Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Homemade Lunch Meat Recipe

Homemade Lunch Meat

This post is from KS contributing writer Mary Voogt of Just Take A Bite.


You may want to cover your ears.

I’m going to use the dreaded L word – LUNCHES.

There. I said it.

As much as I don’t like to think about it, before we know it we’ll be packing school lunches again.

You want to send your kids to school with nutritious food. But you also don’t want to make their lunches too different or “weird” (liver pate or sardines anyone?). Not to mention you don’t want to spend an hour making lunch.

RELATED: Easy lunches for homeschooling and virtual school

The Healthy Lunch BoxMary has some GREAT ideas here for how to use lunch meat, both in sandwiches AND out. If you need more ideas on sandwich-free lunches don’t miss out on The Healthy Lunch Box!
You don’t just get 45 recipes, you get a whole lot more:

Just the other day my seven year old asked why I never put “normal” sandwiches in her lunch like her friends have. She mentioned peanut butter and jelly and ham and cheese.

I don’t send peanut products often because I don’t want to make the school an unsafe place for those with allergies.

The ham and cheese? Well, we just don’t have any lunch meat.

Until now.

Did you know you can make your own lunch meat?

Homemade lunch meat is so easy to make. It literally takes five minutes of hands on time.

Homemade Lunch Meat

Start with whatever ground meat you like. Puree the meat with water and seasoning. Then cook it. That’s all there is to it!

What’s really great about homemade lunch meat is that you control the ingredients. That means NO:

  • high fructose corn syrup
  • nitrates/nitrites
  • fillers/thickeners/gums
  • artificial flavors or colors
  • GMOs
  • MSG
  • solutions
  • BHT
  • carageenan

Just a few simple ingredients will give you great tasting, homemade lunch meat for easy sandwiches. You can cook it on the stove top or in your Instant Pot!!

Using an electric knife will allow you to make thin slices. You can also slice the meat thicker by hand.

Homemade Lunch Meat

Growing up we always had smoked or honey roasted chicken or turkey. You can make your own version of a honey roasted lunch meat by increasing the cane sugar or adding honey. Note that it will be for kids one year and older if you include honey.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Homemade Lunch Meat Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Mary Voogt
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 mins
  • Yield: 1216 1x
  • Category: Lunch


Homemade lunch meat is perfect for school lunches. Use it on sandwiches, crackers or eat it plain.


Units Scale

ship kroger



  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined and smooth.
  2. Split the meat mixture into two equal parts
  3. Place each half in a round 2-cup glass container (like a Pyrex dish).
  4. Spread the mixture in the dish and smooth the top.
  5. Place each glass dish in a large pot. Fill with water half way up the glass. Cover with a lid.
  6. Bring the water to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove the glass container from the pan and drain any excess liquid.
  8. Allow the glass to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  9. Chill the glass dishes in the refrigerator, about 2 hours.
  10. Remove the meat from the glass dishes and slice to desired thickness.
  11. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Instant Pot:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined and smooth.
  2. Place the mixture in a round 4-cup glass container (like a Pyrex dish).
  3. Spread the mixture in the dish and smooth the top.
  4. Place 1 cup of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Set the trivet in the Instant Pot.
  5. Place the glass dish on top of the trivet.
  6. Close the Instant Pot and cook on the meat setting for 20 minutes.
  7. Use the natural release method to open the Instant Pot.
  8. Remove the glass container from the pot and drain any excess liquid.
  9. Allow the glass to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  10. Chill the glass dish, covered, in the refrigerator, about 2 hours.
  11. Remove the meat from the glass dish and slice to desired thickness.
  12. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.


To make this more like a “honey roasted” lunch meat add extra cane sugar, coconut sugar (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) or honey when processing.

This is a very mildly flavored meat. You can add any extra herbs or seasonings you like to change the flavor.

Where to Find High Quality Meat

Having trouble finding good quality meat locally? Would you like to fill your freezer with local and pastured options?

If you’re in the US Midwest, Chicago to Milwaukee to Detroit to New York, and select cities across the country, check out TruLocalUsa.

If you’re west of the Mississippi, check out Wild Pastures

If you live in any of the 48 contiguous states, I recommend US Wellness Meats and Butcher Box! 

I’m grateful that there’s an online source of incredibly high quality meat that I can always count on. A subscription from Butcher Box includes grass fed, organic, pastured, and free range = all the labels important to your family’s health! And I’ve got a special deal for you!

They almost always have great deals for new customers. Claim your free gifts, and see what bonus they have going on right now. Don’t miss out!

(free shipping too!)

Find this recipe on Plan to Eat too, so you can add it every other week as part of a lunch-ready meal plan! Jump right to it: Homemade Lunchmeat

Homemade Lunch Meat 3

No more boring lunches!

For variety, try different types of meat. Or even combine meats. Then change up the seasoning.

Katie here, inturrupting to remind you that turkey is on my list of everyday superfoods! Check out it’s impressive nutrient profile, and don’t save turkey just for thanksgiving.

Use the lunch meat for sandwiches with an array of toppings like:

But don’t limit  yourself to sandwiches. Use the lunch meat to make your own Lunchables®! Homemade crackers (I have a recipe for soaked gluten free crackers, soaked teff crackers or Katie has some “Wheat Thin” style crackers), sliced cheese and cut up lunch meat make a simple and fun lunch for kids of all ages.

Slice the meat thinly, add a layer of cheese, and roll it up. You have a delicious finger food that you can dip in honey mustard or eat plain.

