Hanky Panky Recipe

Aimee Shugarman | Shugary Sweets

This hanky panky recipe combines sausage and cheese on top of pumpernickel bread in a classic appetizer recipe that's sure to be a hit. In under 30 minutes, you've got a crowd-pleasing snack!

This hanky panky recipe is about to change your life. Ok, ok. That's probably a bit of an exaggeration, but stay with me on this one.

Every family has one of those recipes hidden in their vaults. You know, the one they make year after year, holiday after holiday, birthday after birthday.

You forget that there even is a “recipe” because you’ve made it so many times you have it memorized. That is this hanky panky recipe for me!

Hanky Panky Photo

Hanky Panky Recipe

You know the kind of recipe I'm talking about - friends come over, love something you've made and ask for the recipe for those hanky panky appetizers.

Then you have to stumble and think and try to recall exactly how you make them, becausre you're usually just moving by instinct, not measurement.

And nobody is ever happy with just ingredients, they want exact measurements, right? (Which, I get, I really do - but sometimes it's harder than it sounds!)

So this is my effort at memorializing our family's hanky panky recipe complete with measurements and all. 

Hanky Panky Pic

This hanky panky recipe is a staple at our family functions. It has been around for as long as I can remember and no party is complete without a tray.

Late at night, after dinner has been eaten and dessert has been demolished, my mom always brings out a hot plate of this hanky panky appetizer. Always.

It turns out, this hanky panky recipe goes very well with a game of cards, laughter, and late night hunger pangs!

Just be warned though, these hanky panky appetizers don’t last long. By the time you take a batch out of the oven, the plate is empty and waiting for the next batch.

Luckily, these hanky panky appetizers take very limited prep time to whip up so you can be snacking in no time at all, so this recipe is also perfect to whip up for impromptu guests.

Hanky Panky Image

Hanky Panky Recipe Ingredients

To make this recipe you need just a few ingreidents. You can play with variations of this recipe as you wish to create your own perfect hanky panky.

  • Dark pumpernickel bread - I like using the party bread, the kind with smaller slices. I think some people also call it cocktail bread. Alternately you could substitute rye bread although I'm partial to a hanky panky recipe made with pumpernickel bread. Either way, you'll need small slices of either rye or pumpernickel
  • Pork sausage - My family prefers pork sausage when making hanky panky, but seem people use a meat mixture of ground beef and ground pork. In that case I suggest using a 50/50 blend of equal parts sausage and equal parts ground beef. You can use mild sausage or hot pork sausage, but I suggest trying it with mild or even sweet sausage, often called breakfast sausage.
  • Velveeta cheese - Creamy Velveeta cheese is honestly what makes this hanky panky recipe so epic. You could use any brand of processed cheese you prefer, but Velveeta cheese is always my personal preference. 
  • Tortilla chips - Ditch the old fashioned recipe entirely and serve the meat and cheese mixture with tortilla chips! It's delicious that way, although I'm partial to the party rye served alongside one of my favorite cocktail recipes personally.

Ground Sausage or Ground Beef?

As noted above, you can absolutely make this recipe with whatever combination of ground sausage or ground beef that you prefer.

Again, I am partial to ground sausage alone, but some may prefer to use hamburger meat or ground beef in addition to ground sausage.

I suggest using half ground sausage and half ground beef if you decide to go this route, to keep that extra flavor from the sausage intact.

How to Make Hanky Panky Appetizers

Step 1. Add ground sausage to a large skillet and cook over medium high heat until browned and cooked through. Were you including ground beef, you would add that at the same time as the pork sausage. 

Hanky Panky Recipe Photo

Step 2. Once the meat mixture is cooked, drain off the excess fat from the ground sausage. Preheat oven to 425° F

Hanky Panky Recipe Picture

Step 3. Add Velveeta cheese to the skillet with the browned pork and melt over low heat, stirring frequently until well blended. If you prefer to add seasoning such as garlic salt, garlic powder or Worcestershire sauce, this is a good time to do that. (See my notes below about seasoning.)

Hanky Panky Recipe Pic

Step 4. Lay out cocktail bread slices in a single layer across a baking sheet. (Again you can use cocktail rye bread or individual sized pumpernickel bread.)

