This Is The Most Searched Appetizer In The South

It's perfect for any gathering or occasion.

Folks in the South like to throw a party, gather for backyard barbecues, and celebrate the holidays with lots of loved ones around. That means hosts need a handful of go-to appetizer recipes at the ready year-round. The kinds of recipes that don’t require a long laundry list of ingredients, or tons of prep, and can also serve a crowd.

Baked Goat Cheese Spread with Pepper Jelly
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

When Southerners, like everyone across the country, aren’t leaning on Trader Joe’s to help produce an impressive spread, they’re searching for one easy appetizer again and again: Ham Delights. This recipe is the most searched appetizer in the South, and we aren’t one bit surprised.

These mini and melty ham sandwiches are super satisfying and easy to eat, which is what everyone wants in an appetizer. Ham Delights are also a host’s dream, because they aren’t fussy to make but look impressive, especially when brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning.

Ham Delights

Antonis Achilleos; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

What Makes This Appetizer So Good

It’s hard to go wrong with the combination of ham and cheese, but this appetizer perfects the pairing.

Although often made with Swiss cheese, our Ham Delights are loaded with Gouda, which has a richer, nutty flavor. This recipe also happens to be a great way to use up leftover ham the day after a holiday, but deli slices work just as well anytime of year.

The choice of roll matters for this dish, and the subtle sweetness a Hawaiian roll offers is our go-to. You could just spread the buns with mayonnaise, but we opt to fold in mustard and maple syrup for added tang and another layer of sweetness that goes well with the salty ham. 

The finishing touches on our Ham Delights also set them apart from other recipes. After a generous coating of butter, they’re topped with everything bagel seasoning and flaky salt, for a bit of crunch and tons of added flavor.

Why Southerners Love This Recipe

If you've ever attended a Southern gathering, you've likely already enjoyed Ham Delights. A staple of showers, barbecues, and any party really, these two-bite appetizers always satisfy a hungry crowd. Our recipe also comes together in just 30 minutes, making them an easy hot appetizer to have ready shortly after guests arrive. 

They're endlessly customizable, too. Use your favorite spice blend instead of the everything bagel seasoning, swap turkey for the ham, or substitute your favorite melty cheese for the Gouda.

Another fun twist is to personalize the sandwich spread—feel free to mix-in your favorite condiments or add a spicy kick.

If you still aren't convinced about how delightful this appetizer is, listen to what one of our readers, Carla Willard, has to say about the recipe. “I made these for a home group gathering. They were super easy to make, and my family insisted I make some extra to leave for them. Everyone raved over them and the group requested them for our Christmas party too.”

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