When it comes to holiday cooking, ham is always a popular choice. Ham can be purchased either bone-in or boneless, depending on the amount of ham you need, the price, and your texture or flavor preference. But can you freeze ham ahead of time or freeze the leftovers?
Yes, you can freeze ham, including leftovers from honey-baked, spiral, smoked, sliced ham steaks, and even ham bones. For the best results, your ham should be tightly wrapped in plastic and placed in a freezer-safe bag before freezing. Ham can be frozen for up to two months without losing significant quality.
Are you looking for ways to save money and stock your freezer with healthy meals? Then you’ll love this guide to freezing ham! I’ll walk you through the basics and share some tips on making the most of your leftover ham. Let’s get started!
Can You Freeze Cooked Ham?
Yes, you can freeze cooked ham to avoid wasting leftovers. In fact, all types of cooked ham freeze very well when stored properly. Airtight in plastic is the best way to freeze cooked ham. When you’re ready, simply thaw it and use it in your favorite recipes.
All cooked ham, hence the name, is cooked before you buy it and is sold either chilled or frozen. If you bring home a fresh whole ham and bake it, this counts as cooked, and you can freeze the remainder too.
Be mindful of any labels on store-bought hams that have been previously frozen. To keep them at their best, you may be able to refreeze some hams and not others.
The best way to freeze ham is with as little air exposure as possible to avoid the risk of freezer burn and maintain the salty and smoky flavor of the meat. A vacuum sealer is ideal, but a Ziploc bag with the air removed is okay too.
Can You Freeze A Honey Baked Ham?
Yes, you can freeze honey-baked ham, both spiraled and deli sliced, but experts with Honey-Baked suggest a limit of forty-five days in the freezer to maintain freshness. For easy portioning, it’s best frozen when slices are kept together and then wrapped airtight.
Can You Freeze A Spiral Ham?
Yes! In fact, experts with Dakin Farm recommend freezing your spiral-cut ham immediately unless you plan to serve it within seven days. A spiral-cut ham comes to you fully cooked, so give it three to four days to thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Thawed ham will likely exude some water in the thawing process. This water should smell like ham and not be slimy or slippery. If you have any concerns, like your pork smells funny, discard them because they may be a sign that your ham is bad.
Don’t forget to read the expiration dates before freezing your ham. You’ll want to freeze it well before the expiration date because you have to consider the thawing time.
Can You Freeze Ham Bones?
Yes, you can easily freeze ham bones for up to 2 months and thaw them when ready to use in soups or stock. It’s important to take as much ham off the bone as possible before freezing, just in case the bone tears the plastic and introduces cold air leading to freezer burn.
While ham bones may have some freezer burn and be okay, freezer-burnt ham can change the taste of your recipe.
If you want to save your ham bones, consider wrapping them in a couple of layers of plastic wrap, then placing them in an airtight bag.
How Long Can You Freeze A Ham?
The type of ham you want to freeze will affect how long you can store it in the freezer. To keep it simple, cured and cooked hams such as honey baked, spiral, and deli sliced can be frozen for up to 2 months. Uncooked hams that haven’t been cured can be frozen for up to four months.
Despite FoodSafety.gov guidelines recommending up to 6 months, I think anything longer than four months in the freezer risks freezer burn and quality degradation when unthawed.
Does Ham Freeze Well?
Yes, ham freezes very well because the cells and protein in the pork meat are not easily broken when thawed compared to vegetables or fruits.
Don’t be afraid to freeze your leftovers, whether it’s sliced or cubed. It’s a great way to meal prep or have on hand for quick and easy weeknight meals.
Should I Freeze My Ham Before Thanksgiving Or Easter? Freezing your ham before the holidays is a great idea. It makes planning much easier and gives you time to worry about other important parts of your gathering.
How To Freeze Ham
- 1 Roll Plastic Wrap
- 10 Plastic Freezer Bags
- 10 servings Ham (Cooked, Cured, Sliced, Cubed, Spiral, Honey-Baked)
- 1 piece Ham Bone
- Let your ham cool before wrapping. You can either slice it or leave it whole, depending on how you want to use it later. If you're slicing it, make sure the slices are even so they'll thaw out evenly.
- Wrap your ham or ham bone tightly in plastic wrap, making sure there are no air bubbles or big spaces.
- Then, label your wrapped ham in a freezer bag with the date.
- Freeze up to two months.
- To thaw, simply remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge the night before you want to use it. Consider placing it in a container or on a plate to help catch any water that might escape from your package of ham.