How Long Does Prosciutto Last: What You Need to Know

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Prosciutto is a type of ham usually prepared during special holidays like Christmas. For most people, the celebration is not complete unless a ham is on the menu. In some countries, however, it is a typical breakfast meal. Ham can be cured, smoked, or eaten raw.

However, when eating ham you need to know that prosciutto has a limited shelf-life and it should be eaten before its expiry date, or it will become inedible. Just like many kitchen consumables, the shelf-life of your prosciutto will depend on the particular type you purchase. It is therefore important to know the period your ham will last before going bad.


Why It’s Important to Know How Long Does Prosciutto Last?

how does prosciutto smell

There are different types of ham. Some have a salty taste, while others can be sweet. How your ham tastes will depend on how the meat was prepared. The quality of the meat is always difficult to determine during the early stages while processing the ham, but the edibility can be tested over time.

Prosciutto hams undergo strict preparation processing to ensure only safe and high-quality products that meet regulations are sold for consumption. If safety precautions are compromised during the manufacturing process, it can lead to serious illnesses. You need to know how long different prosciutto hams on the market can last, so you won’t harm your health.

Which is the Best Prosciutto?

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The best prosciutto ham comes from the heart of Italy. San Daniele and Parma have been curing delicious ham for a very long time. If you want to eat prosciutto that is certified by Italians as the best, check the labeling for DOP or PDO stamps.

It is quite easy to find a decent selection at local marts around your area. You will find a considerable number of choices at Walmart having DOP or PDO certification stamps.

The following are some of the best prosciutto brands readily available at any grocery store.

  • Donnelly
  • Jamon Iberico
  • Boarshead
  • Speck
  • Volpi

Tips on How to Choose the Best Prosciutto

how does prosciutto taste

The first thing to check before making a purchase is to check the container label. Ham usually takes between 90 and 120 days before expiration. Prosciutto can be eaten in its raw state, or you can add risotto or pasta. Ham should be added at the last stage to prevent denaturing its flavor.

You can keep the prosciutto ham frozen or refrigerated, but ensure they are consumed before the expiry date. Once opened, ensure the ham is consumed within two days. If you do not enjoy eating the ham raw, you can cook it, or you could even add it to your preferred recipes as an ingredient.

If you plan to eat your prosciutto at a later period, avoid freezing the prosciutto, this can affect the meat taste in the long run. Instead, you should refrigerate it as explained in its storage instructions.

If your prosciutto ham is unopened, you can keep it in the fridge for months.

Remember, search for pink meat clean and fat streaks, which are evenly distributed across the ham slices and white in color. Do not purchase products that are moist, or have faded coloring.

How to Determine if Your Prosciutto Ham is Still Okay?

how long does prosciutto stay good in the fridge

The following tips can be used to determine if your prosciutto is still edible or not.

The pre-sliced prosciutto will expire between 90 and 120 days. All prosciutto containers usually have an expiration date clearly stated, so always check if it is still right or not. If your ham is passed its expiry date that means it is no longer safe for consumption.

You can also determine if the prosciutto is okay or not by checking the color. The meat fat should have a pale ivory color or white color, and an observable reddish-pink color. If you observe blue, green, or gray colors, this means the ham is bad. When the color of the ham begins to fade, it means your ham is getting bad, do not eat it!

You can also ascertain if your prosciutto is still okay by smelling it. The meat should be odorless if it is still edible. If you perceive a sour odor, it shows the meat is not fresh, hence not safe for consumption.

You can also deploy your sense of touch to determine if the meat is still okay. The ham should feel slightly moist or a little dry, but should never be slippery.

How Long Does Prosciutto Last? Overview

Unopened prosciutto ham will remain edible for up to 2 months, but if the ham is already opened, you must consume it within two days. The chart below explains how long hams can last based on the FSIS.

Type of Ham



Fresh (uncured) ham, uncooked

3 to 5 days

6 months

Fresh (uncured) ham, cooked

3 to 4 days

3-4 months

Cook-before-eating, uncooked, cured ham.

5 to 7 days or “use-by” date*

3-4 months

Undated and unopened, vacuum-sealed, cooked ham; Luncheon meat ham (unopened)

2 weeks

1-2 months

Canned ham with label; The whole store wrapped, cooked ham

Up to 7 days

1-2 months

Vacuum-sealed, dated, cooked ham, unopened

Use by date on the package

1-2 months

Cooked ham slices; Luncheon meat ham (opened)

3-5 days

1-2 months


This article provides answers when having doubt how long does prosciutto last, and it offers tips on how to choose the best prosciutto.

To select the best prosciutto, search for pink meat and fat streaks which are evenly distributed across the slices and white in color. Avoid slippery products and those with faded color.

Prosciutto can be stored unopened in the refrigerator for months, but once opened, ensure you consume it within two days.

Have you tried storing your ham with a different method other than the one explained in this article? Do you have some interesting recipes with prosciutto?

Leave your comments in the comment box below.

3 thoughts on “How Long Does Prosciutto Last: What You Need to Know”

  1. Your article says you need to consume product in two days. That is wrong.
    When I was younger my family, as well as others in neighborhood, used to buy the whole leg. We kept it in the refrigerator more then a month and never went bad!

  2. I would love to buy prosciutto de Palma,but I find it so expensive.Is capiacola,or cotto ham,or pancetta be a good alternative.
    Thanks PAUL

  3. Can you freeze prosciutto that has been vacuumed sealed and is cut into chunks? Just bought a prosciutto from Parma and I want to extend its life.
    Your response is appreciated.


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