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 on hawaiian rolls with a brown sugar dijon caramelized crust and they're completely irresistible!
What are Funeral Sandwiches
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 funeral rolls can be prepped last minute or a day ahead of time which is great for party prepping.
Ingredients & Substitutions:
- Salty Butter - Regular butter works just fine - just add a pinch of salt. Def don't use margarine though as it creates a more soggy sandwich since the spread is mostly water.
- Brown Sugar - Light or dark brown sugar works perfectly!
- Dijon Mustard - I like to use a tangy dijon mustard but honey mustard and grainy mustards also work.
- Worcestershire sauce - There is no substitution for Worcestershire sauce... If you absolutely had to, I guess you could use soy sauce.
- Hawaiian rolls - Any type of small roll will work - think parker house, pretzel, etc! But Hawaiian is my go-to!
- Ham - You can use any sliced ham you want. Virginia, honey, easter ham - you name it!
- Swiss Cheese - Swiss is def the most classic choice but you could also use white cheddar, havarti, or even provolone.
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 tablespoon 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 15-20 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!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are they called funeral sandwiches?
They're called Funeral Sandwiches because they were traditionally served after a funeral at the church memorial service.
Can I make them ahead of time or do funeral sandwiches have to sit overnight?
Most of the funeral roll recipes require the buns to soak overnight but with my hack (bringing the brown sugar dijon sauce to a boil) you don't have to wait and can make them right away.
How do you keep funeral sandwiches from getting soggy?
To be honest, these are kind of iconic because they are slightly soggy and wet -- that's what makes them good! If you like them on the dryer side, don't put as much sauce on the bottom of the pan. This will keep the bottoms crisp while the top caramelizes as it cooks.
What to pair them with
Funeral sandwiches are also a great way to use up leftovers from my crock pot brown sugar pineapple ham!
Save these for later
Want to save this ham and cheese slider recipe for another time? I got you!
You can pin any image on this page or use the pretty ones I made below specifically for your holiday pinterest boards.
And if pinterest isn't really your thing, you can always scroll down to the bottom of this post and print the printable recipe card.
Brown Sugar Dijon 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.