How to Freeze Cooked Ham (So You Can Use the Leftovers Later)

Can you freeze ham on the bone? Yes! Here's our take on safely freezing leftover cooked ham.

The sight of a whole roast ham makes for a beautiful centerpiece at any holiday or Sunday dinner. But even after your family has eaten their fill, it’s more than likely you’ll have quite a bit of leftover ham on your hands. What to do? You could eat ham for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for a month. But instead—can you freeze ham on the bone? Absolutely!

You’ll need to clear some freezer space, though. Follow these tips to keep your freezer organized.

How to Freeze Cooked Bone-in Ham

Freezing food is easy. The first step is to allow the ham to cool completely in the refrigerator. Here’s what to do next:

  1. Use a paper towel to remove any excess moisture from the surface of the ham.
  2. Place the whole ham in a freezer bag. Remove as much of the air in the bag as possible.
  3. Wrap the freezer bag in aluminum foil. Then, place the entire wrapped package into another freezer bag. (It will help prevent freezer burn and protect the flavor.)
  4. Use a permanent marker to label the outside of the bag with the contents and date.

See more of our best tips for freezing food.

How to Freeze Smaller Portions of Cooked Ham

You can freeze the whole ham—but you may want to consider freezing smaller portions. It’s easier to grab what you need from the freezer rather than having a large serving of ham on your hands all over again. It’s easiest to either slice or dice your ham before freezing.

  1. Use a sharp knife to slice or dice the ham into your preferred thickness or size.
  2. Place the ham in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  3. Separate the ham into individual portions. Place each portion into a freezer or vacuum-seal bag, remove as much air as possible and close.
  4. Use a permanent marker to label the outside of the bag with the contents and date.

Need inspiration for using up those leftovers? Try one of these recipes that call for leftover ham. Some of our favorite ways to use leftover ham are in casseroles, soups and breakfast hashes.

A Note About Safe Thawing

According to FoodSafety.gov, whole, sliced or diced ham can be safely frozen for up to two months. The safest way to defrost frozen ham is to place it in the refrigerator. Two other thawing methods include placing the ham in cold water in an airtight bag or microwaving it. If you choose the microwave method, it should be cooked immediately after thawing. It is never safe to thaw ham (or any other meat) at room temperature on the countertop or in the sink.

Are you making these other food safety mistakes?

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Susan Bronson
Susan Bronson is a writer and editor based in Northern Wisconsin.