Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe – A Classic Creamy Richness

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Indulge in this homemade Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe , a classic delight. You only need finely chopped cooked ham, crisp celery, rich mayonnaise, and a splash of tangy mustard. Try adding a sprinkle of fresh parsley for an aromatic twist. It’s perfect for sandwiches or as a stand-alone dish. Research shows this timeless recipe is a universal favorite, blending simplicity with flavor. Try it, and you’ll taste tradition with every bite.

As a lover of classic recipes, I’ve often found myself craving a dish that is both hearty and easy to whip up. This is where the Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe comes in, a recipe that’s been a part of my family’s kitchen for years. 

Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe

Picture this: you’re looking for a quick yet satisfying meal, but your usual choices feel bland and uninspired. I recall facing this very dilemma on a busy weekday. 

That’s when I turned to my grandmother’s Old Fashioned Ham Salad recipe. It’s a simple blend of chopped ham, creamy mayonnaise, and a hint of mustard, but the flavors are anything but ordinary. 

The first time I made it, the rich, savory taste took me back to childhood lunches at grandma’s house. 

With its perfect texture and flavor balance, this salad became my go-to. It offers a delightful solution for anyone needing a quick, delicious meal, proving that sometimes, the most traditional dishes are the most satisfying.

What Is Old Fashioned Ham Salad?

Old Fashioned Ham Salad is a traditional dish, typically made by finely chopping cooked ham and blending it with creamy mayonnaise, crunchy celery, and a dash of tangy mustard. 

Some variations include sweet pickles or relish, adding a delightful contrast. This salad often serves as a spread for sandwiches or crackers, perfect for picnics, lunches, or as a quick snack. 

Its appeal lies in its simplicity and the comforting, familiar flavors that hark back to home-cooked meals. It’s a versatile recipe cherished in family kitchens for generations.

What Is The Origin Of Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe?

The Old Fashioned Ham Salad recipe traces its roots back to the early 20th century in the United States

Originating as a practical solution to utilize leftover ham, it became a staple in American households, especially around holidays when ham was often served. 

This salad embodies the era’s spirit of resourcefulness and simplicity in cooking. Housewives would creatively repurpose leftover ham, combining it with ingredients like mayonnaise, mustard, and celery. 

This reduced food waste and offered a delicious, easy-to-prepare meal option. Over time, it evolved into a beloved classic, cherished for its taste and connection to familial traditions.

Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe

Ingredients List

Leftover ham, roughly diced2 cups
Sweet onion, roughly diced¼ cup
Celery, roughly sliced2 cups
Mayonnaise½ cup
Sweet relish3 tablespoons
Kosher saltTo taste (start with a pinch)
Ground black pepperTo taste (start with a pinch)
Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe

What Are The Variations Suitable For The Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe?

The Old Fashioned Ham Salad recipe offers room for creativity and personalization. Here are a few variations you can consider:

  • Sweet And Tangy Twist Add finely diced apples or pears for a sweet crunch. Mix in a tablespoon of honey mustard for a touch of sweetness and tanginess.
  • Spicy Kick Incorporate diced jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce to add some heat. Mix in a bit of spicy mustard for an extra kick.
  • Creamy Avocado Blend Mash ripe avocados and fold them into the ham salad for a creamy texture. Squeeze in some lime juice to enhance the flavors.
  • Dill And Pickle Infusion Add chopped dill pickles or relish for a zesty and slightly sour element. Mix in fresh dill or dried dill weed for a burst of herbal flavor.
  • Cheesy Delight Grate your favorite cheese (cheddar, Swiss, or Gouda) into the salad for a savory twist. Consider adding a dollop of cream cheese for extra creaminess.
  • Nutty Crunch Toss in chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts for a delightful crunch. Drizzle with a bit of nut oil, such as walnut or almond oil, for added depth.

What Are The Tips For The Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe?

