How Many Times Can You Reheat Ham? A Food Safety Guide

Leftover ham makes for quick and easy meals, but is reheating ham multiple times safe? Here we’ll explore USDA food safety guidelines, best practices for reheating ham, signs of spoiled meat, and how many times it’s actually OK to reheat ham

USDA Reheating Guidelines

According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), cooked hams like those used for Christmas, Easter, or deli sandwiches can safely be reheated 3 to 4 times. However, they recommend limiting reheating to only once or twice for maximum quality.

Here are some USDA guidelines for safely reheating ham:

  • Reheat thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 165°F

  • Bring soups, sauces, and gravies containing ham to a full rolling boil.

  • Only reheat the amount you plan to immediately serve and eat

  • Slice, dice, or chop reheated ham for easier reheating.

  • Do not let ham sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours total before and after reheating.

  • Store cooked ham at 40°F or below and reheat within 3 to 4 days.

Following proper refrigeration and reheating procedures is critical when reheating ham multiple times.

How to Reheat Ham Safely

When reheating leftover ham, food safety should be the priority:

  • Use a food thermometer – Heat deli-style hams to 140°F and whole intact hams to 165°F.

  • Slice it thin – Sliced, chopped, and shredded ham reheats faster.

  • Go low and slow – Reheat gently using medium-low heat on the stovetop or at 325°F in the oven.

  • Add moisture – Adding broth, sauce, or glaze keeps ham moist.

  • Stir and rotate – Stir chopped ham frequently and rotate whole slices to heat evenly.

  • Bring it to a boil – Soups, casseroles, fried rice should reach a full boil.

Follow these tips for safe reheating and to prevent the ham from drying out.

How Long Can Ham Be Refrigerated?

To safely reheat ham multiple times, it’s key to store it properly in the fridge between uses. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Store commercially packaged unopened ham 3 to 7 days past the sell by date.

  • Use deli-sliced ham or leftover cooked ham within 3 to 5 days.

  • Whole cured hams can last 7 days refrigerated.

  • Cooked hams kept in vacuum packaging or a stock pot can be refrigerated for 5 to 7 days.

  • Ham bone broth lasts 3 to 5 days refrigerated.

In general, consume cooked and cured hams within 3 to 7 days for optimal freshness and food safety.

Signs Your Leftover Ham Has Spoiled

Although ham keeps for a week in the fridge, reheating multiple times increases spoilage risks. Watch for these signs that ham has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Unusual odor – Sour, ammonia, or very off-smell

  • Mold growth – Dry fuzzy patches or slimy film

  • Discoloration – Significant darkening, greenish tint, or unnatural colors

  • Shriveled, dried appearance – Especially around edges

  • Slime formation – Visibly shiny, slick, or slippery texture

When in doubt, remember the old adage “When in doubt, throw it out!” Refrigeration and rapid cooling after cooking helps ham stay fresher longer.

How Many Times Can Ham Be Reheated Safely?

According to the USDA FSIS, ham and other leftovers can safely be reheated 3 to 4 times. However, ham quality will progressively decline after each reheating. Here are some tips based on number of reheats:

  • Once – Best quality, especially for glazed or spiral-cut hams.

  • Twice – Still yields decent results for soups, casseroles, fried rice.

  • 3 Times – Flavor and moisture start to deteriorate. Best shredded or diced into other dishes.

  • 4 Times – Ham will be noticeably drier, stringy, and less flavorful. Use in cooked applications like scrambled eggs, omelettes, quiches where ham won’t be focal point.

For food safety, ham can be reheated up to 4 times, but quality greatly diminishes after the third reheat. Err on the safe side and limit to just once or twice.

Best Ways to Use Refrigerated Leftover Ham

Refrigerated leftover ham has a wide range of versatile uses beyond just plates of cold cuts. Here are some of my favorite ways to creatively use up leftovers:

  • Dice into fried rice or egg dishes

  • Simmer into bean or pea soups

  • Chop into macaroni and cheese

  • Fold into biscuit dough or muffins

  • Add to pizza, flatbreads, tarts

  • Toss with pasta or potato salad

  • Fill toasted sandwiches and paninis

  • Mix into hash or corned beef hash

  • Layer into breakfast burritos or tacos

  • Puree into dips, spreads, or hummus

With a little creative thinking outside the box, leftovers like ham can be reinvented into all sorts of appetizing dishes. Get the most from your ham by exploring different ways to incorporate it into meals.

