Homemade Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets in the Air Fryer

Hot pockets are not only a kid’s favorite, but as much loved by adults. For many households in America, Hot pockets have become a reliable, easy, and tasty go-to snack. Stashed away in the freezer, full of a combination of fillings, hot pockets have become a convenient easy hot meal, that can be popped in the microwave for all members of the family to enjoy.

Hot pockets are actually the American version of Empanadas from the Latin regions and Calzone from Italy. This meal is the brainchild of Paul and David Merage of the company Chef America Inc. with the aim of achieving a product that can maintain a crispy outer layer despite cooking in a microwave. Nowadays, Hot pocket is used as a general term for a dish with flaky pastry enveloping an array of fillings. There is no one exact rule of what a hot pocket is supposed to contain inside. It can be all types of meats, cheese, vegetables, or even mixtures of it. There are several available varieties of hot pocket recipes and some of the most popular include Pizza, meatballs and mozzarella, chicken & jalapeno, and others.

Whilst ready-to-go hot pockets can be bought in the freezer aisle of your local grocery store, making your own homemade hot pockets are just so much better than the store-bought ones. Aside from being able to choose what you can put inside your hot pockets, you can also twist and adjust the recipe of the dough to fit the outcome to your liking. All you need to know is how each ingredient helps you in achieving this.

Similar to the filling, there are several ways to make the outer layer of your hot pockets. The end goal is to keep the crust either crispy or flaky. Using your air fryer for this recipe will create a low-fat family snack that all your family members will be queuing for more.
Now they are going to take much longer than just popping them in the microwave for two minutes, but I promise you, homemade hot pockets are just so much better. You can add any of your favorite fillings, or experiment with any number of different fillings, making them so much healthier and tastier. You can make a batch of hot pockets for a fraction of the costs of store-bought, use up any leftovers in your fridge, and you can freeze them for when you are needing a quick snack (cooked or uncooked).

Using your air fryer to make these hot pockets will help you achieve a crispier texture when compared to microwaving it. The hot flow of air mimics the results of frying as opposed to microwaving where the excess moisture from the product can make the pastry soggy in the end without a good flow of air. By air frying your hot pockets, the outer layer of your small pockets of joy can become crispy while maintaining a juicy center using the right conditions. In addition, air frying your hot pockets is way faster and more efficient than using an oven. The perforated basket of your air fryer encourages the even heating of your hot pockets, thus an evenly cooked dish!

What’s more, is you can even make hot pockets for later meals just like how they are being sold in the supermarket! You can make a lot of hot pockets ahead of a meal and freeze them. Once you are ready, pop them in an air fryer and enjoy! Frozen hot pockets actually cook more evenly than when they are freshly made. Make several variants and pockets for the whole family ahead of dinners and family gatherings.

Make sure to browse and follow our tips and tricks for a more delicious set of hot pockets.

Home Made Hot Pockets recipe

Recipe by Maverick CharlestonCourse: budget friendly mealCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 20g dried yeast

  • 350ml warm water

  • 500g all-purpose flour (plus extra flour for work surface)

  • 20g white sugar

  • 50ml olive oil

  • 2 teaspoon salt

  • Egg wash
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk

  • Filling
  • 400g shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • 300g ham cut into 3 mm cubes

Directions

  • In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the yeast and warm water.
  • Add flour, sugar, olive oil, and salt.
  • Mix on the lowest speed of your mixer for 1 minute.
  • Once all of the ingredients are mixed, increase the speed of your mixer to low-medium speed. Mix for 8-10 minutes on low medium speed.
  • After 8 minutes of mixing, the dough should be smooth and elastic and a little shiny. You know when the dough is ready when it has pulled away from the bowl of your mixer.
  • Remove the dough from mixer bowl, roll into a ball shape, and place in a large bowl lightly greased with olive oil. Pour a little olive oil over the dough, then cover with cling wrap and place in a warm place in your kitchen for 1 ½ hours to allow your dough to rise double in size
  • Once your dough has risen, using the ends of your fingers, push down on the hot pocket dough to release the air inside the dough. Cover again and let the dough rise for a second time.
  • Remove dough from the bowl and place on to a lightly floured bench top. Using a pastry cutter or a sharp pairing knife, cut the dough into 10 even pieces of dough. Use a scale to ensure evenly weighted dough.
  • Press down on each piece of dough and using a rolling pin, roll each piece into a rectangle, 10cm x 5cm with a thickness of around 3mm.
  • Preheat air fryer to 190.C
  • On a round baking tray that will fit into your air fryer, line with a perforated baking sheet, and lightly spray with olive oil.
  • On each rectangle of dough add 30g of cheese then 30g of ham on one half of the dough. Fold the other half of the dough over the top of the ingredients, using a fork dipped in water, press down on the edges to crimp and seal the hot pockets. Transfer hot pockets a tray and place in fridge for 5 minutes to chill the dough. Remove from fridge, then brush the tops of the hot pockets with beaten egg. Using scissors, snip two tiny holes on top to create air vents to allow steam to escape when cooking.
  • Transfer 2-3 hot pockets to the round baking tray that fits your air fryer, so not to over crowd, and cook in separate batches. Bake the hot pockets for 10 -12 minutes, or until the tops are crispy golden in color. Rotate the hot pockets once during cooking process to ensure an even color.
  • Once cooked, remove pockets from the air fryer and place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat until all hot pockets are cooked. Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce.

Tips and tricks

  • Use scales to weigh out your dough when portioning. This will ensure your hot pockets are uniform in shape, and helps when cooking to ensure even cooking time and color.
  • Don’t try to overfill your hot pockets when making, using scales to accurately weigh your fillings will ensure your hot pockets will not ooze fillings when baking.
  • Ensure you cut air holes using sharp scissors, this helps to steam escape, and prevents the sides of air pockets from splitting.
  • Hot pockets can be made, and frozen cooked or uncooked. You can even place the uncooked hot pockets into your fridge for up to one day before cooking them, which makes a great option for parties.
  • If freezing uncooked, place them in an air sealed container lined with baking paper. If stacking, place a sheet of baking paper between each layer to prevent sticking. When cooking don’t forget to egg wash before placing in air fryer to ensure a nice golden color.
  • If freezing cooked, place the hot pockets in Ziplock bags. You don’t need to defrost to reheat. Place them in the basket of your air fryer, give a light spray of oil on top and cook at 190.C for 10 minutes flip them over and cook for a further 2 minutes until nice and crispy.
  • Note that freezing your hot pockets is better than air frying them at room temperature. Although it will take a longer time, frozen hot pockets get cooked uniformly all throughout and all at the same time.
  • Hot Pockets cooked can remain in your freezer for up to two months, uncooked for 1 month before using.
  • Dough can be doubled in volume from base recipe. Excess dough can be frozen for up to one month in a Ziplock bag.
  • Unlike your regular pastry, this method does not use layering of butter and flour to get a flaky outer layer. To increase the crispness of your dough, you can add a bit more sugar to the recipe. Sugar, when heated and subsequently cools adds to the texture of your dough.
  • Make your hot pockets more interesting and nutritious by adding vegetables such as bell peppers, peas, carrots, and others.
  • Precook more complex fillings to shorten the cooking time. This also shortens the contact time of the filling with the inner dough and reduces the chances of making it soggy.
  • Increase the flavor complexity and nutritional value of your hot pockets by substituting water with milk. This will give your pastry more flavor and make the dough fermentation even faster as there are more sources of food for the yeast.

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