How Big of a Ham Do I Need for That Special Meal?

Dec 20, 2022 / MIN READ


With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about your next special meal to entertain guests and elevate the occasion. And, luckily, when it comes to a remarkable holiday meal, you can’t go wrong with ham. This popular main dish is not only rather simple to prepare, but it’s sure to keep all of your guests happy and full throughout the festivities.

When cooking ham, it can be challenging to determine exactly how much you’ll need to guarantee everyone gets their fair share. Read on to learn how you can figure out how much ham to buy and other tips and tricks with boneless ham to consider along the way.

Figuring out how much ham to buy

If you’re planning on making a delicious boneless ham for your next occasion, you can expect each person to eat between and ½ pounds. While you can never be too sure how much baked ham every person will want to eat at a specific gathering, this leaves enough for everyone to enjoy your main dish.

Here’s a general guide of how much boneless fresh ham you’ll need if each person consumes the approximated amount:

  • 4 people: 1 to 2 pounds.
  • 6 people: 2 to 3 pounds.
  • 10 people: 3 to 5 pounds.
  • 12 people: 4 to 6 pounds.
  • 16 people: 5 to 8 pounds.
  • 20 people: 6 ¾ to 10 pounds.

When deciding whether or ½ of a pound per person will be an accurate estimate of how much ham you’ll need to buy, don’t forget to take side dishes and requested leftover ham into account. Moreover, you might need to adjust the suggested amounts depending on your loved ones’ needs and preferences.

Overall, the average person will need about 0.40 lbs of boneless ham. When in doubt, you can calculate the ham size you’ll need with the following equation:

  • Boneless ham size = No. of people X 0.40 lbs

Keep in mind, if you’re hoping to have leftover ham, it’s best to purchase a slightly heavier option than you anticipate needing. With fully cooked ham at your disposal, you can be ready to prepare a delicious ham sandwich, casserole or any other ham recipe at a moment’s notice!

Delicious main course ham recipes

For a delectable baked ham and brown sugar glaze, try our apricot-glazed ham recipe for your next event. This simple recipe calls for the following ingredients:

  • 5 to 7-pound Hardwood Smoked Boneless Ham.
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar.
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch.
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg.
  • 1/4 tsp cloves.
  • 2/3 cup apricot nectar.
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice.

The steps to prepare and cook your dish include:

  • Step 1: Place ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Then bake, uncovered, in a preheated 325°F oven for a cook time of 1¼ hours or until the meat thermometer registers 140°F.
  • Step 2: To make the ham glaze, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and cloves in a small saucepan. Slowly stir in apricot nectar and lemon juice, and cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly.
  • Step 3: Lastly, brush your ham with glaze. Then continue baking for 15-20 minutes more, brushing occasionally with glaze.

The result? A practically perfect ham, full of delicious flavor that everyone will love. For another appetizing glazed ham option, take a look at our recipe for pit ham with peach and ginger glaze.

If you need no further convincing, head to your local grocery store to pick up your Hatfield® ham to get started!

Sides to consider
The perfect ham this holiday season will be one with amazing sides to go with it. Take your glazed ham to the next level with these sides that all of your friends, family and guests will enjoy:

  • Potatoes au gratin.
  • Candied carrots.
  • Mashed potatoes.
  • Green bean casserole.
  • Garlic butter rolls.
  • Roasted asparagus.
  • Cornbread.
  • Mac and cheese.
A ham grilled cheese sandwich sits on a cutting boardYou can use your leftover ham to make a flavorful and savory lunch for the next few days

Ideas for leftover ham

When preparing ham for the holidays, there’s a good chance you’ll have leftovers at the end of the day. Fortunately, the possibilities with leftover ham are practically endless. For example, you can use your leftover ham to make a flavorful and savory lunch for the next few days. Consider our recipe for a ham, fig jam and cheddar cheese open-faced sandwich or a ham, brie and apple grilled cheese for a touch of sweet flavor.

How long is leftover ham good for?
When it comes to ham, it’s important to note that not all products have the same shelf life. For spiral-cut hams and leftovers from consumer-cooked hams, your leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for three to five days. Or, you can freeze your ham for one to two months. Results are best when you keep your refrigerator at 40 °F or less and your freezer at or near 0 °F.

Learn more about the guidelines provided for safe ham storage from

Reheating your ham
To reheat your leftover ham:

  • Place ham in an oven-safe baking dish and cover the top with loosely wrapped aluminum foil to lock in moisture.
  • Bake at 275°F for 10 minutes per pound or until the meat thermometer reads 140°F.

Choose top-tier pork products with Hatfield

This holiday season, remember the pork products you choose matter and your loved ones deserve the best. For top-tier pork products from a company dedicated to animal care and sustainability, Hatfield® can help.

Ready to bring your loved ones together with a special holiday ham made from high-quality pork products? Use our store locator to find your favorite Hatfield® products in a supermarket or grocery store near you.