Can You Freeze Ham from the Deli? A Guide to Freezing and Thawing Sliced Lunch Meat

Whether you’re stocking up on sale prices or want to prevent food waste, freezing deli ham allows you to enjoy this versatile lunch meat beyond its short shelf life. But with its high water content, freezing and thawing sliced ham does require some special considerations

Follow this complete guide to learn if freezing deli ham is safe, how to freeze it for best quality, tips for thawing, and using previously frozen ham in sandwiches and recipes.

Is It Safe to Freeze Deli Ham?

The good news is that freezing and thawing deli ham is completely safe, as long as proper food handling practices are followed. Deli ham, like other perishable foods, should be frozen before the expiration date listed on the packaging.

As soon as you bring home sliced ham from the grocery deli or open a packaged deli ham, freeze it within:

  • 3-5 days for best quality
  • 7 days maximum for safety

If mold, sliminess or an off odor has already developed, it’s best to discard the ham rather than risk freezing spoilage.

How to Freeze Deli Ham

To freeze deli ham and retain optimal texture and flavor, it’s important to protect the slices from exposure to air and prevent freezer burn Here are two methods

Freeze Slices Individually

  • Separate slices and lay them flat on waxed paper. Avoid overlapping.

  • Stack the wax paper-lined slices and place them in a freezer bag. Squeeze out excess air.

  • Seal the bag and freeze for up to 2 months.

Freeze in Original Packaging

  • For unopened packaged ham, simply place the entire sealed package in a freezer bag.

  • Squeeze out excess air and seal the bag tightly.

  • Freeze for up to 2 months.

Pro Tip: Add an additional layer of foil around the packaging as extra protection.

Tips for Freezing Deli Ham

Follow these tips for best results when freezing deli ham:

  • Choose the freshest ham possible. Look for a sell-by date furthest in the future.

  • Freeze ham as soon as possible after purchasing.

  • Use high-quality freezer bags to prevent freezer burn. Consider vacuum sealing.

  • Freeze ham in small batches so you can thaw only what’s needed.

  • Label bags with contents, quantity, and freeze date.

How to Thaw Frozen Deli Ham

Thawing should be done gradually in the refrigerator. This helps maintain quality and prevents bacterial growth.

  • Place frozen ham in the refrigerator and allow to thaw overnight, or up to 48 hours for larger packages.

  • For quicker thawing, keep ham sealed and place under cold running water. Change water every 30 minutes until thawed.

  • Thawed ham will last 3-5 days refrigerated. Discard any slimy, discolored ham.

  • Cooked ham keeps slightly longer, 5-7 days after thawing.

Never thaw deli ham at room temperature or in hot water, which allows bacteria to multiply quickly.

Using Previously Frozen Deli Ham

Slight moisture loss during freezing may affect the texture of thawed deli ham. But it can still be enjoyed in many dishes:

  • For sandwiches, pat ham dry before adding to bread. Add cheese, lettuce, or condiments to boost moisture.

  • Use thawed ham within 3 days for peak quality. Its shelf life is shortened.

  • Add extra seasonings or acids like mustard or lemon juice to enhance flavor.

  • Use thawed ham in omelets, casseroles, soups, pizza and pasta dishes. Cooking boosts flavor.

  • If ham seems dry or lacking in flavor, try dicing it for use as a pizza topping or in scrambled eggs.

The Bottom Line

Freezing is an easy way to extend the shelf life of deli ham, prevent waste, and save money. Follow the guidelines for properly freezing slices or packaged ham, allow safe thawing in the refrigerator, and use thawed ham within a few days.

With the right handling, frozen deli ham can continue delighting taste buds in sandwiches, omelets, salads, and many more dishes. It freezes well – so go ham!

Can you freeze sliced ham from supermarket?


Does deli ham freeze well?

The good news is that you can safely freeze any deli meat for up to two months.

Can you freeze sliced ham from a supermarket?

Deli meats, whether whole or sliced, can be stored safely at 0°F (-18°C) indefinitely in terms of safety. However, for best eating quality, most should be eaten within 1–2 months of freezing. Additionally, it is important to prepare, store, and thaw deli meats correctly to ensure food safety and quality.

How do you store ham from the deli?

The fridge is the best place to store deli meats. Store deli meats in an airtight container in the fridge. Ensure your fridge is set between 0 and 4°C.

How long can you keep sliced ham from the deli?

Freshly sliced meat from the deli counter has the same shelf life as packaged deli meat once the package is opened. It will last for three to five days in the refrigerator. 1 That’s because both products have been exposed to air and handling, which introduces new bacteria, says Catie Beauchamp, Ph.

Can deli ham be frozen?

When freezing deli ham, it’s best to slice it before storing it in smaller, more usable portions. This will make it easier to thaw and use later on. However, sliced ham is more susceptible to drying out and losing quality, so it’s essential to package it carefully. To freeze deli ham, start by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

How do you freeze a ham?

If the ham has a bone, use a knife to cut all the meat off the bone into 8-ounce pieces, if possible (that’s what most recipes call for). If you’re freezing spiral cut ham, make 8-ounce stacks of slices. Wrap the ham in plastic wrap and transfer it to an airtight bag. Tightly wrap each chunk or a stack of slices in plastic wrap.

Can Ham be frozen?

Be sure to let the meat cool completely before wrapping and freezing. It’s also best to remove the meat from the bone and cut or slice it into smaller pieces for freezing—slices and smaller pieces will defrost more easily, too. Fully cooked ham can be frozen for up to two months, while poultry will keep for up to three months.

Can You refreeze a ham?

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.

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