Four ingredients and 5 minutes is all you’ll need to whip up a batch of crowd-pleasing Cream Cheese and Ham Spread. Super smooth, a bit salty and full of flavor, it’s the perfect way to use up leftover ham. And, it’s perfect any time of year – for picnics, football viewing, even holiday parties and potlucks!
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This Recipe for Ham Spread was a Hit!
Country ham is another traditional food from Kentucky adopted by our family. My mom, who was born and raised in Kentucky, insisted it be served at every major holiday celebration. There was always lots of leftovers, and Mom’s favorite way to use them up was finely chopped and mixed with cream cheese – a scrumptious spread comprised of just two ingredients, that’s it! While her simple method is delicious, one year for a cocktail party I decided to jazz it up a bit by adding a whopping two more ingredients – a bit of mayonnaise and some chopped fresh chives. This Country Ham Cheese Spread is the result, and it was a big hit!
How to Make Ham Spread with Cream Cheese
This ham appetizer is ridiculously easy to prepare. Here’s a detailed overview of all you have to do:
- Soften cream cheese.
Let a brick of cream cheese (8 ounces) sit at room temperature until soft.
- Prepare ham.
Toss your leftover ham in a food processor and pulse until fine bits.
- Mix; refrigerate.
Using a fork, mix together all ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper (may not need any salt, depending on the saltiness of your ham). Pack into a serving bowl and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors blend.
Ham Spread Recipe Tips
A few notes on this recipe:
- Instead of (or in addition to) chopped chives, I’ve added chopped green onions before and that was also quite tasty.
- If you don’t have any leftover country ham, you can substitute other forms of cooked ham, finely chopped.
- To turn this spread into a one-bite appetizer, serve spoonfuls inside my Poppy Seed Puffs (recipe in my cookbook “Fresh Tastes”).
How to Serve Ham and Cheese Spread
I like to serve this spread in a pretty bowl with crackers alongside. You can also mound it on toasted baguette slices and garnish with chopped chives.
How to Store Ham Spread
This spread will keep, refrigerated in a covered container, for up to 3 days.
Country Ham Spread with Cream Cheese FAQ
Yes, you can freeze this ham spread, in a well sealed container. It will last for up to 1 month.
Yes, it needs to be cooked. A traditional country ham will be cured but not smoked (e.g., cooked in a smoker).
“Country ham” refers to a method of preserving ham – dry-curing (usually with a salt rub) and aging over several months. It’s popular in southern areas including Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.
Country hams are dry-cured, regular hams are wet-cured. As such, country hams are drier with more intense flavor while regular hams are moister and sweeter.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 cup ground cooked country ham (see Note below)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (can also use green onions)
- Using a fork, mix together all ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper (may not need any salt, depending on the saltiness of your ham). Refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors blend. Serve with crackers.
Note on country ham: I throw the leftover pieces of ham in a food processor and process it into fine bits. In addition to this dish, the ground ham is great in salads, omelets – anywhere you might add cooked bacon bits.
Make ahead: spread can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.
Variation: To turn this spread into a one-bite appetizer, serve spoonfuls inside my Poppy Seed Puffs (recipe in my cookbook “Fresh Tastes”).
- Category: appetizers, make ahead, quick and easy
- Method: No Bake
- Cuisine: Southern