Whether you’re preparing a smoked ham, spiral sliced ham, country style ham, or another type of ham, you’ll want to know the answer to the question, how long is cooked ham good for. The answer to that question varies according to whether the ham has been cooked, its expiration date, and how the ham is stored. We’ll take a look at each of the variables.
How Long Does Smoked Ham Last in The Fridge?
The length of time smoked ham lasts in the refrigerator varies and depends on whether the ham already been cooked. Ham can last an average of 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
If your ham is still wrapped in the store packaging and is unopened, it can last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Most types of ham last for about 5 days in the fridge.
How Should I Store Smoked Ham in Order for it to Remain Fresh?
The best way to store smoked ham or any kind of ham in order for it to stay fresh is by placing it in the back of the refrigerator. The back of the fridge tends to stay the coldest and will keep your ham fresher.
Check the best before date when buying a ham to make sure the date isn’t too close or already past. This will also help to ensure that your ham is fresh.
Wrap the ham well whether it’s been cooked or uncooked. You can use aluminum foil, plastic wrap or place the ham in an airtight container to help keep it fresh. If the ham is still in its original packaging, do not open the original packaging to re-wrap it, it will stay fresher in the vacuum-packed store packaging.
If you’re keeping it in the freezer, either freeze the ham in its original store sealed packaging. Or, if your ham is already opened, divide it into smaller portions and then place it in sealed zipped freezer bags.
What About Uncooked Smoked Ham?
Uncooked smoked ham that has a good expiration date can usually be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks if it’s unopened. If it’s been opened, then it’s better to only store it for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
Can You Freeze Smoked Ham?
Yes, you can freeze smoked ham. Check the label for instructions for how to best freeze your particular kind of ham.
For freezing ham if it’s unopened it’s best to place it directly in the freezer in the vacuum-packed plastic wrapping.
If you’ve opened your ham, we recommend taking your ham apart and freezing it in the portion sizes you intend to use. That way you won’t have to thaw out the whole ham again when you reheat it. Rather, you can simply heat and prepare the quantity desired.
How Long Can You Keep Spiral Cut Hams in the Refrigerator?
Leftover spiral cut ham can generally be kept in the refrigerator for an average of 3-5 days, given that the temperature inside the refrigerator is kept below 40F degrees.
And you can keep a spiral cut ham in the freezer and freeze it for 1-2 months, given the temperature of the freezer is below 0F degrees. According to the USDA, ham can be safely kept in the freezer indefinitely, but its quality begins to become compromised after 2 months.
How Long Cooked Ham Lasts at Room Temperature
Ham shouldn’t be kept at room temperature for any longer than 2 hours. If it’s forgotten and it kept out for more than 2 hours then it should be thrown away.
If the room temperature is at or above 90F degrees, then the ham shouldn’t be kept out any longer than 1 hour.
When ham is stored between the temperatures of 40F degrees and 140F degrees, bacteria grows rapidly which causes the ham to spoil quickly.
Wondering how long to cook ham?
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How Long to Bake a Ham Per Pound
The recommended cook time for ham is generally based on a specified number of minutes per pound. See the chart below to know how many minutes per pound to cook your particular ham.
Do You Cook Ham at 325F or 350F?
The best way to cook a ham is low and slow. The recommended temperature to cook a ham is 325F degrees.
How Do You Calculate the Cooking Time for a Ham?
The average cooking time for a ham is 35-40 minutes per pound, but please use the chart below to find the specific amount of time for the kind of ham you’re preparing.
How Many Minutes Per Pound Should You Cook a Ham at 350F?
The amount of recommended cook time for baking a ham at 350F degrees varies according to the type of ham. See the chart below to find your specific type of ham.
How Long to Cook Frozen Ham
To cook a frozen ham, preheat the oven to 325F degrees and cook until the internal temperature reaches at least 145F degrees. The amount of cook time will vary depending on the size of ham. See the chart below for cook times.
To heat a ham in the slow cooker, heat on low for 6-8 hours up to 12 hours depending on its size. To cook a ham in the pressure cooker, place on high pressure for about 35 minutes, depending on the ham’s size.
How Long to Bake a Precooked Smoked Ham Per Pound
You’ll want to bake a precooked smoked ham until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 145F degrees. Some brands recommend heating to an internal temperature of 165F degrees. The recommended oven temperature for baking a ham is 325F degrees.
How Long to Bake a Spiral Ham Per Pound
We recommend baking a spiral ham at 325F degrees for 10 to 18 minutes per pound. This of course depends on the thickness of the cut of ham.
How Long to Bake a Country Ham Per Pound
We recommend covering your ham with water and boiling it for 25 minutes per pound, add any glaze and bake it at 400F for 15 minutes. Your country ham is then ready to be served.
