Easy and Fun Pickle Roll-Ups
A Fun Family Favorite
In our family, these pickle roll-ups are a staple for any holiday dinner or special family event. The kids—both my adult children as well as the younger ones—love making this appetizer. Here are some of the quotes I've heard in my kitchen:
- "I love spending time with Dad making them."
- "I know how important everything I am doing here is to make these roll-ups perfect."
- "I love to be in the kitchen where everything is happening."
- "I always love it when they get put on the table and everyone goes wild over them."
- "I love helping because I get to eat the duds... I mean, I get to taste test."
I wonder what your kids will say when they help you make these yummy appetizers?
- 6-8 kosher dill pickles
- 2 8-oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
- 1 pound dried beef, thinly sliced
- Set out the cream cheese ahead of time, to allow it to soften.
- Dry each pickle with paper towels. This helps the cream cheese stick.
- Place a slice of dried beef on a cutting board. Spread 1 tablespoon of softened cream cheese on the dried beef.
- Place a dry pickle at one end of the cream-cheese-coated slice of dried beef (cream cheese side up). Roll it up.
- Repeat steps 3-4 for each pickle.
- Place the rolls in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (This hardens the cream cheese and makes the rolls easier to cut. However, if you're pressed for time, you can skip this step.)
- Return the rolls to the cutting board. Use a serrated knife to trim any uneven ends (this is the part that all of my helpers love most).
- Using a serrated knife, cut each roll into slices that are 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.
- Arrange on a serving dish, serve, and enjoy.
I love helping because I get to eat the duds... I mean, I get to taste test!— One of my helpers
Step 1: Soften the Cream Cheese
Step 2: Dry the Pickles
Step 3: Spread the Cream Cheese on the Meat
My Production Line
Step 4: Roll Them Up
Step 5: Slice, Serve, and Enjoy!
Tips and a Substitution Idea
- Individually drying each pickle with paper towels is very important. If the pickles have any juice on them, the cream cheese will not stick, and the final product will be mushy.
- Set the cream cheese out on a counter for several hours to soften.
- When you set out the cream cheese, remove all of the wrapping (foil, etc.). Removing the wrapping is easier to do when the cream cheese is cold.
- Use block-style cream cheese. The whipped or pre-softened styles just don't work as well for this recipe.
- Substitute your favorite cream cheese. Instead of plain, you could use veggie, onion, or chive.
Get the Kids to Help!
The kids in my family love to help make pickle roll-ups! Depending upon their age and skill in the kitchen, they can help with many of the preparation steps.
I always love it when they get put on the table and everyone goes wild over them!— One of my helpers
Prosciutto Elevates This Dish
For a Special Occasion: Prosciutto
Prosciutto? Really? Yes, and what a delight it is! The delicate meat is just salty and light enough to hold its own against the crunchy dill pickle and the smooth cream cheese. The ingredients meld together perfectly.
Here are a few tips for working with prosciutto:
- Prosciutto is typically very thin, so spreading cream cheese on it can be a challenge. I find it helpful to keep the prosciutto slice on the wax paper separator. This gives the meat something to grip onto as you spread the cream cheese. (Just don't forget to remove the separator before slicing and serving!)
- If you are having the prosciutto sliced at the meat department, ask for the slices to be cut a bit thicker than usual.
- Prosciutto gets softer as it warms to room temperature, which makes it more difficult to roll. Try your best to complete the rolling while the meat is still cold.
- Make sure to use a serrated knife when slicing.
- Slice into 1/2-inch slices (a bit thinner than the traditional roll-ups). This gives the slices a daintier and fancier look.
- Prosciutto pickle roll-ups are best served when they are closer to room temperature, when the meat has softened a bit.
Cut Thinner Slices With Prosciutto
Pro Tip: Use the Plastic Separator
Don't forget to remove the plastic separator before slicing and serving!
If you have extra ingredients or leftovers, or don't have a lot of helpers in the kitchen to help you eat—I mean, taste test—along the way, you can make a delicious spread using the remaining pickles, cream cheese, and dried beef.
Simply put equal amounts of each of these three ingredients into a food processor, add a little salt and Worcestershire sauce, and blend. Mold the resulting mixture into a cheese ball, serve with crackers, and enjoy!
I love to be in the kitchen where everything is happening!— One of my helpers