How to Freeze Leftover Ham

Have a ton of ham leftover from Easter dinner? Don't let let that expensive meat go to waste. Here's how to dice and freeze leftover ham so you always have it available for casseroles, soups, and more!

I’m not a huge meat-eater, but ham is one of my favorites. And since Joseph doesn’t care for any ham except for the very thin deli kind {weird, right?}, I’m stuck waiting for the traditional Easter dinner to have my fill.

This year, we hosted a sort of pre-Easter/Birthday celebration with family, and I thought a nice juicy ham would be perfect to feed everyone. Little did I know how much ham we would be left with that night, even though we sent some home with all of our guests!

Since I’m still able to sneak ham into casseroles and soups without complaint, I thought the leftovers would be perfect to dice and freeze for a later meal. I always have a ton of recipes clipped that call for diced ham, and I’ve never really wanted to buy a $20+ ham just to use in one casserole.

This no-waste solution couldn’t have turned out any better, and now I’m going to keep my eye out for discount hams from here on out, just for this purpose. You might want to grab one when you see a sale too!

How to Freeze Leftover Ham:

Step 1: Get out a cutting board, knife, ham, and a clean baking sheet, and begin to cut the “crust” or top of the ham off each slice. Does anyone actually eat this part? Maybe I’m weird.

How to Freeze Leftover Ham | Creative Savings

Step 2: Cut ham into small squares {you pick the size}, and spread out onto a baking sheet.

How to Freeze Leftover Ham | Creative Savings

Step 3: Flash-freeze for about 10-20 minutes to harden each ham piece so they don’t clump together. In the meantime, grab a gallon freezer bag and label so you don’t mistake your ham for something else!

How to Freeze Leftover Ham | Creative Savings

Step 4: Take a spatula and run it under the ham to detach it from the baking sheet {it might have frozen to it a little — no biggie}. Then pop ham pieces into your bag, seal, and throw back in the freezer.

How to Freeze Leftover Ham | Creative Savings

I had actually never frozen ham before, but figured it would pretty much be the same as freezing bacon bits {it was}, and the process took really no time at all. Plus, I didn’t let any piece of that expensive ham go to waste!

Now the next time a recipe calls for diced ham, I’ll be totally prepared.

Have you ever frozen leftover ham before?

 

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33 Comments

  1. Don’t forget to use the ham bone for a delicious soup! Take it any way you like soup. Cover with water and cook for several hours and add in your favorites after the bone is “done.” Remove bone and add in potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, etc. Or, add in rice and some other veggies, or none. Another favorite, is adding in pinto beans. There are so many opportunities here. Delicious and extends that expensive ham even further. I’m always amazed at how much ham pieces fall off the bone and add deliciousness to my soup.

  2. I found that the taste of ham changes some frozen this way and can only be used mixed in casseroles, etc. I’ll cut it up like you do, but put it in a food-saver to suck the air out then freeze. Also, with the top part of the ham, with the spices/flavorings and fat, I use for soups. Whether I use a soup base or cook down the bone, the fatty part just adds flavor to it.

    1. Hi Helen,

      Yes, like you pretty much any cooked meet that ends up in the freezer gets used in something else instead of on it’s own. It’s just never the same once it’s been frozen and thawed – but like you said – it’s great for other things!

    1. Hi Val,

      It sounds like it could be freezer burn. The way to avoid that is not to keep it in the freezer for too long (several months) and to make sure you get as much air our of the bag as possible before sealing it.

  3. I am worried the ham will get freezer burn if I just put in a freezer zip lock. Are you saying you don’t have that problem? I’ m about to freeze some ham and I just don’t want it to go to waste through freezer burn.

    1. It all depends on how long you are leaving it in the freezer. The longer you leave it in there, the more chance for freezer burn, but if you use it within a month or so your should be fine. Also – squeeze out as much of the air as possible before sealing the bag. πŸ™‚

  4. I cooked a ham on Wednesday and have SO MUCH LEFTOVER. It’s now Friday…and it’s ben sitting in my fridge. Can I still freeze it?!

    1. I just saw this comment today. For future reference un-cured ham is good for 3-4 days after it’s been cooked and cured ham is good for 3-5 days.

  5. I tried this yesterday and it worked beautifully. I lined by pan with non stick foil and there was no problem. Thanks!

    1. You’re welcome! I always appreciate it when people stop back in to let me know a tip worked for them too. πŸ™‚

  6. Frozen diced pieces of ham work very well in eggs, casseroles, and soups & chowders. It’s pretty good if you fry it as a breakfast meat but I wouldn’t recommend it if you plan on having it as a meat portion with potatoes and vegetables on the side. The bigger the piece of ham the more it seems to be rubbery… the freezing seems to change the texture.

  7. When we do rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey, I out them in a tupperware dish and cover the meat with water. It freezes into a block and prevent freezer burn on the meat. A quick rinse in the colander melts away enough for your recipe and place the rest in the container and refill the water! Takes up a bit more room, but might make the ham last longer.

    1. That’s really interesting! I’ve never heard of freezing meat in water before. Now I’m going to have to give that a try.

    2. That’s a great tip. I tried to freeze smoked turkey and it was freezer burnt by the time I got to it. Ruined a whole pot of beans!

  8. Can you post some of the recipes you use your diced ham in? We’re the opposite.. my family LOVES ham.. all 4 of our kids and my husband and myself. πŸ™‚ We still end up having a ton leftover and I never know what to do with it!!

  9. I chop some of it a little finer and mix with chopped onion and chopped green pepper. That mix and a little shredded cheddar and an egg makes a really quick omelette.

    1. That’s a great idea, Linda! I rarely make omelettes because they just seem like a lot of work for breakfast. {I need breakfast to give me my energy to take on the day πŸ™‚ } Having the “stuffing” pre-made takes most of that early morning work away.

  10. I’m going to freezing our leftover Easter ham today. My husband doesn’t like ham that much, but does like it with eggs and soups. I will be doing the same thing you are.

    1. I never thought about putting ham in eggs before, but I guess that makes sense — we do it with bacon and it’s from the same animal! πŸ™‚

  11. All the time. I put it in the freezer to make soups {ham and bean, split pea} and for Macaroni and Cheese.

        1. I can’t see why you couldn’t leave it in slices. I just usually use leftover ham for casseroles so it’s easier for me to have it all cubed up and ready to go. The only problem I could foresee with doing slices is having it all freeze together so that you can’t thaw it without defrosting the whole thing. You could solve that by freezing individual portions.

          1. I slice my left over baked ham and place several slices in one(1) qt. freezer bags and add 1/4 cup of veggie broth for moisture and than freeze. Thaw and heat in microwave. Use all within 4 months.

        2. I freeze slices in one pound portions. The irregular pieces are chopped and added to a pot of beans.

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