Safe Storage Tips for Leftover Ham

Properly storing leftover ham is crucial to prevent bacterial growth and spoilage between reheats:

  • Refrigerate ham within 2 hours of cooking or removing from heat.

  • Store ham in shallow airtight containers to allow rapid cooling.

  • Keep deli, cooked, or cubed ham towards colder back of refrigerator (below 40°F).

  • Freeze ham slices or shredded ham in air-tight freezer bags.

  • Seal storage containers tightly or wrap in plastic wrap or foil.

  • Label storage containers with date and contents.

  • Use oldest leftovers first within 3 to 5 day window.

Following safe refrigeration guidelines prevents contamination and gives you peace of mind when reheating ham multiple times.

Can Ham Be Reheated in the Microwave?

Yes, ham can safely be reheated in the microwave, but extra care should be taken:

  • Reheat ham only at 60-70% microwave power to avoid overcooking.

  • Cut ham into smaller pieces or slices to heat evenly.

  • Cover ham loosely with a damp paper towel to add steam and prevent drying out.

  • Stir or rotate ham pieces halfway through microwaving.

  • Let microwaved ham stand 2 minutes before serving.

  • Check ham internal temperature with a food thermometer to verify doneness.

With a little caution, the microwave can be handy for quickly reheating leftover ham as long as you follow food safety protocols.

Freezer Storage for Leftover Ham

For extended storage between reheating leftover ham, the freezer can prolong shelf life. Here are some tips:

  • Allow ham to cool thoroughly before freezing to prevent moisture condensation.

  • Portion ham into freezer-safe bags, containers, or plastic wrap.

  • Remove as much air from bags as possible. Vacuum sealing is ideal.

  • Label bags with contents name and freeze date.

  • Freeze ham up to 2 months for maximum quality.

  • Thaw ham overnight in fridge before reheating.

The freezer buys you valuable time to finish up leftovers. With proper freezing techniques, ham can keep for months.

Enjoy Leftover Ham Safely

Ham leftovers are prime for transforming into all sorts of quick and delicious meals. Now that you know the food safety guidelines for reheating ham, you can confidently reheat those holiday hams to enjoy 2, 3 or even 4 more times. With proper refrigeration and reheating, ham leftovers will continue delivering convenience and flavor for days to come. Just be sure to listen to your senses and discard ham at the first signs of spoilage. Waste not, want not!

How to Reheat a Fully Cooked Spiral Ham | Step by Step


Can you reheat ham 3 times?

If food has been hygienically prepared, cooled quickly after cooking (or reheating) and stored cold, reheating more than once should not increase the risk of illness. However, prolonged storage and repeated reheating will affect the taste, texture, and sometimes the nutritional quality of foods.

Can pork be reheated twice?

Then, cut the pork into small pieces before reheating; this will help it cook evenly and prevent drying out. Reheat the pork in a sauce or gravy to help keep it moist. Avoid reheating pork more than once. Reheated pork can be even more susceptible to bacteria.

How many times is it safe to reheat food?

Fact or Fiction: You Shouldn’t Reheat Leftovers More Than Once. Technically – fact. But don’t panic. This just means you should portion what you’re going to eat and heat only that, rather than reheating the whole of your leftovers, re-refrigerating what you don’t eat, and repeating.

How many times can you reheat the same meat?

The Food Standards Agency recommends reheating your food just one time. For instance, imagine reheating your leftover Lasagna to find out that it’s got a massive lump of ice-cold meat in the middle? It is not only likely to be less appealing, but you’ll also know that you are putting yourself at risk of food poisoning.

Can Ham be reheated in the oven?

Ham can be easily reheated in the oven, without sacrificing any of the meat’s moisture or flavor. Just portion out the amount you need, layer it in a baking dish covered tightly with aluminum foil, and pop it into an oven set to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is honey baked ham as good as regular ham?

The addition of honey will affect the calorie content of the food. One tablespoon of honey contributes to approximately 64 calories. In addition, the use of heat when making baked ham will reduce the quality of the honey.

How to reheat leftover ham?

You’ll get quick and simple step by step instructions for how to reheat ham leftovers. The secret to keeping leftover ham juicy is adding back moisture while warming it to keep it moist. You can use your air fryer, slow cooker or crock-pot, stove top, traditional oven or microwave. Remember if you can read, you can make it delicious!

How do you reheat a ham without drying it out?

Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and check the temperature with a meat thermometer. It should read at least 140°F. Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. Another way to reheat ham without drying it out is to use the microwave.

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