Can You Freeze Deli Ham?

Deli ham is a deli-cious addition to any sub or sandwich.

You do not need to go to a sun or sandwich shop to get your daily deli ham fix though, you can call into a deli yourself and pick up some sliced deli ham to make that sub sandwich at home! 

That being said, deli meats are not known for their extensive shelf lives. You may be wondering what on earth you can do with all the extra deli ham you may have.

Are you worrying it is destined to be tossed in the trash? Toss those worries in the trash instead, because your deli ham can be saved! You can freeze your deli ham!

This article will tell you exactly how to freeze your deli ham, how to defrost it properly, and also any factors you should consider before you freeze your deli ham.

How to freeze deli ham

The freezing of deli ham depends on what type of deli ham you have. If you have vacuum sealed deli ham that is unopened but close to its use-by date, you can simply freeze it in its packaging.

There is no need to take any extra steps, except for labeling it with the date you have frozen it so you know exactly how long you have to use it! If you feel you want a little extra protection from freezer burn you can wrap some foil around it or put it in another resealable freezer bag.

These steps can be taken if you are worried about freezer burn or want to make sure the whole thing does not freeze into one big lump that you cannot separate. 

If you have deli ham that isn’t in a vacuum-sealed package, then the process is a little different. You will, of course, need to wrap it adequately before putting it into your freezer. 

To do this we recommend wrapping each slice separately. We have found the best way to do this is by wrapping it in wax paper initially. When each piece is individually wrapped in your wax paper, ensure they are secure and that all bits of the deli ham are covered. 

For this reason, you should make your wax paper at least double the size of your deli ham slice or even bigger than that to ensure it can be adequately wrapped. 

Place the individually wrapped pieces into a big freezer safe resealable bag, ensuring all the air is squeezed out before freezing. You should then label it with the contents and the date. 

Due to the low temperatures in your freezer, any bacteria growth on your ham will be halted, and so it can last between 1 to 2 months.

How to defrost deli ham

When it comes to defrosting your deli ham there are two ways to go about it. The excellent thing about our freezing method is that each piece is wrapped individually.

This means you can take out exactly what you need when you need it, without having to defrost the whole lot. The method to thaw out the deli ham that we prefer involves some patience.

Take the slices of deli ham out of the freezer the day before you intend to use them. Place them in the refrigerator until they are fully defrosted. This may take a little longer than overnight if your pieces are thick. Keep checking on them to see. 

The second method can be used if you are in more of a rush. You can take out your selected number of pieces, leaving them wrapped in a plastic freezer bag in a bowl of cold water.

Ensure the water never gets to room temperature. This involves checking it every couple of hours, or even sooner if your kitchen is particularly warm. The deli ham will defrost quicker this way, but ensure to monitor it carefully while it is defrosting.

When the ham has defrosted, using either of the methods, it is best to be enjoyed right away, but it can be kept for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. It should not be frozen again after defrosting or else you risk getting sick.

Keep in mind that if you have placed an unopened package of deli ham in the freezer that has been vacuum sealed, the whole packet will have to be defrosted at once, as it will be near impossible to separate them once they have been frozen.

Use the defrosting methods above - overnight in the refrigerator or a bowl of regularly changed cold water - and keep it in the refrigerator when it is fully thawed, using it up within 2 to 3 days.

Factors to consider before defrosting ham

Freshly cut deli ham from a counter that has not been vacuum-sealed does not usually have a long date on it. For this reason, it usually has to be used within 2 or 3 days.

You should ensure that any freezing is done within this time, or you risk getting sick when you finally come to defrost and eat your deli ham. Before freezing deli ham, check it very carefully for any signs that it may have gone bad.

Deli ham that is very slimy should be thrown in the trash. Any change in color or bad smells coming from the deli ham also indicates that it is not safe to eat or freeze. Freezing the deli ham will not stop decay, it will only slow it down until it is defrosted. 

Vacuum-sealed deli ham is less likely to go bad quickly, especially if it is unopened. However, that does not mean it can’t go off. Check your packet carefully before freezing. If it looks slimy or a different color, you should err on the side of caution and toss it!


To conclude, we are happy to inform you that freezing deli ham is totally ok, as long as the directions above are followed very carefully.

Ensure that each piece is wrapped individually and securely. Date the package before freezing it so you know exactly when to use it, and have patience when it comes to defrosting your deli ham!

Check all slices carefully for signs of going bad, and if you are ever unsure, we recommend being cautious and trashing any deli ham slices that you are skeptical of. However you choose to eat your deli ham, we are sure it will be deli-ghtful!


Hi there! My name is Caroline Stevens, and I am an American mom of three wonderful children. I started this blog to help everyday families be more sustainable and save money by preventing food waste. I currently live in Wisconsin, and enjoy crafting, cooking at home, and traveling. I have a degree in art and previously worked in the restaurant business.