How long can ham stay in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “How long can ham stay in the fridge?” Also, we’ll explore what ham is, how it is made, what the nutritional content of ham is, what the health benefits of eating ham are, and what are the contraindications. 

How long can ham stay in the fridge? 

Cold-cut ham can stay in the refrigerator for up to seven days if stored at a temperature of about 4°C. Also, ham that is packaged in a resealable bag will have a longer shelf-life than ham that is refrigerated on a dish without any covering. 

Cooked ham can be preserved for up to 3 days in the refrigerator if it has been wrapped/sealed in a bag, or plastic cling wrap. 

Ham should either be refrigerated or frozen, as leaving it at room temperature can facilitate the growth of airborne microbes that find their way to the surface of the meat, and may not only cause spoilage but also food poisoning if the meat is consumed later on. 

Many cold-cut hams are made with additives that delay the growth of microbes, but the storage instructions are best followed to enjoy ham at peak freshness and quality. 

What is ham? 

Ham is a meat product that traditionally is made from pork haunches, though nowadays there is ham made from poultry such as chicken and turkey. 

Pork is obtained by curing the meat of a haunch. This can be done by salting it, brining it (soaking it in a saltwater solution), aging it, and smoking it. The exact procedure will depend on what type of ham is being made, as some hams are made by dry-curing, others can be cooked and then cured, and some can be soaked in brine. 

Ham is a popular lunch meat that can be used to make sandwiches, finger food, salads, soups, and other dishes. 

Some high-end types of ham can be sold at delicatessens, and sold for premium prices, depending on their origin and preparation methods. 

How is ham made? 

There are many ways to make ham, and by extension, many varieties. Notably, there are cured hams (which are prepared using salt water, sugar, and other salts, before being baked), aged hams (which require strict humidity and temperature levels while they age), cold-smoked ham, 

Ham is made from the hind legs of pork. The meat can be cured or cooked, depending on the type of ham the manufacturer wishes to make. 

Aged hams take a long time to prepare and require precise conditions for quality standards to be met. In fact, an aged ham can take up to 5 years to prepare, and this will be reflected in its price at a delicatessen. 

Fresh ham is that which has been directly sourced from a pig and requires cooking or any of the above-mentioned forms of preparation. 

What is the nutritional content of ham? 

The exact nutritional content of ham will depend on the variety and often, on the brand’s methods for preparing it. 

For reference: a 134-gram portion of ham will provide: 

  • 186 calories – 62 of which are sourced from fat
  • 30 grams of protein
  • 6.8 grams of fat (10% of the recommended daily intake) – of which 1.3 grams are saturated fat (7% of the RDI), 0.8 grams are polyunsaturated fat, and 2.6 grams is monounsaturated fat.
  • 1309 milligrams of sodium (55% of the RDI)
  • 462 milligrams of potassium
  • 86 milligrams of cholesterol

Additionally, the same portion of ham will provide: 1.2% of the RDI of vitamin A, 0.4% of calcium, and 6.2% of iron.

*Recommended daily intake values are calculated based on a 2000 calories per day diet. 

What are the health benefits of eating ham? 

Some of the health benefits that come from eating ham include that it is a source of protein, selenium, choline, and other vitamins and minerals. 

Protein is essential, as it helps us maintain a healthy muscle mass, immune function, and protein deficiencies are linked to slower recovery periods from injuries and procedures. 

Selenium is essential as it is a co-factor (necessary for the function) of various enzymes that are involved in numerous cell processes. 

Choline can help regulate many bodily functions such as muscle function, and cognitive abilities. 

What are the contraindications for eating ham? 

Ham may be contraindicated for people at risk (with a history or damage) of cancer, high blood pressure, and other disorders such as heart disease and circulatory problems. 

We encourage our readers to avoid consuming more than 70 grams of processed meat per day, as the intake of processed meat is linked to a higher risk of cancer. 

We also urge our readers to be mindful of their daily sodium intake, and to combine ham with a balanced diet and a healthy, active lifestyle. 


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query: “How long can ham stay in the fridge?” Also, we have explored what ham is, how it is made, what the nutritional content of ham is, what the health benefits of eating ham are, and what are the contraindications.