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Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe

This classic old fashioned ham salad recipe is ready in under 10 minutes. A great use for leftover ham and packed with flavor and texture. Serve it with crackers as an easy appetizer or make a sandwich!

one of my favorite recipes for salad

Homemade Ham Salad Recipe

Being raised in the south, I saw this recipe being served at pretty much every special occasion like bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, etc.

You could count on it alongside chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad, and pimento cheese.

Being so popular, I just had to share my simple recipe for ham salad so you can enjoy this delicious spread too.

It’s a quick and easy dish that’s packed with flavor, uses pantry staple ingredients, and comes together in less than 10 minutes.

By using leftover ham it’s a budget friendly to transform leftovers into a new dish for lunch or dinner.

And this ham salad recipe is a great way to experiment by adding your own favorite flavors and textures.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.
cup mayonnaise and other ingredients in bowls

Ingredients Needed

Cooked Ham – I bought thick cut ham, substitute leftover cooked ham.

Egg – Use a hard-boiled eggs or leave out depending on personal preference.

Vegetables – Celery stalks, sweet onion add flavor and crunch

Mayonnaise – Duke’s is my favorite or substitute your fave like Miracle whip or Hellman’s.

Mustard – Dijon mustard adds a great tang or substitute whole grain mustard or yellow mustard.

Pickles – Chopped dill pickles and some pickle juice. Substitute sweet relish if desired.

Pantry staples – Lemon juice, black pepper.

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How to Make Ham Salad

First: In a food processor, place the rough chopped ham. Pulse 5-10 times until roughly minced. Don’t over pulse or it will turn into a paste. You want it small but with texture. Remove to a large bowl.

Second: Add in the hard boiled egg, celery, onion, mayo, mustard, pickles, pickle juice, and lemon juice. Stir gently the ham mixture to combine.

Third: Taste and season with pepper if desired.

Fourth: Serve or chill until ready to eat. I love mine with crackers or on bread/croissant to make a ham salad sandwich.

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

ham spread in a bowl

What to serve with Ham Salad

There are so many ways to serve ham salad! Try each of these and tell me your favorite:

side of bowl of ham with a cracker

Variations on Ham Salad

Pickles – I use dill pickles but some love a sweet pickle relish instead.

Main ingredient – It is ham but you can also use bologna, spam, or a spiral cut ham.

Add ins – Stir in diced bell peppers, pimentos, roasted red peppers, fresh mushrooms, dill pickle relish, or capers.

Double the recipe – Stretch it by adding extra eggs, celery, and onion.

Leftover ham salad – Puree it and serve as a dip, add to a grilled cheese, or fold into a pasta salad.

cracker with ham on it

What kind of ham do I use?

This recipe is the perfect way to use up leftover ham that you might have from a holiday or from the deli to avoid food waste. My favorites are:

  • Cooked ham: I grab this from the deli and have them cut it into thick slices or “steaks.” Tavern ham is my favorite.
  • Baked ham: A spiral ham or leftover holiday ham from Easter dinner or Christmas eve. And the glaze adds a touch of sweetness.
  • Smoked Ham: This will give you a little smoky flavor to the final recipe which is great for sliders.

Do I have to use a food processor?

No you don’t have to it just makes it easier. You can always take the ham and chop it into small pieces by hand.

Although this can be time consuming but not that bad if you are just making a few servings.

close up of cracker and spread

How to Store Ham Salad

If you happen to have leftover ham salad, be sure to refrigerate it right away.

Place in an airtight container or a bowl wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Be sure to give it a quick stir before serving again.

Can you freeze ham salad with mayo?

Technically, you can but I don’t recommend it. The texture of the meat and any veggies you added to the recipe can become mushy and release a lot of moisture.

This will make your ham salad very watery when you thaw it out.

Additionally, freezing mayonnaise can cause it to separate giving you a grainy texture and also releasing extra water. If you have to freeze it, try doing it without the mayo.

If you can’t avoid that, freeze it in smaller portions and put it in vacuum sealed bags to keep as much air out as possible.

Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and stir in a little mayo to bring it back close to it’s original texture.

close up of sandwich with lettuce

How long does it last in the fridge?

If chilled right away or kept chilled during serving, any leftovers will last in the fridge for up to 3 days.

If you are making it ahead of time and serving later, store it in the coldest part of the fridge. It will last up to 5 days.

Be sure to drain off any water that might have accumulated, add a little mayo, and give it a good stir before serving.

How to Make the Best Ham Salad Sandwiches

One of my favorite ways to enjoy this easy ham salad recipe is to make a sandwich. Here are some tips to make the best one!

Pick the right bread: White bread, wheat, sub rolls, slider buns, croissants, and even Texas toast work well.

Toast the bread: This helps it to hold up against the ham salad. I love using Texas toast and even slider buns.

Use mayo: Spread some mayo between the bread and ham salad to keep it from getting soggy.

Add toppings: I love some crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and tangy red onion for more texture and flavor.

Don’t overstuff: Too much filling and it will squish out the sides when you take a bite.

ham salad between slices of bread

Tips for No Leftovers

  • Use leftover ham or thick cut slices (ham steak) from the deli. Just be sure it is high quality and not to mushy or salty.
  • I don’t recommend the thin sliced packaged ham for sandwiches as it will turn to paste quickly because of the finer consistency.
  • Want a kick? Add some horseradish, pepperonicini peppers with juice, Wickles spicy pickles, or capers.
  • Not enough mayo? Try some plain yogurt or coleslaw dressing to make up the volume.
  • Salty ham doesn’t need any additional salt so I don’t add any to this recipe. But I love some fresh black pepper.
  • Chill the salad for 15 – 30 minutes before serving for best flavor.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

hand holding cracker with a yellow banner and red letters

Looking for the best ham salad recipe? This traditional recipe is a classic southern dish and my favorite way to use up leftover ham from a holiday meal. Made with simple ingredients, this amazing ham salad spread recipe is a great option for a quick lunch or light dinner.

bowl of creamy ham salad and a cracker

Ham Salad

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This traditional recipe for old fashioned ham salad is a classic southern dish and a great way to use up leftover ham. Ready in 10 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cooked ham, rough chopped*
  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped fine
  • 2 celery stalks, minced fine
  • ¼ cup finely minced onion
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped dill pickles
  • 1 tablespoon pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, optional

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, place the rough chopped ham. Pulse 5-10 times until roughly minced. Don’t over pulse or it will turn into a paste. You want it small but with texture.
  2. Remove to a large bowl.
  3. Add in the hard boiled egg, celery, onion, mayo, mustard, pickles, pickle juice, and lemon juice.
  4. Stir gently to combine.
  5. Taste and season with pepper if desired.
  6. Serve or chill until ready to eat.
  7. I love mine with crackers or on bread/croissant to make a ham salad sandwich.

Notes

  • Use leftover ham or thick cut slices (ham steak) from the deli. Just be sure it is high quality and not to mushy or salty.
  • I don't recommend the thin sliced packaged ham for sandwiches as it will turn to paste quickly because of the finer consistency.
  • Want a kick? Add some horseradish, pepperonicini peppers with juice, Wickles spicy pickles, or capers.
  • Not enough mayo? Try some plain yogurt or coleslaw dressing to make up the volume.
  • Salty ham doesn't need any additional salt so I don't add any to this recipe. But I love some fresh black pepper.
  • Chill the salad for 15 - 30 minutes before serving for best flavor.

Recommended Products

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 761mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 11g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and we can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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