When making Old Fashioned Ham Salad, keep these tips in mind for the best results:

  • Quality of Ham: Opt for high-quality, leftover cooked ham. The ham’s flavor and texture greatly influence the salad’s final taste.
  • Finely Chopped Ingredients: Ensure the ham, onion, and celery are finely chopped for a consistent and pleasant texture.
  • Balancing Flavors: Adjust the mayonnaise and sweet relish according to your preference. A balance between creamy and tangy flavors is vital.
  • Seasoning: Start with a pinch of salt and pepper, then adjust to taste. Remember, the ham already adds saltiness.
  • Refrigeration: Chill the salad for at least an hour before serving. This enhances the flavors and provides a refreshing taste.
  • Serving Suggestions: Serve on fresh bread for sandwiches or with crackers as an appetizer.
  • Customization: Feel free to add ingredients like hard-boiled eggs, nuts, or fresh herbs to suit your taste.

Are There Any Unusual Or Exotic Ingredients That Work Well With This Salad?

  • Pomegranate Seeds: These jewels add sweetness and a delightful crunch.
  • Edible Flowers: For a splash of color and a subtle, peppery flavor, such as nasturtiums or violets.
  • Dulse or Nori: Seaweed varieties introduce a unique umami and salty taste.
  • Sumac: A Middle-Eastern spice, it offers a tangy, lemony flavor.
  • Dragon Fruit: Its vibrant color and slightly sweet taste are perfect for a tropical twist.
  • Pickled Vegetables: Like kimchi or pickled red onions, for a zesty, tangy element.
  • Fermented Foods: Such as tempeh or miso, add depth and richness.
  • Hemp Seeds: For a nutty flavor and a boost of protein.
Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe

Recipe Directions

  1. Process the Ham: Place the ham into the food processor. Process until it’s finely minced. Transfer the minced ham to a mixing bowl.
  2. Process the Onion: Add the onion to the food processor. Process until it’s finely minced. Transfer the minced onion to the same mixing bowl.
  3. Process the Celery: Put the celery in the food processor. Process until it’s finely minced. Transfer the minced celery to the mixing bowl.
  4. Combine Ingredients: Add mayonnaise, relish, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the mixing bowl. Stir well until fully combined.
  5. Taste and Adjust: Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  6. Serve or Chill: Serve the salad immediately, or refrigerate until serving for enhanced flavor.

Treat yourself to the timeless taste of ham salad, where deliciousness meets well-being.

What Herbs And Spices Work Well In Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe?

  • Dill: Adds a fresh, slightly tangy taste that complements the ham and mayonnaise.
  • Parsley: Fresh parsley brings a bright, herbaceous note to the salad.
  • Chives: Their mild, onion-like flavor pairs well with the ham and adds a subtle sharpness.
  • Thyme: A touch of thyme can introduce a savory, earthy element.
  • Paprika: For a hint of smokiness and color, paprika is a great addition.
  • Mustard Powder: Enhances the mustard notes, adding depth to the salad.
  • Celery Seed: Intensifies the celery flavor and adds a slight bitterness.
  • Black Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper offers a warm, spicy kick.
  • Garlic Powder: A little garlic powder can add a subtle, pungent flavor.
Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe

Nutritional Values

Old Fashioned Ham Salad is a flavorful dish with moderate calories. It contains protein from ham and a touch of creaminess. 

However, it’s also relatively high in saturated fat and sodium due to ham. The addition of vegetables provides some vitamins like Vitamin C and Vitamin A, but it’s not a significant source of nutrients like calcium.

What Are The Total Calories In The Salad?

The total calories in the Old Fashioned Ham Salad require each ingredient’s caloric content. The salad contains approximately 1100-1300 total calories. 

This estimate can vary slightly based on the specific types of ingredients used and their respective brands.

Health Benefits Of Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe


Ham is a good source of protein, essential for muscle growth and repair.

Low Carbohydrates

Ideal for those following a low-carb diet.

Vitamins And Minerals

Ingredients like celery and onions provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Customizable For Healthier Versions

Substitute mayo with Greek yogurt for a lower-fat option rich in probiotics.

Energy Boosting

The protein and fat content can provide sustained energy.

Flexibility For More Veggies

Easy to incorporate additional vegetables like bell peppers or carrots for extra nutrients and fiber.

Psychological Benefits

The comfort food aspect can offer psychological comfort and satisfaction.

Potentially Heart-Healthy

Using lean ham and healthy mayo alternatives can make it heart-friendly.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

What Dressings Are Best Served With This Salad Recipe?

