Easy Homemade Ham Salad is the perfect classic ham salad spread. This homemade version tastes better than any store-bought version. So if you love ham salad, you will love this recipe.
Old Fashioned Ham Salad
I should name this recipe Gloria’s ham salad. Gloria makes an amazingly tasty, quick, and easy ham salad without eggs. I was recently at a party and Gloria brought the most delicious ham salad I’ve had. I wasn’t the only person at the party that thought this was the most amazing ham salad imaginable. I knew with one bite, I had to ask her for her recipe and share this recipe with you.
You don’t need to have leftover ham to prepare this recipe. I love that she uses simple slices of ham to make this homemade old fashioned ham salad. She also uses a lot of unique ingredients in it, and I thought it would be a great recipe to add to the website.
In no time at all, you can enjoy this easy to make ham spread.
When you start with great quality ingredients you get results that are quite good. I had one of the best ham salad sandwiches in recent memory, and best of all this was made with this easy ham salad.
Ham Salad Ingredients
Here’s a list of what you need:
- Brown sugar
- Red onion
- Gherkin pickles
- Pickle juice
- Mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
- Ground black pepper
How to Make Ham Salad
- Place ham slices and brown sugar in a pot with enough water to cover the ham. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the ham from the water and let it cool to room temperature.
- Place the ham, red onion, gherkin pickles, pickle juice, and mayonnaise in a food processor. Pulse several times. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Ingredient and Recipe Notes
Gloria started her delicious ham salad spread with a package of sliced ham. While packaged ham slices are nothing to get excited about, this lunch meat is transformed by cooking.
She first cooked the ham in water with brown sugar. This helps to remove some of the saltiness of the ham. The brown sugar adds a nice touch to the flavor. I have made this with both a smoked ham, and honestly some of the cheapest ham you can buy, and both of them worked great.
She uses gherkin pickles. These are small pickles that are sweet. You could use sweet pickle relish, but I think using the gherkin pickles adds a unique flavor. I think you could also use India Relish (made by Heinz) could also work well. Pickle juice adds to the flavor.
She claimed her real secret was by grating red onion in the salad as well. By grating the onion into the salad you get subtle onion flavor yet many people can’t quite figure out that you grated onions in there. This is a great tip for when you want the flavor but not a bunch of finely chopped onions in your dish.
Why cook the ham again? Ham is already cooked.
Gloria, the lady who gave me her recipe, said she thought that cooking the ham again with brown sugar added flavor to ham salad. After having sampled a fair amount of her ham salad, I agree that it does indeed add to the flavor of it.
Of course, you can mix other ingredients into this recipe to make it your own. Customizing your recipes is one way you can enjoy exactly what you and your family will love. Here are a few suggestions to make this ham spread recipe one you will love.
- Chopped dill pickles
- Chopped onions and celery
- Boiled eggs
Making the Best Ham Salad Sandwich
What makes for a delicious sandwich? Starting with good quality ingredients. Here are just a few tips for creating your best ham salad sandwich ever!
- Use good bread – try a different hearty bread like wheatberry or sourdough.
- Use condiments like mayonnaise – did you know the fat of the mayonnaise or other sandwich spread like Miracle Whip keeps the bread from getting soggy. No one wants wet bread. Sure fresh tomatoes and freshly washed lettuce are great, but not if they make your bread soggy.
- Spread condiments and the filling right to the edge – don’t just put the filling in the center. Spread it out so every bite is the same. Do the same with the condiments like mayonnaise. No one wants a sandwich with dry bread.
- Use fresh veggies – Use tomatoes at the peak of their ripeness.
- Cut the sandwich into triangles – Did you know people will eat 50% more if you simply cut your sandwich into a triangle?
- If you can, get someone else to make your sandwich – a sandwich made by someone else always tastes better.
Love ham? Be sure to check out these recipes with ham
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
- Dennys Moons Over My Hammy
- Make Your Own Honey Baked Ham
- Ham Casserole
- Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets
- Breakfast Casserole with Ham
More Tasty Salads
- Egg Salad
- How to Make Chicken Salad Chick Chicken Salad
- Chicken Salad with Pineapple and Almonds
- Broccoli Raisin Nut Salad
- Creamy Beet Salad
- Carrot and Raisin Salad
- Deli Crab Salad
- Easy Corn and Black Bean Salad
Be sure to take a look at my copycat salad and pork recipes.
- 16 ounces ham
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red onion grated
- 1 1/2 tablespoons gherkin pickles chopped
- 2 teaspoons pickle juice
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise Not Miracle Whip
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Place ham slices into a pot add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Add enough water to just cover the ham. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Remove ham from water, and allow to cool.
- In a food processor process the ham mixture by adding ham slices, red onion, gherkin pickles, pickle juice, mayonnaise to the food processor. Pulse several times. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Place in a large bowl.
- Be sure to refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Nailed it !!!! Glorious Ham Salad…Perfect name for this addictive salad.
Sweet, salty, and savory …Yum!!!
I love sweet Gherkin pickles and that is a perfect addition. We also added a couple stalks of celery for more crunch. I am not a huge sandwich eater, so I enjoy this scooping it with potato chips (Grandma Utz).
I have thrown out all other ham salad recipes… This is now my absolute favorite.
Nancy in Montana
When I was a child growing up on Long Island in the late 50’s early 60’s I shared a ham salad sandwich with my mom at a drug store lunch counter. Never had it before or since but always remembered how much I enjoyed it.
This recipe is that ham salad I remember. Easy, delicious, and a wonderful use for leftover ham when you don’t want to make split pea soup!
Thanks Stephanie. I have your Copykat channel on my ROKU and I’ll be making several sides from it for Thanksgiving next week.
Change it up try thousands island instead of Mayo.
Why is it with online recipes that there is always a book length story before the recipe? At least add a tab to jump straight to the recipe.
Kim, I do have the button it is right at the top.
Like!! Hit at my family dinner.
I was wondering if I can use leftover hom, or does it need to be slices. If it can be done with leftover hom, would I still need to cook it?
Yes, I think it would work ok. It won’t be quite the same though.
This looks so yummy!! and healthy thank you for sharing