Grandma's Old Fashioned Ham Loaf

Old Fashioned Ham Loaf

Old Fashioned Ham Loaf - the best!! I hope I did Grandma proud!! Try it & let me know what you think. :)

Buried in my Grandmother’s recipe box on an old scrap of paper was a true treasure, my Grandmother’s Ham Loaf. I can still taste that ham loaf, the top brown and crusty and the inside moist, fragrant and flavorful, almost exotic with its little touch of allspice and clove.

Grandma's Old Fashioned Ham Loaf
Old Fashioned Ham Loaf

Grandma’s recipe made two loaves, and is easily divided in half, but even for my small family, I make the recipe as written and freeze one loaf for later. I love having a meal in the freezer. For me, Ham Loaf is a comfort food, and I know it is quite out of fashion – not because it isn’t good, but because many today don’t have access to a meat grinder for the  ground ham, or even for the ground pork which isn’t always at the supermarket.

If you have a grinder or a grinder attachment for your Kitchenaid, by all means use it; if not, cut your meats into inch chunks (freeze slightly, if you have time) and pulse in your food processor.

Add a simple baked potato and a side or two, and you have an old-fashioned family dinner, just like Grandma used to make. There may be more frugal ways to stretch ham, but if one is to compare the cost to make ham loaf as opposed to the cost to make a meat loaf, the pricing looks pretty attractive.

By the way, sometimes when cooking, the milk tends to bubble up and almost caramelize around the edges – that was my favorite part when I was a kid. I suppose, technically, it would be considered a flaw in the recipe, but that’s how Grandma always made it.

Grandma's Old Fashioned Ham Loaf
Old Fashioned Ham Loaf

Ham Loaf

  • Servings: 12 (2 loaves)
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 pounds ground ham
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 3 slices bread, soaked in the milk
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chopped tomato (chop this finely)
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of allspice and a pinch of ground cloves.

Mix all ingredients lightly together (I add the clove and allspice to the milk, so I know it gets incorporated through out) and bake at 350 degrees for about one to one and a half hours, depending on the size of the loaf.

Do not over bake or it can become dry. Look for a temperature of at least 160 to 170 degrees in the center of the loaf; the top should be nicely browned.

Depending on the amount of fat in the ham or ground pork, you may find quite a bit of fat in the pan; I tend to drain this off, although it can make the loaf slightly drier. With today’s leaner pork, it isn’t as much of a problem as it was in the past. If you grind your own pork in the food processor, you can choose leaner cuts like the loin.

At any rate, let Ham Loaf rest for several minutes before removing from the pan and cutting so it won’t crumble.

My note: not all ham loaves have clove or allspice; both are very strong spices, especially the allspice, so be careful about the amounts.

from the kitchen of

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time/money and managing this recipe.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.

Put Your own Spin on it:

  • There is a traditional glaze for ham loaf: 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon mustard (Coleman’s is preferred.)  Blend, then baste every 15 minutes during baking time.
  • Some wrap their ham loaf in bacon before cooking – I think that might be a sin…ham, pork and bacon in one dish?

Nutrition: (Not including glaze)

Per Serving: (note, I drain a lot of the fat off, but the full fat is included in this analysis)  Calories; 34g Fat (68.2% calories from fat); 29g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 164mg Cholesterol; 159mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 4 1/2 Fat.

{Heritage Recipes}

My Payoff: 

For my family, this is a meal on the table, one in the freezer and leftovers for sandwiches.  It’s also an unusual (for this day and age) and delicious change of pace and a great way to use up ham leftovers.

I made this recipe in October 2011, but repriced in February of 2014. My pricing went way down from about $7.21 to $4.92 because I ground my budget priced pork loin from my freezer, saving around $3.00.

Do you have a favorite family recipe for Ham Loaf or a favorite updated version? What are your family memories of eating ham loaf?

Helpful Links:

If you came to this recipe looking for a way to use ham, be sure to check out the link below for 12 Days of Ham. You might want to see the sister post for 12 Days of Turkey, too.


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