Here's How Much Ham To Make So You Don't Run Out At Easter Dinner

Depending on where you live, signs of spring are slowly beginning to emerge. Whether or not small green buds are forming on the trees in your neighborhood, pastel colors and seasonal candies are now taking over retail markets, signaling the coming of the Easter holiday. 

Although Easter is a Christian holiday, many Americans gather together to celebrate this April Sunday with family and friends. Based on a 2022 survey conducted by CivicScience, among the 85% of adults who celebrate Easter, 71% had every intention of spending quality time with members of their household or extended family and quality time is often synonymous with a family meal. In fact, 61% of survey participants planned on serving ham for Easter dinner. But has ham always been a popular centerpiece among Easter followers?

Ham actually made a late debut for Easter celebrations, as lamb was the original fare of choice. Lamb was popular, especially during World War II when wool was necessary for military uniforms. However, with the emergence of faux fabric in the mid-1900s, lamb roasts became less commonplace; ham took over because it was readily available and cost-effective. Due to cold weather curing, there was also an abundance of hams available in the spring, which became another reason we eat ham on Easter. Regardless of pork's history on the holiday table, how much ham should you buy so you have enough for family and friends this Easter?

How to determine the amount of ham you need for Easter Sunday

As you begin to decipher which ham recipes to use for Easter, you'll probably also begin to factor in how many people you need to cook for and what size ham is necessary for the big day. Having enough food, especially if you're hosting, is essential. Yet knowing exactly how much pork will be consumed is impossible to determine ahead of time, even for those who plan on serving a meal where guests or family members help themselves. 

The general rule of thumb is to plan on one pound or a bit less per person if you're buying a bone-in ham. If you're sticking to a boneless variety, you can plan on half of that amount. For example, if you're making a meal for six people, they'll most likely consume up to six pounds of bone-in ham and up to three pounds of the boneless variety. 

As you determine how much ham to buy, you also need to factor in the number of appetizers and extras you plan on serving. If you're planning a potluck-style meal with many guests, you may not need as much pork as you think. While you're always better off planning a holiday dinner on the safer side and buying a little more instead of potentially not having enough, what do you do if you run into a pan full of leftover ham slices?

How to store and use leftover ham

Let's say Easter comes and goes and at the end of the night, you wind up with a foil pan filled with ham slices. At the sight, you may wish you'd bought less. But luckily, ham freezes quite well. Just make sure you wrap any leftover slices in added layers of plastic and foil to prevent freezer burn. 

Surprisingly, spiral or country ham doesn't last as long in the freezer as the uncured variety. recommends freezing cured, spiral leftovers for up to only one month, while uncured slices can be frozen for up to four months.

If you don't want to trouble yourself with freezing leftovers, you can also use those savory slices in a number of recipes prime for cooked pork. There's no limit when it comes to the best leftover ham recipes. If you serve a bone-in ham for Easter dinner, you can use the bones and residual meat to make a hearty split pea soup. Ham slices can be added to a number of dishes, such as homemade mac and cheese, oven-toasted ham and cheese sandwiches, and even veggie-loaded breakfast quiche. So rest assured that even if you buy too much ham this Easter, you can always freeze the extras or use the slices to craft a number of new, exciting recipes.