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Creamy Ham Salad

This old-fashioned Ham Salad recipe features tender chunks of ham mixed with a creamy homemade dressing to create the perfect spread for layering onto sandwiches or as a delightful dip atop crisp crackers. This family favorite is great for easy lunches or as an appetizer for gatherings.

ham salad sandwich on a brioche bun
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My Slow Cooker Crockpot Spiral Ham, Traeger Smoked Glazed Ham, and Baked Ham with Pineapple recipes pair wonderfully with this salad.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Leftover Ham: Ham salad is a great way to use up leftover ham from holiday meals, such as Easter or Christmas. Instead of letting leftover spiral ham go to waste, you can repurpose it into a delicious salad.
  • Quick and Easy: This is a quick and easy dish to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknights or when you’re short on time. It requires minimal cooking and can be ready in minutes.
  • Easy to Customize: The salad can be customized to suit individual tastes and preferences. You can add a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, herbs, and dressings to create different flavor combinations.
  • Portable: It can be packed into sandwiches, wraps, or served on top of crackers or salad greens for a satisfying lunch or snack on the go.
  • Make-Ahead Meal and Meal Prep: This dish can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, making it a convenient option for meal prep or entertaining. It’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, or as a lunch option for the week.
garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and mustard in white bowls

What Type of Ham to Use

  • Cooked Ham: This is the most common type used. It’s readily available at grocery stores and typically comes pre-cooked and sliced. You can use either boneless or bone-in.
  • Smoked Ham: Smoked ham adds an extra layer of flavor to the salad due to the smoking process. It has a rich, smoky taste that pairs well with other ingredients in the salad.
  • Virginia Ham: Also known as country ham, Virginia ham is cured and typically aged for a longer period, resulting in a distinct flavor profile. It’s saltier and more robust than regular cooked ham.
  • Black Forest Ham: This is smoked and then coated with spices such as pepper and coriander, giving it a slightly spicy and aromatic flavor.
  • Honey Glazed Ham: Honey glazed ham has a sweet and savory flavor due to the addition of honey during the cooking process. It adds a touch of sweetness to the salad, balancing out the other flavors.
  • Leftover Ham: If you have leftover ham from a holiday meal or another occasion, it’s perfect for making salad. Simply chop the leftover ham into small pieces add it in.
diced cubes of ham in a glass bowl

How to Slice the Ham

How you slice it will depend on the texture you are looking for. I prefer 1/2 inch cubes, but you can also mince it into smaller chunks if you want. You can mince the ham by chopping it with a rocking motion using the tip of your knife. Continue chopping until you reach the desired consistency.

pickle relish in a glass bowl

How to Make Ham Salad

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Combine ham, mayo, sour cream or Greek yogurt, relish, mustard, celery, onions, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Serve warm or chilled.
collage of 4 photos with ham salad, onions, celery, and grated

How to Substitute Mayo

This recipe uses a combination of mayo and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. I like this combo because I favor plain Greek yogurt because it’s high in protein. It’s an easy way to make this a high protein side dish. If you don’t like mayo, that works in your favor because you can go all in with the sour cream or Greek yogurt. Here are additional substitutions:

  • Avocado: Mashed avocado can add creaminess while also providing healthy fats and nutrients. Use ripe avocado and mash it well before mixing it with the other ingredients.
  • Hummus: Hummus can add richness and flavor while also boosting its protein content. Choose a plain or flavored hummus that complements the other ingredients in the salad.
  • Tahini: Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seed. It adds a nutty flavor and creaminess to the salad. Mix tahini with a little water or lemon juice to thin it out before adding it to the salad.
ham salad with cheese in a glass bowl

Substitutions and Add-ins

  • Turkey
  • Shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Bacon
  • Pickles
  • Avocado
  • Hummus
  • Cucumber
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapes
  • Cranberries
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Grated Parmesan
ham salad with cheese in a black bowl with crackers

How to Prevent Watery Salad

Drain Excess Moisture: After chopping or shredding the ham and any other vegetables, pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. This step helps prevent water from leaching into the salad.

Serve Chilled: Serve the ham salad chilled, straight from the refrigerator. Chilling helps firm up the ingredients and reduces the risk of excess moisture accumulation.

ham salad with cheese in a red bowl with crackers

How to Serve the Salad

  • Sandwiches: One of the most classic ways to serve this salad is as a sandwich filling. Spread the ham salad between two slices of bread, alone or with any of your favorite toppings like lettuce, tomato, etc. You can use different types of bread such as white, whole wheat, or rye, or opt for a sandwich roll or croissant for a fancier presentation.
  • Wraps: Another option is to use a wrap or tortilla. Slice the wrap into pinwheels for a party appetizer or leave it whole for a more substantial meal.
  • Crackers or Crostini: This makes a great spread on crackers or toasted baguette slices.
  • Salad Greens: For a lighter option, serve the dish on a bed of salad greens such as lettuce, spinach, or arugula. You can drizzle the salad with dressing or vinaigrette if desired.
  • Stuffed Vegetables: Hollowed-out vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers, or cucumber can be filled with the salad for simple lunches or a snack.
  • Party Platter: Arrange the salad alongside other appetizers on a party platter. Include items like cheese cubes, crackers, sliced vegetables, and fruit for a variety of flavors and textures. This allows guests to customize their own plates according to their preferences.

How to Store

Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent air from entering, which can cause the salad to spoil more quickly. Eat it within 3-4 days of preparation. After this time, the quality of the salad may start to deteriorate, and it may not be safe to eat.

ham salad with cheese in a black bowl with crackers

Can You Freeze It?

You can freeze it, but I wouldn’t recommend it. In general, mayo does not freeze well and usually develops ice crystals.

Pair With These Recipes

Slow Cooker Crockpot Pulled Chicken
Smoked Turkey Legs
How to Grill the Best Burgers
Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

More Salad Recipes

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Dill Pickle Salad
Spaghetti Salad with Italian Dressing

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Southern Macaroni Salad
Lump Crab Salad with Real Crab Meat
Seafood Pasta Salad with Shrimp and Crab

Creamy Ham Salad

This old-fashioned Ham Salad recipe features tender chunks of ham mixed with a creamy homemade dressing to create the perfect spread for layering onto sandwiches or as a delightful dip atop crisp crackers. This family favorite is great for easy lunches or as an appetizer for gatherings.
Save this recipe here.
Course Appetizer, lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword ham salad, ham salad sandwich, ham spread, homemade ham salad, how to make ham salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
optional chill 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 5 servings
Calories 191kcal


  • 1 pound diced ham
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 celery stalk Diced.
  • 1/4 cup diced onions I used red onions.
  • 1/4 cup pickle relish
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir. Taste repeatedly and adjust the spices to suit your taste.
  • Serve chilled or warm. Chill for 1 hour.


Leftover salad will get watery as it absorbs the moisture from the salad ingredients. You can drain the excess water and give the salad a stir.
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Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 10g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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