Torihamu–Turning Chicken into Ham


Post by community member:

Say what? I know I’ve had turkey ham but never thought I could make chicken ham! Never too old to learn is true!

While searching for ways to make deli meats at home I stumbled onto this stuff called Torihamu. Sounded so interesting I had to try it. I found out it is well known in Japan, it is much like a deli meat without all the chemicals in it, easy to make, does remind me of ham (kinda) and really is very good.


How to make Torihamu: Printable

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large ziplock bag
6 tablespoons honey (you can use brown sugar, molasses, or reg white sugar)
3 tablespoons salt (I used kosher)

Mix all the marinade ingredients in the ziplock bag.

Pat dry the chicken breasts. At this point you can add what ever spices you think you may like. I added 2 tablespoons liquid smoke and some cracked pepper. Some like crushed rosemary or thyme…your choice.

Place chicken breasts into bag and squish around well to coat. Work out all the air and seal. Place in fridge for 48 hours.


After 48 hours, rinse off the brine, and soak in water for 1 hour.


Pat dry. At this point you may add a little more seasoning if you think it needs it. I just added a little more pepper.

Now you can tie it up with twine into a roll. I didn’t have any so I used crochet thread. Just be sure it is cotton thread. I’ve never done this so don’t laugh at my tie job. Ha! Just do the best you can.


Lay it in a pan. I used foil and sprayed a little non stick just to be safe. Bake it uncovered at 235 degree for about 1 hour. It will look like it isn’t done, but it probably will be. I cut into the thickest part to make sure, because I don’t own a meat thermometer. But if you can check it that way, and if it registers 165°F, it should be done.


Let it cool slightly, then wrap in foil and let get cold in fridge.

This makes great sandwiches at a lot less cost of deli chicken or turkey. Use it in salads, pot pies, wherever it call for chicken. This turns out fine grained, much like ham. I know I will be making more of this. Now I’m thinking turkey breast, and maybe buffalo chicken breast, the flavors are endless.

I hope you try this, I think you will like it!

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  1. Kenya Cook says:

    This is fantastic. Sandwich fixin’s that are cheaper and I can know what’s in it. Totally going to try this one. I never thought about rolling and tying chicken breasts.

  2. pirate96 says:

    That looks like a winner. Does it slice like deli meat? Do the chicken breasts separate?

  3. JerseyMom says:

    That’s awesome! I will absolutely have to try this. I love the idea of having ‘deli’ meat and knowing just what is in it! Thanks for sharing.

  4. lisabetholson says:

    This sounds great, I think I can use some of the older chickens I have since it has to be marinated. I love another way to make homemade better than deli meat.

  5. LisaAJB says:

    This is such a great idea! My husband has a sandwich for lunch almost every day. Guess who’s getting a turkey breast this week!!

  6. marymac says:

    pirate96 I used a 3 lb. bag of chicken breast and there were more small pieces that I would have liked. I think as long as you use whole breast pieces it will hold up much better than mine did. I really want to try this with turkey breasts and am planning on buying extra turkey just for this, since turkey is on sale right now. I can debone a turkey just like a chicken and I figure I can make soup with the rest of the bird.

  7. LisaAJB says:

    I’m trying this with turkey breasts right now. All they had was boneless skinless at the market.

  8. marymac says:

    LisaAJB Please let us know how it turns out. I haven’t got my turkey breast yet but will soon.

  9. Jan Jones says:

    It is simply divine, Mary. I followed the recipe precisely using honey. It was a bit tough to roll the chicken breasts but I was lucky to have the stretchy bands that worked out oh so nicely, a gift from my daughter last Christmas. I had to cook mine longer, aprx. 20 minutes to obtain the safe degree of 165. I doubled the recipe and took half of it and ground up to make appetizer meat balls…. I used just the right spices so that I could share a few with the canines as treats. AWESOME turn out. I have another bag in the refrigerator that will be ready tomorrow, that’s how good it was. I even used the juices remaining to throw a few carrots, potatoes and onions in, making for one of the most flavorful quick meals, served with some thin slices of the roll…. GREAT RECIPE. Turkey is next, Mary. I appreciate the posting and will be passing it along. Jan

  10. marymac says:

    I’m so glad you liked it Jan, and yes you have to be the judge in making sure it is done enough as you know ovens can vary in cooking times. I just made my turkey breast yesterday. I tried to make it spicy using hot sauce in my marinade and some on top before I baked it. It didn’t get spicy enough, so maybe something hotter next time. Also I used brown sugar this time. That didn’t seem to make much difference in the sweetness. It turned out good, but honestly I think I prefer the chicken. Rolling up the turkey breasts was a little easier..

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