What is Chopped Ham Loaf?

Malcolm Tatum

One of the easiest ways to make use of leftover ham is to prepare a tasty chopped ham loaf. Similar to the traditional meat loaf, it combines a few simple ingredients with the leftover ham to create a new entrée that serves as the focus of a simple and tasty meal. Just about any type of cooked ham can be used as part of the basic recipe, although most versions call for smoked ham.

Garlic powder is often added to a ham loaf.
Garlic powder is often added to a ham loaf.

One to two pounds of smoked ham provides the basis for the recipe. The meat can be chopped into small pieces, or ran through a meat grinder. Along with the ham, a few simple spices will help to provide extra flavor. Salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, and parsley are often recommended. A small amount of chopped onion will also help to give the finished ham loaf plenty of taste.

Parsley can be used to spice a chopped ham loaf.
Parsley can be used to spice a chopped ham loaf.

To create the binding agents for the recipe, use ingredients that are already in the kitchen. Instant oatmeal mixed with an egg and evaporated milk will help produce a creamy texture. Once the binder is ready, combine with the meat and spices and form the ham mixture into a loaf.

The basis for the chopped ham loaf recipe is one to two pounds of smoked ham.
The basis for the chopped ham loaf recipe is one to two pounds of smoked ham.

In order to help the ham loaf remain moist during the cooking process, combine a little brown sugar and vinegar to make a glaze. Pour the glaze over the loaf and bake according to the instructions contained in the individual recipe. Generally, any recipe for a ham loaf will have the entrée ready in an hour. With a little garnish, the ham loaf will provide a visually appealing centerpiece for the meal, as well as being a nice alternative to traditional meat loaf.

There are a number of variations on the preparation of ham loaf. Some recipes include the use of spicy mustards, while others may call for the preparation of a light gravy made with ham drippings to serve along with the ham loaf. Different herbs and spices may be added to suit the tastes of the family. If there is no evaporated milk in the house, half-and-half can be substituted.

Some ham loaf recipes include the use of spicy mustard.
Some ham loaf recipes include the use of spicy mustard.

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Discussion Comments


When I was growing up in Ohio, a local grocery store would make its own version of ham loaf for customers who ordered it the same day. Apparently it didn't hold up well enough to put out as a regular meatloaf. They didn't use cooked ham, however. They used raw ham, which is not easy to find except perhaps Mexican or other ethnic meat markets.

The raw ham was mixed with the usual meatloaf binders and extenders, like raw eggs and crackers, then poured into aluminum loaf pans. They would place two pineapple rings and two cherries on top. The customer would have to pick it up the same day it was ordered. It would be cooked off like any other raw meatloaf, and made great leftovers for sandwiches the next day.

I'd like to try the recipe suggested in the article some day, since finding places that still use raw ham is not easy.


@SarahGen-- Fruit and fruit glazes are actually popular with ham loaf. I've seen ham loaf cooked with pineapple and I personally use a sweet apple glaze on mine. If you're not sure about using fresh fruit, try a fruit juice based glaze.

I think apple juice works well but you could try other juices as well. I make my glaze with apple juice, brown sugar and corn starch. You can also add a little bit of apple sauce to make it more fruity.

My sister makes honey ham loaf. I'm not a fan of honey, so I've never tried that but I think chopped ham loaf works well with sweet flavors.


Can I put fruit on ham loaf or will that be weird? I usually use a sweet ham glaze, so I was thinking that I would switch things around and use fruit this time.


Ham loaf is delicious. I use an easy ham loaf recipe that I got from my mom. The loaf is made with ground ham, Italian bread crumbs, ground onion and spices. I always make mashed potatoes and gravy with it. It's so good! The whole family loves it, my kids are always asking me when I'm making it next. The great part about it is that ham never goes to waste.

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