Christmas Sandwich cut in half on a round white plate with a bamboo tray of sandwiches and a glass of milk behind all on a white and grey marble surface (with logo overlay)

Christmas Sandwiches Recipe: A Family Holiday Tradition

Christmas Sandwiches are a holiday staple in my family. Find out our secret family recipe for a delicious hot ham and cheese sandwich.

Jump to Recipe

Ok, so I may totally get in trouble for posting this recipe, but it is too good not to share! For anyone who has ever been to my grandma’s house for her usual Christmas Eve get-together, you know the Christmas Sandwiches I am talking about.

They are sort of a hot ham and cheese, but different. My family has been making them at Christmas time for as long as I can remember. And typically, that is the only time we prepare them. That is what makes them so special and gives them the name Christmas Sandwiches.

I do cheat and make them a couple of times throughout the year. Of course, at Christmas time my family makes around 72 of the sandwiches because so many people are there for Christmas Eve and Day. 

We eat them for lunch while we are making them on Christmas Eve. Then sometimes again for dinner that evening. After dinner, we usually have a few friends and family over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and warm some up there.

A few of our friends and family who have been coming over for years say they always look forward to the wonderful Christmas party my family puts on. Of course, at the center of it all is the Christmas Sandwiches! They may not be festive sandwiches by look, but the fact that we only make them at Christmas time and special occasions makes them unique.

Christmas Eve, 2017: Grandpa, Mom, Tyler, Aunt Trish, and Grandma making Christmas Sandwiches

As you can see, the whole family gets into it. Some years we have only a few people working on the sandwiches, other years we have had about 10 people around the table getting these ready for our annual holiday gathering. 

Then, on Christmas Day, we make a huge batch to eat while we open gifts. We finish them up throughout the next day or two, depending on how many are left.

Other family recipes: Chicken a la GurnhamMozzarella-Stuffed Meatloaf

Christmas Sandwich Origins

This Christmas sandwich recipe has been in my family for generations. For a long time, we didn’t have an exact amount of each ingredient. It was small pieces of cheese, a little bit of ham, mixed herbed butter, and put it on slices of bread. 

The first person in our family to make the sandwiches was my maternal great-grandmother, Lillian Redman. No one remembers how she came up with the recipe, but we make them every year now. It’s the biggest Christmas tradition we have in my family. 

A Note About the Ingredients

The exact ingredients have likely changed a bit over the years based on availability and convenience. While we currently make these with deli meat ham, you could also use leftover ham from Christmas dinner. It would be a great way to use up some of those leftovers. Just make sure you don’t have thick slices as it will be too much for the sandwiches.

We also now use hamburger buns, but you could use sliced bread as well. Butter both pieces, then place the ham and cheese on the first slice of bread. Add the second slice of bread to the top and wrap in foil. 

Another change you could make is using homemade (or store-bought) crispy onions in place of the dried minced onion. 

Christmas Sandwiches Step by Step

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 8 hamburger buns
  • 1 lb sliced ham
  • 1 block cheddar cheese (extra sharp)
  • Aluminum foil

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350F if you plan to have some of the sandwiches right away. Cut 8 pieces of aluminum foil into a square, about 12″x12″. It needs to be big enough to wrap around the completed sandwich.

Slice the cheese into thin pieces, about 1/4″ thick. This is easiest to do with a cheese slicer to get straight, even pieces. But, my grandpa is always the “cheese man” and usually uses a regular steak knife.

Ingredients ready for Christmas sandwiches: marble cheese slicer with sharp cheddar cheese, white plate with slices of ham, hamburger buns, stainless steel bowl with butter and mustard, minced onion, and poppy seeds all on a white and grey marble surface

In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the butter, onion, mustard, and poppy seeds. It helps if the butter is slightly softened, but will soften as you stir. Use a wire whisk or the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Spread a generous layer of the butter mixture onto the top and bottom of each side of the bun.

Marble cheese slicer with sharp cheddar cheese, white plate with slices of ham, and hamburger buns behind a stainless steel bowl with mixed butter, mustard, minced onion, and poppy seeds. Once bun is open with the butter mixture spread on both halves next to a knife all on a white and grey marble surface.

Place 3-4 slices of ham on the bottom bun. Set a piece of the sliced cheese on the ham.

Marble cheese slicer with sharp cheddar cheese, white plate with slices of ham, and hamburger buns behind a stainless steel bowl with mixed butter, mustard, minced onion, and poppy seeds. Once bun is open with the butter mixture spread on both halves then topped with ham and a slice of cheese next to a knife all on a white and grey marble surface.

Close up the sandwich and wrap it in aluminum foil. I am trying to find a better way to do this without the aluminum waste but haven’t yet. If you have an idea, please let me know in the comments.

