How Long does Ham Last Out of the Fridge?

Depending on the quality, ham can be left out for a short while. If the ham is cured or smoked, it shouldn’t be left out for more than three days.

The sliced ham left outside the fridge is a frequently posed query. The type and size of the ham will determine the answer to this query.

The shelf life of ham varies depending on the type of ham you buy and the storage method. However, hams generally will keep for two to four days, depending on how well it’s cooked. Hams can last longer than this if they are stored properly and refrigerated. However, if they’re left out at room temperature for too long, they are susceptible to bacterial growth, which can lead to foodborne illness. Specifically, botulism poisoning can occur when ham reaches this point. Because of this risk, checking if the ham looks or smells off is important.


What is Ham?

The hog’s hind leg is where ham, a form of pork, is produced. Ham can be easily roasted with the bone in or out, similar to many other types of meat. On the other hand, prepared ham can be made by pre-curing ham and cooking it in various ways. There are numerous ways to preserve and cook a ham.

Choosing a delicious ham is very simple, even tho ways to cure, buy, and prepare ham can seem overwhelming. What appears on the plate in front of you is ultimately determined by the type of hog used, the way the meat has been prepared (such as being cured), and any additional cooking procedures. You can find the ideal ham for your palate, whether you prefer wet or dry curing, smoked or not smoked, once you become more familiar with the varieties offered.

How Long does Ham Last Out of the Fridge?

Cold cuts, sliced deli meats, cooked foods, and cut vegetables that have been left out at room temperature for two hours or longer (or one hour above 90° F) are harmful to consume, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Cooked ham can be consumed safely at room temperature for two hours. This period is shortened to just one hour during the summer when the outside temperature is 90°F (32°C) or higher. You should discard the ham beyond this point because there is no way to know if it is still safe to eat.

Cooked ham can be kept in the refrigerator for 3–4 days when wrapped in a ham bag or a moist tea towel. Place the ham on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator, which is the coldest, and wrap it loosely so it can breathe.

If frozen cooked ham is placed in freezer bags or food storage containers, it will remain edible forever. The ham will, however, only keep its greatest attributes for 1-2 months before starting to dry out and lose flavor.

Generally, ham burned in the freezer is entirely fine to consume. However, the freezer-burnt portions of the ham won’t taste nice or feel good on the tongue. Cut them off, then throw them away.

How to Keep Cooked Ham Fresh?

You might wonder how to make a ham the day before and preserve it overnight if you’re preparing to serve it to visitors.

Fortunately, there are various approaches you can take. Wrap it loosely in a damp tea towel or ham bag to keep it moist and prevent drying. If you aren’t serving it during the party, allow it to cool completely before wrapping it securely and putting it in the fridge.

You have a few alternatives for keeping the ham you buy at the store. The ham can first be frozen whole and in its original container. Or, to make it simpler to take and thaw out if you’re going to eat it in portions, you may chop it into meal-sized amounts.

The night before, move cooked ham from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw. Please put it on the lowest refrigerator shelf, the coldest, in a big bowl or tray to catch drips. Within 12 to 24 hours, the ham ought to be fully defrosted.

How to Properly Cook Ham?

Hams can be prepared primarily through curing, aging, and smoking. If you have a large enough pan and oven to accommodate it, you may cook a fresh ham the same way as any other cut of meat (often slow roasting). However, ham can—and frequently does—go through a preliminary precooking or curing procedure that drastically alters its flavor.

A brine comprising salt, sugar, sodium nitrate, sodium erythorbate, potassium chloride, water, and flavorings is injected into a fresh ham to produce cured ham. The ham is then finished cooking to a temperature of 150 F within. Bacteria are eliminated by the chemical brine and cooking process, which transforms uncured fresh ham into cured meat. This variety of ham, also known as baked ham, is available in most supermarkets and delis.

While brine or smoke is not always necessary, aged ham typically involves a lot of salting and seasoning. The ham is hung in specialized, well-ventilated spaces with exact humidity and temperature conditions for one to five years. During this period, a thick layer of mold hardens into a crust, protecting the flesh from spoilage and promoting the development of different flavors throughout the ham.

