10 Best Ham Substitutes

Ham is one of the best types of processed meat people love to enjoy. You can prefer your ham on your breakfast menu or your lunch sandwich. It is used even as a topping for pizza or other dishes.

However, what do you do if you don’t have ham at hand or if you decided to become a vegan or vegetarian? There is no need to panic as there are several alternatives you can use to the traditional and commonly appreciated ham.

Instead of ham, you can use chicken cooked in different ways. If you are vegetarian there are soy products that can resemblance ham in your dishes just as well. Keep reading to find out more alternatives to ham that you can use.

Best Ham Substitutes 

The following ham substitutes are great for all types of recipes. You might even learn to prefer them after you appreciate their taste.

1. Chicken

Fry Chicken

If you want to avoid ham or if you simply don’t have it in your kitchen, barbecue chicken might be a great option. You can use chicken cooked in any way you like, including roast chicken or simply boiled chicken.

You can use chicken cooked like this in salads or sandwiches just like you would use your regular ham. Plus, chicken goes well as a pizza topping or along with your omelet.

2. Bacon

Cabbage and bacon

Bacon is a type of ham mixed with layers of fat and it is made exclusively of pork. You can find smoked bacon or classic bacon and both types are just as good if you need to replace ham.

Keep in mind that bacon is richer in fats as it has layers of pork fat in between the lean layers of meat. Bacon goes great with eggs, pizza, and stews. It can be a filling ingredient for a rich breakfast or enhance the flavor of a lunch sandwich.

3. Hummus


What about those times when you want to avoid meat altogether? In such cases, you want the hummus to replace your ham in your favorite dishes. However, keep in mind that hummus can’t replace ham in all the recipes.

You can use it in sandwiches and on crackers but not in cooked dishes. Therefore, as long as you consider these aspects, hummus can offer you a valuable nutrition level and the protein you need even if you don’t want to eat meat. This makes hummus ideal for vegans or vegetarians.

4. Soy ham

The market provides plenty of ham alternatives for vegans and vegetarians. These products are similar to the processed ham. However, they are based on soy as the main ingredient instead of meat.

You can find classic dehydrated soy that you can cook just like you would prepare regular meat by boiling it or roasting it according to your taste.

It is important to season your soy well so you give it the taste you want it to have as plain soy products tend to have a bland flavor. Add some salt, pepper, and even specific herbs such as oregano to your soy and you will get delicious food.

5. Roast beef or pork

Just like chicken cooked in various ways is a good, healthier alternative to the processed ham we find in stores, so are roast beef or pork. These types of meats will last several days in the fridge as well and you can eat them cold or warm.

Use roast beef or pork as topping on your pizza, in salads, or sandwiches. And it will taste deliciously along with your favorite sauces and other ingredients.

6. Pea protein ham

Similar to soy ham, you will find vegan or vegetarian products on the market made of pea protein. Pea protein ham looks just like regular ham.

It is also a processed product but it contains no meat or animal ingredients. You will be amazed to discover that such products also have a similar taste and texture to regular ham which makes them a great substitute if you are vegan.

7. Fish file

The fish file is a great ham replacement and very versatile in terms of recipes. You can use it in sandwiches or salads and even as a side dish for your dinner.

Try canned fish file or prepare it at home on the grill or in the oven. It is easy to store in the fridge and it maintains its flavor for a few days so you can use it as you please.

8. Prosciutto


Another ham alternative can be prosciutto. This is also a type of ham but much healthier than the processed one and it is very popular in Italy. It is uncooked and pressed to offer you the delicious topping you can use on your sandwich, pizza, salad, or different other dishes.

However, be careful. Prosciutto tends to be much saltier than regular ham as it is uncooked and needs to be conserved for a longer time. Therefore, if you replace your ham with prosciutto, you might want to skip adding any extra salt to your food.

9. Salami


When it comes to salami, the sky is the only limit. You can find salami made of many types of meat from pork to beef and even a combination of meats and different levels of fat.

Choose a salami that you like, being it dry or smoked, and use it in the same way you would use your ham. Salami goes great in cold dishes. But you can also add slices of it to your omelet or stir fry.


Is there non-pork ham?

Ham is a processed meat product made of pork, in general. However, you can find chicken breast ham and turkey ham. They taste just as good as ham. Traditionally, ham is made of pork and has a significant amount of salt. Due to this salt amount, many people decide to look for alternatives to ham. 


If you want to use a ham replacement you will find healthy alternatives in the list above. Either one of them can save your meal if you are missing the ham in your kitchen.

Pay attention to the type of alternative you choose as you might prefer it in the future because many of them taste even better than traditional ham. Let your creativity free in the kitchen and discover new dishes by trying new ingredients compatible with your recipes.

  1. Hi, I’m looking for a ham substitute that is gluten free and contains no beef, pork or lamb. I live in Tennessee USA.
    Do you know of anything ?
    Thank you,
    Linda Hurst

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