Deviled ham salad DSC6007

Deviled ham salad

After a full day in the kitchen, I like to take a walk to clear my head. On a recent stroll, I spotted a friend holding court in a neighborhood Southern restaurant. He had just moved to New York and as I hadn’t seen him in a while, I popped inside and said howdy. We decided to order some light snacks and saw deviled tasso listed on the menu. What’s that, we wondered? We ordered it and after one bite, I realized it was nothing more than a variation on my old favorite, deviled ham.

Deviled ham also made an appearance at a Derby Day party. A friend had found a can of Underwood’s Deviled Ham and brought it to share with the other guests. She’d never eaten it before but was intrigued by the iconic white can with the grinning devil. (Does anyone know what deviled, when applied to food, actually means?) I hadn’t seen that can in years, but I instantly remembered how much I loved deviled ham and pickle sandwiches when I was young. I decided it was time to make a batch of my own.

I didn’t have to look far for a recipe.

Deviled ham salad | Homesick Texan

At Christmas, my cousin Susan brought her famous ham salad to our family gathering and the big bowl of it was gone in about a minute. We spread it on buttery crackers, a perfect vehicle for the ham salad that was filled with flavors spicy, tangy and sweet.

I asked her for the recipe and she laughed and said she didn’t have one. Of course, she didn’t! That happens so often in my family—we just throw together ingredients and taste until everything is balanced. And I’m not complaining—that’s certainly my favorite way to cook.

She did, however, give me her list of ingredients. There was ham, of course, along with pickles, mustard, and peppers. And like a detective I took these clues and tried to solve the mystery of her famous ham salad. It actually wasn’t difficult—if you have any experience making protein-based salads such as tuna salad, chicken salad or even pimento cheese, you get a feel for how much of each ingredient should belong. This time, however, I kept notes of just how much I was adding so I could pass it on to you.

Deviled ham salad | Homesick Texan

Ham salad is versatile as you can stuff it into celery, spread it on crackers, scoop it onto an iceberg wedge, or layer it on buttered bread. And while it’s perfect for warm days, I find that it’s pretty much appreciated at any time of year.

4.67 from 3 votes

Deviled ham salad

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


  • 2 cups chopped ham
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 large dill pickle, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, stemmed, and diced
  • 3 tablespoons mayo
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon pickle juice
  • Salt
  • Black pepper


  • In a food processor, mix all the ingredients together until blended but not too smooth as you want a bit of texture. Taste and adjust any seasoning or add more mayonnaise and mustard if you like. Keeps in the refrigerator for a few days.

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  1. Lisa, either Grandpa (Dad) or Grandma used to love Underwood's as I remember it on the pantry shelf. Never cared for the concoction too much myself but sure liked the little paper-wrapped can. My money sez it was Grandpa's treat.

    BTW, Susan would be your first cousin once removed. She explained all that first cousin second cousin business a few Thanksgiving's ago.


    Uncle Richard

  2. I haven't had a deviled ham sandwich in years. Mother used to make them with mayo. One of my favorite guilty pleasure is to mix a can of underwood deviled chicken with cream cheese and eat on triscuits.

  3. I too am an underwood graduate. But now I enjoy making my own ham salad ala the food processer. it lets me combine different levels of heat and spice with soft cheeses and sometime gherkins. But I always liked my deviled ham on soft fresh white bread with the crfust removed. thanks for the memory

  4. scmom (Barbara) says:

    Just found your blog looking for ham salad recipes, not that I've ever used a recipe (like your family). Deviled means "highly seasoned" although I don't know that canned deviled ham is "highly" seasoned. It certainly has its own unique smell and flavor, however. Good to keep around in the "in case of a tornado or other natural disaster" kit. 😉 I look forward to checking out more of your recipes.

  5. Haha, yet another food I didn't realize was a regional food. Every June I do hurricane prep shopping, which of course includes Deviled Ham.

    Hubby likes his Deviled ham with Miracle Whip, but I can only tolerate it with mustard, then smashed Lays chips if possible.

    PS: Smashing chips on sandwiches should only be done at home apparently, because others look down on it for some reason LOL