How Much Ham to Get Per Person for Your Next Gathering

Planning to serve ham at your next family gathering or holiday meal but unsure how much to get? Buying the right amount of ham can be tricky – you want plenty for your guests but also want to avoid having too many leftovers. This guide will walk you through how to determine the perfect ham portion per person so you can serve up just the right amount at your next event

Factors That Determine Ham Portions

Several key factors go into determining the right ham portion size per person:

Type of Ham

Ham comes in a few main varieties each with slightly different portion sizes

  • Boneless ham – 1/3 to 1/2 pound per person
  • Bone-in spiral ham – 3/4 to 1 pound per person
  • Country ham – 1/4 to 1/3 pound per person

Boneless ham tends to have smaller portions since it lacks the bone weight. Country ham’s strong salty flavor keeps portions smaller too.

Number of Guests

Obviously the more people you’re serving the more ham you need overall. But the number of guests also impacts how much people may take. Guests tend to take smaller portions in a buffet line with lots of options. For immediate family, they may take larger portions.

Menu Offerings

If ham is one entrée among many main dishes, portions may be smaller. If it’s the star of the meal, portions may be larger. Side dishes also impact portions – if you have lots of rich sides, smaller ham portions often satisfy.


Plan for leftovers! Guests often enjoy having ham leftovers to take home or eat as sandwiches. Allowing for leftovers means getting extra ham.

Now that we’ve covered the factors impacting portions, let’s look at specific recommendations.

Recommended Portion Sizes

Here are suggested ham portion sizes per person for different gatherings:

Boneless Ham

  • 6 people – 2 to 3 pounds
  • 12 people – 4 to 6 pounds
  • 20 people – 6 3/4 to 10 pounds

As a general rule, estimate 1/3 to 1/2 pound per person for boneless ham. Get 6 pounds for 12 guests or 10 pounds for 20 to allow for seconds and leftovers.

Bone-In Spiral Ham

  • 6 people – 4.5 to 6 pounds
  • 12 people – 9 to 12 pounds
  • 20 people – 15 to 20 pounds

For bone-in spiral ham, allow 3/4 to 1 pound per person. A 12-15 pound ham will serve 12-16 with extra for leftovers.

Country Ham

  • 6 people – 1.5 to 2 pounds (up to 2.5 pounds for bone-in)
  • 12 people – 3 to 4 pounds (up to 5 pounds for bone-in)
  • 20 people – 5 to 6 2/3 pounds (up to 8 pounds for bone-in)

With rich country ham, plan for 1/4 to 1/3 pound per person. A 5 pound country ham serves about 15. Size up slightly for bone-in.

Ham Sizing Tips

Here are some extra tips for nailing your ham portion sizes:

  • For a holiday meal or family dinner, round up a bit for larger portions.
  • For buffets with lots of food, reduce portions.
  • Get an 8-10 pound ham for 10-12 guests with leftovers.
  • Allow 1 extra pound of ham per 5 guests to allow for seconds and leftovers.
  • Leftover ham makes great sandwiches, omelets, soups and more!

Purchasing Your Ham

Once you’ve estimated how much ham you need, you can place your order from a local butcher or grocery store. Here are some purchasing tips:

  • Order 1-2 weeks ahead for holidays like Easter or Christmas.
  • Specify boneless or bone-in and specify a spiral cut for easier serving.
  • Pick up a ham glaze or rub to season your ham.
  • Reheat ham to 140°F and serve room temperature or slightly warm.
  • Store leftovers for 3-4 days in the fridge or freeze for later.

Time to Feast!

Armed with portion guidelines and buying tips, you’re ready to serve up the perfect crowd-pleasing ham at your next event. Just follow the recommendations based on your guest count, menu, and ham type. And get ready for happy guests and delicious ham leftovers for days!

Now that you know how much ham to buy, here are some serving tips and popular ham recipes to try:

Carving and Serving Ham

  • Let the ham rest 15 minutes before carving.
  • Use an electric knife for easy slicing or a sharp carving knife.
  • Cut thin, even slices across the grain of meat.
  • For spiral hams, slice perpendicular to the bone.
  • Keep slices warm in a 200°F oven if not serving immediately.

Top Ham Side Dishes

  • Macaroni and cheese – Comforting classic pairing.
  • Potato gratin – Elegant scalloped potatoes.
  • Deviled eggs – Easy appetizer with ham garnish.
  • Green bean casserole – Another ham favorite.
  • Parker house rolls – Fluffy, buttery rolls to soak up ham juices.

Leftover Ham Recipes

  • Ham and egg breakfast tacos – Quick and delicious morning meal.
  • Ham and pea pasta – Toss with farfalle and Parmesan.
  • Ham and potato soup – Hearty and satisfying.
  • Ham salad sandwiches – Mix ham with mayo, onions, celery and spices.
  • Ham fried rice – Toss ham with rice, soy sauce, peas and eggs.

Final Tip

Err on slightly too much ham rather than not enough – you can always freeze extras or send guests home with ham care packages!

How much Honey Baked Ham is needed per person?


How much ham do I need for 10 adults?

That means for a 10-person Easter dinner, you’ll need a bone-in ham that weighs between 7.5-10 pounds or a 5-pound boneless ham. If you’re serving country ham, though, you’ll need way less of it. Although it is delicious, the saltiness will prevent people from heaping it on their plates.

How many people does 1lb of ham feed?

How much ham per person? The best rule of thumb for ham is to plan about 1/2 pound per person when picking a bone-in ham (it’s heavier) and 1/3 pound if boneless. Look, at the end of the day, some people will eat more than expected, some will eat less—it’ll even out.

What size ham for 12 people?

Figuring out how much ham to buy 4 people: 1 to 2 pounds. 6 people: 2 to 3 pounds. 10 people: 3 to 5 pounds. 12 people: 4 to 6 pounds.

How much ham do I buy for 20 people?

20 people – 8 pounds Again, you may want to buy a slightly larger whole spiral ham to ensure every one of your guests can go home with plenty of leftovers for sandwiches the next day.

How much ham should you cook per person?

A good rule of thumb for how much ham to cook is 1/2 pound per person for bone-in ham and 1/3 pound for boneless ham. Follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.

How much bone-in Ham should be served per person?

Martha Stewart recommends 3/4 of a pound of bone-in ham per person for holiday dinner parties. She also suggests saving the flavor-soaked ham bone for future soups and stews. According to her recommendation, this is the estimated amount of bone-in ham for your event.

How much ham is needed for a sandwich?

You may want to purchase a slightly heavier spiral ham if you’re planning to make sandwiches with leftovers for the next few days. You’ll need about 1/3 to 1/2 pounds of meat per person for a sandwich.

How to calculate Ham size?

To calculate Ham size, specify the amount of ham you’d like to allocate per person in pounds (lbs/person). Click the “Calculate” button. The calculator uses this information to calculate the required Ham Size in pounds: Ham Size (lbs) = Number of People × Ham per Person (lbs/person).

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