Old Fashioned Ham Salad pairs well with a variety of dressings to enhance its flavors. Here are some excellent dressing options:

  • Dijon Mustard Dressing: Adds a tangy, savory element with a hint of spiciness.
  • Creamy Ranch Dressing: Offers creaminess and a familiar taste that complements the salad’s ingredients.
  • Mayonnaise-Based Dressing: A classic choice that enhances the salad’s richness.
  • Honey Mustard: Balances the savory ham with a touch of sweetness and tang.
  • Greek Yogurt Dill Dressing: A healthier option with a tangy, herbal twist.
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette: Provides a sweet and tangy depth of flavor.
Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe

Enjoy the classic taste of old-fashioned ham salad, a delightful and wholesome treat.

Are There Any Unique Toppings That Can Elevate The Crunch Factor?

  • Toasted Quinoa: Adds a nutty flavor and a delightful crunch.
  • Crispy Chickpeas: Oven-roasted for a satisfying, crunchy texture.
  • Fried Shallots: Offer a sweet and savory crunch.
  • Roasted Sunflower Seeds: Nutty and crunchy, ideal for texture.
  • Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas): A subtly sweet, crunchy addition.
  • Sesame Sticks: These add a unique flavor and extra crunch.
  • Wonton Strips: Thin and crispy, perfect for an Asian-inspired twist.
  • Pomegranate Seeds: Bursting with juice and providing a subtle crunch.
  • Bacon Bits (or Vegan Bacon Bits): For a smoky, crunchy element.
  • Chia Seeds: Though tiny, they add a surprising crunch.
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What Is The Difference Between Homemade And Store-Bought Old Fashioned Ham Salad?

  • Freshness: Homemade salads often feature fresher ingredients compared to store-bought, which might contain preservatives for longer shelf life.
  • Customization: You can tailor homemade salads to your specific tastes and dietary needs, a flexibility rarely available with store-bought options.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Making salads at home can be more economical, avoiding the premium prices of pre-packaged salads.
  • Ingredient Quality: You have control over the quality of ingredients in homemade salads, choosing organic or locally sourced produce if preferred.
  • Healthier Options: Homemade salads often contain fewer additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors, making them a healthier choice.
  • Portion Control: You can manage portion sizes more effectively at home, which is harder with pre-packaged salads.
  • Flavor: Homemade salads usually have a fresher, more vibrant flavor profile, as the ingredients haven’t been sitting on a shelf.
  • Environmental Impact: Making salads at home reduces packaging waste associated with store-bought salads.
  • Variety: The possibilities for creating different salad types at home are endless, unlike the limited store selection.
  • Experience: Preparing your salad offers a satisfying culinary experience and a deeper connection with what you eat.

How Can You Store Or Preserve The Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe Leftovers?

  • Airtight Containers: Store the salad in airtight containers to keep it fresh and prevent it from absorbing other odors in the fridge.
  • Refrigeration: Keep the salad refrigerated and consume within 3-5 days.
  • Avoid Freezing: Freezing may alter the texture of the mayonnaise and vegetables, leading to a less desirable consistency upon thawing.
  • Stir Before Serving: If stored for a day or more, give it a good stir to redistribute flavors.
  • Separate Components: Store the dressing separately and mix it in just before serving.
  • Keep it Cool: Always keep the salad cool, especially during transport, to maintain its quality and prevent spoilage.
  • Label and Date: Mark the storage date on the container to track its freshness.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: When making the salad, using fresh ingredients will ensure it lasts longer when stored.
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Special Tools & Equipment List

  • Food Processor: Ideal for chopping and blending ingredients quickly and uniformly.
  • Quality Chef’s Knife: Essential for precise and effortless cutting and chopping.
  • Mixing Bowls: Various sizes for different stages of meal prep.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurate ingredient measurements.
  • Silicone Spatula: Versatile for mixing and scraping bowls.
  • Peeler: Handy for peeling vegetables and fruits.
  • Grater: Useful for grating cheese, vegetables, or zesting citrus.
  • Mandoline Slicer: For uniformly thin slices of vegetables and fruits.
  • Digital Kitchen Scale: For precise ingredient measurements, especially in baking.
  • Thermometer: Crucial for ensuring meats are cooked to the correct temperature.
  • Mortar and Pestle: For grinding spices and herbs.
  • Sieve or Fine Mesh Strainer: For sifting dry ingredients or straining liquids.
  • Salad Spinner: To dry washed greens and herbs quickly.
  • Citrus Juicer: To extract fresh juice from lemons, limes, and oranges.
  • Garlic Press: For easily mincing garlic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Old Fashioned Ham Salad Healthier?

