Ham Spread: Recipes, Tips & Health Benefits

Ham Spread: Recipes, Tips & Health Benefits

Deviled ham originated in the United States in the 1800s. The term “deviled” refers to foods prepared with spicy seasonings, as noted by food historian Andrew F. Smith. The William Underwood Company, established in 1822, popularized deviled ham as a canned product in 1868. The convenience of canned deviled ham made it a staple in American households.

Key Ingredients and Flavor Profile

Homemade deviled ham spread consists of simple, readily available ingredients. Key ingredients include cooked ham, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, and paprika. The blend of these components creates a savory, tangy flavor with a hint of spice. Optional additions like chopped pickles, onions, or celery enhance the spread’s texture and complexity.

How to Make Homemade Deviled Ham Spread

Essential Ingredients for the Recipe

To make a flavorful deviled ham spread, gather these essential ingredients:

  • Cooked Ham: 2 cups, finely chopped, offers a hearty base.
  • Mayonnaise: 1/3 cup, ensures creaminess.
  • Dijon Mustard: 1 tablespoon, adds tang.
  • Hot Sauce: 1 teaspoon, provides a spicy kick.
  • Paprika: 1/2 teaspoon, introduces a subtle smokiness.
  • Salt: 1/4 teaspoon, enhances overall taste.
  • Black Pepper: 1/4 teaspoon, delivers a mild heat.

Optional additions include:

  • Chopped Pickles: 2 tablespoons, introduce a zesty crunch.
  • Finely Diced Onions: 2 tablespoons, add sharpness.
  • Chopped Celery: 2 tablespoons, contribute to a crisp texture.

Step-by-Step Preparation Process

Follow these steps to prepare your homemade deviled ham spread:

  1. Chop the Ham: Use a sharp knife to finely chop 2 cups of cooked ham; ensure even, bite-sized pieces.
  2. Combine Wet Ingredients: Mix 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon of hot sauce in a medium bowl.
  3. Add Spices: Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper; stir thoroughly.
  4. Incorporate Ham: Add the chopped ham to the bowl with the mixture; fold until evenly coated.
  5. Mix Optional Ingredients: If using, fold in 2 tablespoons each of chopped pickles, finely diced onions, and chopped celery.
  6. Chill the Spread: Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld.
  7. Serve: Spread on crackers, bread, or use as a dip for your favorite vegetables.

This structured process ensures your deviled ham spread is well-mixed, flavorful, and ready to enjoy.

Variations and Serving Suggestions

Creative Ways to Serve Deviled Ham Spread

Enhance your deviled ham spread with creative serving ideas. Utilize it as a sandwich filler by spreading it on whole-grain bread with lettuce and tomatoes. Offer it as a dip, pairing it with crackers, celery sticks, and bell pepper slices. Transform it into a party appetizer by stuffing it into small pastry shells or using it as a filling for deviled eggs. Consider spreading it on toasted baguette slices and garnishing with fresh parsley for a sophisticated hors d’oeuvre.

Dietary Adjustments and Alternatives

Adjust the recipe to fit dietary preferences. Replace mayonnaise with Greek yogurt for a lighter option. Choose leaner cuts of ham or turkey ham for a reduced-fat version. Substitute Dijon mustard with spicy or brown mustard to alter the flavor profile. For those following a low-sodium diet, use reduced-salt ham and omit additional salt. Vegans can create a plant-based spread using finely chopped smoked tofu and vegan mayonnaise, while retaining the characteristic flavors with vegan mustard and spices.

Health Benefits and Nutritional Considerations

Nutritional Breakdown of Deviled Ham Spread

Deviled ham spread offers a mix of macronutrients and micronutrients. Each tablespoon (15g) typically contains around 60 calories, 5g of fat, 2g of protein, and less than 1g of carbohydrates. The fat content primarily comes from mayonnaise and ham, which include both saturated and unsaturated fats. Adding lean meats and lower-fat mayonnaise can help reduce the overall fat content.


  • Protein: Every serving provides a source of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Fat: The mix includes fats necessary for energy and cell function; modify ingredients to balance fat intake.
  • Carbohydrates: Minimal carbohydrates help maintain a lower glycemic index, suitable for low-carb diets.


  • Vitamins: Ingredients like paprika and Dijon mustard enrich the spread with vitamins A, C, and E.
  • Minerals: Ham provides iron and zinc, important for immune function and metabolism.
  • Sodium: Monitor sodium levels due to processed ham; use reduced-sodium options to decrease intake.

Health Considerations for Regular Consumption

Deviled ham spread, when consumed in moderation, fits into a balanced diet. However, frequent consumption poses certain health considerations.

  • Sodium Intake: Processed meats like ham contain high sodium levels. Choose low-sodium ham or limit portion sizes to avoid excessive sodium intake, which can impact blood pressure and heart health.
  • Fat Content: Regularly consuming high-fat spreads can increase the risk of weight gain and cardiovascular issues. Opt for lower-fat alternatives like Greek yogurt-based spreads to maintain a healthy fat balance.
  • Additives: Homemade versions offer better control over additives. Store-bought options may contain preservatives and artificial flavors that could contribute to long-term health risks.
  • Use lean meats: Select lean cuts of ham or alternative protein sources to reduce overall fat and calorie content.
  • Replace mayonnaise: Swap traditional mayonnaise with Greek yogurt to lower fat content and add probiotics.
  • Boost Fiber: Incorporate chopped vegetables like celery, onions, and peppers to increase fiber content, promoting digestion and satiety.
  • Moderate Portions: Enjoy the spread in moderation, pairing it with whole-grain crackers or vegetable sticks for a balanced, nutrient-rich snack.

Storing and Keeping Freshness

Best Practices for Storage

Store homemade deviled ham spread in an airtight container to maintain freshness. Place the container at the back of the refrigerator. This helps keep the temperature consistent. Avoid using containers made from reactive materials like aluminum. Instead, use glass or BPA-free plastic containers. Label the container with the date of preparation. This ensures you’ll keep track of its age. Avoid cross-contamination by using clean utensils each time you serve the spread.

Shelf Life of Homemade Deviled Ham Spread

Homemade deviled ham spread typically stays fresh for up to one week in the refrigerator. If you plan to keep it longer, consider freezing. Use freezer-safe containers for storage. Frozen deviled ham spread can last up to two months. Thaw the spread in the refrigerator overnight before use. Avoid refreezing once thawed, as this reduces quality and freshness. Monitor for changes in texture or odor, which indicate spoilage.


Creating your own deviled ham spread at home offers a delicious and healthier alternative to store-bought versions. By controlling the ingredients, you can tailor the spread to your dietary needs and preferences. Whether you’re looking to reduce sodium intake, cut down on fats, or boost fiber, homemade deviled ham spread allows for easy adjustments.

Remember to store your spread properly to maintain its freshness and quality. Utilize airtight containers, label with preparation dates, and consider freezing for extended storage. With these tips, you can enjoy a versatile and nutritious spread that enhances any meal.

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