Keto ham salad. Nostalgic? Absolutely. Do I crave it? You bet. And why not?
It may be more controversial than your standard keto chicken salad or keto tuna salad situation (also delicious) but ham salad can make for an easy, lighter-than-you-think lunch. If you’re still craving more classic low carb salads such as keto egg salad, I understand. But if you wanna bring home the… Ham…
Keto Ham Salad Video Tutorial
On your phone? Check out my web story here.
Ham It Up.
Back in the day, this was my favorite way to use up ham after the holidays. It’s great for transforming leftovers! These days, I get ham (from Costco) specifically for this recipe. Because ham freezes so well, I can dice it up, portion it out, and pop it in the freezer. Then I can easily defrost and fix it up for a quick snack. I love to bring this on road trips or campouts—your favorite crackers, bread, or crisp lettuce makes it a quick, yummy lunch.
Like every recipe, with this classic, there are so many versions. And that’s part of the magic! Everyone gets to make it according to their tastes! So here’s my ultimate version—but please feel free to get inspired.
Many versions are heavily based on mayonnaise. That’s a key difference here–I prefer the tang from the cream cheese which is smooth, rich, and happens to be lower in fat than mayo. The dijon mustard rounds it out. Then it’s all about the texture of the mix-ins. The right amount of crunch from the celery, some tart sweetness from the red onion.
I love the way the briny pickle cuts through the creaminess of the dressing, so I always add a little extra to mine. It’s also why, for me, the addition of the pickle juice is non-negotiable.
Sure to please at any picnic—even if it’s in your own backyard!
Tips + Tricks
This old fashioned ham salad recipe comes together quickly and easily. Here’s everything you need for how to make ham salad, in all it’s creamy, perfect glory:
- Get that cream cheese nice and soft. This will make combining the ingredients easy, ensuring your base is well blended. The easiest way to do this is to place an 8 ounce block in the microwave for 15 seconds.
- Breaking down the ham. When breaking down the ham, you have options–you can make the “chunks” as small or large as you like. We prefer slightly larger pieces of ham in our salad–up to you!
- Taste, and adjust to your liking. Everyone will like a slight variation to their southern ham salad recipe–you may want to add a dash of pepper, a bit more salt, maybe more pickles?
This keto ham salad can be eaten any way you like! The obvious solution: make a ham salad sandwich with lettuce and your favorite toast–I use my low carb hamburger buns for this, but any bread will do. You can also spoon this into lettuce for lettuce wraps, or scoop it up with your favorite crackers (like my low carb crackers).
Commonly Asked Questions
- How long is ham salad good in the refrigerator? We eat ham salad within 3 days of making it.
- Can you freeze ham salad? Since ham salad is a cream-based salad, I don’t recommend freezing it. Luckily it’s so good, I’m sure you won’t have any issues eating it before it needs to be frozen.
- Can you freeze leftover ham? Yes! And I always do in preparation for making this vintage ham salad recipe. Just dice your leftover ham into 2″ cubes and freeze 1 pound per baggie. Next time you’re craving ham salad, simply defrost the prepped ham and toss it in.
Looking for a range of low carb lunch ideas? Here are a few variations to consider:
- The creamy base: Instead of cream cheese, you can use mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, or mashed avocado (similar to my avocado chicken salad or avocado egg salad)–keep in mind, these will both be less flavorful, and you may want to adjust the seasoning.
- The add-ins: Instead of pickles and pickle juice, try relish. You can also sub onion and celery for other crunchy, flavor bringing ingredients.
- Additions: Add your favorite spices or hot sauce for deviled ham salad–check out my buffalo chicken salad for inspo. Or mix in some herbs like dill or cilantro.
Looking for a healthy ham salad recipe? The definition of “healthy” varies with everyone’s food goals–for a low carb + keto ham salad, make this recipe as is! For a low fat ham salad, substitute cream cheese for Greek yogurt. For a dairy free ham salad, consider subbing cream cheese for avocado.
More Salad Recipes
- Rotisserie Chicken Salad
- Curry Chicken Salad
- Mexican Chicken Salad
- Cauliflower Salad
- Low Carb Coleslaw
Keto Ham SaladPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 pound ham cut into 2" cubes
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened (note 1)
- 1/4 cup red onion minced
- 1/2 cup celery minced
- 1/3 cup pickles minced (note 2)
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon pickle juice (note 2)
- Pulse ham (1 pound) using 1-second intervals in a food processor until chopped to your liking--we prefer chunks of ham in our salad, others prefer a finer chop.
- Combine. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese (8 ounces), red onion (1/4 red onion), celery (1/2 cup), pickles (1/3 cup), dijon (1 tablespoon), and pickle juice (1 tablespoon). Add the ham and fold. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
- Serve, scooped into lettuce, on a slice of toast, or with crackers. Enjoy!
Fans Also Made These Low Carb Recipes:
- To soften cream cheese, place the unwrapped block of cheese on a plate and microwave on high for 15 seconds.
- Pickles. If keto/low carb, watch for sugar in the pickles you use. We love Vlassic pickles for this recipe.
- Nutritional information is for 1 serving, if you divide this recipe into 4: