How Long Can Ham Sit Out (And Can You Eat It?)


Ham may be a fantastic choice when it comes to cooking up a tasty supper or snack. To enjoy, simply slice and serve. How long can ham sit out without risking food safety? The short answer is more than two hours.


Here is all the information you need to know about how long ham can sit at room temperature and how to determine whether it has gone bad.

Quick Summary


  • Cooked food shouldn’t be kept at room temperature for longer than two hours.

  • Ham keeps well in the fridge for four days and in the freezer for two months.

  • To determine if the ham has gone bad, you can do taste and smell tests.

How Long Can Ham Sit Out?

Sit Out

According to the USDA and CDC, ham can sit out for two hours before becoming bad. Food that is left between 40 and 140 degrees has a high chance of developing dangerous germs quickly.

Also, avoid letting ham, whether cooked or uncooked, sit out overnight. Bacteria can grow on ham if it is kept at a temperature over 40 degrees for an extended period of time. You run the danger of contracting food poisoning if you eat ham that has been sitting out overnight.

How you keep cooked ham will affect how long it will last. It will remain fresh for two hours at room temperature, just like raw ham. The ham will only keep fresh for an hour in the summer if the temperature reaches 90 degrees.

For up to four days in the fridge or up to two months in the freezer, ham packed in a bag or a moist tea towel will remain fresh.

It might be difficult to resist letting cooked meat sit out at room temperature, especially when you’re hosting guests or relatives for important occasions like holidays.

To keep cooking ham, sliced ham, smoked ham, or honey-baked ham, it must be done within two hours of exposing it to room temperature. You’ll have extra ham this way that you can consume in the days to come.

Overall, whether you have prepared food or raw food, follow the two-hour rule.


How to Tell if Ham Has Gone Bad

The standard sight and smell tests are only two of the many ways to determine whether your ham has gone bad. The best rule of thumb is that anything left outside overnight should be thrown away.


Usually, ham that has gone bad would look different in an evident way, such as having a grayish tone. In addition, the ruined ham frequently has an unavoidable slimy and sticky residue.

You can also tell when the ham has gone bad by the smell it gives off. Like other foods, honey often has a bad smell when it is no longer safe to consume.


What is the Best Way to Store Ham?

Whether you serve your cooked ham immediately or not, you need to be knowledgeable about the safest ways to preserve it. You may either freeze it or keep it in the fridge, depending on when you plan to serve it.

You must first choose what you want to do with the ham because there are several ways to keep it. To keep yourself safe, you need to always adhere to a few rules, whether you decide to save them for lunches later in the week or to use them for another complete dinner later.

Continue reading to find out more about some ham preparation and serving hints and recommendations.

Keep the Ham Warm

Remember to use a slow cooker or a chafing dish to keep the ham warm if you are serving it for a meal that may last for several hours. The growth of dangerous germs can be stopped by keeping the ham warmer than 140 °F.

There are a few things to think about if you want to use a chafing dish or slow cooker to keep your ham warm during dinner. Keeping children and animals safe may be accomplished by making sure the flames are out of their reach.

Store it safely in the fridge

However, you need to make sure that you are keeping your ham safely if you intend to keep it in a fridge. In order to prevent bacteria from forming, the cooked ham must be placed in an airtight container.

Additionally, it’s crucial to make sure your ham has cooled down before putting it in the fridge. Allowing it to do so will stop the refrigerator’s temperature from increasing, which might encourage the growth of dangerous germs.

Freeze Your Ham


You might want to think about freezing the ham to keep it safe if you want to store it for later use. To avoid having to reheat the meal frequently, make sure to freeze the portions individually.

You should always place your ham in an airtight container before putting it in the freezer. This will shield the ham from freezer burn by preventing the cold air from coming into direct contact with it.


How long can ham be kept in the refrigerator at most?


Ham may survive up to five days in the refrigerator when kept in good condition. Make sure to wrap it tightly or put it in an airtight container to guarantee appropriate storage and extend its shelf life. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to make sure the ham doesn’t come into contact with any raw meats or other items that can end up contaminating it. The ham must likewise be consumed within 3 to 4 days of being opened.

Freezing is your best bet if you intend to keep ham for a while. Ham may be kept in the freezer for up to two months before it starts to lose quality.




How Long Does Ham Keep Without Refrigeration?


The type of ham will determine how long it will keep without refrigeration. Regular deli ham needs to be kept in the refrigerator at all times, unlike cured hams, which may be stored out of the fridge for months.


What Happens If You Eat Faulty Ham?


Given the right circumstances, staph bacteria seem to thrive very well on ham. Staph food poisoning is severe. You might start vomiting in as little as 30 minutes. If you are otherwise healthy, recovery will probably take a few days. There is no need to play around with it.


Why is ham bad for you?


A good source of protein is ham. Ham has a lot of salt in it. A single dish of food on the well-known DASH diet provides virtually the entire recommended daily intake of salt. Too much salt might cause you to develop water weight, even if you are not on a hypertension diet.


Can I Use My Ham for Leftovers?


Yes, you may use the remaining ham. Make sure to properly store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for extended storage times. Prior to serving, reheat the ham until the internal temperature reaches at least 145 °F (63 °C).


Eating poison is not enjoyable. Because of this, you shouldn’t leave the ham outside for more than two hours. Instead of leaving the meat out for so long, it is recommended to keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. 

The development of dangerous microorganisms on the meat is stopped by freezing. However, don’t put off eating your ham for too long because it starts to lose its flavor after around 1–2 months of freezing.

You should now be able to answer the question of how long Ham can sit out with certainty. Cook food that is excellent and secure to consume by paying attention to my storage advice.


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