RELATED: How to Stretch Meat & How To Make Side Pork Taste Like Bacon

Homemade Lunch Meat

Don’t forget the little ones.

They need easy lunches too. One of the things that surprised me most when I made homemade lunch meat was that my infant liked it so much! The meat is pureed, mildly flavored and soft so it can be gummed. Just break it into pieces and let your little one dig in.

Homemade lunch meat is actually a great on-the-go snack for babies. No big mess. Just simple finger food.

I love to cut half of the batch into sticks for my toddler. I grab a couple out of the freezer any time I need a quick protein for breakfast, lunch or snack.

Are you looking for a school lunch solution that will make life simpler?

Try homemade lunch meat. It is even free of allergens!

Make a batch at the beginning of the week and you’ll have the starting point for great sandwiches and fun finger food all week long.

Homemade Lunch Meat

Camping Fun.

Homemade lunch meat can even replace hot dogs!! Cut it into larger sticks. Put some on a fork and get roasting! Such a fun way to enjoy a camping trip or backyard roast.

Stock your freezer.

Homemade lunch meat freezes well. Use some fresh and keep some of it in the freezer for easy lunches later on.

Homemade Lunch Meat

Sandwiches make great school lunches. Now you can pack sandwiches your kids will love and you will feel good about.

What are your favorite simple lunch ideas?
Lunch Meat in the Instant Pot

Looking for more Lunch?

The Healthy Lunch Box Struggling with picky eaters, allergies or oral aversions? Mary has her tried and true methods for turning your kids into great eaters in her book Why Won’t My Child Eat?!. Get your copy today.
You’ll learn how to observe your child, what to watch for and where to start, the three different types of allergic reactions your child could have, the key first step to getting your child interested in food again and feeding strategies from birth to teens. She’ll teach you how to to bring joy and nourishment back to feeding your child.
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

32 thoughts on “Homemade Lunch Meat Recipe”

  1. Looks like I’m late finding this post (by about 6 years!). I wonder about adding a small amount of vegetables – maybe corn, beans or cabbage. What do you think?

  2. whisperingsage

    This is great! I can cut the cost of hubby’s lunches. For some reason he has to have the fresh cut sliced ham or roast beef from the deli instead of the prepackaged slices from the SAME DELI. this might solve all those problems.

  3. I am a cook on a freight ship. Our sandwich meats are almost all pork (we do have an all-beef summer sausage) right now. I have someone who doesn’t eat red meat so I’m going to give this a try (in a bigger bowl…longer cooking time?) tomorrow.

  4. This is so genuis. I have never imagined to do this–and I have imagined many things!

    At first, I thought like Linda commented, “why not just slice meat?”, but then I began to think of all the possibilities. Wow you meat I can enjoy a healthy pickle loaf?! Oh my! I mean really what a beautiful thought. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Funny note also. This is great for me because I found that my daughter will not eat regular roasted turkey but eats processed turkey. Go figure! So I guess I’ll process my own. I prefer the regular roasted turkey. This way we can both get what we want out of the same bird! Ha.

    1. Yes, Anne – the possibilities are endless! I know many people have that same thought…why not just eat plain meat? But it is totally different. And so much easier for young kids to eat because of the texture. My toddler LOVES it. Actually our whole family does. And it is such a great way to get them to eat liver 🙂

    1. Sliced meat is good, Linda. But it doesn’t have the same flavor or texture as lunch meat. I find this lunch meat is much easier for small children to eat as meat can be tougher to chew. Plus you can make full slices that fit nicely on a sandwich instead of chunks.

      1. whisperingsage

        Totally right, some folks don’t have the teeth to gnaw through the solid meat. And pieces fall off.

    1. You could try it a couple ways, Meg. You could grind a (raw) ham into ground meat first and then use it according to the directions. Or you could just use ground pork and add some extra sweetener. I usually increase the sweetener to a few tsp. and my kids go crazy for it. It does kind of taste like ham lunch meat.

  5. Sandra Johns

    Hi I really want to try this recipe and just wondered if you could roll it in glad wrap and then steam it ?

    1. It might be possible, Sandra, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Any time you heat plastic it leaches chemicals into your food. I personally don’t use plastic on any warm or hot food. It isn’t safe. Glass is better if you have some available. Any kind of small baking dish or casserole dish will do.

  6. I’m confused on the round containers that holds the meat and where the water goes? Does anyone have any pictures on this part of the process. For some reason I’m just not grasping it.

      1. Yes, it probably made sense to everyone on the first go around. But for some reason I was struggling with understanding it. Totally my fault. Thank you for getting back to me, I’m going to make this, this evening.

        Do you think I can put this in a large mouth mason jar?

  7. I am so excited about this recipe I can’t even tell you ! Once in a blue moon I buy the best lunch meat I can find and afford but I always feel guilty and usually end up throwing the last few slices away ( money is tight and organic lunch meat is next to impossible to find outside Dublin Ireland and I’m 60 miles away from the city ) I am shopping tomorrow and getting ground meat and making this tomorrow, Sunday, as my daughter starts school again Monday. Thank you thank you thank you ☺

  8. Sarah Mueller

    Ooh – I never thought to do this! I buy the organic kind of lunchmeat, but this would be a lot cheaper. Thanks!

  9. Wonderful idea. I’m keeping it. Though I STRONGLY suggest that you only use liver from organically raised animals. The liver is the strainer, basically, for your body. And toxins can really build up. I haven’t had liverwurst in years though I love it. Can’t find any organic. Maybe I’ll try this and see how it compares. Thanks for such an interesting recipe.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.