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Polish Rose Appetizer recipe

Growing up every gathering included Polish Roses. In case you’ve never had the pleasure, Polish roses are deli ham spread with cream cheese, wrapped around a green onion or a gherkin! Some might call these Ham Roll-ups, but whatever you call them they are one of the greatest recipes ever invented. The definition of the perfect appetizer recipe! Easy to eat with your fingers, simple and tasty!

appetizer board ham wrapped green onions and gherkins

I actually forgot about the pickle variety until this Thanksgiving when my sweet Seestor served them. We never had a name for this appetizer. I think we called them “onion thingys”, or “pickle and ham thingy’s”, because we are a real classy bunch, and we like to eat lots of thingys. This summer I brought the onion thingys to a picnic and my girlfriend called them Polish Roses, that was a new one on me. But she is right they do kinda look like roses! I did a little research and behold, they are called either ham roll-ups or Polish Roses!

sheet pan with ingredients: ham, salami, gherkins, cream cheese, green onions
  • smoked deli ham
  • green onions
  • sweet gherkins pickles
  • cream cheese
  • Assemble ingredients.
  • Clean, and trim green onions to approximately 6-8 inches.
  • Place pickles on paper towel and pat dry.
  • Cut ham slices in half and spread with cream cheese.
  • Place pickle or green onion on the edge, flat cut side toward the green end, now roll it up, like a little rosette.
sweet pickles on a paper towel
washing green onions in a metal colander
green onions on a wood cutting board with trimmed tops and ends off to the side

Trim green onions so they are all the same length. Pull off any unsightly skin, and trim both ends. Easy Peasy.

ham spread with cream cheese and a green onion, assembly of ham roll ups

Cut ham slices in half, spread with softened cream cheese, and start at one side roll up green onion like a rose. The assemble is very forgiving, just keep rollin! Same with pickles, roll them up slice in half and harpoon them with cocktail toothpick. Voila!

hand holding a ham wrapped green onion with appetizer board in background
  • What equipment will I need? That’s what makes this recipe so perfect, it comes together quick and all you need is a knife and a cutting board.
  • How far in advance can I make this appetizer recipe? I would suggest making them as close to your party as possible, to ensure the green onion do not wilt. You could make them a day in advance, make sure to place them in an airtight container with damp paper towel covering the green onion stems.
  • What could I substitute for cream cheese? Hummus, pimento cheese spread, or Boursin Gournay Cheese are all good alternatives. The key is to make sure it will hold up in the roll-up and not run out. Be creative! Make sure to share and tag me on your socials if you try something new!
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container or on a platter covered tightly with plastic wrap in refrigerator until just before serving.

This is a great recipe. So simple and easy if you find yourself with some extra time you can easily whip these up at a moments notice. The perfect appetizer for special occasions, bridal show ideas, baby shower, family reunions, Thanksgiving pre-gaming, any holiday should not be without a platter of Polish roses!

ham rolls ups in a vase surround by pickle roll ups on a wood cutting board

Throw them in a crystal vase and use as a centerpiece. Who doesn’t like and edible arrangement!

Note: this recipe has been updated. I originally posted it on December 16, 2010. Honestly all that has changed is the recipe card, which you can print, and the photos are updated. It’s a timeless recipe. I hope you enjoy it! XOX Sheila

appetizer board ham wrapped green onions and gherkins

Polish Roses or Ham Roll-up

This delicious old school appetizer made with simple ingredients is sure to be a hit at any party!
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 24 pieces


  • 8 ounce 1 package cream cheese, room temperature needs to be easily spread
  • 12 green onions cleaned, and trimmed to 8"
  • 6 sweet gherkins more if they are small
  • 9 slices smoked deli ham or salami


  • Clean, and trim onions. Dry off gherkins on a paper towel. Cut each piece of ham in half.
  • Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on each piece of ham. Cheese will spread easier if it’s room temperature.
  • Lay onion with on ham slice with green stem hanging out and roll it up. Repeat with all onions. Do the same with the gherkins. Cut gherkin ham rolls in half.
  • Place on a platter and serve immediately or keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Keyword appetizer, easy, green Onion, ham, sweet gherkin
Tried this recipe?Mention @eat2gather or tag #eat2gather!

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  1. My mom used to make something similar to these when I was little. She used cream cheese (sometimes with a little horseradish mixed in) and rolled it up in dried beef. You've got me craving some! Going to have to try the pickles though…..

  2. At our house we call them "onion wraps". And I'm Polish and I'm not sure where the "polish" comes from either, maybe b/c Polls like everything picked, hence the pickles??? Love your blog and all your cooking ideas. Keep up the great work.