Yes, you can make this salad healthier by substituting the mayonnaise with low-fat versions, Greek yogurt, or mashed avocado for a heart-healthy fat source. Additionally, consider using reduced-sodium ham to lower the salt content. Including more vegetables like diced bell peppers or shredded carrots can also boost the nutrient profile.

What Are Some Serving Suggestions For This Salad?

Old Fashioned Ham Salad is versatile. It’s perfect as a sandwich filling, especially on whole-grain bread for added fiber. It also serves well as a dip with whole-grain crackers or cucumber slices. You can serve it atop a bed of leafy greens for a lighter option.

How Long Can I Store This Salad In The Refrigerator?

This salad can last in the refrigerator for 3-5 days when stored in an airtight container. The key is ensuring it’s kept cold and not left out at room temperature for prolonged periods, which can lead to spoilage.

Can I Freeze Old Fashioned Ham Salad?

Freezing is not recommended for this salad. Mayonnaise and other creamy dressings tend to separate and become grainy when frozen and then thawed. It’s best enjoyed fresh or stored in the refrigerator.

Are There Any Vegetarian Alternatives To This Recipe?

Yes, vegetarians can adapt this recipe by using plant-based substitutes like chopped seitan, tofu, or tempeh in place of ham. These alternatives mimic the texture of ham and can be seasoned to enhance the flavor. Vegetarian mayonnaise can also be used to keep the recipe plant-based

Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe - A Classic Creamy Richness

Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe – A Classic Creamy Richness

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Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Salads


Prep time





The Old Fashioned Ham Salad Recipe is a classic, comforting dish that combines finely minced ham with the creamy richness of mayonnaise and the tangy zest of sweet relish. Perfect for spreading on sandwiches or serving as an appetizer with crackers, it’s a versatile and easy-to-make recipe that’s ideal for quick lunches, picnics, or family gatherings.


  • 2 Cups 2 Leftover Ham

  • ¼ Cup ¼ Sweet Onion

  • 2 Cups 2 Celery

  • ½ Cup ½ Mayonnaise

  • 2 Tablespoons 2 Sweet Relish

  • Kosher Salt (To Taste)

  • Ground Black Pepper (To Taste)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Prepare The Ham: Place the ham into the food processor. Process it until it’s finely minced. Once minced, transfer the ham from the food processor to a large mixing bowl.
  • Process The Onion: Next, add the onion to the food processor. Process until it’s also finely minced. Remove the minced onion from the food processor and add it to the mixing bowl with the ham.
  • Minimize The Celery: Now, place the celery into the food processor. Process it until finely minced. After processing, add the minced celery to the mixing bowl.
  • Combine With Other Ingredients: To the mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, sweet relish, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  • Mix Well: Stir all the ingredients in the bowl well until they are fully combined and evenly mixed.
  • Taste And Adjust: Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. Add more salt, pepper, mayonnaise, or relish if needed.
  • Serve Or Store: The salad can be served immediately. Alternatively, for enhanced flavor, refrigerate it for a while before serving.


  • Ingredient Variations: Feel free to experiment with additional ingredients like hard-boiled eggs, nuts, or different herbs for varied flavors.
  • Serving Suggestions: Besides being a great sandwich filler, it pairs wonderfully with fresh greens or as a dip.
  • Make-Ahead: This salad can be made beforehand, perfect for meal prep or gatherings.
  • Adjustable Texture: Chop ingredients by hand instead of using a food processor for a coarser texture.
  • Healthier Alternatives: Substitute mayonnaise with Greek yogurt or avocado for a lighter version.
  • Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container and consume within 3-5 days for best quality.

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