Ham and Cheese Rolls – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


Low Carb Ham and Cheese RollsI will not lie to you; this Ham and Cheese Roll recipe was a disaster from start to finish.  Seriously, just issue after issue that culminated in a squished, crumbly final product, a burnt hand, and a serious amount of frustration on my part.  But after a few hours, I gained a little perspective and thought it was all pretty funny and that I ought to share it with you anyway.  And the end results were seriously tasty, it’s simply the execution that needs a little work.  What even makes it more amusing is that I had no worries about this recipe working perfectly from the word go.  I was so certain they’d turn out, I even planned to make them on Christmas morning.  But as I came down with a case of strep throat over the holidays, I scrapped that plan and made a simple ham and cheese quiche instead.  I’m now rather glad that I waited, so I wasn’t cursing like a trucker in front of kids and parents on Christmas morn.

I was so certain that these would come out well because the basic idea was modeled on my Almond Flour Cinnamon Rolls, which have turned out well several times.  I figured it was a no brainer to adapt the dough for a savoury filling.  I mixed up my dough, left out the sweetener, added a touch of garlic powder, and everything seemed on track.  But I made the rookie mistake of thinking the dough, which was sturdy enough for a light cinnamon filling, could stand up to a heavy layer of meat and cheese.  I noticed right away as I tried to roll it that it cracked and crumbled.  But I soldiered on, thinking I could patch up the cracks after it was rolled.  Then I tried slicing it, and the rolls simply wouldn’t hold their round shape.  They were over-filled and the dough was too soft.

I then had the seemingly brilliant idea of leaving the remaining dough log whole and baking it up as a low carb stromboli.  And this was going swimmingly until I removed the baking sheet from the oven to see if it was done.  I placed it up on the stove and went to turn away for a moment, when the sheet began to slide forward towards the floor.  I caught it with both hands, only one of which was protected by an oven mitt.  In addition to burning the other hand, I managed to squish the stromboli quite badly.  I attempted to reshape it before putting it back in the oven, but it was not a successful surgery.  It remained badly flattened on one end.

But here’s my dilemma: the final results were insanely good, at least in terms of flavour and tenderness.  My kids loved them and didn’t give a hoot what they looked like.  They were so good, I feel like I should provide you with the recipe anyway and let you give them a go.  If you don’t overfill them, as I did, you may have more luck (and try not to drop the pan as you take them out of the oven!).  And you can bake them either way, as sliced rolls or as a whole stromboli.  Both versions were happily gobbled by my children.  In the meantime, this is a recipe worth my time to try and perfect.  I need to find a way to make the dough a little sturdier without sacrificing flavour and tenderness.  I will let you know if and when I accomplish that feat!

Low Carb Ham and Cheese Rolls

Ham and Cheese Rolls – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 tbsp unflavored whey protein powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 oz sliced deli ham, chopped (I left mine in slices but it will be easier to slice the dough log if the ham is chopped)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used 1 cup but it was clearly too much)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter for brushing rolls


  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, whey protein, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and xanthan gum.
  3. Stir in eggs and butter until dough comes together. It will be quite sticky.
  4. Turn out dough onto a large piece of parchment, and then pat into a rough rectangle.
  5. Top with another piece of parchment and roll out to about 10x8 inches. Peel off top piece of parchment paper.
  6. Sprinkle evenly with ham and cheese, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
  7. Roll carefully (very carefully) from one long end and pinch to seal seam.
  8. Option 1: Bake whole: Lift whole piece of parchment with dough log onto a baking sheet.
  9. Brush with melted butter and bake 25 to 27 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Let cool before slicing (it will hold together better after it's cooled).
  10. Option 2: Slice into 1/2 inch slices (you will get 12 to 15). Place rolls on parchment-lined baking sheet and reshape gently into rounds.
  11. Brush tops with melted butter and bake 22 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Let cool on pan.

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  1. says

    Aww, this post makes me sad. Not only for you, but for me and everyone has who way too many of these mini-disasters. I hope your finger heals quickly!

    I’m happy that the end result worked out. Imagine that you went to all the that trouble and then it was horrible. This is much better! And I’m happy you posted them. They look delicious and who really cares what it looks like as long as it’s not a company dinner party or something? :)

  2. says

    Oh man, I totally feel you on this one! I’m often more frustrated than happy in my kitchen… But you’re right, once I’ve stepped back I usually see things a lot more different and understand what I could do differently to make the recipe work for me. Glad you ended up sharing it, looks like a winner!

