One of the best parts of making a ham is the leftovers! Making this easy ham salad recipe is something I always plan for whenever I bake a ham and love having for a fast and easy lunch. Whether you use leftover ham or buy ham specific for this recipe doesn't matter, it's a perfect choice to eat with crackers or spread onto your favorite bread for a lunch.
Ham Salad Recipe
This salad isn't your typical salad with lettuce and vegetables. It is a meat salad or a sandwich salad. If you have never had this made with ham, you are going to pleasantly surprised at the great flavor. With a basic creamy dressing and a little crunch from the celery and onions, this is a great option for toasted bread or to serve with your favorite crackers.
If you want another sandwich salad option, check out this coronation chicken salad recipe. It's packed with sweet and savory flavor, including the rich aromatic curry.
What's the Best Type of Ham for Ham Salad?
I have used leftover ham from Easter, ham steaks, and already cubed ham from the deli. The only thing I would recommend not using would be a super sweet ham. If you baked the ham at home with a glaze, you might want to avoid the external portion that would have most of the sugar still on it. Honey ham or brown sugar ham are also options I would avoid.
If you pick up regular sliced deli meat and want to use it for this, you will have to cut it into cubes or slice it up into smaller pieces. You probably won't be able to cube it like a larger ham, but you can cut through a stack of slices into small squares of the thin ham to then mix with the dressing.
What Onion Is Best for a Cold Salad?
This ham salad recipe uses red onion. While onions are all similar in flavor, they are not interchangeable in all recipes. When eating a raw onion, the best options are those sweeter onions. For something like this, I would only recommend using red onion, scallions, or green onions.
Can I Use Regular Pickles Instead of Relish?
If you don't have pickle relish on hand, you can definitely chop up 2-3 dill pickles and toss them into the salad. If it seems to dry after adding the pickles, just increase the mayonnaise by ½ to 1 teaspoon. I prefer using a good dill pickle, but if you want the sweeter option, you could substitute it with a bread and butter pickle option instead.
What Other Mix-In's Can I Add to Ham Salad?
This basic recipe is the easiest choice, but some people like to add something more to their salad. Below are some options that can fit in this recipe to add more texture or a slightly different flavor.
- Dill pickle relish, chopped dill pickles, or fresh chopped dill weed.
- Almonds, pecans, or walnuts.
- Dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots.
- Spicy mustard or whole grain mustard in place of yellow mustard.
- Plain Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
How Long is Ham Salad Good in the Refrigerator?
Prepared ham salad is usually good for 5 days in the refrigerator. That is, keeping in mind, you are using freshly cooked ham. It is best served in the first 2-3 days but safe for serving up to 5 days after preparing.
Can You Freeze Ham Salad?
Yes! If you have extra and know you won't be able to eat it before it spoils, you can definitely freeze it for a later date. I love the idea of making batches of this when hams go on sale around Christmas and Easter.
Package the ham salad in 1 cup portions in an airtight freezer storage container or Ziploc freezer bag. When freezing in containers, leave at least 1" of space at the top for expansion. If you are freezing in a storage bag, remove as much air from the bag as possible, then press it flat and lay flat to freeze. When frozen, you can then stack them together or side them side by side in your refrigerator. This also makes thawing faster and easier.
Why Doesn't This Recipe Include Salt?
You'll notice that the ingredients list does not contain salt. In this recipe, the natural saltiness of the ham is typically more than enough for seasoning along with the other ingredients. If you find that the flavor is still bland to your tastes, you can definitely add additional salt to the mixture. I would, however, caution to use a limited amount to start as it can be overwhelming very easily with this recipe.
- Red onion
- Sweet pickle relish
- Black pepper
Handy Kitchen Tools
How do You Make Ham Salad from Scratch
Prepare ham by trimming off any excess fat and cutting into ½" cubes.
In a large bowl, combine the ham, mayonnaise, mustard, red onion, sweet pickle relish, black pepper, and parsley.
Stir to combine and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Best served as a sandwich or with a crunchy cracker for dipping.
When cuting ham into cubes, use an egg slicer to make even slices and save time!
More Delicious Recipes
If you want some more delicious and easy light options to serve up for lunches, we have plenty! Below you'll find a few more ideas that include salads and sandwiches that fit easily into any meal plan. Make sure to bookmark these for later and pin or print them to add to your meal plan soon.
- Cold Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
- Greek Chickpea Salad
- Vietnamese Steak and Noodle Salad
- Creamy Grilled Chicken and Cheese Sandwich
- 30-Minute Homemade Sloppy Joes Recipe
- The Ultimate Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas
- 16 oz. ham (454 gm)
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced
- ¼ red onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon mustard (14 gm)
- ¾ cup mayonnaise (215 gm)
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish (30 ml)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (4 gm)
- Prepare the ham by trimming off all fat and cut into ½" cubes.
- Add all ingredients into a large bowl and stir together to combine well.
- Spread over favorite bread or serve with crackers.
Best served on toasted bread, croissants, or with crackers.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 306Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 999mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 17g