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Easy and Fun Pickle Roll-Ups

In our family, these pickle roll-ups are a staple for any holiday dinner or special family event.

Dill pickles, cream cheese, and dried beef combine for a fun family favorite.

Dill pickles, cream cheese, and dried beef combine for a fun family favorite.

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?

Prep Time

Prep timeReady inYields

30 min

30 min

Each pickle makes 4–6 roll-up slices

Ingredients

  • 6–8 kosher dill pickles
  • 2 8-oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pound dried beef, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Set out the cream cheese ahead of time, to allow it to soften.
  2. Dry each pickle with paper towels. This helps the cream cheese stick.
  3. Place a slice of dried beef on a cutting board. Spread 1 tablespoon of softened cream cheese on the dried beef.
  4. Place a dry pickle at one end of the cream-cheese-coated slice of dried beef (cream cheese side up). Roll it up.
  5. Repeat steps 3–4 for each pickle.
  6. 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.)
  7. 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).
  8. Using a serrated knife, cut each roll into slices that are 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.
  9. 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

Soften the cream cheese ahead of time so that you can easily spread it with a butter knife.

Soften the cream cheese ahead of time so that you can easily spread it with a butter knife.

Step 2: Dry the Pickles

The pickles need to be completely dry. This helps them stick to the cream cheese.

The pickles need to be completely dry. This helps them stick to the cream cheese.

Step 3: Spread the Cream Cheese on the Meat

Spread 1 tablespoon of softened cream cheese on each slice of dried beef.

Spread 1 tablespoon of softened cream cheese on each slice of dried beef.

My Production Line

A production line makes the process even easier.

A production line makes the process even easier.

Step 4: Roll Them Up

Roll the cream-cheese-coated meat around each pickle.

Roll the cream-cheese-coated meat around each pickle.

Step 5: Slice, Serve, and Enjoy!

Using a serrated knife, cut each roll into slices that are 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Arrange on a serving platter and enjoy!

Using a serrated knife, cut each roll into slices that are 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Arrange on a serving platter 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

Prosciutto make this appetizer extra special.

Prosciutto make this appetizer extra special.

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

Cut the slices thinner and use a serrated knife

Cut the slices thinner and use a serrated knife

Pro Tip: Use the Plastic Separator

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.

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.

Leftovers?

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

What do you think?

© 2015 Kathy Stutzman

Comments

Kathy Stutzman (author) from When not traveling, located in Colorado or Minnesota on October 08, 2015:

Thanks so much for the feedback and I do hope that you and your family enjoy!

Peace to you too!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 08, 2015:

Well that is certainly unusual and for sure kids would like to help make these.

This sounds like a treat I need to pass along to my daughter.

Thanks for sharing.

Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

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