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing your “adventure” making these rolls. I often feel like I’m the only one who has kitchen flops and accidents, it helps to know I’m not alone :) And they really did turn out looking delicious.

  4. Nikki says

    Happy new year!!

    So sorry about the bum deal with these AND burning yourself to boot… :'(

    Am glad you shared this though as (as I have also read from other readers) it’s good to know you are not the only person stuffing things up in the kitchen. There is little I dislike more than slaving away lovingly at something that turnes out as slop.
    Good to keep trying though cause how else are we to learn?? :)

    Thanks again and best regards from far away Amsterdam! x

  5. jo says

    I made your delicious cinnamon rolls for christmas morning: outstanding! But i did struggle with the fragile dough a little while rolling it up. The next time make them, i thought i might put the rolled-out dough in the fridge for a few minutes, to see if chilling the butter – slightly, not long – might keep it together a little better during the rolling up.

  6. Ashley G says

    YUM! I’ve got to try these! And I think they would also be good with the leftover turkey I have in my freezer. LOL

  7. says

    This looks delicious! I want to try making these!! I’d probably do it stromboli style, and with my luck I’d not only drop the pan, the stromboli would catapult into my face as I tried to save it, lol!!

    I have a question, I’m totally new to low carb baking (sorry! I’m sure a lot of people bug you for help, LOL!) and I’m looking to replicate a sort of layered cookie dish.. The original recipe is Hungarian, but I’m dying to make a low carb version. (http://www.sutigyar.hu/upload/recipe/6187/6187-1287_800x600.jpg this is what I’m trying to make) The cookie in it, softens over time (you are supposed to wait at least 2 days before eating these) and I was wondering what kind of flour would be firm enough to assemble these, but not fall apart or crumble away. I realise this is a question that requires testing, and LOL! I’m sure you can’t answer, but any advice would be appreciated :) Thank you so much for such a wonderful blog!

      • says

        This is a translated recipe (courtesy of my aunt!) thank you so much for any help you can give! You’re wonderful :)

        Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
        Generously grease the backs of 4 cookie sheets.If cookie sheets are flat then it doesn’t matter which side you use.

        Ingredients for dough;

        454 grams all-purpose flour
        6 dkgs (decagrams) butter or margarine
        15 dkgs sugar
        1 tsp. baking soda
        6 tblsps. honey, slightly warmed.
        1 large egg

        Good full fat sour cream, maybe 250 grams or more.
        Enough to make a dough that is not too hard or soft but easy enough to roll out.

        Mix all the dry ingredients together. Mix all the liquid ingredients together.Work the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients to make a moderately soft ball of dough.If dough does not hold together add more sour cream until.If dough is too soft add more flour.Dump dough out onto floured surface and knead slightly.
        Shape into four equal sized portions, shape into balls, and allow to rest for about 30 mins.

        Roll each ball to fit the approximate size of the cookie sheet.Bake each layer cookie dough for about 10- 12 minutes until cookie is lightly golden brown.Test, after 10 minutes of baking, by lifting dough off of baking sheet with a spatula.If lifted cookie is lightly brown,it is done. If not then bake a few minutes longer. Immediately flip cookie onto cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat this 3 more times.


        3 egg-yolks
        15 dkgs sugar
        3 heaping tblsps. flour
        1.25 cups milk
        20 dkgs ground walnuts
        20 dkgs powdered sugar
        20 dkgs butter, softened
        1tblsp. vanilla extract
        Pure apricot jam.

        Chocolate Glaze:
        4 squares semi-sweet chocolate squares melted with 1-2 tblsps. milk or cream.

        Beat the three egg-yolks with the 15 dkgs.of sugar until thick and lemon coloured. Set aside. Blend flour with .25 cup milk (one quarter cup) maybe a bit more into a smooth but pourable mixture

        .Set aside.

        Meanwhile in a double boiler bring the rest of the milk to almost a boil.
        Slowly whisk in the flour milk mixture.Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

        Temper the egg-yolk and sugar mixture and add to custard. Cook about 1 minute longer,being careful not to curdle the egg-yolks.Add vanilla extract. Allow to cool completely.

