Ham Salad

8 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ham Salad is a yummy appetizer or sandwich filling (perfect for leftovers!) made with diced ham, relish, celery, and mayonnaise in 5 minutes!

Salads are some of the most versatile dishes you can make, since they can be paired with almost any main dish. If you liked our recipes for Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad and Egg Salad, you need to add this Ham Salad to your recipe box too!

Ham Salad in White Bowl

This Ham Salad recipe is perfect as everything from an appetizer to a main dish, and is made with diced ham, mayonnaise, celery and relish. You can make it in around 5 minutes, and it stays good in the fridge for a few days so you can bring it with you to work for a quick lunch.

This is a very popular recipe because of how quick and easy it is to make and because you can use leftovers to make it. The best Ham Salad is made from your leftover holiday ham from Christmas, Easter, or Thanksgiving, but you can also use deli meat or the thick honey baked ham slices you can get at the grocery store. As long as you dice it up, any ham will work.

You’ll love making new recipes with leftover holiday ham! – if you have leftover holiday ham, use it for breakfast! Try making Ham Steaks or Eggs Benedict for after holiday breakfasts!

Ham Salad Sandwich on plate

How to Make Ham Salad

We love this recipe because it is so simple to put together! In about 5 minutes you’ll have a tasty Ham Salad that will satisfy even the hungriest of appetites.

  • Step One: To make Ham Salad, take your slices of ham, leftover or otherwise, and put them into a food processor. You need to only use the food processor in pulses so that you don’t end up with meat paste. You want the pieces to look like large crumbs about the size of bacon bits or large peppercorns.
  • Step Two: Then mince your celery into small chunks and pour them, the ham, mayonnaise and sweet relish into a large bowl. Stir everything together and cover the bowl. 
  • Step Three: Then put it in the fridge for at least an hour. You can definitely refrigerate them for longer, but definitely don’t take it out early if you want the proper chilled taste.

Delicious Easy Deli Salads

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best way to eat Ham Salad? 

You can eat it the traditional way with a fork or, if you want a unique party food you can serve it as a spread for crackers. Another favorite way to eat it is with Texas Toast as a sandwich! The extra thick bread makes this sandwich a guilty pleasure. 

Can I use chicken instead of ham?

Yes! Chicken is a great substitute for this recipe. You’ll want to make sure it’s fully cooked before chopping it up into small pieces. 

Why can’t I freeze Ham Salad? 

The mayo does not thaw well and will disintegrate into sludge, so It needs to be made fresh each time you want to eat it. 

Ham Salad ingredients in white bowl

Key Ingredients in Ham Salad

This delicious recipe uses really simple ingredients! They can all be easily found at your nearest grocery store. You can always add a bit of kosher salt if needed. 

  • Ham: We’re using some leftover ham from the night before. It’s a great way to make sure nothing goes to waste! 
  • Celery: Celery is crispy, green, and fresh and adds the perfect crunchiness to your dish. 
  • Mayo: You can use your favorite mayo or Miracle Whip. 
  • Relish: A simple relish works great with this recipe. No need to get complicated. 

Variations on Ham Salad

  • Sauces: You don’t just have to use sweet pickle relish. You can use dijon mustard, yellow mustard, or even dill pickle juice. Depending on what your personal tastes are, you can add more or less mayonnaise to make the flavor stronger or weaker.
  • Add ins: Try finely chopping some green onions, bell peppers, or white button mushrooms and stirring them in. You can also top the Ham Salad with shredded cheddar or a handful of parmesan cheese.

More Yummy Ham Recipes

How to Store Ham Salad

  • Serve: Ham Salad is traditionally served up chilled and it has mayonnaise in it, so you really shouldn’t leave it out for longer than about 2 hours or it will go bad.
  • Store: You can keep the salad in an airtight container for up to about 3 days in the fridge, as long as it’s kept in something airtight. It will keep better if you store the components separately, especially the mayonnaise.
  • Freeze: Don’t freeze this. Ham Salad should be eaten fresh or out of the fridge, since mayonnaise famously doesn’t freeze well.
Ham Salad Appetizer in bowl

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Ham Salad

Ham Salad is a yummy appetizer or sandwich filling (perfect for leftovers!) made with diced ham, relish, celery, and mayonnaise in 5 minutes!
Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 3 cups ham , (16 ounces)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup celery , minced
  • 2 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


  • Add ham to a food processor and pulse until it is in small pieces, but not a paste, more like crumbs.
  • Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl and stir well.
  • Serve chilled, at least 2 hours of refrigerating (this helps hold it together).



Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 713mg | Potassium: 141mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 93IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
Bowl of ham salad Pin 1

Photo used in a previous version of this post.

Ham Salad Collage
Ham Salad collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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    1. Yes! There are several types of hand operated choppers. Or mince the meat like you would onions on your cutting board. Let us know how it turns out!

  1. This reminds me of the ham “lunch meat” my mom taught me to make years ago. Hers was just ham and fire roasted green peppers, like anaheim peppers, run through a meat grinder. So yummy, and so simple.

  2. You can’t freeze the ham salad, but I process the ham and freeze it in 1 cup servings. When I want ham salad, I defrost a package of ham from the freezer and add the rest of the ingredients.

  3. Love Ham salad! I have a lot of leftover baked ham from Easter! It’s just my husband and me! Can this be Frozen??

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I’m sorry, no your leftovers shouldn’t be frozen. The mayo does not thaw well and will disintegrate into sludge, so It needs to be made fresh each time you want to eat it. 

    1. I added a bit of mustard and minced onion and it was lovely with crackers. I used a canned ham that I had sitting in my pantry and it was super easy. Will be making this again and again.

  4. When I was a child, mom would go into the basement and hook her grinder up to dads workbench. She would grind her ham for ham salad, but also grind up some bologna to help stretch the meat. She would finish it up with celery and mayo, like your recipe. It was delicious.

  5. I have made this many times and love that it is so easy.
    I also have tweaked it to make mushroom caps. Instead of mayo I substitute cream cheese and I use green onion instead of pickles. After the mushrooms are filled I top with parmesan cheese and bake.

  6. Made ham salad about a month ago, but used a ham that had water added. Lesson learned! It turns liquids and mushy after one day. Next time will use ham that hasn’t had water added..

  7. To get the deli look and sweet flavor, add a pinch of Strawberry Pre-sweetened Jello for the deli red color and sweetness to the ham salad, just a pinch at a time to achieve the desired color and flavor. (the strawberry flavor won’t overwhelm the ham salad if used a pinch at a time)
    I also substitute Miracle Whip for the Mayo, it keeps much better and adds more flavor than just Mayo.

    1. I’m so glad it brought back good memories! We used to make this too, and having the leftover sandwiches for lunch is a memory I treasure too.

  8. Love this, looks like I should be able to remember the ingredients without looking at the recipe. Maybe it’s age.

    Als, fye, Pinterest is having issues (Sabrina note: I had to edit this wording, sorry. My comment software has word moderation).

    1. Zandra, thank you so much for the heads up. It was for about an hour and I feel like I may have held my breath the whole time. Thankfully I know a couple of wonderful guys there and they were able to fix it right away! I’m still working on getting my body to stop hyperventilating though!

      Glad you liked the ham salad!

  9. My husband he up in a family that routinely ate ham salad, so he’s my critic. He says less Mayo, more relish and mustard to taste. I’ll try that next time. This was good, but it missed that little tang and from my limited childhood memories of it, I think my husband’s critique sounds spot on.

  10. I love ham salad! I use 3-2-1 mayo, sweet relish, brown mustard – start with small amounts and adjust to taste. I prefer mine without celery or pepper but however you like it, it’s delicious – my work girls beg me to make it and call it crack salad!

  11. Mom always ground bologna, celery, and boiled eggs, mixed with a little mustard and Miracle Whip. I’ve always had great luck with freezing it, just thaw before making sandwiches or eat as is after thawing. I’m in my 60’s now and have made several batches of my own over the years.

    1. That Miracle whip is the key swap to make it freezable. Besides the taste, it’s one of the biggest differences 🙂

  12. Ham Salad. (or ,my family calls what I make “Sandwich Spread”). I do grind my meat to a
    paste, then add Minced fresh celery, minced fresh sweet onion, and Hot flakes to the Mayo & sweet relish that you use. Some in my family use this same receipe, but substitute Bologna for the ham. This too is delish. The former receipe has been used by my family for 3 “DOCgenerations now!

  13. I love ham salad. It’s so easy to make. My favorite way to have it is with some shredded cheese in it on potato bread then heated like a grilled cheese.

  14. My neighbor and I have been looking for a simple ham salad recipe. This could be it. One question, wouldn’t 3 cups of ham be 24 ounces?

  15. A great iconic recipe, but it needs some form of onion added. My mom always uses diced mild onion or shallot. I’m SO glad that you didn’t add mustard or chopped eggs! Thanks. I hope folks will enjoy Ham Salad Sandwiches for generations to come.