Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon and Caramelized Onions Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

15 reviews / 4.7 average

This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian. Bring me all the bunss.


Secondly, the bike ride. I survived!

Thirdly, school is starting soon! Like, August and then September. Some of you Southern friends might have already started, which is bazonkers. What in the world kinda schedule is that? School = September.

It was a hard decision to leave my job as an elementary school teacher and fall is always that yummy fresh-start time of year that gets a teacher all jazzed up. So don’t look at me weird if I get a little weepy when I start to see the school buses coming by in the mornings. And in an extra sad twist of Toy Story 2-esque fate, my lunchbox is staring at me sadly from the shelf in the basement begging to be restored to its glory days as the Keeper of the Leftover Soups and Sandwiches.

I will be totally honest with you: I actually did love my little yellow lunchbox. But packing my lunch was one of my most disliked tasks of working at a school. While all the other professions enjoy nice lunches out at fun restaurants like diddly daddly doo, the teachers of the world have no access to the outside food world as they sit in a teachers’ lounge which is basically a classroom adjacent to the dreaded large room holding hundreds of hungry, germ-sharing, loud and excited kids. As a teacher, I’d just try to enjoy a two-minute bite of something before running back to the classroom to supervise the daily offenders who were staying in for recess. Again. Shudders.

I sure loved that job, but it wasn’t for the lunches.

Cooked bacon and caramelized onions.

Even with the chaos of school lunch, though, there was nothing that brightened my day more than the reminder of a good lunch waiting for me in my lunchbox. I’d be in the middle of teaching how to multiply double digit numbers and I’d remember something awesome that I’d brought for lunch and it would sustain me through some hard two-four-six-eight and again times. Magic, I tell you.

So this sandwich is dedicated to everyone who packs a lunch, because while it’s delicious on the first day you make it, it’s also a sandwich that thrives as a reheat. No need to preserve any kind of exterior crunch here – this is meant to be a soft, buttery, melty hot ham and cheese sandwich, peeps.

Ham and Cheese Sandwiches stacked on a plate.

I honestly think Bjork would be the happiest of all the happies if I made these at every meal for the rest of our married life. And I might be kind of happy about it too. These sandwiches are a total and complete splurge in honor of the start of school and the re-packing of lunches and one of my all-time favorite retro-inspired sandwiches.

So if I’m really being true and real about what comes to mind when I think Hot Ham and Cheese, I have this really shamefully delicious memory of a little fast food restaurant we used to have in the small town where Bjork and I grew up. It’s name was Hardee’s (…that moment where you try to decide if it’s actually a good idea to share this online…) and it served up some good old fashioned fast food, but none as good as the Hot Ham and Cheese. These gems would be passed to the backseat where little square-bangs-and-big-bows me would sit happily hot-ham-and-cheesing it up as the minivan rolled through the drive-through. My mom is just dying right now.

Kind's Hawaiian Hamburger Buns.

They were wrapped in a Hardee’s foil wrapper which we’re all cringing about right now, but I specifically remember thinking it was really cool because we would fold the wrappers around for a handy dandy cover that would then be unwrapped as we got deeper into the cheese-goo. They were so melty, so warm and wonderful, so perfectly satisfying after a long day of, like, playing with dolls or something.

Now I’m an adult and SURPRISE. I still like hot ham and cheese after a long day of, like, playing with food. How-ev-er. We are not stopping at ham and cheese with this little bugger. Bring on the bacon, caramelized onions, high quality ham, real Swiss cheese, homemade butter mustard sauce, and sweet King’s Hawaiian sandwich rolls! And maybe I did wrap them in foil again, just for old times sake.

This is the real deal, nestled right into your very own lunchbox. Thingsrbout to get awesome.

Ham and Cheese Sandwiches on brown paper.

Psst! This jazzed up hot ham and cheese is more of an adult take-to-school lunch that would be perfect to sneak into your OWN lunchie, but if you are packing kids’ lunches too, or you just like to get crafty with your lunch foods, check out King’s Hawaiian Lunchbox Fun Sweeps Facebook page for cute food ideas up the wazoo.

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A picture of Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 sandwiches 1x


These simple Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches are made extra yummy by baking them with bacon and caramelized onions. Just so good.


Units Scale
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 package King’s Hawaiian Hamburger Buns
  • 2 pounds sliced deli ham
  • 1 pound sliced Swiss (or any white melty) cheese


  1. Fry the bacon until crispy. Place on paper towels to drain.
  2. Slice onion into thin strips. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet; add onions and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should turn a deep golden color and taste sweet. Melt the remaining butter and whisk with the mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut foil into large squares for wrapping each sandwich. Brush the bottom of each bun with butter mixture on both sides. Top with ham, onions, bacon, and cheese. Brush the top of the bun with butter on both sides, place on the sandwich, and wrap with foil. Repeat for remaining sandwiches. Bake for 20 minutes or until warmed through and cheese is melted. Store leftovers in the fridge with a piece of wax paper between them to prevent sticking. Reheat leftovers in the oven wrapped in foil or in the microwave for 1 minute.


