If there’s ham on sale at your local grocery store, the first question that pops in your mind is probably “can you freeze ham”? Buying in bulk on sales is one of the easiest ways to save money and freezing is the most popular way of preserving food.

Fortunately enough, ham freezes really well. If you do it properly, you will have fresh ham for your sandwich filling whenever you need it for a long time. In this article, we will go through different ways of freezing ham and how to defrost it. Interested? Read on.

Sandwiches with ham and cheese

How to Freeze Sliced Ham?

This quick and simple method is perfect for cooked ham. If your ham is uncooked and you want to freeze it sliced, cook it first. It’s the best method if sliced ham is what you need for your meals (sandwiches, etc.).

  1. Prep. If you’ve just cooked the ham, give it some time to cool down. An hour or so on the counter should do. Remove any excess moisture with paper towels.
  2. Slicing. Use a sharp knife and go for thicker slices than you usually do. They freeze and thaw slightly better. Plus you will have more ham on your sandwiches, which is always a plus. If there is any moisture, again, remove it with paper towels.
    Slicing ham
  3. Portioning. If you have a whole lot of ham to freeze, divide the slices into several portions. A single portion should have enough ham for you and your family for a day or two.
  4. Packaging. Transfer the slices into freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag. If you have a freezer bags of ham prepared, you can add all of them into another freezer bag to group all of the ham together. Label the bags with the name and date if needed.
    Ham slices in freezer bag
  5. Throw it into the freezer.

How to Freeze Whole Ham?

No matter if it’s cooked or uncooked, or maybe it’s even a large piece of leftover ham, this method works great for all of these cases. Plus, this method requires virtually zero effort. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Prep. If you cooked the ham yourself, pat the excess moisture dry with paper towels. You will defrost the whole piece of ham you froze. If the ham is too big, cut it into smaller ones to fit your freezer.
  2. Packaging. If the ham is in its original packaging, leave it this way. If not, transfer it into freezer bags, or use aluminum foil if the bags are too small. Leave as little air in the bag as possible. If you’re going to freeze the ham for a longer period of time (3 months+), consider adding one more layer of protection, such as another freezer bag or layer of aluminum foil. Label with name and date if needed.
  3. Transfer the ham into the freezer.

How to Defrost Frozen Ham?

  • Overnight in the fridge. Transfer the bag of frozen ham into the fridge in the evening, it will be defrosted and ready to use in the morning. Make sure to put the freezer bag onto a plate so you don’t have to clean up the fridge in the morning.
  • On the counter. If you’ve frozen sliced ham and want to use all of the slices right away, thawing on the counter is an option. Take the slices from the freezer bag, put them onto a plate, and leave at room temperature for 15 to 60 minutes (depending on how many slices you defrost). Use the ham right away. Please note that many people advocate against thawing at room temperature (possible bacteria growth, and so on), so it’s not the safest method.
  • Cold bath. Requires more effort than thawing on the counter, but it’s safest and even quicker. Prepare a pot of cold water and throw the bag with the ham into it. The ham should defrost easily in 10 to 40 minutes depending on the amount. Make sure the water doesn’t get into the bag.
  • Throw it in frozen. If you’re using the ham in a cooking dish, you can just add it in frozen and be done with it. Remember to increase cooking time to account for defrosting of the ham.

FAQ

Can you freeze ham slices?

Definitely. Freezing ham slices is one of the best ways of freezing ham because it defrosts relatively quickly and is ready to go onto a sandwich. Check out the instructions for freezing sliced ham here.

Can you freeze ham sandwiches?

The best answer to this question is: that depends on other ingredients in the sandwiches. If it’s just bread, butter, and ham it should freeze just fine. In short, there is a whole lot of sandwich fillings that freeze well, and there’s as big of a list of fillings that don’t. Check out this handy guide by Keep Calm Get Organised on freezer-friendly sandwich fillings.

Can you freeze ham salad?

There isn’t a straightforward answer to that question. Of course, you can put a container with ham salad into the freezer and it will be safe there. The real question is whether you will want to eat that salad after defrosting. If you go looking for the answer to this question, you will find that there are as many opinions on this as there are people.

For some, the frozen and thawed ham salad is okay to eat. Nothing great, but after stirring in some salad dressing after thawing it looks quite edible and makes a fine meal. Others complain that the veggies get watery and the mayo separates, so the salad is no good after thawing. My suggestion is the following: freeze a small portion of ham salad, add a spoonful of salad dressing after thawing, and see for yourself if freezing ham salad works for you. If it doesn’t, you can always freeze ham and make a fresh salad with that ham whenever needed.