Old-Fashioned Ham Salad

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.

old-fashioned ham salad recipe in a big bowl.

In This Post:

Quick Overview

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.

I’ve always wanted to make it so when I had a bunch of leftover glazed ham, this salad is what I made (as well as my easy ham fried rice). My verdict? I loved it!

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.

ham salad on a crispbread.

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.
salad ingredients: ham, celery, mayonnaise, onions, pickles, mustards, and pepper.

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. 
making salad with ham, gherkins, onions, celery and mayo dressing.
how to make ham salad - mixing everything with the dressing in a bowl.

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.
creamy ham salad recipe in a big bowl.

More Ham Recipes

Full Recipe 

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.

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how to make ham salad - mixing everything with the dressing in a bowl.

Old-Fashioned Ham Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Course: Salad, Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Print Pin Save
5 from 6 votes
Calories: 230kcal
Learn how to make an old-fashioned ham salad – a classic American recipe featuring 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.


  • 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.


Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 992mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 107IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords: Ham recipes, leftover ham, Ham salad
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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Oh yum! Such a wonderful use for leftover ham during the holidays. I love all those flavors and they sound fantastic paired with a sandwich.

  2. 5 stars
    We are so happy we found this recipe! We had leftover ham from the weekend and wanted an easy way to use it today for lunch. SO GOOD!

  3. 5 stars
    This ham salad was delicious in sandwiches and a nice change from regular sliced ham and cheese. Will make it again, thank you.

  4. 5 stars
    This classic is a perfect way to use leftover ham. I love that you use spicy gherkins instead of dill. Gives this salad a great little kick in every bite.

  5. 5 stars
    This is such a great way to use leftover ham after the holidays! Definitely, looks too good to pass up; excited to give this a try!

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