If you don’t need the sandwiches to be made individually wrapped in foil, just place them all in a large baking dish and cover the top with foil to prevent burning.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Lunch
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: hot ham and cheese sandwich, caramelized onions, ham sandwich

This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian. Bring me all the bunss.

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I actually brought ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch EVERY DAY when I was growing up.
    But, I added pickles…’cause I’m weird.
    BUT, I haven’t had one since because my grown up brain somehow counted them out? WHAT?!
    These grown up versions are totally my jam, and I am pretty sure my hubs would be like Bjork – happier than a clam if this was all we ate for eternity! Pinned!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Totally agree- these sandwiches are man food! However, at the deli counter my kiddos over get samples off those nice ladies and guess what? They want the hot ham!

      And we all know that bacon spells love.

      And caramelized onions? Oh my, we’re not in Kansas anymore!!! And just because I had to watch a YouTube video 6 times to learn how to caramelize onions……

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      My son LOVES ham, cheese and pickle sandwiches!!! He says his mouth is watering looking at the pictures of this sandwich, so that’s whats for dinner! 🙂

    3. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I just said to my husband, ham cheese and pickle sandwich! He said yes!!! Then he and his buddy had to discuss what type of pickle.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m afraid that somewhere between making these sandwiches and putting them into a lunchbox they’d disappear.
    Into my mouth.
    You should call them Houdini sandwiches…
    …now you see them, now you don’t! 😉

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    These are so what I need right now, cheesy, mustardy, and hammy! Love the added bacon – can’t wait to make these. Perfect for a weeknight meal for 2!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is torture! They look delicious, but I don’t/can’t eat any form of pork. The bacon is easy to replace with turkey bacon… any ideas of what the ham could be replaced with?

    Or I can just make them as is for my husband, and all will be good with the world 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I think this would be great with ham or a good thinly sliced angus beef. Hubby is not into ham, so I’d make this with the roast beef.

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I would also suggest turkey ham…it’s like ham made out of turkey. ..I’ve found it by the packaged meats and sometimes by the prepackaged cold cuts.its usually the hunk of meat you have to slice yourself but it’s delicious!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I cook beef .I use a big pot and I put the big beef ,cover with water and I put a cauliflower in the pot.I don t use salt only to the end of cooking.I cook at stove at very big flame.When the water is gone is very tasty.Don t do anything in the pot with teaspoon.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    My stomach literally just growled. And yes, I’m using literally in the correct way 🙂 This is totally something I’d eat for breakfast, too!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    WOW, these look so yummy! Both my sisters-in-law are teachers and they have told me their lunchtime routines which sound a lot like what you described! I was like ‘wait, you don’t get to sit for more than 5 minutes? You can’t leave the premises?’ Sounds like torture lol! I happen to have a fantastic little kitchen area at my work, definitely think I’m going to make everyone super jealous when I bring one of these bad boys in for lunch!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Exactly! I would always look out the window and feel whiny about all the happy people in the world going out to eat for lunch. poor us… 😉

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    These are definitely man-pleasing sandwiches! I’m pretty sure that my husband and son would be asking for more, especially since you included bacon and those delicious carmelized onions. And King’s Hawaiian rolls take it over the top!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I grew up in rural Wisconsin, so I totally thought of Hardee’s when I saw this post 🙂 I don’t think I’ve eaten there since I was a kid. Your version looks fantastic!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      oh my word DON’T EVEN. I can’t even mention them for fear that I will get in the car and drive to the nearest location to buy them.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Can I come live at your house? You always have recipes for some delectable deliciousness that I just MUST have and of course I never get around to making (snap out of the food rut, Hannah! :)). This one. Really must make.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Awesome!!! I have been bookmarking every one of your recipes lately – they are right up my alley! Can’t wait to make this and the hoisin salmon.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Seriously, they have every shape and size. I tried like three different sizes for this sandwich. You know, “research.” 😉

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I immediately thought of Hardee’s Hot Ham and Cheese sandwiches when I read the Blog Title. I worked there when I was in high school, EONS ago, and would order that sandwich all the time. Since it only had the ham and cheese on it, the employees would always send a grill ticket through to customize it. It really deserved to have mayo, mustard and onions on it, but I can only imagine how much better it’s going to be with caramelized onions and bacon!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Lindsay, I’m thinking that these very yummy looking sandwiches are not on the sugar-free (processed sugar) challenge you talked about a couple weeks ago. I’ve been intrigued by your post and considering it, but it would be really hard when to keep on it with all the amazing food you send to us.


    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Nope, definitely not! 🙂 I was glad that I was able to wait to do this until after we were done with the challenge. Now that we are sugar selective, we eat refined sugar free on a day-to-day basis which allows for what we would consider “special treats” from time to time, like this little cheesy melty wonder. I try to keep a good 80/20 balance!