Easy Homemade Ham Salad

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.

Homemade ham salad and lettuce on a croissant

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:

  • Ham
  • Brown sugar
  • Red onion
  • Gherkin pickles
  • Pickle juice
  • Mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

How to Make Ham Salad

  1. 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.
  2. Remove the ham from the water and let it cool to room temperature.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Recipe Variations

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
  • Cheese
Homemade ham salad and lettuce on a croissant

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

More Tasty Salads

Be sure to take a look at my copycat salad and pork recipes.

Homemade ham salad and lettuce on a croissant

Glorious Ham Salad

Enjoy this classic ham salad made with everyday ingredients. Simple classic ingredients will help you make the best ham salad ever.
5 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ham Salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 342kcal


  • 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. 


This recipe was adapted from Gloria, thanks to her for this delicious recipe! 


Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1744mg | Potassium: 324mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Kim Stewart

    5 stars
    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.

  2. Sandy

    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?

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