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What size ham to buy

Updated February 21, 2017

Holiday meals often include ham, which is a special treat for many families. The size of ham to buy depends on how many guests will be eating it, what type of ham it is and what else will be served at the meal.

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Bone-In Ham

Multiply the number of guests by 3/4 pound per person to find out what size of bone-in ham to buy. For example, a dinner of 12 people would require 12 times 3/4, or nine pounds of bone-in ham.

Boneless Ham

Multiply the number of guests by 1/2 pound per person if the ham is boneless. This reduction is because the entire ham is edible, rather than just the meat surrounding the bone. For example, multiply 12 times 1/2 to find that only six pounds of boneless ham are needed to feed 12 people.


The quantity and type of dishes served with the ham can affect the size of ham to buy. For example, if there will be a turkey at the dinner as well, multiply the above calculation by 0.6 to find the correct size of ham to buy. If the dinner includes many other filling side dishes, multiply by 0.8 to account for the other foods that will fill people up.

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About the Author

Kristen May
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