now it's time to assemble. Cut the pretzel sliders in half and layer the bottoms of the rolls in the bottom of a deep baking dish, such as a casserole dish.
Layer on the following in this order: ham, cheese, sliced pickles, cooked sauerkraut, grilled bratwurst halves, tops of the slider buns.
Finally, pour the sauce over the tops of the pretzel buns, then distribute it evenly with a rubber spatula or pastry brush. Let it sit for 5 minutes to marinade before baking in the oven for 20 minutes covering with aluminum foil, then 5 additional minutes to brown the tops. Remove and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting up and serving.
Why we love them
These German ham and cheese sliders make an EASY crowd-pleaser snack for your next game day or party. Could you think of a better food to serve for when the Kansas City Chiefs play football in Germany? Or at the next Super Bowl? The pretzel buns and added bratwurst layer may just steal the show.
They're also amazing as a lunch or dinner option and we like to pair it with a green salad.
More ham and cheese recipes
More pretzel recipes
In love with pretzels? Then make my authentic German pretzels with Obatzda beer cheese dip, pretzel buns (which can also be made into smaller sliders for this recipe), or my pretzel beer bubble bread.
Watch this short video, showing you how to make German ham and cheese sliders.
German Ham And Cheese Sliders
- 12 pretzel sliders You can of course go the extra step and make them! If buying them (like I did to save time), see notes for details.
- 170 grams deli-style ham I used cooked Black Forest Ham by Schaller & Weber (you can order it online)
- 10 slices cheese I used half Gouda and half Swiss cheese, but feel free to use whichever kind you like.
- 4 German pickles I used large German-style pickles by Schaller & Weber and sliced them longways.
- 120 grams sauerkraut I used a jarred Sauerkraut by Schaller & Weber.
- 4 Bratwurst links I use Schaller & Weber's award-winning German recipe cooked Bratwurst (you can order it online). You could also use fresh Bratwurst.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃).
- Cut the pretzel slider rolls lengthwise, so you'll end up with halved rolls. Place the bottom pieces of the rolls in your pan, cut side up.12 pretzel sliders
- Slice the bratwurst open longways, then open them up (still attached by the casing - see picture). If using fresh bratwurst, cut into round coins.4 Bratwurst links
- Cook in a grill pan or skillet until some grease is in the pan, then add the sauerkraut and continue cooking until browned.120 grams sauerkraut
- Layer on the ingredients in this order starting from the bottom: ham, cheese, sliced pickles, cooked sauerkraut and cooked bratwurst. Finish with the top of the rolls.170 grams deli-style ham, 10 slices cheese, 4 German pickles
- Melt the butter (microwave or stove top) and add in the other ingredients for the topping. Pour over the rolls and distribute evenly.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until the pretzel tops are nice and golden.1 tablespoon German-style mustard, 100 grams butter, 2 teaspoons dried, minced onion, 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper
- Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes, cut up and serve immediately with some cold beer. Prost and Go Chiefs!