Hanky Panky Party Bread

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pumpernickle hanky panky recipe

What’s Up, Hungry People

As football season either wraps up or kicks off (timing is everything!), it’s crucial to have your tailgating and finger food game strong. And let’s be honest, who can resist a well-made hanky panky?

Hanky pankies, occasionally referred to as “Polish mistakes” in certain circles, are a crowd-pleasing appetizer. This delectable treat combines ground beef, sausage, and cheddar cheese atop slices of dark or Jewish rye ‘party bread,’ toasted to a perfect crisp.

hanky panky breads

Key Ingredients and Variations

The fusion of ground beef and sausage with cheddar cheese isn’t just for topping bread. It can also be transformed into a savory dip, ideal for those times when party bread is playing hard to get. Personally, I’m not the biggest rye bread enthusiast, but I must admit, this dip form is a game-changer for me.

On the other hand, my boyfriend and our guests are staunch hanky panky advocates, especially on rye bread. Despite my preferences, their enthusiasm makes it a must-have. The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity – just six-ish ingredients, bread excluded, making it almost irresistible not to whip up!

ingredients for polish mistakes

Here’s What You Need

  • Lean ground beef: Provides the main protein base, adding texture and flavor.
  • Chorizo or hot Italian sausage: Infuses spicy and robust flavors into the dish.
  • Party rye bread: Serves as a crispy, flavorful base for the toppings.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Adds depth with its unique, tangy umami flavor.
  • Cayenne pepper: Gives a spicy kick, adjustable to taste preference.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: Melts into a gooey, rich layer, complementing the meats.
  • Fresh parsley: Offers a fresh, herbal note and visual appeal.
  • Salt & pepper: Basic seasonings to enhance overall flavor.
ground beef with cayenne

Let’s Cook!

Start by browning the sausage and beef in a pan until they’re nicely crumbled. If, like me, you accidentally skip the extra lean beef, a quick rinse of the meat after cooking can help reduce the fat – though lean beef is definitely the way to go. Then, return the meat to the pan and season with salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and a hint of cayenne for that extra kick.

meat mix with parsley

The next step is to stir in the cheddar cheese until it’s completely melted. Add a sprinkle of parsley for a pop of color and freshness.

Let the meaty mixture cool for a moment while you line up the party breads on a baking sheet. Aim for about a tablespoon and a half of the mixture on each slice.

assembled breads

Baking Perfect Hanky Pankies

Now, it’s time for the magic to happen in the oven. Bake these beauties until the bread reaches the pinnacle of crispiness and the cheese lovingly bonds the beef mixture to the bread. While they are arguably at their best when enjoyed at room temperature or slightly warmer, let’s be real – they’re often devoured almost straight from the oven at our gatherings.

finished hanky panky

Hanky Panky Party Bread Tips

  • Meat Selection: While lean ground beef is ideal for less grease, using a mix of meats can add depth to the flavor. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sausage types to find your perfect blend.
  • Cheese Matters: Sharp cheddar is recommended for its strong flavor, but feel free to try other types like mild cheddar or even a mix of cheeses for a different taste profile.
  • Spice to Your Liking: The cayenne pepper amount can be adjusted. Start with less if you’re not a fan of heat and increase according to your preference.
  • Bread Alternatives: If party rye bread isn’t available, don’t fret. You can use other small, sturdy bread types. The key is to ensure the bread can hold the topping without getting soggy.
  • Serving Temperature: Hanky pankies are delicious both warm and at room temperature. If serving later, simply reheat in the oven for a few minutes to maintain crispiness.
party bread recipe

Well, Hungry People, that wraps up our journey into the delicious world of hanky panky party bread. This recipe is a testament to how a few simple, affordable ingredients can come together to create something truly memorable for your taste buds.

Whether it’s a game day, a casual get-together, or just a craving for something satisfyingly savory, this dish is sure to be a hit. Remember, cooking is all about making it your own, so don’t hesitate to put a personal spin on it. Grab your apron, gather your ingredients, and let’s cook up some magic. Enjoy!

pumpernickle hanky panky

Hanky Panky Party Bread

The Starving Chef
Savor the flavors of hanky panky party bread, a perfect blend of spicy sausage, savory beef, and sharp cheddar on toasted rye, ideal for any gathering.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, Game Day, NYE
Servings 36 bites



  • In a large skillet over high heat, cook the sausage and beef together until browned and crumbled. Drain any excess fat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Remove the cooked meat mixture from the heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Stir in the fresh parsley, as desired. Let cool for a few minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the party breads onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Place about 1-2 tablespoons of the cheesy beef mixture onto each slice of bread.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the party breads are crispy and the cheese has melted the meat onto the bread. Cool for a few minutes prior to serving, or serve at room temperature.


Keyword bread, cheese, chorizo, rye, sausage
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!