        Meanwhile, with mixer, beat butter with powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add 20 dkgs.

        ground walnuts. Beat for an additional 10 minutes.After custard has completely cooled, add to walnut cream in large dollups and beat until completely blended.

        To assemble, spread 1/3 of walnut cream on bottom layer of pastry. Place another cookie layer on top of cream. Spread a generous amount of apricot jam on cookie and the spread another 1/3 of walnut cream on top of jam. Place third cookie layer. Spread last 1/3 of walnut cream and place last cookie on top of cream. Lastly carefully spread Chocolate Glaze on top and smooth over top.
        Pastry will not be cutable for about 2 days, so cover pastry and allow to sit in fridge for about 2 days to soften. Cut into squares or diamonds, dust with powdered sugar.

  8. says

    You know, it doesn’t always have to look perfect to be great. That’s my revelation of the week (avoiding calling it a New Year’s resolution, but it kind of is :-)). On New Year’s Day I made a pie and the crust kind of shrunk and didn’t look picture perfect (Pinterest perfect?). I had to keep reminding myself, “Who cares? It’ll still taste great and the family will love it. And that’s what matter most.” Here’s to enjoying food and cooking more and worrying less about perfection in 2013. :-)

    • Carolyn says

      Pinterest perfect indeed! We worry way too much about making our recipes “blog-worthy” and not enough about enjoying our food sometimes. :)

  9. Katharine says

    I am so grateful you gave something ham and cheese a try! I miss my beloved grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, and these sounds delish (even if they fell apart a little, who cares? I cut all my 2 year olds food up anyway, so she wouldn’t even know. :) I’ll be waiting patiently for any updates to this fantastic sounding combo. btw – do you make a low-carb sandwich bread that you like? In general I just said goodbye to sandwiches, but every now and then I get the desire to use my old panini press. (Hope your finger is better – that’s quite a blister!!)

    • Carolyn says

      Oh Katharine, you are going to love me in a few weeks! I made a low carb flatbread that made fantastic panini a few nights ago. The panini fillings weren’t what I wanted them to be, so I didn’t take pics but I will make it again with some of my favourite fillings and post it. It held up so well on the panini press and would also make fab grilled cheese bread.

  10. says

    Thanks Carolyn for another really fabulous recipe. And thanks for sharing your mishaps, it’s great to know the sweat and blisters that go into your tasty recipes. Hope the blister is much better and not very painful.

    Happy New Year!

  11. Margi says

    Carolyn, I’m a huge fan of yours since the first Low Carbing Among Friends cookbook. I made these this morning and they are DELICIOUS; so lovely and buttery-tasting. They ain’t pretty, but they’re so yummy, I will definitely keep on making these. In fact, I made a pan of your cinnamon rolls to go with these. I have begun using the “natural” almond flour from Honeyville and it adds a dimension to these rolls that the regular blanched almond flour does not. Just wanted you to know. Thank you for all you do. :)

  12. Terry says

    Greetings from South Africa. Just recently found your site. Lucky me!
    LOVE so many of your recipes & these ham & cheese rolls look great. Imagine bacon would also be good instead of ham? Have you got the nutritional info? Carb counting!
    Via Jennifer Eloff’s site I made your orange chocolate swirl bread yesterday. Mine took quite a lot longer to set in the middle, perhaps ‘cos I made my own almond milk? Turned out ok although a bit too dark on the edges. Sadly we don’t get swerve in SA so I used erythritol & I seem to get a bit of an unusual taste. Don’t usually do sweet anything but since I’ve been low carbing I crave the occasional sweet treat.

    • Carolyn says

      You can easily enter the ingredients into an online calculation site. Many people use MyFitnessPal. I have started to include all of the nutritional counts in my recipes now but don’t have time to go back and calculate all the old ones. Sorry!

  13. Nikki says

    Well this came out simply amazing for me! It was absolutely delicious and I was just *really* careful when I rolled it up. It developed a couple small “leaks” in the side while cooking, but nothing to write home about. Plus I stuffed it with probably twice the amount of ham and cheese the recipe called for. I am so pleased with how it came out I’m attempting it with mozzarella and pepperoni tonight!

  14. Sarah says

    I wonder, if you rolled the dough out, cut like cookies, molded into a cupcake tin (like making a tart), then add your filling… if this would work?!
    The last time I made something in roll form, it just broke apart!


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