Mom’s Ham Salad

Ham salad sandwiches with white bread

Ham salad just like mom made…with a few improvements to make this classic salad even better. Eat it in a sandwich, on crackers, or by the spoonful, it’s good!

ham salad on white bread with pickle

the ham salad you remember (maybe it’s even just a little bit better?)

  • the ham: I use a smoked ham…you can find it in the packaged meat section of your grocery store. Sometimes it will come sliced, but it doesn’t matter for this recipe. A smoked ham adds an extra layer of flavor to this salad.
  • the mayo: sure, you could just add a big kollop of Miracle Whip to your salad, that’s what my mom did. But I’m going up a notch with actual mayonnaise, lol, and a nice glug of creamy Dijon mustard. Mix the two together and you’ve got a much better dressing for this salad.
  • the relish: mom added sweet relish. As kids we loved the extra sweetness but I’m going one better with finely minced gherkins. And add in a few of the little cocktail onions that come in the jar, that’s how we’re rolling.
  • the bread: ok, I cop to it, I’m using the same sliced white bread mom did. There are some things you just can’t improve on 😉
making ham salad in a glass bowl.

the method

Mom had a meat grinder, and for the longest time I assumed I couldn’t make ham salad because I didn’t. But guess what? A food processor works just as good, if not better for turning chunks of ham into a fluffy salad. Who knew?

chunks of smoked ham in a food processor

how to grind ham in a food processor

  1. Chop your ham into chunks. This helps the food processor grind the meat evenly.
  2. You’re going to use the pulse button, and you want to give it about 50 short pulses, give or take, until the ham is fluffy and evenly chopped.
fluffy ground ham for ham salad, in a food processor.

how to serve ham salad

Most of the time you’re going to want to make sandwiches, and my only tip is to spread a thin layer of the mayo/Dijon mixture on your slices of bread first. It’ll bond the sandwich together and also helps keep it moist.

You can add lettuce, tomato, or a thin slice of red onion if you like, but it’s also really good on its own.

For tea sandwiches use thinly sliced white bread and cut off the crusts before slicing in triangles or rectangles.

Ham salad also makes an easy appetizer, just serve with buttery crackers like Ritz.

For the carb-averse, use it to fill ribs of celery or endive leaves.

making ham salad sandwiches on white bread

more sandwich inspo

Ham salad sandwiches with white bread
5 from 9 votes

Mom’s Ham Salad

Ham salad just like mom made…with a few improvements to make this classic salad even better. Eat it in a sandwich, on crackers, or by the spoonful, it's good!
Course lunch
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 8 sandwiches
Calories 243kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • food processor


  • 1 lb smoked ham, cut in rough chunks
  • 1/3 cup relish or finely minced cornichons (you can process the pickles with the ham if you like.)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tsp creamy Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Put the ham into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Give the machine 50-60 short pulses, until the ham is evenly ground and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary to make sure everything gets evenly minced.
  • Transfer the ham to a bowl along with the relish or minced cornichons.
  • Mix the mayo, mustard, and salt until smooth. Taste it to see if it needs any adjustments. Toss the salad with the dressing until well combined.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.


Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 1039mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 27IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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  • Reply
    May 3, 2022 at 6:14 am

    5 stars
    We have really enjoyed this delicious ham salad. I did not add any salt because the ham was salty enough. I always hesitated to make it because I don’t have a meat grinder (don’t know where my mother’s went to). Great idea to use the food processor! Why didn’t I think of that! Thanks for another super recipe and a walk down memory lane.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      May 3, 2022 at 7:10 am

      You’re welcome Harriet 🙂

  • Reply
    Lynn D.
    May 2, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    I have my grandmother’s meat grinder, I can still remember her making ham salad with it. She used mayo, pimento stuffed olives and a bit of onion in hers. I have some left over Easter ham stashed in the freezer, lucky me.

  • Reply
    May 1, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    5 stars
    It was a hit! It a beautiful day in WLA so we had lunch on the deck. My husband has never had “deviled ham”. My family’s from near the south so I’ve had it. But not my mom’s making I think my grandma. And just your recipe brought back the taste! I had leftover ham frozen from Easter and made the recipe. I mixed dill and sweet pickles otherwise followed your advise. White bread OMG haven’t had (“healthy” orowheat rustic )white bread since I don’t know when. Served with a nice cold beer and homemade potato salad sweet pickles
    And cornichons on the side. Like a picnic ! Thanks again for bringing back some memories

  • Reply
    May 1, 2022 at 11:21 am

    My mother made this every week for our lunches, filling a giant mayo jar. Ham was expensive except for Easter, so she substituted a good German bologna, never Lebanon. She ordered a 2 inch chunk of bologna, and every butcher in town knew what she was making. They started saving the ends for her in exchange for a sandwich. I would make that salad every day if I didn’t have doctors ?. Thanks for making my mouth water and refreshing a very fond memory of Mom.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2022 at 6:10 am

    Also brings back fond memories for me. My mother wld make double decker ham and egg salad sandwiches on Pepperidge Farm thin slice white bread, crusts removed!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 30, 2022 at 8:30 am

      That sounds like the perfect tea sandwich!

  • Reply
    Martha in KS
    April 29, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    5 stars
    I can picture my Mom getting out the manual crank meat grinder & stuffing in ham and sweet pickles. Miracle Whip was the spread she always bought – no mustard though. When I make ham salad & add some sliced green onions too. Thanks for the memory!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 29, 2022 at 4:03 pm

      That’s exactly the picture I have in my mind of my mom 🙂

  • Reply
    Judy Pohlers
    April 29, 2022 at 9:24 am

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! If you are lucky enough to have a Honey Baked Ham in your neighborhood, use some of the leftover ham (they make you buy such a big piece) for a great flavor.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2022 at 8:33 am

    Sue this is very timely. For some reason I’ve recently re-visited my Mom’s ham salad recipe which we used to call “meat mixture” back in the 1960s (and she used “Spam” or “Klik” ugh). Her recipe was like yours but probably not using Dijon (was it available then probably not in Canada?) and she also added cheddar cheese (or probably Velveeta – ugh). My Mom passed away in December so to make this brings her into my kitchen again. I must admit I made a few tweaks, using green tomato relish (“Chow Chow”) and a creamy truffle mustard, and no mayo, to bring it into the 21st century. And using low sodium Flakes of Ham or recently leftover Easter ham. Yum. I think Mom would love it. Thanks!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2022 at 8:05 am

    5 stars
    Had to smile at the miracle whip because that’s what I grew up with. Midwest? I have leftover ham frozen from Easter and I’ll make finger sandwiches for us. My husband loves them Egg bread and I’ll do a mix of corniche and a sweet pickle for some southern/Midwest taste. Thanks for this fun recipe for the weekend in LA. Supposed to be warm!

  • Reply
    Ellen Easton
    April 29, 2022 at 6:39 am

    5 stars
    Sue, love the smoked ham suggestion. My mother’s Southern recipe is almost identical to yours but will Hellman’s Mayo and Virginia Ham. Looking forward to trying yours. Thanks for the updated version.

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