You’ve stocked up on lunch meat ham, or bought a large entirety ham. Now that you think about, it’s a little also much. How lengthy does ham jast?

Or you’ve bought a cured ham that you have to prepare at home for a unique occasion. After cooking, the meat turned out super tasty, yet you’re quite sure you won’t have the ability to eat all of it within a couple of days.

You are watching: How to tell if smoked ham is bad

That made you start reasoning around freezing the leftovers, but you’re not sure exactly how well ham freezes.

Either way, this write-up is for you if you have actually any kind of concerns or doubts regarding:

storageshelf lifeor going poor of ham

Below, we talk around deli meat ham, totality ham, and also touch upon canned ham. We’ve gained you spanned, no matter what’s your preference.

Whole ham

How to Store Ham

When it concerns storing ham, tright here are basically two options: the fridge and also the freezer.


I understand there are some specialty commodities like nation ham that are periodically marketed unrefrigerated and keep well at room temperature, yet the large majority of ham commodities require refrigeration.

No matter what type of ham you’re handling, if it’s cured or not, cooked or not, or sliced or not, the same few fundamental guidelines use.

First and also foremany, store the meat well wrapped at all times. Packaged ham is generally vacuum sealed, or at the very least tightly sealed in a load. And even if you buy sliced lunch meat at the deli respond to, it usually comes properly wrapped as well.

Ham in a plastic resealable bag
Once you open up the package, if you can’t seal it easily, think about transferring the ham in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Those keep the moisture and also smell inside, and proccasion the ham from picking up any smells from the fridge.

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


For the meat to last the longest, keep it in the far edge of the fridge and rerotate it there right after cutting as much as you need.

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

Once you open up the deserve to, store any type of leftovers in the fridge. Make certain they’re well extended, so the smell won’t leak into the entirety fridge and the meat won’t dry out.

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

Just cooked ham, notification exactly how wet it still is

Can You Freeze Ham?

If you desire to store your ham for a lengthy duration, freezing functions really well (just as it does for pulled pork). Plus it calls for extremely little extra job-related, so tright here are no excuses for not freezing ham.

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

This method, your thawed ham will be ready to eat, and also you won’t have to worry about anypoint later on. Plus freezing can slightly alter the texture of the meat, so a frozen and also thawed ham most likely won’t revolve out as excellent after food preparation.

The next step is to think around the portions. If you have a totality huge ham on hand also, it’s better to divide it into a few smaller sized components, so each one is enough for a few days. This means, you make certain it won’t go negative.


If you’re using ham mostly for your sandwiches, consider slicing it before freezing. This way it’s prepared to go best after defrosting. If you’ve bought a big batch of sliced ham at the deli, divide it right into several smaller sized ones too.

Squeeze out excess water from cooked ham. Otherwise, you’ll end up with something favor this after freezing.When it concerns how to freeze ham, freezer bags typically job-related best, as they don’t take as a lot room as containers.


If you’re utilizing bags, remember to squeeze out as a lot air before fastening the seal.

If you mean to save the ham frozen for longer than a few weeks, think about wrapping the portion via aluminum foil before putting it into the bag. An extra layer of protection versus cold air is beneficial for expanded freezing. If the ham is still unopened, no require for extra defense, as the original packaging will certainly carry out simply fine.

In brief, all you need to perform is to protect the ham from the cold temperature and also drying out, and that’s around it.

As usual, thaw it overnight in the fridge.

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

How Long Does Ham Last

The storage time is slightly different for each form of ham, depending on exactly how it was ready. But since those periods are rather similar, I won’t cover them one by one and instead talk around general guidelines.

If the ham is vacuum sealed, it commonly retains top quality for around 2 weeks. And pretty a lot constantly comes through a use-by day on the label. While the ham must store unopened up for a couple of days previous that date, that’s about it.


There are exceptions to the 2 weeks preeminence, choose, e.g., Prosciutto that regularly lasts for over 2 months, however tbelow are just a pair of them.

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

When it comes to canned ham, it comes with a best-by date, and also can conveniently retain high quality for a couple of weeks past that day. Once you open the tin, eat the ham within 3 to 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 (marketed unrefrigerated, opened)3 – 5 days
Please note that all the durations over are estimates just.

Ham slices on bread

How to Tell If Ham Has Gone Bad

First off, inspect the dates. If you store fresh ham means previous the day on the label or it’s opened up for a long time, simply throw it out. Yes, also if it seems perfectly fine.

Then it’s time to check the high quality of the meat. If it’s slimy or started turning gray, throw it out. Same thing if it has actually emerged an off odor.

See more: What Does Bin Mean In Arabic Names Mean? Bin Name Meaning In Urdu, Arabic Names For Boys

If you alert that the smell of the ham isn’t fairly right, even if ever before so slightly, it’s past its prime, and also you should discard it.