Ham Salad

5 from 6 votes
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Ham salad is a family favorite and is a popular dish, especially in the southern states. A great recipe to use leftover ham. This recipe is my Mom’s recipe and has a special ingredient that sets it apart from the rest.

Ham salad in a white bowl with crackers in the background


This ham salad recipe is one my mom has been making since I can remember. It’s a holiday favorite that we usually serve as a sandwich, with crackers, or even as a tortilla roll-up filling.

A Southern favorite

  • The perfect way to use leftover ham. Don’t throw away any extra holiday ham, save it to make this easy ham salad.
  • Chow chow adds the perfect amount of tang, crunch, and color.
  • Quick and easy to make this cold salad recipe.

Ingredients needed

  • Ham – Use leftover ham, a small packaged ham, or ham steaks.
  • Mayonnaise – I like using full fat mayonnaise for the best flavor.
  • Celery – Diced celery adds a nice crunch to the salad.
  • Onion – Adds delicious flavor. I would recommend using a sweet Vidalia onion.
  • Chow Chow – This is the secret ingredient. You can substitute with pickle relish.
  • Salt and pepper – Season to taste.

What is chow chow relish?

Chow chow is a pickled vegetable relish. It typically has a combination of vegetables like sweet onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cabbage. You can make your own homemade chow chow or find it at the grocery store by the pickled relish. It’s great in this recipe or used on hot dogs and sandwiches.

How to make the best ham salad

Scroll to the bottom for a full, printable recipe.

Step one: Begin by chopping the ham. Place the ham in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the ham gets cut into small pieces. Be careful not to over chop the ham.

Diced ham in a food processor

Step two: Chop the onion and celery into small pieces. Place the chopped ham, finely diced onion and celery, chow-chow, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper into a large bowl. Stir to fully combine the ingredients.

diced ham in a food processor

Step three: Cover the ham salad and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

diced ham, diced celery, onion, chow chow and mayonnaise in a bowl

Tips for success

  • Make sure not to over chop the ham. If you pulse the ham too much in the food processor, it will become mushy.
  • Dice the onion and celery very small. This helps to keep everything about the same size. You could place the celery and onion in the food processor with the ham if you prefer.
  • Drain the chow chow or relish. Make sure to drain off any excess liquid from the chow chow. Too much liquid in the ham salad will make it runny.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, chop up the ham as small as possible.
ham salad in a bowl

How to store

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refriegerator. It will last for about 4-5 days. Make sure not to let it sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours if you are serving it at a party.

This can be frozen by placing in freezer safe bags or containers. Place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.

Serving suggestions

  • Try serving the ham salad on bread, a croissant, or a Hawaiian roll for a delicious sandwich.
  • Try adding chopped hard boiled eggs for extra protein.
  • Spread the ham mixture on a tortilla, roll it up and refrigerate. Slice to make ham pinwheels.
  • Serve on top of a bed of greens or salad.

More easy recipes to try

Let me know if you make this ham salad recipe.

Bowl of ham salad.
5 from 6 votes

Ham Salad

By Heather
Easy ham salad is the perfect way to use up holiday ham. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 2-3 cups diced ham
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup chow-chow or pickle relish
  • 1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion
  • salt and pepper


  • Place pieces of ham into food processor. 
  • Pulse to processor a few times until the ham is small and crumbly. Do not over pulse.
  • Pour ham in large bowl and mix in celery and onion. Drain chow-chow of any excess liquid and add into the bowl.
  • Add in mayonnaise and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 


  • Make sure not to over chop the ham. If you put pulse it too much in the food processor it will become mushy.
  • Dice the onion and celery very small. This helps to keep everything about the same size. 
  • Drain the Chow Chow. Make sure to drain off excess liquid from the chow chow. Too much liquid will make the ham salad runny. 


Calories: 517kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 1230mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
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**This post was updated 3/9/2020


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