How Long You Can Freeze Cooked Ham
According to the USDA it is safe to freeze ham indefinitely. However, if you don’t want the quality of your ham to be compromised, the average recommended time to freeze a ham is up to 2 months.
Should You Cover the Ham When You Bake it?
Yes, covering your ham when you cook it helps to keep it nice and moist. You’ll want to take this step so that your ham doesn’t dry out when you’re heating it.
We recommend using an oven cooking bag to heat to wrap your ham while it’s heating. Just place the ham inside and poke a few small holes in the bag. Aluminum foil can also be used to wrap your ham while it bakes.
A Comprehensive Guide on How to Store Ham
In the following we’ll look at how to properly store ham. It’s a significant factor as far as determining the shelf life of a ham. We’ll look at how to store ham in the fridge and how to store ham in the freezer as well as the average time that each storage option provides.
We’ve created a Ham Storage Guidelines printable download to help you know how to best store your cooked ham.
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The delivery of our FREE printable download will be directly emailed to your desktop or mobile device. You’ll need to click the confirmation button first and then the PDF printable download will begin. And you can print to a printer directly from your desktop or mobile device.
How Long Can Ham Last in the Fridge?
The average shelf-life of ham in the fridge depends on a few factors such as whether the ham has been opened, whether the ham has been cooked, and what the expiration date is on the ham.
How long is ham good for in the fridge? For ham that has been opened and heated, the average time the ham will last in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container is 3-5 days.
For a pre-cooked ham that has been unopened and has a good expiration date, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
For uncooked ham that has been unopened and has a good expiration date, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
How to Store Leftover Ham in the Fridge
Leftover ham refers to ham that has been opened, heated, and previously prepared as a meal. Here’s how to store cooked ham in the fridge. It should be placed in the refrigerator in an airtight container or sealed zipped food storage bag.
Leftover ham can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days and after that should be frozen or thrown away.
The ideal refrigerator temperature should be less than 40F degrees for food safety reasons.
How to Store Lunchmeat Ham in the Fridge
Ham lunchmeat is a bit of a different item than regular cured ham or fresh ham. It usually contains preservatives to help lengthen its shelf life.
Lunchmeat should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or zipped food storage bag. It should be used by its expiration date or thrown away if any of the key indicators that your ham has spoiled should appear.
How Long Can You Freeze Ham?
According to the USDA, you can freeze ham indefinitely and it will be safe. However, the quality of the ham will likely be compromised after an average of 2 months in most cases.
The determining factor in many cases for the length of shelf life of frozen ham is for how the ham is stored. You’ll want to wrap your ham tightly and seal it in a vacuum-packed food storage bag if available, or place it in a zipped freezer bag, removing all the air. The presence of air is what causes food to become freezer burnt more rapidly.
Ways To Use Leftover Ham
There are many ways to use leftover ham. You can eat it in sandwiches, casseroles, soups, and just plain. Here are some of our top recipes for using ham.
Types of Ham
If you’re not sure about the different types of ham, we’ll do a quick run-down through each kind to help clarify.
A fresh ham is a ham that’s not been cured. It’s still a leg of pork, it’s just that it hasn’t been cured or smoked in any process. This means that it’s raw pork that needs to be completely cooked, which depending on its size can take several hours.
A dry-cured ham is a ham that’s been cured without any water. It typically includes the process of burying a ham in salt or rubbing a ham with salt and seasonings. Then the ham is hung up for months to dry.
A wet-cured ham is as the name implies. It’s a ham that’s been cured using a brine typically made of salt and water. The brine can also include sugar and other seasonings for flavoring. This is usually the more popular kinds of ham that people buy and are familiar with.
A smoked ham is generally cured with salt and spices and then is heated slow and steady for varying lengths. It also includes smoking that’s generated in a kiln.
Following are some ham preparation and ham freezing resources that’ll come in handy.
How to Freeze Honey Baked Ham
What’s the difference between ham and pork?
What’s the difference between Serrano Ham and Prosciutto Ham?
How to Know if You Need to Throw Out Smoked Ham
There are key indicators to knowing if you need to throw your ham away and if it’s gone bad. First, you’ll want to check the expiration date for your ham.
If it’s past the date and has not been stored in the freezer, or it looks slimy, changed color to a grey or green, has a weird smell or taste, it should be thrown away. Do not risk eating ham that’s gone bad.
Tips on How to Tell If Your Ham Goes Bad
Does ham go bad? Yes, it does. And if it does, you don’t want to eat it because it can make you really sick. How do you know if your ham has gone bad? There are 5 main key indicators to watch for which we’ve laid out as follows.
Unpleasant smell. If you unwrap or uncover your ham to find an unpleasant smell, then you’ll want to throw it away because it has spoiled.
Change in color. When ham goes bad, sometimes it changes color. If it’s no longer a beautiful pink color and changes to somewhat of a gray or green color, it’s time to throw it away.
