Learn how to freeze ham to reduce waste, plus save you time and effort in preparing future meals. You can make all kinds of delicious dishes with leftover ham, so it’s best to freeze it in individual portions.

Honey baked ham and orange slices on an oval platter.

Ham is versatile, packed with protein, tasty, and looks great as a table centerpiece for special occasions and holidays. But it’s also a massive hunk of meat! There’s no way you can finish an entire ham in one sitting, no matter how hungry your friends and family are.

So, what can you do with all that leftover ham? After a few days, you’re bound to get tired of eating ham sandwiches, ham casseroles, ham soups, and ham salads. And cooked ham will only keep in the fridge for around five days. By that time, you’ll be craving anything but ham.

I like using some of the cooked ham in meals that can be frozen, like this Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup. But cooking meals with ham to freeze them is not all you can do with leftover ham. You can freeze it for another day without processing it much, and it will taste almost as good as the day you made it. 

Freezing ham doesn’t affect the flavor or texture much. It will still be a versatile and protein-packed food, even months after you put it in the freezer.

Closeup of slices of baked, glazed ham.

Why You Need This Recipe

  • If you like ham, freezing is a great way to save leftovers for another day instead of wasting them. But, you need to do it the right way so avoid freezer burn.
  • Ham is a versatile meat often served for holiday meals. You can use ham in soups, casseroles, and quiches. It’s helpful to have some already cooked ham on hand. You’ll save the time it would take you to cook the ham for a recipe.
  • It gives your family a break from eating endless ham sandwiches and salads after a special occasion.

What You’ll Need to Make This Recipe

To freeze ham, you won’t need anything other than kitchen basics. Follow this guide fro the safest way to freeze this delicious meat for the longest shelf life.

1. A Knife

You’ll need a good knife to cut the ham into slices or to cut the spiralized pieces off. 

2. Paper Towels

If you don’t have absorbent paper towels in your kitchen or prefer not to use them, you can use a clean kitchen cloth. As long as it’s absorbent, it will work.

3. Plastic Wrap 

Keep the packaged ham portions as air-free as possible for the best results. To do this, you should wrap individual portions of ham tightly in plastic wrap.

4. Resealable Plastic or Silicone Bags

The plastic wrap could deteriorate in the freezer, exposing your ham to other foods and freezing temperatures which could spoil it.

Double up on protection with resealable plastic or silicone bags. You can also use plastic freezer bags, a vacuum sealer, or any airtight container.

If you don’t have any bags, double or triple-wrap the ham with plastic wrap or freezer paper (also known as butcher paper). You can also use aluminum foil but you may have more risk of freezer burn over time.

5. Labels

If you do a lot of home freezing, freezer labels are essential. Label the ham, so you’ll know what it is and by which date you should use it. You can also label it with the portion’s weight to make it easier to know which portion to defrost. 

If you don’t have labels, make a note of the date somewhere else or set a reminder on your phone so you’ll know you have some tasty ham in the freezer. 

6. A Kitchen Scale

With a kitchen scale, you can weigh the ham portions before packaging and freezing them. It makes it easier to take out the right amount of ham to defrost for recipes.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale available, you can still freeze ham; you just won’t know the portion sizes.

Ham slices on a stone board.

Ingredients and Substitutes

Different types of ham require different methods of freezing. Here are some guidelines on the kind of ham that you can freeze.

Cooked Ham on the Bone

You can freeze cooked ham, whether it’s cured, uncured, sliced, or spiral sliced by the store (also known as spiral cut ham). As long as you slice it into portions, it’s freezable.

And, don’t throw away the bone! It makes delicious soup and ham broth, or you can use it to make a flavorful stock. 

Uncooked Ham

If you buy ham and don’t use it straight away, you can freeze it in the packaging it came from the store. Here are some guidelines on how long ham will last in the freezer:

  • You can freeze uncured, uncooked ham for up to 6 months. 
  • You can freeze cured, uncooked ham for up to 4 months. 
  • You can freeze cured, cooked ham for up to 2 months.

Store-Bought Cooked Ham Slices

If you enjoy pre-cooked and sliced ham straight from the store, you’ll be happy to know that you can freeze slices of ham, too. You’re good to go if your deli meats are unopened and packaged in airtight wrapping. This kind of deli ham should keep for up to 2-3 months.

Recipe Steps

Step One

Make sure ham is cool and pat off any excess moisture with paper towels.

Step Two

Wrap in plastic in portions (8 ounces is perfect for most recipes) and then in an airtight bag. Label with the date and weight.

Step Three

Freeze until needed! You can use your regular home freezer or a deep freeze.

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • The best way to defrost ham is to transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator. If you use the fridge method, it should take around 5 hours per pound to defrost. 
  • You can freeze uncured, uncooked ham for up to 6 months. 
  • You can freeze cured, uncooked ham for up to 4 months. 
  • You can freeze cured, cooked ham for up to 2 months.
  • If you plan to freeze a cooked ham, you don’t have to wait for it to reach room temperature. You can freeze it even when it’s still warm.

Recipe FAQs

Can I refreeze ham after defrosting it?

Yes, but I don’t recommend it. Keeping the meat at a cool temperature after thawing it, it’s probably not a risk to your health. However, it will change the texture and taste of the ham. Freezing creates ice crystals that rupture cells, and refreezing makes it worse. The ham will become dryer every time you refreeze it.

How long will the ham bone keep in the freezer?

You can freeze a ham bone for 1 to 2 months if you wrap it well. 

What’s the best way to thaw frozen ham?

The best way to defrost ham is to transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator. If you use the fridge method, it should take around 5 hours per pound to defrost. For food safety, try to avoid using the method where you defrost ham in a bowl of cold water. It’s best to use the refrigerator for defrosting, although it takes longer.

Can I use ham from frozen if I’m making soup?

Yes, you can! Toss it into the hot liquid and wait for the flavors to permeate your soup. This is a great way to use leftover cooked ham.

Can I freeze a whole ham?

Yes, you can freeze a whole uncooked store-bought ham. For cooked whole ham, it’s best to slice it into smaller portions for the most versatility.

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

And, consider following me on social media so we can stay connected. I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube!

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Honey baked ham and orange slices on an oval platter.

How to Freeze Ham

Learn how to freeze ham to reduce waste, plus save you time and effort in preparing future meals. You can make all kinds of delicious dishes with leftover ham, so it’s best to freeze it in individual portions.

  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 pounds cooked ham

Instructions

  1. Let the ham cool down before you prepare it to be frozen. Leave it covered on the kitchen counter, and transfer it to the fridge when it’s cool enough.
  2. Most recipes call for 8oz portions of ham. If your ham is on the bone, uncut or spiralized, cut it off the bone into 8oz pieces or slices, depending on how you plan to use it.
  3. Pat the ham dry with paper towels or a kitchen cloth to remove moisture.
  4. Wrap the ham in plastic, ensuring all the air is out.
  5. Transfer to resealable plastic bags or vacuum-sealable bags.
  6. Label the packages with the date you’re freezing them.
  7. If you have a kitchen scale, add the weight of the portion.
  8. Place the ham in the freezer.

Notes

  1. The best way to defrost ham is to transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator. If you use the fridge method, it should take around 5 hours per pound to defrost.
  2. You can freeze uncured, uncooked ham for up to 6 months.
  3. You can freeze cured, uncooked ham for up to 4 months.
  4. You can freeze cured, cooked ham for up to 2 months.

Keywords: how to freeze ham, cooked ham, leftover ham, frozen ham

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