Old-fashioned ham salad is a classic American recipe that has been enjoyed for generations. It features finely diced ham, celery and sweet and zesty pickles all bound together by a medley of mustard and creamy mayonnaise. It’s usually served with crackers or smothered on a sandwich. This is a great recipe for using up leftover ham after Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.
In This Post:
- ℹ️ Overview
- 🛒 Ingredients
- 📷 How To Make
- 📹 Watch The Video
- 🥯 Serving Suggestions
- 📝 Go To Full Recipe
In Australia, when we refer to a salad we often mean something leafy. This old-fashioned ham salad is NOT one of those recipes. It’s an American-style, creamy chopped salad, almost spread-like, that combines the saltiness of the ham, the crunch of celery, the sharpness of onions, and the sweetness and tang of pickles.
This type of salad is often associated with Southern and Midwestern cuisine and is a popular choice for picnics, potlucks, and casual gatherings.
The flavours worked so well together and it had a lovely texture. I kept it in the fridge for about 4 days and enjoyed it on toast as a quick lunch, with some crispbreads or crackers as a snack and also as a little side dish with scrambled eggs for extra protein.
For a low-carb version, you can have it as a salad with leafy greens or shredded cabbage.
What You’ll Need
Here is what you need to make a ham salad:
- Ham – leftover baked/glazed ham is perfect for this salad but you can also use regular smoked ham from the deli. If using baked ham, remove the fatty bits and any skin.
- Celery – adds savoury notes and a crunch; if you’re not a fan, replace with diced cucumber, radish or aspragus.
- Pickles – sweet and spicy pickled cucumbers (gherkins) are best; you want tang and sweetness. These must be finely chopped.
- Onion – adds sharpness and texture; you can use yellow or red onion.
- Mustard – a combination of Dijon and yellow or mild English gives the best flavour, in my opinion. You can use more of one type if that’s all you have.
- Mayonnaise – good old whole egg mayo, not to sweet is best.
- Salt and pepper – go easy on the salt as the ham can be quite salty; you can add salt after the salad is mixed to see if it needs any at all.
How To Make Ham Salad
Find the full list of ingredients, nutritional info, and instructions in the recipe card below. Here are some step-by-step pictures to guide you along.
- Trim the ham of any fatty bits and dice it into very small cubes. Dice the celery, onion and gherkins very finely as well. Some people use a food processor and have even finer chopped ingredients.
- Combine all diced ingredients with two types of mustard, pepper, and mayonnaise. Once mixed, taste for salt. Serve with crackers or in a sandwich or roll.
Watch How To Make It
Serving Ham Salad
- Serve this old-fashioned ham salad with a side of crackers for a quick and satisfying snack or finger food.
- Create delicious ham salad sandwiches by spreading it between slices of bread or rolls.
- Elevate your salad game by using it as a filling for wraps or lettuce cups.
- Egg-cellent twist: Add chopped hard-boiled eggs to the salad for extra creaminess and flavour.
- Pickle Power: Incorporate a splash of pickle juice for a tangier kick in your ham salad.
- Spice it up: Enhance the flavour with a dash of hot sauce or a pinch of paprika for a spicy variation.
- Green Goddess: Mix in some chopped fresh herbs like parsley or dill for a burst of herbal freshness in your salad.
- Ham and cheese: Fold in grated cheese like cheddar or Swiss for a cheesy ham salad version.
More Ham Recipes
Find the full list of ingredients, instructions, and a nutritional breakdown below. If you have questions or cook this recipe, please let me know in the comments, and make sure to rate this recipe so it’s easy for others to find.
- 2.5 cups ham 10 oz | 270-290 grams, diced into small cubes
- 1 cup celery diced, about 1.5 celery sticks
- 1/2 onion red or yellow, very finely diced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Yellow Mustard or mild English
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup pickles finely chopped, about 4 small pickles (sweet and spicy ones, ideally)
- Trim the ham of any fatty bits and dice it into very small cubes. Dice the celery, onion and gherkins very finely as well. You can also use a food processor.
- Combine all diced ingredients with both types of mustard, a little salt, pepper, and mayonnaise.
- Serve with crackers or in a sandwich or bread roll.