Old Fashioned Polish Mistakes Party Appetizer Recipe

When if comes to family recipes I definitely have my favorites! And this Polish mistake recipe is definitely one of them! My parents have been making these for decades and they never disappoint! This recipe uses simple ingredients and can be made in advance and frozen right up until cooking time! This classic recipe is a great appetizer recipe for your next holiday party and they are the perfect size for handheld eating! I promise everyone will be asking you for the recipe and you will not have any left at the end of the night. Let me show you how to make this easy Polish mistake recipe recipe that will become a the new family favorite appetizer! Full recipe card below.

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What are Polish Mistakes?

Polish mistakes are essentially an open faced slider on toast rather than a bun if you really want to take it down to the basics. It’s a combination of sausage and hamburger meat mixed with Velveeta cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings served on cocktail rye bread. This recipe is rumored to have gained its popularity in the 1970s but no one is 100% sure where this recipe originated.

They are also sometimes referred to as hanky pankies, polish disasters, and party pizzas. My family has been making this recipe for decades and since my dad is Polish, the Polish Mistake name just stuck. No matter what you call them, they are a great party food in my opinion!

Why I love this recipe

Aside from being the perfect combination of comfort food, this is an easy recipe with basic ingredients and can be made in advance and frozen in freezer bags. When you are ready to entertain, just fill up a baking pan and toss them in the oven. Easy peasy!

Polish Mistake Ingredients

This easy hors d’oeuvre recipe uses simple ingredients you probably stock in your kitchen.

Ground Beef – This recipe is a 1:1 mixture of ground beef and sausage. I normally use extra lean ground beef, but you can use any fat content you like. You can even use ground turkey or ground chuck. The other ingredients will add plenty of flavor. Just remember, if you choose too many low fat ingredients they may come out dry since they have a lower fat content.

Ground Sausage – For the sausage component you can really use any kind of ground sausage you would like, but my personal favorite is hot pork sausage like hot Italian or spicy breakfast sausage. If spicy isn’t for you, mild sausage works too. You can even use turkey sausage, but it will not have as much flavor and may become dry. Despite the name, I do not think Polish sausage would be a good choice here because of the casing.

Velveeta Cheese – I know there are plenty of folks out there who are against processed cheese food like Velveeta, and I will say I am usually on the real cheese train myself, but Velveeta is the best choice here. I have made this with real cheddar cheese and they were not as good. There is just something about they gooeyness of Velveeta that makes them amazing!

The only good substitute I have found is Provel. Not provolone, Provel. It’s a St. Louis cheese made famous by a local pizza chain called Imo’s but is difficult to find outside of the STL. If you happen to have a block, Provel does make a good substitute for Velveeta in this recipe.

Worcestershire Sauce  A key ingredient in this recipe is the condiment no one can pronounce correctly, haha! But this potent sauce will add quite a bit of flavor with its umami flavor of sweet, salty, and sour all at once. I always keep a bottle in the fridge especially for Bloody Marys.

Oregano – This herbal spice adds a little extra flavor and really compliments the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and meats well. You can use fresh if you have it, but the ground spice version works just fine.

Garlic Powder – Who doesn’t love a bit of garlic? You can use fresh garlic if you want but honestly I think garlic powder works better here.

Cocktail Bread – Traditional old fashioned Polish mistakes are made on cocktail rye bread which can be found at your local grocery store in the bakery department. My local Kroger store usually doesn’t stock them until the holidays. I have also made them on sourdough cocktail bread which is also really good if you are not a fan of rye. If you cannot find cocktail bread at your grocery store, you can order them here or you can use regular rye bread cut into fourths and toasted.

Cooking Options for Polish Mistakes

I usually bake my Polish Mistakes in the oven so I can cook a whole cookie sheet at a time. But you could also make them in the toaster oven if you prefer. But when I make these for parties I can’t seem to cook them fast enough 🙂

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Old Fashioned Polish Mistakes Party Appetizer Recipe

  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 32 pieces 1x


A simple combination of cheese, hamburger, and hot sausage come together to make the best party appetizer! Make these cheesy delights and freeze ahead of time. Just pop in the oven right before your guests arrive. No game day or party will ever be the same without them and everyone will want the recipe!


  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 lb Ground Hot Sausage
  • 1 lb Velveeta Cheese (cubed)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tsp Oregano
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Pkg Cocktail Rye Bread


  1. In a deep skillet brown hamburger and sausage on medium heat until cooked through. Drain liquid and return to skillet and reduce heat.
  2. Add garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and oregano to meat mixture.
  3. Dice Velveeta into small cubes and add to meat mixture in large skillet.
  4. Cook meat, cheese, and seasonings on low heat for 10-15 minutes until Velveeta is completely melted. Stir frequently.
  5. Spray a large baking sheet with non stick cooking spray or line with a baking mat or aluminum foil.
  6. Line up cocktail bread on baking sheet and spoon meat mixture onto bread. For this I use my perfect cookie scoop to get the perfect amount on each slice but you can use a tablespoon as well.
  7. Bake Polish Mistakes for 10 minutes at 375 degrees until bread is crispy and cheese begins to brown.

Make Ahead Instructions

  1. Follow above steps 1-6.
  2. Place baking sheet in the freezer for 30-45 minutes or until Polish Mistakes start to freeze.
  3. Transfer Polish Mistakes to large freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. These can be baked frozen at 400. No need to thaw. Bake for 10 minutes until bread is crispy and cheese begins to brown.


Note: If you choose low fat ingredients or substitute the Velveeta, these may come out dry since they have a lower fat content. For best results, use the recommended ingredients.

Baking times will vary.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer, Snack
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cheesy, easy, handheld, Hors d'oeuvre, meat lovers, spicy

When to make Polish mistakes

I think the better question here is when not to make them? I almost always have a bag in my freezer just in case I get a craving or have unexpected guests. We even do appetizer night on Christmas eve and make a bunch of our favorite appetizers for dinner. These are always on the menu!

Here are a few other occasions to make Polish mistakes or a hanky panky appetizer. Holiday parties, family reunions, appetizer dinner night, game day, happy hour, pot luck dinners, or just as an easy snack!

Looking for more appetizer recipes for your next big gathering or game day? Check out my other appetizer recipes.

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