You’ve stocked up on lunch meat ham, or bought a huge whole ham. Currently that you think about, it’s a bit too much. Just how long does ham jast?

Or you’ve to buy a cured ham that you need to chef at residence for a one-of-a-kind occasion. After ~ cooking, the meat turned the end super tasty, yet you’re fairly sure girlfriend won’t be able to eat all of it in ~ a few days.

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That do you start thinking about freezing the leftovers, but you’re no sure how well ham freezes.

Either way, this short article is for you if you have any kind of questions or doubts regarding:

storageshelf lifeor going bad of ham

Below, us talk around deli meat ham, whole ham, and also even touch ~ above canned ham. We’ve acquired you covered, no issue what’s her preference.

Whole ham

How to store Ham

When it comes to storing ham, there are basically two options: the fridge and also the freezer.


I understand there room some specialty commodities like country ham the are sometimes sold unrefrigerated and also keep fine at room temperature, yet the vast majority of ham assets require refrigeration.

No issue what kind of ham you’re dealing with, if it’s cured or not, cooking or not, or sliced or not, the same couple of basic accuse apply.

First and also foremost, keep the meat well wrapped at all times. Packaged ham is usually vacuum sealed, or in ~ the really least tightly sealed in a pack. And even if girlfriend buy sliced lunch meat at the deli counter, it usually comes correctly wrapped too.

Ham in a plastic resealable bag
Once you open the package, if you can’t seal it easily, consider delivering the ham in one airtight container or a freezer bag. Those keep the moisture and also smell inside, and prevent the ham from picking up any kind of smells from the fridge.

If neither is an option, aluminum silver paper or plastic wrap have the right to work too.


For the meat to last the longest, save it in the far corner of the fridge and also return that there right after cut as much as you need.

Ham slices
When it concerns canned ham marketed unrefrigerated, room temperature is perfect fine for it. A cool location in a pantry or kitchen is perfect for storing the tins.

Once you open the can, store any kind of leftovers in the fridge. Make sure they’re fine covered, so the smell won’t leak into the whole fridge and also the meat won’t dry out.

If possible, deliver the leftover ham come a tiny airtight container or put the tin in a freezer bag.

Just cooked ham, notice how wet that still is

Can You freeze Ham?

If you want to store your ham because that a lengthy period, freezing functions really well (just together it does because that pulled pork). Add to it requires very tiny extra work, therefore there space no sorry for no freezing ham.

If her ham requires any processing prior to eating (e.g., it’s uncooked and also requires cooking), take treatment of that prior to freezing.

This way, your thawed ham will certainly be prepared to eat, and also you won’t need to worry around anything later on. Plus freezing have the right to slightly alter the structure of the meat, therefore a frozen and thawed ham most likely won’t revolve out as good after cooking.

The next step is come think about the portions. If you have actually a whole huge ham ~ above hand, it’s much better to divide it into a couple of smaller parts, so each one is enough for a couple of days. This way, girlfriend make sure it won’t go bad.


If you’re making use of ham largely for your sandwiches, take into consideration slicing it before freezing. This way it’s ready to go ideal after defrosting. If you’ve purchase a big batch of sliced ham in ~ the deli, divide it right into several smaller sized ones too.

Squeeze out excess water native cooked ham. Otherwise, you’ll end up with something like this ~ freezing.
When it involves how to frozen ham, freezer bags usually work-related best, as they don’t take as much room as containers.

If you expect to keep the ham frozen for longer than a few weeks, consider wrapping the section with aluminum foil before putting it right into the bag. An extra layer of protection against cold waiting is advantageous for lengthy freezing. If the ham is tho unopened, no require for additional protection, together the initial packaging will certainly do just fine.

In short, all you need to do is to protect the ham indigenous the cold temperature and also drying out, and that’s about it.

As usual, thaw it overnight in the fridge.

Thawing frozen ham: placed it this method in the fridge, and it’ll thaw overnight

How long Does Ham Last

The warehouse time is slightly different for each kind of ham, relying on how it to be prepared. But due to the fact that those durations are fairly similar, i won’t cover castle one through one and instead talk about general guidelines.

If the ham is vacuum sealed, it normally retains high quality for around 2 weeks. And also pretty much constantly comes with a use-by date on the label. When the ham should keep unopened because that a couple of days past that date, that’s about it.


There space exceptions to the 2 main rule, like, e.g., Prosciutto that often lasts because that over 2 months, however there are only a couple of them.

Once you open the package, or if the ham comes opened up (e.g., sliced at the deli counter), that lasts about 3 come 5 days. Same thing for thawed meat.

When it comes to canned ham, that comes with a best-by date, and can conveniently retain quality for a couple of weeks previous that date. Once you open up the tin, eat the ham within 3 come 5 days.

Ham (vacuum-sealed, unopened)Use-by + 2 – 4 days
Ham (opened)3 – 5 days
Ham (thawed)3 – 5 days
Canned ham (sold unrefrigerated, unopened)Best-by + 1 month
Canned ham (sold unrefrigerated, opened)3 – 5 days
Please keep in mind that every the periods over are approximates only.

How to Tell If Ham has Gone Bad

First off, check the dates. If you store fresh ham way past the day on the brand or it’s opened up for a long time, just throw it out. Yes, even if it appears perfectly fine.

Then it’s time to examine the top quality of the meat. If it’s slimy or started turning gray, throw it out. Same thing if the has occurred an off odor.

If you notification that the odor of the ham isn’t fairly right, even if ever so slightly, it’s previous its prime, and you have to discard it.

Last however not least, if the taste is off, throw it out.

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Slicing ham

About The Author

Marcin Skrzypiec
Marcin is the man behind After ~ writing an ext than 300 articles on food storage, shelf life, and spoilage, he"s learned a point or 2 on the topic.