Customize Healthy Homemade Hot Pockets with fresh ingredients for a portable, freezer-friendly lunch or after-school snack.
If you’ve followed my blog, you’re very aware that lunches and back-to-school are certainly on my mind. I’ve had a great time playing around with new recipes to introduce to you as well as to the girls that can be made ahead and are lunchbox-friendly. Recently, I started to think about what can easily be made ahead, customized, is freezer-friendly and something kids would like…homemade “hot pockets.”
Growing up, we were never really a Hot Pockets family the way I remember some friends’ families being. Sure, we ate various convenience foods and, certainly, I still have a love affair with many a preservative-filled treat but this was one that never really did it for me. However, if we think about the components of a Hot Pocket and why people love(d) them so much: portability, freezer-friendly, yummy flavors, cheesy goodness, etc. then there should definitely be a way to “healthify” them while still offering the same qualities.
Clever Ways to Customize
I created these individual hand pies with the idea that your children can help you make them using their favorite ingredients. When I was testing the recipes, I played around with a few basic flavor combos but the options of what you can make are endless. All of the ones I tested this go round included pizza sauce as a based but pesto or barbecue sauce could both be used to make some fun creations.
Today’s tests included:
- Classic: Pepperoni, mushroom, mozzarella cheese
- Veggie: Kale, portobello mushrooms, red bell peppers, goat cheese
- Mediterranean: Chicken, spinach, basil, goat cheese (this would be good with fresh tomatoes and pesto)
- Hawaiian: Ham, pineapple, cheddar, cheddar cheese
How-to Make Homemade Hot Pockets
Roll, stretch, cut
Roll your favorite pizza dough into a 16×18 inch rectangle. For easy and speed, I used a pre-rolled Italian pizza dough from my supermarket’s bakery. I’ll be honest, I am TERRIBLE at stretching and rolling pizza dough out into any shape so the pre-rolled dough helped tremendously. (I found these tips from King Arthur Flour to help with stubborn dough that doesn’t want to roll out. Very helpful!)
Next, cut the dough into 10 equal strips. Thankfully, dough is forgiving so if “equal” is as tough for you as it (apparently) is for me, you can stretch the pieces to work in your favor.
So now’s here’s the tough part, don’t overstuff your hot pocket! Stretch the dough out width-wise and lengthwise and then add your toppings to one half. Fold the other half over and roll up the edges. I used an egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk whisked together) to help glue the ends. Next, brush the top of your hot pocket with the egg wash to give help give it a nice brown finish and then cut slits in the top using a sharp knife to allow the steam to escape.
Here’s a tip regarding the slits: Once the hot pockets are cooked, it is hard to remember what is inside each one so I used 3 slits for pepperoni, 2 slits for Hawaiian, etc. (You may want to write down what you did so you don’t forget!)
Bake and Enjoy
Bake the pockets on a parchment-lined baking sheet or on a baking mat until they are golden brown. You can eat immediately or allow the hot pockets to cool on a baking rack and then freeze individually so they’ll be ready to pop into a lunchbox or toaster oven.
I think next time I make these, I’m going to play around with a barbecue chicken variety as well as a dessert homemade hot pocket option. How good would Nutella, marshmallows and pistachios be? Or maybe caramel sauce and apples…the options are endless!
Definitely give these a try and let me know what you think! I would love to hear what other flavor combos you would put together! Make sure to pin these healthy hot pockets! And, of course, if you’re looking for lunchbox ideas, you’ve come to the right spot!
LIKE ’EM? PIN ’EM!