Hanky Panky Recipe Image

Step 5. Scoop cheese and meat mixture onto each slice of bread, then bake for about 15 minutes until brown and bubbly. Serve warm for a culinary creation your whole family will love.

Easy Hanky Panky Recipe Photo

Make this Hanky Panky Recipe Ahead of Time

  • First, plan your menu in advance! Do your shopping as early as possible. Seriously, you don’t want to be out there while the shelves are empty!
  • These Hanky Pankies can be made up ahead of time. There is rarely a time when my mom doesn’t have a batch of these in her freezer!
  • Brown your sausage, add the cheese and assemble as directed in the instructions below. Before baking them however, lay the prepared hanky pankies on a flat cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. After an hour, when they have begun to harden, stack them in a freezer safe bag! Label and save them until ready to serve. You could also freeze individually, but who wants just one hanky panky?
  • When your party has arrived, and you think it’s time to bring out a batch, place the frozen hanky pankies in a single layer on your cookie sheet while frozen. Bake a few extra minutes until the bottom crisps up and the cheese begins to sizzle. Perfection!

Enjoy a batch of this hanky panky recipe today! Or tomorrow. Or make them for New Year's Eve!

Easy Hanky Panky Recipe Picture

Hanky Panky Recipe Variations

This old fashioned recipe has so many variations. It's one of those recipes that varies from family to family, each one with their own original recipe that they love best.

While I am partial to our simple family recipe, there are so many ways to shake things up and make this recipe your own!

  • Gluten free bread - In lieu of using cocktail rye bread, party rye or pumpernickel, look for a gluten free bread alternative. If the size is larger than the indvidual sized pumpernickel bread, cut it into smaller squares first before spooning the meat mixture over top.
  • Seasoning - Some people like to add garlic salt, garlic powder or a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce to the meat and cheese mixture, or while the ground beef and ground pork are browning. If you use garlic salt, use it sparingly as the processed cheese is already quite salty.
  • Spice - A few people in my family like to add a little spicy kick to their hanky pankies. Crushed red pepper flakes or a few dashes of good hot sauce on top of the prepared hanky pankies is perfect for those who love spice, so each person can have as much spice as they prefer for their individual appetizers. You could also use hot pork sausage to add a little kick if your whole family likes spice.
  • Rye bread vs. pumpernickel - I've mentioned it before, of course, but the cocktail bread you choose will switch up the flavor of this hanky panky recipe a bit, too. Cocktail rye or pumpernckel or a combination of are both absolutely delicious! 
Hanky Panky Picture

More Appetizer Recipes You'll Love

Looking for more recipes to please a crowd at your next party? Give these favorites a try!

Easy Hanky Panky Recipe Image

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Hanky Panky Recipe

    36 Servings


  • 36 slices Dark Pumpernickel Party Bread, One 12 ounce package, substitute rye if desired
  • 1 pound Pork Sausage
  • 1/2 pound Velveeta Cheese


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the ground sausage and/or ground beef until browned and crumbled. Drain off excess fat.
  2. Add Velveeta cheese and stir over low heat, then cook until melted and fully blended.
  3. If serving immediately, preheat oven to 425°F.
  4. Lay bread slices onto baking sheet in a single layer. Spoon dollop of meat mixture onto pumpernickel or rye bread and bake for about 15 minutes noting that oven times may vary.
  5. If assembling ahead of time, lay bread slices onto freezer safe baking sheet. Spoon meat mixture onto bread and place in freezer for about an hour. Remove and place frozen hanky pankies into a freezer safe bag. Store until ready to serve. When serving, place frozen hanky pankies on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Serve warm.


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Related Recipes:
Appetizer Recipes, Snack Recipes, Baking Recipes, Baked Recipes, Family Meals and Snack Recipes, Party Food Recipes, Easy Recipes, Bread Recipes, Sausage Recipes, Cheese Recipes, Exclusive Recipes
Recipe Yields:
36 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Aimee Shugarman
Recipe Yields: 36 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 36

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 39
Calories 89

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g
  Saturated Fat 2g
Sodium 227mg
Total Carbohydrate 4g
  Dietary Fiber 0g
  Sugars 0g
Protein 3g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Aimee Shugarman

About Aimee

Aimee Shugarman of Shugary Sweets likes all things sweet, as you can probably guess. Writing about homemade candy came naturally, and we're oh so thankful she's our Candy Fanatic.

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