How long can a cooked ham stay in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long can a cooked ham stay in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of cooked ham. Moreover, we are going to discuss the different ways to spot spoiled cooked ham.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long can a cooked ham stay in the fridge?

Cooked ham lasts for about 3-4 days if stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge. It should be stored in plastic zipper bags on one of the shelves of the refrigerator.

It is worth mentioning that the figures mentioned above are the estimated shelf life of cooked ham.

What is the optimum temperature to store cooked ham?

You should always store your cooked ham at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store your cooked ham at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness for a long time.

How long does cooked ham keep at room temperature?

Cooked ham lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. 

You should discard the cooked ham that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the cooked ham being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard cooked ham that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long is cooked ham good for in the freezer?

Cooked ham, if kept wrapped in cling film in an air-tight plastic freezer bag, can last for about 3-4 months in the freezer but it is recommended to use it within 1-2 months to enjoy its optimum quality and taste. 

Thus keeping the cooked ham in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the cooked ham.

You can also opt for vacuum sealing at home that can prolong the shelf life of cooked ham. It involves the process of putting the cooked ham in a plastic zipper bag, removing air from it, and almost sealing the bag with a little space left while lowering it into water. 

Afterward, press out the bubbles from the bag starting from the bottom of the bag and once you reach the sealed end, you should press the seal closed. A vacuum sealer pump can also be used for this purpose.

How to thaw frozen cooked ham

You can easily thaw the frozen cooked ham by leaving it in the fridge overnight and cooked ham thawed this way can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days before reheating and eating it.

On the other hand, if you are thawing a frozen cooked ham in a bowl of cold water, in the microwave, or on the counter then it is advised to use it immediately after reheating it till its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can read how to bake ham here.

Can I refrigerate the reheated cooked ham?

So once you have reheated the previously cooked refrigerated/frozen ham, you should never refrigerate it. As when you reheat the cooked ham, its temperature rises more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and we know that bacteria grows at a faster rate between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. So the bacteria will find their way to your cooked ham and you should never refrigerate the reheated cooked ham.

Different ways to spot spoiled cooked ham

There are a couple of indicators that point out the spoiled cooked ham. You should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of cooked ham to reach a  final verdict on whether or not it has gone bad.

Appearance

If you spot a mold or other organic growth on your cooked or uncooked ham then it means that your cooked ham has gone bad and the best thing you can do in this scenario is to get rid of it.

It is worth mentioning that you should refrain from smelling cooked ham that has molds on it as molds can produce mycotoxins that if they enter your body even via inhalation can disrupt your gut microflora thereby weakening your immune system.

Texture 

If you feel something slimy or gooey while touching the cooked ham then it means that your cooked ham has gone bad. 

Smell 

If you smell something sour or ammonia-like while taking a sniff test of your cooked ham then it means that your cooked ham has gone bad.

If microbes somehow found their way to your cooked ham and have spoiled it then the best thing you should do is to discard it.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long can a cooked ham stay in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of cooked ham. Moreover, we discussed the different ways to spot spoiled cooked ham.

Citations

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/17375#:~:text=Properly%20stored%2C%20cooked%20ham%20will,aluminum%20foil%20or%20freezer%20wrap.
https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-can-you-keep-spiral-cut-hams-in-the-refrigerator
https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts
https://www.doesitgobad.com/ham-go-bad/

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.