How long does prosciutto last?

How long does prosciutto last? (+3 types of prosciutto and their shelf-life)

In this article, we will answer the question “How long does prosciutto last?”, and how to store prosciutto?

How long does prosciutto last?

Whole prosciutto legs if stored properly in the refrigerator can last for 2 months or more. Cover the prosciutto leg adequately with plastic wrap to keep it away from strong aromas like of onions or garlic. These aromas can alter the flavor of a prosciutto leg.

Prosciutto meat comes from the hind legs of a pig. Ham is called prosciutto in Italian. Prosciutto Cotto is the cooked type while Prosciutto crudo is the uncooked type of ham.The shelf-life of the prosciutto depends on the variety and the storage conditions. 

Sliced prosciutto 

Buying sliced prosciutto is the way to go if you do not want to waste it in storage. Depending on its packaging and how long it has been aged, sliced prosciutto will stay fresh for 4 months in an unopened vacuum-sealed bag or 1-3 days in paper or plastic wrap.

Dry-cured leg

A whole dry-cured leg will keep fresh for 6-12 months. If sliced, its shelf-life will be reduced and it needs to be refrigerated. It is recommended to consume it within one year for peak quality.

Vacuum-packed leg

At a fridge temperature of less than 50℉ and a packaging intact, de-boned prosciutto leg will last quite long. If the packaging is vacuum-sealed, the shelf-life under refrigeration is 6 months or even more.

Does prosciutto go bad? 

Prosciutto is prone to spoilage. If unopened and stored in its original packaging, prosciutto can last for upto 2 years. Once the packaging has been opened, the shelf life comes down to a few weeks if properly stored in the refrigerator.

The shelf-life of different types of ham

The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of different types of ham under different storage conditions.

Type of hamIn the fridge In the freezer
Cured ham5-7 days 3-4 months 
Cured ham2-3 days 1 month
Vacuum-sealed ham2 weeks1-2 month
Country ham2-3 months1 month
Country ham7 days 1 month
Luncheon meat ham2 weeks 1-2 month
Luncheon meat ham3-5 days 1-2 month
Cooked ham, whole stored wrapped7 days 1-2 month
Canned Ham with Label Keep-Refrigerated7 days 1-2 month
Cooked ham slices 3-5 days 1-2 month
Cooked Ham, Vacuum Sealed, Dated, UnopenedUse-by date 1-2 month

How long does prosciutto last once it is opened?

After opening, prosciutto should be consumed within 1-3 days. After opening, the whole deboned prosciutto leg should be used within 2 days. During storage, remove the moldy areas to halt further contamination.

How to store prosciutto?

Storing Sliced prosciutto 

Due to increased surface area, sliced prosciutto will go bad quickly. Despite the type of its packaging, it must be kept in the fridge away from cheese or other types of meat from which the prosciutto can pick up an undesirable odor.

Storing Bone-in prosciutto leg

The whole Proscuitto leg can be stored in any part of the house including the pantry or cellar where the temperature does not rise above 65℉. If it is summer season or no area in your house fulfills the storage temperature requirement, keep it in the fridge. The rule of thumb is to keep it somewhere cool and dry, away from heat.

Storing Deboned prosciutto leg 

Deboned prosciutto leg comes in vacuum-sealed packaging. Do not tear the packaging before use. If it got damaged somehow, transfer the prosciutto to wax paper or plastic packaging. Aluminum foil wrap can also work. 

Plastic-wrapped prosciutto can be further protected by a paper towel. The wrap should be changed every week to preserve the freshness of the prosciutto.

Storing prosciutto after opening 

After opening any type of prosciutto, refrigeration is compulsory. Wrap it using wax paper, cling film, or aluminum foil and put it in the fridge.

Other FAQs about Pork which you may be interested in.

How long to cook 8lb pork shoulder in a slow cooker?

How to cook Pig Ears in the Pressure Cooker?

Can you eat pork chops 2 days after the use-by date?

Is refriegration necessary for prosciutto?

Unless it is whole dry-cured prosciutto, any other type will go bad if not refrigerated. So we can say refrigeration is essential to keep the meat fresh. Vacuum-sealed prosciutto must be refrigerated at all times. Sliced prosciutto needs more attention as it is the most perishable of all types.

Can you freeze prosciutto?

Freezing prosciutto is not recommended. The quality degradation of whole or cured prosciutto is significant during freezing. Cooked ham freezes better than prosciutto. Cling-wrapped prosciutto will last 3 months in the freezer if stored correctly.

How to tell if prosciutto has gone bad?

Expiration date 

Once the prosciutto is expired, it belongs in the bin. Unlike some other foods, it must not be consumed past the expiry.


Ideally. The prosciutto should have a pale red r pink color with ivory veins running in between. If green, blue, or grey discolored patches or spots appear, it is time to throw it immediately.

Bad odor 

Proscuitto should smell like fresh bacon. If the case is otherwise, discard it immediately.

Slimy texture 

If the prosciutto feels slimy upon touching, it is a clear indication of spoilage. It occurs due to the breakdown of lactic acid.


In this article, we answered the question “How long does prosciutto last?”, and how to store prosciutto?