This post has been updated since its original publication in 2016.
There’s a difference between canned deviled ham spread and the real thing. Canned deviled ham is very one note, primarily salty, whereas homemade ham spread is a delicate balance of flavors, savory, sweet, tangy… and that’s just the beginning. This easy deviled ham recipe uses leftover ham with a few pantry staples — and it only takes about 10 minutes to make in the food processor. It’s best when the flavors have a chance to marry for several hours or overnight, but I know that won’t stop you from diving in for a taste. It doesn’t stop me.
What does “deviling” mean?
Deviling refers to a highly spiced and seasoned dish, usually with condiments like dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, horseradish etc. The foods can be chopped or mashed with those seasonings, cooked with them or even served whole sprinkled with the seasonings. In French, the term for deviling is “diable,” a word meaning devil. You can read more about the history of deviling here.
Ham spread. A Southern love affair
I equate ham spread with the South… in the same vein as pimento cheese or Carolina BBQ. Maybe because its the only place where I’ve seen folks make their own deviled ham and take pride in it. That said, my first foray into deviled ham was the canned stuff. My Aunt Lynne put it out with some crackers for a football-watching party and I think I devoured the entire dish. From then on, deviled ham was my favorite and I’d always squirrel a can or two into my mother’s grocery cart when she wasn’t looking.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I ventured into making my own, homemade deviled ham recipe. The thrifty Southern girl in me likes the fact that the ingredient list consists of mostly everyday pantry staples and puts leftover ham to good use. Once you try the homemade spread, you won’t look back. It’s that good.
Ingredients for savory Southern deviled ham recipe
- Cooked Ham
- White Onion
- Mayonnaise (we like Duke’s)
- Dijon Mustard
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Lemon Zest
- Lemon Juice
- Brown Sugar
- Hot Sauce
- Whole Grain Mustard
- Pepperoncini Juice (that’s the brining liquid in the jar of pepperoncini peppers)
You can tell from the ingredient list that this savory spread is layered with tongue tingling flavors. It’s tangy, sweet, salty and you can adjust the heat to suit your tastes.
Assemble the ham spread in two stages
You might think that just dumping everything into a food processor and giving it a whirl is all you need to do, but I admit to being slightly more particular about it. Yes, I want the deviled ham to be smooth and creamy, but there’s something to be said for little pops of texture too.
My deviled ham recipe uses whole grain mustard, and those little pops of mustard seed are one of the best parts of this spread. Stir in the whole grain mustard AFTER processing the deviled ham to ensure the seeds remain intact. Cover and refrigerate the deviled ham for several hours (or overnight) for the flavors to marry.
Endless ways to use deviled ham spread
This easy Southern spread is so versatile, you’re going to want to have it on hand for holidays, backyard barbecues, game day snacking and tailgating, fancy cocktail parties, baby showers and wedding showers.
- Dress it up by piping it onto slices of crudité (think cucumbers, sweet bell pepper wedges, jicama with an olive garnish.
- Put out a dish of deviled ham with a basket of crackers and sliced vegetables for casual munching.
- Try this twist on the classic – Deviled Ham Stuffed Eggs.
- Spread a little between these homemade Angel Flake Biscuits instead of the country ham called for.
- Stuff cherry tomatoes with ham spread and garnish with parsley or dill.
- Make a grilled cheese sandwich with a deviled ham filling. Use sourdough bread, and melty Havarti, Gouda or Mild Cheddar for a blissfully Southern lunch.
More Southern Ham Recipes you might like:
- Homemade Ham with Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze
- Smoky Ham and Black Bean Soup
- Potato Ham Au Gratin
- Southern Ham and Kale Hot Dish
- Ham Bone Split Pea Soup
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Savory Southern Deviled Ham
- 1/2 pound diced cooked ham not from the deli, about 2 cups
- 1/3 cup white onion diced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise or more as needed
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon pepperoncini juice
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce such as tabasco or your favorite, or more to your taste
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- sliced pepperoncini peppers
- pimento stuffed olives
- angel flake biscuits (recipe on this site)
- Add the ham, onion, celery, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, pepperoncini juice and 1/3 cup mayonnaise to the bowl of a food processor, pulse several times until ham is a spreadable consistency. If the mixture is too dry add 2-3 more tablespoons of mayonnaise and blend again. Add the lemon zest, brown sugar and hot sauce and blend again until well combined.
- Transfer to a bowl and stir in the whole grain mustard and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnght for the flavors to marry. Remove from the refrigerator and let the ham spread sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then taste for seasoning. Adjust as desired (more hot sauce for more heat, sugar for more sweet, or a drop more pepperoncini juice for more tang) and serve.
- Serve on crackers, mini angel flake biscuits with crudite or on cucumber slices. Can also be used as a filling for sandwiches.
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