Ham makes for a delicious entree or centerpiece for holiday meals and gatherings. But determining how much ham to buy and cook per guest can be challenging. Consider factors like ham size, bone-in versus boneless, and menu pairings to get the right quantities.

1. What is Considered a Serving?

A typical serving size of ham is around 4-8 ounces per person depending on the cut and whether it is the main course or part of a buffet. Sliced bone-in ham tends to provide smaller edible servings since the bone is included in the weight. Plan for 6-8 ounces of boneless, spiral cut ham per person.

2. Factors Impacting Serving Sizes

Several factors impact appropriate ham portion sizes:

  • Type of ham – Bone-in ham yields less edible meat than boneless due to the bone weight.
  • Sliced vs. whole – It’s easier to allocate portions from a fully cooked, sliced ham.
  • Menu placement – Ham serves as the centerpiece of the meal versus just an addition to a buffet.
  • Leftovers – Cook extra ham if planning to use it for sandwiches, omelets, etc. later.
  • Side dishes – Light sides allow for larger ham portions versus heavy sides competing for appetite.
  • Guest demographics – Teen boys, athletes, and manual laborers often consume bigger portions.
  • Appetizers – Guests eat less ham if starting with rich appetizers before the main course.

3. Serving Size Recommendations

  • Buffet dinner: 4-6 oz per person
  • Family holiday meal: 6-8 oz per person
  • Main course: 8-12 oz per person
  • Bone-in ham: 4-6 oz edible meat per person
  • Leftover ham sandwiches: 2-4 oz per sandwich

Serve ham with lighter sides like a green salad, roasted veggies or fruit. Offer sauces like mustard, pineapple glaze or brown sugar bourbon sauce on the side. Use leftovers for omelets, sandwiches, soups and hash. With the right strategic planning, you can ensure all your guests get their fill of savory, satisfying ham.

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Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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