Christmas Sandwich wrapped in foil with a stainless steel bowl of butter mixture and a butter knife with mixture on it behind next to hamburger buns and a marble cheese slicer with cheddar cheese all on a white and grey marble surface

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted. You can put the sandwiches directly on the oven rack, or use a pan to make it easier to grab multiple from the oven at once.

Christmas Sandwich cut in half on a round white plate with a bamboo tray of sandwiches and a glass of milk behind all on a white and grey marble surface (vertical)

Expert tip: As soon as the sandwiches come out of the oven, open the foil to let them vent. Otherwise, the steam gets trapped and you end up with soggy bread.

Christmas Sandwiches Leftovers

Storage: The best way to store a leftover Christmas dinner sandwich is before they are cooked. Wrap in foil and place in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. 

Reheating: To heat the sandwiches, place them in the foil in a preheated oven at 350F for 20 minutes. 

Recipe

Originally Published On: January 12, 2016

Last Updated On: August 16, 2023

Christmas Sandwich cut in half on a round white plate with a bamboo tray of sandwiches and a glass of milk behind all on a white and grey marble surface

Christmas Sandwiches

Christmas Sandwiches are a holiday staple in my family. Find out our secret family recipe for a delicious hot ham and cheese sandwich.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course:
Main Dish
Cuisine:
American
Keyword:
cheese
|
ham
|
sandwich
Servings: 8 sandwiches
5 from 5 votes

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp butter (softened)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 8 hamburger buns
  • 1 lb sliced ham
  • 1 block cheddar cheese (extra sharp)
  • Aluminum foil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Cut the pieces of aluminum foil into squares about 12"x12", enough to wrap around the completed sandwich
  • Slice the cheese into thin pieces, about 1/4″ thick
  • In a small bowl, mix together the butter, minced onion, mustard, and poppy seeds
  • Spread a small amount of the butter mixture on the top and bottom buns
  • Put 3-4 slices ham on bottom bun
  • Add 1 slice of cheese on top of the ham
  • Put the top bun on and wrap the sandwich in aluminum foil
  • Bake about 20 minutes or until warm and cheese is melted

Notes

  1. Uncooked sandwiches can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days and cooked as needed.
  2. Expert tip: As soon as they come out of the oven open the foil. Otherwise the buns get soggy from the steam trapped inside.
Click the buttons below to share and print this recipe
Pin Recipe Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Christmas Sandwiches
Amount Per Serving (1 sandwich)
Calories 347 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 1008mg42%
Potassium 255mg7%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 265IU5%
Vitamin C 1.7mg2%
Calcium 103mg10%
Iron 2.2mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.

More Sandwich Recipes

Other Recipes with Ham and Cheese

More Ham Recipes to try

36 thoughts on “Christmas Sandwiches Recipe: A Family Holiday Tradition”

  1. Ann F. Snook-Moreau

    Oh my gosh, these sound so yummy! I think the seasoned butter is probably what makes your family’s sandwiches so special 🙂

    1. I make these year-round, even though they are supposed to be a holiday thing. They are such a great sandwich to have on hand and pop in the oven when you need a quick meal.

    1. I’ve never tried it with Hawaiian rolls! I love those so I’ll have to try it. My family may have always used regular buns since they are much cheaper when making as many as we do.

  2. Ooh, yum! These make me think of croque monsieur, which is a kind of grilled- cheese sandwich (only with mustard as well as ham) that you can get for lunch in (say) a deli in Paris. When I make croque monsieur for my girls,. I make it like a grilled cheese sandwich in the toaster oven, on a baking tray (though you could also pan-cook it if that is how you cook your grilled cheese) – either way, that would eliminate the tinfoil!

    1. Interesting, I’ll have to give it a try! The main reason we do the foil is that we make them in batches and need a way to keep each one together when they are tossed in the fridge. But for only a few that could work!

  3. One of the many reasons I love the holiday season is to participate in family traditions. Thank you for sharing one of your traditions with us!

  4. That looks so delicious. Ham and cheese is my favorite, i don’t like salty foods but ham and cheese just had the right saltiness that I prefer and tolerate to eat.

  5. We have a similar Christmas tradition! It’s Christmas ham + edam or cheddar cheese + mayo in a pandesal (which is a kind of Filipino bread). We can make this sandwich any kind of year but it’s just so much better making and eating it at Christmas eh?

  6. My family loves sandwiches and these sound amazing. Have you tried putting several of these between 2 silicone baking sheets to save from having to wrap each individually in aluminum? Do you think that would work as well? TIA

    1. I haven’t tried that. Mostly because I only have one silicone baking sheet since I almost always use my stone. It might work, they just may also take a few minutes longer to warm since the foil holds the heat in while they are baking to melt the cheese.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating