Funeral sandwiches are one of my favorite southern specialties. Salty ham, nutty swiss cheese, and a tangy dijon brown sugar butter glaze is baked into fluffy Hawaiian rolls. They're basically upgraded ham and cheese sliders with a brown sugar dijon caramelized crust and they're completely irresistible!
This past Christmas, I went to an oyster party at one of my oldest friends houses.
His name is Nick Pilato and we've been besties since 6th grade.
Not only do I think of him as the person who got me into good music... but his parents showed me a ton of new things, too.
His dad, originally from Rome, was the first person to feed me bucatini all'amatriciana.
And his mama, a true southern belle from Alabama, opened my eyes to cheess olive balls and these tasty funeral sandwiches.
For over 15 years, his family has been throwing their famous oyster parties. It's one of my favorite holiday traditions that gives me all the nostalgia!
But since i've been allergic to oysters my whole life, I've never been able to indulge in the zillions of oysters that they shucked.
Luckily, his mama always has her famous funeral sandwiches on hand. And even if they're not specifically for me, I feel like they are!
So what are funeral sandwiches? Well they're basically Southern ham and cheese sliders that are baked in a brown sugar dijon sauce.
When the sauce bakes, it caramelizes into a sweet and tangy crust that's out of this world.
The sandwiches are hard to explain. They're sort of wet, sort of crispy but they're so dang addicting that you can't eat just one.
Oh, and you definitely don't need a funeral to make these sandwiches! They just call them that because they were once laid out for church spreads during funerals.
You might also notice that the majority of funeral roll recipes require you to soak them overnight.
But with this recipe, you only have to soak them for one hour... or up to 24 hours.
This flexibility means that the funearl rolls can be prepped last minute or a day ahead of time which is great for party prepping.
What to pair them with
Funeral sandwiches are also a great way to use up leftovers from my crock pot brown sugar pineapple ham!
How to make Ham and Cheese Sliders with Brown Sugar Dijon Glaze
Making funeral sandwiches is super easy!
The only thing you need to take into consideration is how much time you have.
This recipe requires at least one hour of marination if you're in a hurry.
If you have more time, even better! You can also soak them overnight for the same delicious results.
To begin, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, dijon, and Worcestershire.
Next, you'll want to grease a baking dish and pour about 3-4 tbsp of the sauce mixture into the bottom of the pan - just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
Next, split the Hawaiian rolls in half and then pull them apart.
Place the bottom half of each bun in the baking sheet.
Then, layer on half of the cheese, all of the ham, and then the remaining half of cheese.
Place the upper half of the buns on top and drizzle with the remaining brown sugar dijon sauce on top.
Just make sure you coat the bread equally and evenly!
If you'd like to use the optional poppy seeds, be sure to sprinkle them on at this point.
Now tightly wrap the buns with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour up to overnight.
When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F degrees and unwrap the buns.
Place the funeral sandwiches in the oven for 15-2o minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center has heated through.
The funeral rolls will be crispy yet slightly soggy in the best way possible!
And if you'd like to save this funeral roll recipe for later, pin them below!
Brown Sugar Dijon Sauce
- 1 Stick Butter melted
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 pack Hawaiian rolls (12 rolls)
- ¾ lb Virginia Ham sliced thin
- ½ lb Swiss Cheese sliced thin
- Poppy Seeds optional
Brown Sugar Dijon Sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, dijon mustard and worcestershire sauce and set aside.
- OR if you don't have time to marinate the sandwiches in the sauce (1 hour up to overnight is recommended), then bring this mixture to a quick simmer in a pot. This will help the sauce caramelize onto the bread faster. This way, there is no waiting required.
- Grease a baking pan and pour in enough of the brown sugar dijon sauce to coat the bottom of the pan; about 3-4 tbsp.
- Split the rolls down the middle and pull them apart. Line the pan with the bottom portion of the buns.
- Evenly lay half of the swiss cheese across the bottom buns, then add the ham, and the remaining cheese.
- Put the upper half of the buns on top and pour the remaining brown sugar dijon sauce on top - making sure to coat and soak each bun.
- If you’d like to add poppy seeds, lightly sprinkle some on top.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Or place them immediately in the oven if you simmered the sauce on the stovetop.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F degrees and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cheese has melted.