This past week I made Pickle Roll Ups for the first time in years, if not decades. Baby dill pickles that are nestled in a bed of cream cheese and spread on slices of dried beef.
Then they are rolled up and served as a hand held appetizer. The saltiness of the pickles pair perfectly with the creamy mild texture of the cream cheese.
And it is all held together on a low-carb piece of dried beef. It may sound weird, but this 3 ingredient appetizer is a classic recipe that can be served for multiple occasions.
In fact, the very first time that I tried this was on Christmas Eve way back when. I was attending a family get together and saw the little pieces of pickle wrapped in cream cheese sticking out of a piece of what looked like very thin slices of ham.
I had never seen such a thing. However, because I love pickles I decided to try one.
And I am so happy that I did! The salty taste and the creamy texture made for the perfect hand held appetizer.
I was immediately hooked! So in an effort to make them myself, I had to find out the specifics of the recipe.
Only 3 Low-Carb Ingredients Required
The best part of all, there are only 3 ingredients required! Cream cheese, baby dill pickles, and some sort of deli meat makes up this great combination.
And for those who struggle to find easy low-carb appetizers, this is the perfect recipe for you. Just like my favorite 3 Ingredient Sausage Cream Cheese Dip, you can enjoy Pickle Roll Ups even if you are on a Keto based diet.
However, you do have to be careful what type of meat that you use. Some deli meats have added carbs to make the meat taste sweeter.
For instance, honey ham is going to have a lot more carbohydrates than smoked on uncured ham. However, because there is little meat that you are going to actually consume, whatever meat you choose should not throw your carb consumption significantly out of balance.
What Is The Best Meat To Use For Pickle Roll Ups?
Because this recipe is so versatile, you can choose a variety of meat to make the roll ups. The only real thing to consider here, besides dietary needs, is that whatever meat you choose must be able to be strong enough to hold up when the cream cheese is spread on top.
Some great choices of meat are dried beef, corned beef, pastrami, ham, salami and Italian beef. Just be sure that the slices are thin for easy rolling, but not too thin.
In fact, if you are having trouble spreading the cream cheese on thin slices of deli meat, use two slices instead of one.
This is why my preferred meat to use is dried beef. You can find a jar of dried beef near the cans of tuna and chicken at most grocery stores.
They are round pieces of meat that look like large slices of pepperoni stuffed upright on a jar. Dried beef is sturdy and the perfect size to wrap around baby dill pickles.
Easy Pickle Roll Ups Recipe
*A printable recipe card is located at the bottom of this article which contains the specific measurements, temperatures and cook times. However, continue reading below to learn about more helpful tips about this specific recipe.
- 2 oz plain cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz baby dill pickles
- 2.5 oz dried beef
To make pickle roll ups, you must drain the juice from the pickles. Do this by pouring the pickles into a colander and drain the juice.
Or remove the pickles that you need with a pair of tongs and reserve the remaining pickles in the juice and place in the refrigerator. Pat each pickle dry with a paper towel and place them on a plate.
Set the dry pickles aside while you prepare the wraps. Using a standard butter knife, spread cream cheese to evenly coat one side of each beef slice.
The key here is that the cream cheese is soft enough to spread without tearing the beef. *Helpful tip – the more cream cheese that you have on the knife, the easier that it will spread.
Place a baby dill pickle on one edge of the cream cheese mixture and roll, using the cream cheese as the binding agent. Overlap the beef edges if possible.
Place the dill pickle roll ups on a plate. Repeat the process until all of the pickles have been wrapped.
Use a serrated knife to cut the roll ups in half at an angle, or slice each one into several rounds. Place on a serving tray or platter and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Common Recipe Substitutions
As mentioned above, you can use whatever deli meat that you prefer. Dried beef, pastrami, corned beef, and ham are most commonly used.
However, if you want to make this recipe a little healthier, use sliced turkey or chicken instead. You can even get creative on various flavors of the meat.
For instance, purchase a smoked meat. Or how about a little Buffalo or Cajun style deli meat?
There are so many choices that you can get creative each time you make pickle roll ups.
2. Vegetarian/Vegan Option
Although one of the three ingredients listed contains meat, for those who are vegetarian or vegan, there are options as well.
You can now purchase plant based ‘ham’ slices. They are surprisingly tasty and make for a good substitute for the meat.
However, there is another option. Instead of using meat or a plant based substitute, use a flour tortilla instead!
Simply spread the cream cheese over one side and line up the baby dill pickles along one edge. Then roll the tortilla and slice into bite size rounds. It is a great option for those who don’t eat meat.
Although to make it vegan, be sure to use a plant based cream cheese spread.
3. Cream Cheese
However, you could easily substitute whipped cream cheese instead.
It would actually be easier to spread on top of the meat. And you can get creative with the flavors that you choose.
Although they sell plain whipped cream cheese you can purchase a flavored cream cheese to add an interesting twist to this classic appetizer.
Here are some examples of what flavors you might be able to find at your local grocery store:
- Garlic & Herb
- Sour Cream & Chive
- Garden Vegetable
However, be sure not to experiment with the berry or strawberry flavors. I tried, and let’s say it wasn’t a pleasant combination.
You can find baby dill pickles at most large grocery stores. They are typically stocked right below the standard jars of dill pickle spears or slices.
However, if you want a different flavor, you can use any flavor of baby pickles that you prefer. Bread & butter, gherkins, and spicy dill are common substitutions.
As you can see, because this appetizer is so versatile and easy to make, it is the perfect appetizer for two! Make a few to serve for any occasion, or as a quick snack.
However, you can also make several to share with family and friends!
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- 2 oz plain cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz baby dill pickles
- 2.5 oz dried beef
- Pour the pickles into a colander and drain the juice. Then pat each pickle dry with a paper towel and place on a plate. Set aside.
- Using a standard butter knife, spread cream cheese to evenly coat one side of each beef slice. The key here is that the cream cheese is soft enough to spread without tearing the beef. *Helpful tip - the more cream cheese that you have on the knife, the easier that it will spread.
- Place a baby dill pickle on one edge of the cream cheese mixture and roll, using the cream cheese as the binding agent. Overlap the beef if possible. Place the dill pickle roll up seam side down on a plate.
- Repeat process until all of the pickles have been wrapped. Use a serrated knife to cut the roll ups in half at an angle, or slice each one into several rounds.
- Place on a serving tray or platter and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Depending on the amount of cream cheese that you spread on each dried beef slice, you may need more softened cream cheese to wrap each pickle.
Appetizer can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Recipe courtesy of iCookfortwo.com