How Much Ham Per Person (And Leftover Tips!)

It can be difficult to gauge just how much food you need for your family gathering. If you don’t know how much ham your dinner is going to need, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How much ham you’ll need for your family
  • What to do with leftover ham
  • And much more!

How Much Ham Should You Buy?

There are many things to consider when purchasing your ham for the holidays. What kind of ham are you serving? How many people are you serving? How much other food will there be? Are there any people that eat particularly more or less than the average person? These are just a few things to be wary of when preparing for your holiday dinner.

You should also take into account the other dishes you are serving. If you are serving a lot of other protein-rich dishes, like turkey or roast beef, you probably won’t need as much ham. On the other hand, if you’re serving mostly side dishes, you may want to plan for a little more ham per person to ensure that there is enough for everyone.

Before you go to the store, make not of how many people you’re serving (as well as their appetites), what other dishes you’re serving, and what kind of ham you want to buy. These are the essential factors in determining how much ham you’ll need on the day of the dinner.

For a normal bone-in ham, the general rule of thumb is to buy around 3/4 to 1 pound of ham per adult and around 1/2 a pound for kids. This will ensure that there is plenty of ham for everyone, without leaving you with too much leftover. Refer to the following guide to see how much ham your gathering will need:

  • 5 people: 3.75 to 5 pounds
  • 10 people: 7.5 to 10 pounds
  • 15 people: 11.25 to 15 pounds

Remember to keep in mind that these figures account for the weight of the bone in the ham. You’ll need different portion sizes if you are purchasing a boneless ham.

If you are purchasing a country ham, you should account for the intensity and saltiness. These factors will likely lower the size of your guests’ portions. You’ll want about 1/4 to 1/3 pounds per person. Refer to the following to see how much country ham you’ll need per person:

  • 5 people: 1.25 to 1.65 pounds
  • 10 people: 2.5 to 3.3 pounds
  • 15 people: 3.75 to 5 pounds

Always remember that these figures are only estimations, obviously everyone’s gathering will be different. These numbers are simply general rules of thumb that should be helpful for the majority of holiday dinners.

Related >> How Long Can Ham Sit Out?

Does it Matter if the Ham is Boneless?   

If you are planning to serve a boneless ham, you can typically purchase a little less per person. This is because boneless hams are generally smaller and will not weigh as much as a bone-in ham. The weight of the bone is also not accounted for, so you’ll need a lighter ham overall. For a boneless ham, you’ll want about three-quarters of a pound per person. Refer to the following to see how much boneless ham you’ll need:

  • 5 people: 3.75 pounds
  • 10 people: 7.5 pounds
  • 15 people: 11.25 pounds

Make sure you know what kind of ham you are buying at the store. The last thing you want is to get home and realize you actually have much less ham than you thought because of the bone. This goes the other way too, you don’t want to end up with way too much ham because you were accounting for the weight of the bone and ended up buying a boneless ham.

ham sitting out on the counter

When Should You Plan for Extra Ham?

If you know that some of your guests are particularly big eaters, or if you want to have a good amount of leftovers for future use, it may be a good idea to buy a little extra ham than you think you’ll need. This way, you can ensure that you’ll have enough ham for everyone to enjoy, as well as for you to enjoy in the days after the holiday, when you get the hankering for those leftovers.

To plan for extra, simply add a little more to your calculations and aim for about one and a quarter pounds of ham per person. Refer to the following for how much ham your gathering should need if you want extra ham:

  • 5 people: 6.25 pounds
  • 10 people: 12.5 pounds
  • 15 people: 18.75 pounds

Ham is the perfect leftover, as it keeps well and is very versatile, so it can go in many different dishes. If you’re not sure how you’re going to use all your leftover ham, read on to learn about some different things to make with your leftovers!

How to Use Leftover Ham

If you end up with a lot of leftover ham, there are plenty of ways to ensure that it does not go to waste. If you do not want to keep it for yourself, offer it in to-go boxes to your guests, more often than not, you’ll find people willing to take the bulk food off of your hands!

However, if you’ve found yourself stuck with a ton of leftover ham, we’ve got you covered. Here are some classic and unique recipes that will ensure that your leftover ham gets used up in no time.

Ham Sandwiches

There’s nothing more classic than a good old ham sandwich, and one made with leftover ham from a holiday dinner can be a major upgrade over your average deli meat ham sandwich.

Simply put your ham in between a couple of pieces of bread along with your favorite sandwich toppings and condiments, and you’ve got a ham sandwich that rivals any other that you have had before. You can even get creative here and swap out different proteins for ham between other bread-based dishes like pita breads or tortillas. Ham is a very versatile meat, and will be delicious and any context you serve it in.


Adding diced ham to your omelet will add a hearty amount of protein as well as a great boost of flavor to your breakfast.

Whisk up some eggs and cook them in a single layer in a pan over low heat. Once these eggs are almost set, add in your diced ham, as well as any other omelet toppings you like. Some great options here could be spinach, tomato, cheese, onion, or really anything you’d like!

Ham Fried Rice

Fried rice is the perfect way to use up those leftovers in your fridge. The flavors of a fried rice complement pretty much anything, so you can use any other leftovers you have as well.

Fry up some garlic in some neutral oil, once fragrant add in some day old rice and start separating the clumps. Add in your soy sauce and mix thoroughly. Once this is done, you can add in your ham, as well as anything else you have to add flavor and body to your dish. Fried rice is an easy and cheap meal that is great for clearing out that old food in the fridge.


Ham is also the perfect meat to complement your favorite soups! We would recommend throwing some ham into a broccoli cheddar, clam chowder, or even a chicken noodle. You can also get creative here too. Ham can work in a lot of different contexts, so don’t be afraid to try new things.

Get Creative!

Ham is so versatile that you can put it into practically anything and it would taste great. We’ve seen quiches, casseroles, stews and much more improved with the addition of ham. Try putting your leftover ham into some of your favorite dishes.

At the end of the day, you’re working with leftovers, so even if your dish doesn’t come out perfectly, you can rest assured knowing that you were at least able to combat food waste.

How to Store Leftover Ham

It’s important to properly store leftover ham to ensure that it stays fresh and safe to eat. The best way to store a cooked ham is to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil and keep it in the fridge. Leftover ham will keep like this for around 3-4 days.

If you want to keep it for even longer, wrap it in foil or plastic wrap and keep it in the freezer. This will keep for up to 6 months, although you will have to thaw it out whenever you want to use it.

When it comes to buying ham for your holiday dinner, it’s important to consider the size of your gathering, what kind of ham you’re purchasing, and what you’re going to do with the leftovers.

Ham is a staple food for the holidays, and can be used in many different ways, so make sure to stock up this holiday season!

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04/12/2024 07:08 am GMT

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Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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