I have a serious question for you. Why does meat loaf get so much attention and ham loaf get so very little? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good meat loaf, but ham loaf…ham loaf is just so good. As a child, I remember my grandma making the ham loaf I’m sharing today, and in my adult years it has become a part of our annual Christmas gathering with my dad.
Every year for at least the last five years when we are enjoying this amazing menu item at Christmas I say, “I really need to learn how to make this. This is so good.” Then a year passes by and the same scene repeats itself. Well I finally took the bull by the horns and learned how to make it, so now I can share Grandma’s Ham Loaf recipe with you! It turned out great on my very first try, so don’t be afraid to try it if you’ve never made a ham loaf before. It’s very simple, and better than that, it’s delicious!
You can laugh. Memories of ham loaf…I’m chuckling writing this. But think about some of your memories of certain food dishes from your childhood and growing up. My grandparents were some of the best people I have ever known. I miss them dearly and look forward to the day I get to see them again in heaven. My Grandma Leis used to make ham loaf, and this memory makes me smile. After my grandma passed away, my dad started making a modified version of grandma’s ham loaf for Christmas each year. Dad’s version has a pineapple glaze and it is amazing. We have debated whether grandma also used the pineapple glaze recipe, and this may forever be a mystery because we just don’t remember.
Regardless, I’ll be sharing both dad’s and grandma’s versions today, and I hope you’ll give one or both a try in your own kitchen. Ham is usually a crowd-pleaser even for picky eaters, and ham loaf is definitely an upgrade! Your family will love it!
Where To Find The Ground Ham Or Ham Loaf Mixture
You have two options for the meat you use in this recipe. Option one is to use a combination of ground smoked ham and ground pork. Option two is to use a prepared ham loaf mixture.
Ground pork is typically available at most grocery stores, but you may have to inquire about ground ham. Your grocery may be willing to grind some ham for you if you ask. My family has always picked up ham loaf mixture or ground ham at a local meat shop. Now that I moved to a new area, I called a local the local butcher to ask if they sold a ham loaf mixture, and I definitely smiled when I heard, “Oh honey, we have the best ham loaf mixture you’ve ever had!” She was so excited, and I was too.
Ham Loaf Ingredients
To make this recipe you will need the following ingredients:
2 lb. ham loaf mix OR 1 lb. ground smoked ham + 1 lb. ground pork
3 eggs, beaten
3 slices of bread, torn into small pieces
3/4 c. milk
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. allspice
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ground mustard
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pineapple juice
1/2 c. orange juice
1 T. mustard
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
Garnishing your ham loaf with fresh or canned pineapple is also optional. If you prefer a different or easier glaze over the top, read below for my alternative suggestion of using a can of cranberry sauce.
Mixing The Ham Loaf
Place bread pieces into a large bowl.
Add milk and let soak for a minute or two. Is this necessary? I’m not sure, but grandma’s recipe says to do it, so you better do it 😉
Add meat, eggs, and seasonings.
Use your hands to mix well.
I like to bake my meat and ham loaf on a baking sheet or a broiler pan. If you prefer a loaf pan, that is fine too. Grease the baking pan and form a loaf with the meat mixture.
If using chopped pineapple, add it now.
It’s ready for baking!
Place loaf into the oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes to start. While it is baking, prepare the glaze mixture below.
Preparing The Pineapple Glaze
Combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Heat over medium heat until it reaches a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and let cool.
Alternative Glaze Option
Another option for glazing the ham loaf is to use one can of whole berry cranberry sauce. You can spread it over the surface just before placing it in the oven or wait to add it until the loaf is partially baked as explained in my instructions.
Want another option? I bet BBQ sauce or ketchup with some added brown sugar would be delicious as well!
Finishing The Ham Loaf
After loaf has been baking for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and pour 1/3-1/2 of the glaze over the top. Spread glaze using a pastry brush or spoon so that it covers the entire surface of the loaf.
Place back in the oven for 30-50 minutes longer or until internal temperature tests 160 degrees F. When done, remove it from oven. Transfer to a serving plate if desired. Add remaining glaze, and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
Last but not least, it’s time to indulge in this delicious dish! Would you like to make that amazing corn casserole in the photo below to go along with it? Get the corn casserole recipe here.
Enough of the waiting! Here is the full recipe.
Grandma’s Ham Loaf Recipe
Thank you for visiting! While you’re here, do you have any interest in learning to make pretty cards? That’s what I normally share about, and I would love for you to take a look at learn more. Here is a good place to start or here too.
You May Also Like: