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Even though turkey shows up twice on some holiday tables (once at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas dinner), for many, ham gets top billing at yuletide. If that’s what’s on your table, you need to know how to slice a ham so you don’t ruin that glorious hunk of meat. It’s much easier to carve than turkey, too.

Get Equipped

First things first, you want to make sure you have the proper equipment. Reach for a cutting board that is big enough for the ham to sit on, a paring fork to help you navigate the cutting, and a super sharp knife. Not sure if your knife is sharp enough? Use the old paper trick. If your knife can easily cut through a piece of paper, you’re good to go. If not, then you’ll want to sharpen it before you get started.

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The Slice Is Right

Now that you have your gear on hand, you can delve into the actual slicing part. (Avoid slicing the ham until just before serving, to help the meat maintain its moisture.) You’ll want to start by cutting off two or three slices from the outside, parallel to the bone. This will create a flat surface for you to slice the rest of your ham. Turn the ham to rest on that base.

Then, starting at the thinner end of the ham and working your way to the thicker end, slice into the ham perpendicular to the bone, using your paring fork to help you. Keep slicing so you have pieces that are about ¼ inch thick, continuing for several slices. Then, take your knife and run it along the edge of the bone, to free the slices. Once you are done with that side, turn the ham and repeat the process, continuing to release the meat from the bone, only slicing as much as you plan to serve at that time (otherwise it may dry out.

How to Store Leftover Ham (and What to Do With It)

To store the ham, get a ham bag from your butcher, or store the leftovers in a damp (and clean!) pillowcase in your refrigerator. Or simply wrap it well in plastic on the platter. Not sure what to do with your leftovers? Read ahead for some delicious recipes for repurposing the rest of your ham (and see more Christmas leftover recipe ideas for turkey, prime rib, and pork roast).

Deviled Ham


Unhappy about having to get back to work right after the holidays? Bring along a sandwich made with this deviled ham recipe to break up the monotony of your typical lunchtime sandwiches and make it easier to get back to the grind. Get our Deviled Ham recipe.

Leftover Ham and Potato Soup

This soup is the ultimate comfort food, ideal for a post-holiday meal on a day when you’re lazing around the house. Top it with some chopped ham for even more flavor. Get the Leftover Ham and Potato Soup recipe.

White Bean and Ham Soup


Once you try this hearty and filling soup, you’ll want to keep warming up on colder days with it. We’re pretty sure the veggies included in this recipe cancel out all the pumpkin pie you’ve eaten in November, too. Get the our White Bean and Ham Soup recipe.

Breakfast Casserole

potato breakfast casserole recipe


On the hunt for a cheesy, filling, yet uncomplicated meal to put on the post-holiday brunch menu? Then this casserole is just what you’ve been searching for. Even better, it’s ridiculously easy to make and sure to impress any guests you’re having stay with your for the weekend. Just replace the bacon with leftover ham cut into fine dice (or use both!). Get our Breakfast Casserole recipe.

Pea and Ham Soup Recipe

This vibrantly emerald soup is not only visually stunning, it’s a rich addition to your table. The stock is made with a ham hock, which you can buy in advance from butchers or supermarkets. Get the Pea and Ham Soup Recipe recipe.

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Easy Monte Cristo Sandwich recipe


Another update on the classic ham and cheese sandwich, this Monte Cristo is going to have you drooling. With just the addition of a few ingredients (egg, mayonnaise, and mustard), you get a crispy twist on the standard brown bag lunch. Get our Monte Cristo Sandwich recipe.

Ham Cobb Salad

After chowing down on all your favorite Thanksgiving goodies, your body is likely craving some veggies. Use leftover ham to throw into this Cobb salad as a post Turkey Day reset. Get the Leftover Thanksgiving Ham Cobb Salad recipe.

Header image courtesy Chowhound.

Kelsey Butler is a reporter and editor based in New Jersey. She has written for a number of health and lifestyle publications, including Women's Health, Brides, and NBC News Better. Hot sauce, black coffee, and bacon make up 50% of her diet.
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