How Much Ham Do You Need Per Person?

Use this easy calculation to determine precisely how much ham you need per person for your Christmas or Easter meal.

If you're hosting your family's holiday lunch or dinner, your to-do list is likely long—and growing. Come Easter, and you need to boil the eggs, bake the rolls, and prep the Easter cake. (Don't forget about decorating the Easter eggs.) Equally if not more stressful, there are stockings to hang around Christmastime, white cakes to bake, and you can't forget to prepare cookies for Santa.

One thing that certainly won't skip your mind but could get lost in the shuffle is the Easter or Christmas ham—or, more precisely, the size of ham you need to buy for the holiday meal.

For many, the spiral ham is to Easter and Christmas what the stuffed turkey is to Thanksgiving: Everyone's looking forward to it, so the last thing you want to do is run out. Or worse—you might get a ham that's too big and be left trying every leftover ham recipe in the book, so none of it goes to waste.

maple bourbon glazed ham
Photographer: Frederick Hardy II, Food Stylist: Margaret Dickey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

If you're readying your list, go ahead and take the grocery store guesswork out of the ham size you need by calculating your crowd's likely consumption.

a graphic displays how much ham is needed per person
Julia Bohan / Dotdash Meredith

Boneless Ham

For a boneless ham, plan for each person to eat between 1/3 and 1/2 pounds. You never know how much ham your guests will want to eat the day of your holiday gathering, but this leaves enough for everyone to enjoy their holiday meal's main dish. If you're a family that loves side dishes and desserts, you can err on the side of 1/3 of a pound per person, but remember to factor in leftovers and take-home dishes people might request. To make things easier, here are the suggested amounts for sets of dinner guests, but you can adjust them based on your family's needs and preferences.

  • 6 people: 2 to 3 pounds
  • 12 people: 4 to 6 pounds
  • 20 people: 6 3/4 to 10 pounds

Bone-In Spiral-Cut Ham

For a bone-in spiral-cut ham, you need to account for the large bone accounting for a good bit of weight from the total number printed on the label—Estimate 3/4 to 1 pound per person for a bone-in ham. No matter what size ham you purchase, save the bone to make the best soup or save some ham for sandwiches, casseroles, and other leftover dishes.

  • 6 people: 4.5 to 6 pounds
  • 12 people: 9 to 12 pounds
  • 20 people: 15 to 20 pounds

Country Ham

If your dinner party prefers country ham, you'll likely need a smaller amount—1/4 to 1/3 pounds per person at most is recommended. The ham's saltiness and intensity will probably keep your guests' portions on the smaller size.

How To Use Leftover Ham

Keep in mind that appetites vary. In a buffet presentation, guests may go for smaller portions than if they're serving themselves from the table. And if you want your guests to have some ham to take home—or you need it for a traditional morning-after breakfast casserole—go ahead and factor in the higher side of these estimates.

If you have any leftovers, divvy them among your guests, and send them home with a ham care package. Ham doesn't freeze well because the quality and flavor deteriorate quickly, so it's better if you dole it out for a week of sandwiches and quiches than try to save it for later. Check out our list of leftover ham recipes that you and your family are sure to love. Here are a few of our favorites:

01 of 10

Mac and Cheese with Ham

Baked Smokin' Macaroni and Cheese
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Mac and Cheese with Ham

Take your leftover holiday ham and repurpose it into this popular dish. Switch things up from the usual bacon mac-and-cheese and try ham instead. Include a variety of cheeses like Pepper Jack, Pimiento, or traditional cheddar, so every time you make this dish, it tastes brand new.

02 of 10

Crustless Ham and Collard Greens Quiche

Crustless Ham and Collard Green Quiche
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Crustless Ham and Collard Greens Quiche

After a busy holiday dinner, you want something simple and delicious to feed your family or overnight guests the next day. This crustless quiche might be the solution. Pairing cheese and collard greens with salty ham is a perfect breakfast to enjoy and unwind.

03 of 10

Ham and Noodle Casserole

Ham and Noodle Casserole
Jen Causey

Recipe: Ham and Noodle Casserole

Make this casserole and freeze it for a later day. Whether you eat it right away or save it, it's quick to prepare, comforting, and delicious. Tasty vegetables, egg noodles, ham, and a creamy sauce blend together in savory harmony.

04 of 10

Southwest Black-Eyed Pea Dip

Southwest Black-Eyed Pea Dip
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christina Lane; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Southwest Black-Eyed Pea Dip

Why not use your leftover ham to make a perfect appetizer to bring to your next gathering? Add diced tomatoes, cilantro, and spicy jalapeños to this cheesy and classic Southern dip. This dip might become your family's new favorite—you'll want to make ham just for the leftovers.

05 of 10

Country Ham Hash

Country Ham Hash
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Country Ham Hash

Another breakfast favorite, ham hash, will be your go-to whenever you host overnight guests or brunch. Make things easier by chopping your vegetables the day before, which might mean setting aside some vegetables for your already planned dishes. The smell of peppers, garlic, onions, and ham is sure to wake up your entire house—and wake them up in a good mood.

06 of 10

Gnocchi Gratin with Ham and Peas

Gnocchi Gratin with Ham and Peas
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Gnocchi Gratin with Ham and Peas

Prepare unbaked gratin and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days before you plan to serve this dish. Although this recipe calls for Gruyère cheese, you can substitute it for any cheese with a sweet and slightly nutty flavoring. This meal is the sophisticated version of mac-and-cheese.

07 of 10

Ham Biscuits

Ham-Stuffed Biscuits With Mustard Butter
Photo: Tina Cornett

Recipe: Ham Biscuits

Make these ham biscuits and enjoy them as is, or use them as the base for a sandwich. Try making these biscuits and switching up the fillings, from spreads to cheeses and meats. Cut and freeze the dough up to two weeks in advance in a ziplock bag.

08 of 10

Ham-and-Bean Soup

Ham-and-Bean Soup
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Ham-and-Bean Soup

A classic leftover ham recipe. Ham and bean soup is a comforting treat rewarding you for all your holiday cooking, baking, and entertaining. Choose between Great Northern, Navy, or cannellini beans, or choose a variety of your own.

09 of 10

Savory Ham-and-Swiss Breakfast Pie

Savory Ham-and-Swiss Breakfast Pie

Recipe: Savory Ham-and-Swiss Breakfast Pie

Swiss cheese and ham are a classic combination. These two fan-favorite foods combine into a breakfast bake that can feed a crowd. Garnish with chives.

10 of 10

Ham-and-Vegetable Cobbler

Ham-and-Vegetable Cobbler
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Ham-and-Vegetable Cobbler

When you have leftover ham, who needs chicken for a pot pie? This vegetable and ham cobbler mimics the classic comfort foods, with a latticed crust and savory filling. Store-bought pie crust makes this recipe even more straightforward.

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