How Much Ham Per Person? (4 Suggestions & Buying Tips)

Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: December 5, 2023

I've always enjoyed having family and friends over for holidays like Easter dinner or Christmas during my ten years on a carnivorous diet. However, planning the proper quantity of ham for a holiday meal doesn't come naturally to me.

Every time, I would seek advice from my butcher, as the quantity per dish depended on the type of ham, the number of guests, and how many leftovers I wanted.

Here are the essential details of how much ham a person needs.

Quick Summary

  • An average person needs ⅓ - ¾ of a pound of boneless and bone-in ham.
  • Everyone should eat a few ounces for country and ham appetizers since it's a little salty.
  • Consider whether your guests are big eaters or if you want leftover ham.

How Much Ham Should You Serve Per Person?

A close up shot of a ham that is sliced

You should serve about three-quarters of a pound of ham per person. But if you want to fine-tune your portions and ensure that you have enough ham for everyone, you will want to think a little bit harder about the type of ham you are preparing, like bone-in ham and other factors.

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1. Bone-in Spiral Ham Per Person

A bone-in ham or a spiral ham is a fantastic delicacy because of its moistness and the most flavor [1].

Plus, you can use the bone later on to make ham stock. Serve a ¾ pound of bone-in ham for each person.

When calculating portion sizes, it's crucial to remember that bone-in ham is primarily made up of bone, fat, and water; therefore, it's advisable to add a bit extra to ensure that each serving contains an adequate amount of edible protein.

2. Boneless Ham Per Person

A boneless ham on a white plate that can serve per person

Aim for a third and a half of a pound of boneless ham for each person. With boneless ham, you can be sure that there will be no bone waste and a lot of fat compared to the bone in ham.

A boneless ham should yield far higher than a bone-in ham because every piece should be entirely edible.

So, if you're having six people around for Easter dinner, you should get a boneless ham that weighs between two and three pounds. A 4 to 6-pound ham would be sufficient for twelve people.

"Plan ahead when cooking in large quantities because high-quality hams sometimes require several hours to cook correctly, plus additional time for resting and cooling."
- Meredith Lawrence, Canadian Chef

Don't be afraid to exceed the 20-pound ham size limit if you're hosting a large gathering with a long guest list of 20 or more people because you'll need to feed many people.

Purchase a bit more ham than you anticipate using if you are aware that some of your guests have big appetites or if you want to have plenty of leftovers for when you crave leftover ham.

3. Country Ham Per Person

Since country ham is almost always much saltier than boneless or bone-in ham, you can get away with keeping a little less on hand.

As long as you'll be serving sides and other dishes, aim for around a half pound of country ham per person, or perhaps a little less - sometimes as little as a quarter pound.

I recommend slicing country ham and serving it buffet-style so that guests may eat fewer servings.

4. Ham Appetizers Per Person

When hosting, ham appetizers, such as prosciutto and salted and cured ham, are always a favorite alongside Swiss cheese.

The average serving size of cured ham appetizers is a couple of ounces per person, which is more than enough to satisfy everyone.

3 Tips for Buying the Right Ham for Large Crowds

A large sliced ham on a wooden board perfect for large crowds

Here are some tips that you'll need when planning for a big dinner party:

  • Make a list: Making a list of everyone at your dinner and assuming that they will consume three-quarters of a pound of ham regardless is the easiest method to guarantee that you have purchased enough ham for everyone.
  • Buy extra ham: You will inevitably purchase a bit more ham than you will likely need. It's always a much better option than running out of ham right before dinner.
  • Buy smaller ham: Choose a few smaller hams that are roughly the same size instead (a couple of 5-pound hams, for example). That will undoubtedly make it much simpler to prepare, cut, and cook the dish and serve it. 

Also Read: How Long Does Ham Last in the Fridge

FAQs

How Much Sliced Ham Should I Eat?

You should eat roughly ¾ pounds of sliced ham. However, ham appetizers like prosciutto might be lower than that since it's salted.

How Do You Calculate Ham Serving Per Person?

You can calculate the ham serving per person by the number of people, including children, how much they eat, and the side dishes you wish to have.

What's the Best Ham for Small Crowds?

Boneless ham is the best ham for small crowds since cooking and slicing are easier.


References: 

  1. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-much-ham-should-you-buy-per-person
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About the author

Arianna Foster
Nutritionist/Editorial Director
Arianna Foster is the editorial director and senior reviewer at Carnivore Style. She loves sharing her passion for nutrition, diverse cooking techniques, and the many health benefits of a meat diet with readers.
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