Signs of mold. As with any food, if there is mold present or signs of mold, this means that unwanted bacteria is present and your ham has spoiled. Don’t risk eating it, but throw it away instead.
The texture. A change in texture is also an indicator that your ham has gone bad. Ham is known for changing to a slimy texture or having somewhat of a film over the top of it. If you notice a film of slime on your ham, throw it out.
The taste. If your ham tastes weird, don’t eat it. It’s likely spoiled and the flavor is another indicator of your quality of ham.
Additional Tips To Help You Keep Hams Fresh
Following is a free downloadable ham storage chart to help you to best know what kind of shelf life you might expect from your ham according to the type of ham you have. You can refrigerate ham for an average of 3-5 days and typically freeze it for up to an average of 2 months, without compromising quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following are frequently asked questions that relate to how long is cooked ham good for. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.
Is It Necessary to Refrigerate Smoked Ham?
Yes, we recommend refrigerating or freezing all kinds of ham for food safety reasons. This includes smoked ham.
However, according to the USDA, a whole uncut country ham can be stored safely at room temperature for up to a year.
Canned ham that has not been opened can be stored safely at room temperature for up to 2 years. After it’s been opened, canned ham should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Is a Smoked Ham Cooked Already?
Yes, if your smoked ham is baked, smoked, or cured, it has already been cooked. But most likely it will need to be reheated before you can eat it. Check the label just to be sure and so you don’t accidentally eat ham that hasn’t been cooked.
How Long Is Leftover Ham Good For?
Leftover ham, meaning ham that’s already been opened and heated for a meal such as a spiral ham, smoked ham, baked ham, or cured ham is typically good for an average of 3-5 days if stored properly in the refrigerator. Or it can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Can You Eat 5-day Old Hams?
Whether you can eat 5-day old hams is a tricky question because you might mean can you eat an unopened ham 5 days after it’s been purchased.
Or you could mean can you eat a ham 5 days after it’s been prepared and served at a meal, and thus it’s leftovers now.
Or you might be referring to a ham that is now 5 days past its expiration date. In this case, we never recommend eating a ham or any meat that’s past its expiration date. Instead, you should throw it away and not take the risk of getting sick.
How Long Can You Eat Ham After the Sell-by Date?
We don’t recommend eating ham after its expiration date. Check your ham’s label and there should be both a sell by date and a use by date or an expiration. The expiration date is the one that you’ll want to pay attention to as far as when your ham needs to be used or placed in the freezer.
What Happens If You Eat Bad Ham?
Eating ham that has gone bad can cause serious illness or even death. You will likely experience food poisoning symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and other related symptoms. Eating bad ham can cause E coli or Bacteroids. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help right away.
Can You Eat Ham That Was Left Out Overnight?
No, ham that’s been left out overnight should be thrown away. Ham should not be left at room temperature for any longer than 2 hours. And if it’s hot and the temperature is 90F degrees or higher, ham should not be left out any longer than 1 hour at room temperature.
Is Shiny Ham Bad?
If you notice a shiny rainbow-like sheen on your ham, that is oxidation that is taking place. It’s not a sole indicator that your ham has gone bad. However, if your color of your ham has changed and it’s more than a sheen, then you’ll want to discard your ham and not take any chances.
Do I really need to use my ham by the use-by date?
When you purchase delicious hams at the grocery store, the best practices to use the ham by its expiration date. You can find this printed on the original store packaging.
If you’ve frozen the ham, whether it’s a bone-in ham that you’re saving for a holiday meal, or ham slices from a spiral-cut ham from special occasions, or a half ham that you decided not to eat the next day, the shelf life of ham can be maximized by freezing it.
If you’ve decided to freeze in zip-top bags, your ham products can last in the freezer for up to 2 months without compromising quality. When freezing ham, you don’t have to use the best if used by date.
What if I think my ham has gone bad?
If you suspect your leftover ham has gone bad, you should throw ham leftovers away and not risk eating it. Spoiled meats or foods of any kind can contain dangerous bacteria, even if it’s an unopened package.
If there is a presence of bacterial growth, an off smell that’s a sulfur-like smell or sour smell, or the opened slices of ham have been kept in the refrigerator for longer than 3-4 days, these are clear sign that there are potential health risks involved if the deli ham is consumed.
Sometimes people wrongly assume that cured meats will last forever. Or if I keep it in the store packaging, unopened hams won’t spoil. But that’s simply not the case. If you have old ham sitting around, throw it away.
Or if you’ve just bought it and you’re not sure you’re going to eat it right away, we recommend the best quality ham be transferred to the freezer.
If the ham’s already been cooked, use some heavy-duty freezer bags and portion your Christmas ham out in the plastic bag so that it will be ready to eat after its freezer time.