My ham salad is a perfectly balanced delight of salty, sweet, and spicy, with smoky bits of ham and a light, creamy base that’s destined to top every cracker on your party buffet. It’s a new and colorful game-changer for your next holiday spread!
Creamy, crunchy, salty, and smokey say hello to the most delicious ham salad ever to grace the top of a cracker or the inside of two pieces of soft bread!
My ham salad has a slightly chunky texture dominated by the ham, a little crunch from chopped celery and onion, and a flavorful cream cheese base that accentuates rather than hides the flavors of the main star here.
My version also has a nice balance of salty and sweet, mainly achieved through careful consideration of the perfect pickle.
I do use sweet pickles but just enough to complement the ham, along with some Creole mustard to add a little acidity and a nice touch of heat.
Try more delicious ham recipes next. My Mississippi sin dip has been a reader favorite for over a decade on this website. My ham and cheese pinwheels are new on the site and truly outta this world delicious! My old-fashioned ham casserole is the most popular ham recipe on the site. I really hope you’ll it and see why!
If you have leftover ham or simply craving this delicious meat, check out all my ham recipes.
My creamy base is cream cheese to bind the ham chunks but not let them get lost in it. Both add a nice tang to help preserve that careful salty/sweet balance. I’ve also substituted chopped green onions with great results. Celery adds a lovely crunch as well, along with a freshness that cuts through some of the richness of the ham and cheese.
I like to fold in the ham after everything’s mixed well to preserve the little chunks. Texture is important here! Ham Salad does benefit from a little chilling time in the fridge, but you can serve it right away. It’s an inexpensive, easy addition to any party spread that’ll be so popular you’ll need a few extra boxes of crackers on standby!
Ham Salad Ingredient + Recipe Notes
- Creole mustard – A popular condiment in Louisiana, is a unique, spicy mustard with a slightly coarser texture than the yellow hot dog stuff and a little more vinegar. (It’s one of the main ingredients in remoulade sauce if you’ve ever tasted that magical stuff). You should be able to find Creole mustard in your grocery store, but you can substitute another coarse, spicy mustard with similar results.
- Red Onions – Red onion adds color and crunch, along with a little heat. If they’re a little too hot (which your eyes will let you know pretty quickly), you can always rinse the onion bits under cold water and drain them really well to remove some of the nose-stinging qualities.
- Salad vs. Spread – Although I do use the food processor to help chop the ham, I like my Ham Salad to have some texture like the ham salad recipe Southern Living has on its website.
- I know some people prefer to run all the ingredients through the food processor until things are really smooth, essentially making a ham salad spread, but I just don’t roll that way. If that’s your preference, though, by all means, please pulse on!
- Btw-I realize that the Ham Salad looks really smooth in the photos. Honestly, it’s not as smooth as it looks. I think the cream cheese is giving it a smoothed-out appearance!
- Serving options – I usually serve this with butter crackers or small toasts, but you can serve it in endive “boats” like the ham salad recipe Pioneer Woman makes or with some other crudités.
- You can also use it to make sandwiches, either cold with some arugula or watercress or hot like the ham salad sandwich recipe Taste of Home publishes (heated in the oven along with some Velveeta slices).
- Since soup is a popular meal this time of year, why not make a grilled cheese version?
- Lighten Up – If you go the veggie route for serving this dip, you’ll definitely save some calories.
- You can also turn this into a healthy Ham Salad recipe by substituting low-fat cream cheese and mayonnaise or using a combination of low-fat cottage cheese and plain yogurt processed in your food chopper until the consistency is similar to softened cream cheese.
I love to serve this on Hawaiian rolls or as a spread with butter crackers like Club Crackers or Ritz Crackers. This is great served with classic deviled eggs, sausage balls with cream cheese, Tiropita, crack dip, shrimp dip, and/or million dollar dip! Who doesn’t love an appetizer spread?!!
How to Store and Make Ahead
- How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge? Store leftovers in an airtight container. It’ll last in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- Make-Ahead Tips: This is a very quick recipe, there’s no need to make ahead! You can make it a day before and place it in the fridge immediately.
- Food Safety: As you pull out all those dishes you worked so hard on for your gathering, remember to reserve the FDA-recommended 2-hour serving rule. Safety first. If you’d like more info on food safety check out this link.
More Delicious Ham Recipes
- Ham And Bean Soup
- Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
- Black Eyed Pea Soup
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
- Impossibly Easy Ham And Swiss Pie (A Bisquick recipe!)
- Ham Balls
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- Ham Tetrazzini
Ham Salad Recipe
- 1 pound ham cut into 2-inch cubes
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup red onion minced
- 1/2 cup celery minced
- 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Pulse ham (1 pound) in a food processor until, finely chopped.
- In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese (8 ounces), red onion (1/4 cup), celery (1/2 cup), relish (1 tablespoon), Creole mustard (1 tablespoon), and black pepper (1/4 teaspoon). Fold in ham. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Fans Also Made:
I’m sure I’ve never seen Creole mustard in stores near me. If I am unable to get my hands on any, what is a decent substitute? I have horseradish mustard, spicy brown and a German whole grain. Thanks!
Hi, Marianne. You can use spicy brown or German whole grain. Thank you too! I hope you like this recipe 🙂
jon b kraft says
yours lookss nice nd creamy-mine is very thick and needs thinning to be used as sandwich-what did I do wrong and how do I get it like yours-nice and creamy?
Hi Jon. All I can think of is maybe when I scooped out my relish it had more juice than yours did, or my cream cheese was maybe softer. You could always add a couple of tablespoons if need of milk. Hope that [email protected]
Great salad. Delicous with a great mouth feel.
Thank you, Rosie! 🙂
Would you please add a pin button? I’ve been up and down the page four time and darned if I see one.
Hi, Marianne. The pin button is in the recipe card, below the photo. Let me know if you’re still having that problem. Thank you!
I still don’t see any Mayo in the recipe.
Hi, Sarah. No mayo for this recipe, sorry for the confusion! <3
Alex Johnson says
Love the website and the recipes…so simple….
Kathleen Smith says
Thank you Alex
You mention mayo in the description, recipe list and instructions but don’t include an amount. Do you just add mayo to taste and until you like the texture?
Kathleen Smith says
Sorry about the confusion! I actually do not use mayo in this recipe. I’ve ammended the typo <3