After the maturing process, the ham is thoroughly washed, dried, and packaged after the mold has been entirely scraped off. Such hams are expensive and scarce, such as the American “country ham,” the Italian prosciutto di Parma, or the Spanish jamón serrano.

The ham is smoked for days or weeks at a temperature of about 60 F (15 C) to produce cold-smoked ham. Because the temperature is so low, compounds in the smoke and the gradual drying process restrict the growth of bacteria.

For a cold-smoked ham to maintain bacterial control during the curing process, salt curing (usually in brine) is necessary. Most of the time, wood or wood chips are used to smoke hams, but the kind of wood also makes a significant difference. For instance, mesquite and hickory, as well as wood from nut trees or fruit trees, are frequently used woods for smoking ham. The ham gains a faint additional taste from the type of wood utilized.

These methods are frequently combined to create hams.

What does Ham Tastes Like?

Depending on how it is made and presented, ham can have very different flavors. Nevertheless, all ham varieties share a few traits. Every variety of ham has a meaty denseness and a fleshy texture since it is made from the huge, round muscles of a hog’s hind leg. Your ham will have a substantial meatiness, whether smoked, oven-roasted, matured, or aged and thinly sliced.

Regardless of how it was prepared, ham always includes a trace of sweetness, despite having an overall savory and rich flavor profile. All ham has a mild sweetness that goes along with its pleasing texture. Hams with salt or smoke still have sweet undertones. Ham pairs exceptionally well with various accent flavors, including salt, smoke, brown sugar, maple, spicy mustard, cloves, and even canned pineapple, thanks to its sweet overtones.

What are the Health Benefits of Ham?

It is Full of Beneficial Nutrients

A considerable portion of ham contains zinc, which satisfies 9% of the daily need. According to research, zinc is a crucial micronutrient for human metabolism since it aids in regulating genes and catalyzes various enzymatic events—protein, which is abundant in ham, has been shown to provide several health benefits. According to research, eating a diet heavy in calcium and protein can help maintain bone health.

Could Support BMI

According to some research, individuals who consume red meat (including ham) may have a lower BMI while consuming more veggies. Blood pressure was also negatively correlated with eating red meat. Ham should, however, always be eaten in proportion. Eating ham even less frequently is advised if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Could Aid in Lowering the Risk of Thyroid Disease

A trace mineral called selenium is necessary for the body’s many metabolic activities. According to research, three ounces of roasted ham contain 76% of the recommended daily intake of selenium. According to studies, thyroid illness may be brought on by a selenium shortage. Ham has a high selenium level, which may be beneficial. However, it is strongly advised to consume in moderation.

Could Encourage Satiety

Studies have shown that protein-rich diets help you feel full longer and lose weight. A high-protein diet may, in some cases, aid in treating metabolic syndrome and obesity. A good food source of protein is ham. Due to the calorie content of ham, however, moderation in eating is essential. It is necessary to conduct more research on the filling qualities of ham.

Reference: The Effect of Regular Intake of Dry-Cured Ham Rich in Bioactive Peptides on Inflammation, Platelet and Monocyte Activation Markers in Humans

A local or systemic physiological effect can be produced by bioactive peptides, short sequences of 2–20 amino acid residues that are absorbed via the intestine and circulated through the circulation. These peptides are generated during the processing of food. For instance, when beef is cured, significant biochemical changes occur, including strong muscle peptidase proteolysis. Spanish dry-cured ham is a particularly useful source of active biopeptides that have been studied in vitro and in animal models of hypertension. In addition, the outcomes of several studies indicate that dry-cured hams might be healthy and could be consumed regularly as part of the diet.


There are a few different factors that determine how long smoked ham lasts. One factor is how fresh the ham is when it comes out of the fridge. The meat may last up to two or three days before it needs to be thawed. However, ham that has been frozen might not taste as good when it is thawed. Therefore, cutting the ham into smaller portions is advisable to make it last longer.

Smoked ham is typically good for about three days after you buy it. This is because the ham goes through a curing and smoking process that kills harmful bacteria. However, once opened, smoked ham can easily go bad.