How many calories are in a regular slice of ham?

Ham is a popular deli meat that is commonly used in sandwiches, wraps, pizza toppings and more. It’s a tasty source of protein that can be a nutritious part of a balanced diet. However, like most foods, ham contains calories that need to be accounted for when monitoring your daily caloric intake. So how many calories are actually in a slice of ham?

The number of calories in ham can vary depending on a few factors:

  • Type of ham (cooked, cured, smoked, etc.)
  • Brand or producer of the ham
  • Slicing thickness – thinner slices have less calories than thicker slices
  • Additives or flavorings added to the ham

On average though, a typical slice of ham contains around 30-50 calories. A thinner sliced ham may be around 30 calories per slice, while a thicker deli-style ham may be closer to 50 calories per slice.

Calories in Different Types of Ham

There are many different types and styles of ham that can impact the calorie content:

Cooked Ham

Cooked ham is ham that has been fully cooked and ready to eat. This is the type often used for sandwiches and cold-cuts. A 1 ounce slice of cooked ham typically contains around 35 calories.

Cured Ham

Cured ham has been treated with salts, nitrates or smoke to preserve and add flavor. Cured ham varieties like prosciutto or serrano ham tend to be a bit higher in calories, with about 50 calories per ounce.

Honey Baked Ham

Honey baked ham is coated in honey, brown sugar or other sweet glazes before or after cooking. The glaze adds a bit more calories, with a 1 ounce slice containing about 40 calories.

Black Forest Ham

Black forest ham is a smoked ham coated in spices. It’s similar in calories to a cooked ham, with around 35 calories per ounce.

Ham Steak

Ham steak is thicker sliced ham, usually around 1/2 inch thick. A 4 ounce serving of ham steak contains about 130 calories.

Calories in Ham from Popular Brands

The brand or producer of the ham can also impact the nutrition information. Here are the calories for a regular slice from some popular ham brands:

Brand Calories (per slice)
Oscar Mayer Ham 40
Boar’s Head Ham 50
Smithfield Ham 30
Hormel Black Forest Ham 35
Publix Deli Ham 45

As you can see, the calories in a slice of ham ranges from 30-50 calories depending on brand. Boar’s Head, Publix and Oscar Mayer tend to be on the higher side, while Smithfield and Hormel Black Forest are a little lower in calories per slice.

Factors That Affect Calories in Ham Slices

There are a few important factors that impact the calorie content in slice of ham:

Slice Thickness

Thinner sliced ham has less calories than thicker sliced ham. Here is a comparison:

  • Thin sliced ham (1 oz): 35 calories
  • Thick sliced deli ham (1 oz): 45 calories
  • Ham steak (4 oz): 130 calories

As you can see, the thicker the slice, the more calories are contained in each serving.

Cooking Method

The way ham is cooked or cured can also change the calorie content. Dry cured ham that is uncooked tends to be lowest in calories. Fully cooked ham is slightly higher in calories. And baked ham glazed in sugars is highest in calories.


Additives like sugar, honey, molasses or corn syrup that are added to enhance flavor will increase the calories in ham slices. A plain slice of cooked ham will be lower in calories than a honey baked ham.

Sodium Content

Ham naturally contains a high amount of sodium. However, products cured with salts or brines can further increase the sodium level and may indirectly increase calories too. Be sure to check the nutrition label for sodium content if limiting salt intake.

Fat Content

Fattier cuts of ham will have a higher calorie content than leaner cuts of ham. Opting for lower fat ham can reduce the calories per slice.

Nutritional Benefits of Ham

Despite the calorie and sodium content, ham does provide some nutritional benefits:

  • Protein – Ham is an excellent source of protein. A 3 ounce serving provides about 19 grams of protein.
  • B Vitamins – Ham contains B vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, and B12.
  • Zinc – A serving of ham provides about 11% of the RDI for zinc, which supports the immune system.
  • Selenium – Ham contains selenium, an important antioxidant mineral.

So in moderation, ham can be part of healthy diet as it provides high-quality protein, B vitamins, zinc, and other nutrients.

Lower Calorie Options for Ham

There are a few easy ways to reduce the calories in ham:

  • Choose thinly sliced ham – Less ham per slice equals less calories.
  • Trim visible fat – The fat content largely contributes to calories.
  • Opt for lower-sodium products – Added salt and brines increase sodium and calories.
  • Avoid added sugar or honey glazes – The sweet glaze adds extra calories from sugar.
  • Limit portion size – Stick to 1-2 ounces of ham per serving.

You can also replace ham with lower calorie protein options like turkey, chicken, or roast beef for even more calorie savings.

Healthiest Ways to Eat Ham

To keep ham as part of a healthy diet, here are some tips:

  • Use ham as a topping or filling instead of eating alone – Add thin ham slices to sandwiches, wraps, omelets or pizza.
  • Eat ham with lots of veggies – Fill out sandwiches and meals with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and other veggies.
  • Pair ham with high fiber carbs – Eat your ham sandwich on whole grain bread or serve ham with high fiber sides like beans, lentils or brown rice.
  • Watch portions – Stick to about 2-3 ounces of ham per serving for a meal.
  • Limit processed meats – Processed deli meats have health risks when eaten in excess.

Health Risks of Processed Meat

It’s important to enjoy ham and other processed meats in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet. Eating large amounts of processed deli meats like ham on a regular basis has been linked to increased risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Colon cancer

These health risks are likely due to the high sodium content, nitrates/nitrites, and saturated fat found in processed meats like ham, bacon, sausage and hot dogs.

To lower risk, the recommended intake is no more than about 3-4 servings of processed meat per week as part of a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods. Moderation is key.

Counting Calories in Ham

When counting calories in ham, check the nutrition label and stick to the recommended serving size, usually around 1 ounce of ham. For reference, here are the calories in different amounts of ham:

Ham Serving Calories
1 slice ham (1 oz) 35
2 slices ham (2 oz) 70
3 slices ham (3 oz) 105
4 slices ham (4 oz) 140
Ham steak (4 oz) 130

Be mindful of portion sizes, as it’s easy to overload on calories when eating multiple slices of ham in a sandwich or meal.

Healthy Ham Recipes

To enjoy the flavor of ham in a healthy way, try these nutritious recipes:

Ham and Vegetable Omelet

Eggs filled with ham, veggies, and cheese for a protein packed breakfast. Use thin sliced ham to keep calories in check.

Ham Salad Sandwich

Chopped ham mixed with mustard, mayo and celery for a lighter take on chicken salad. Serve between whole grain bread or lettuce wraps.

Ham Wrap

Thinly sliced ham, cheese and lettuce lettuce wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla makes for an easy, filling lunch.

Ham and Bean Soup

Chunks of ham simmered in a bean and veggie soup will give you a dose of fiber and protein.

Ham and Swiss Panini

A toasted panini with ham, swiss cheese, tomato and spinach on whole grain bread.


In conclusion, the number of calories in a slice of ham ranges from about 30 to 50 calories depending on the type, brand and thickness. To enjoy ham in a healthy way, opt for thin sliced ham, trim fat, limit sodium and avoid added sugar glazes. Include ham as part of a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber. Limit processed meats like ham to 3-4 times per week due to the associated health risks. When eating ham, be mindful of portions and stick to 1-2 ounces per serving to keep calories in check. Thinly sliced ham can be a tasty and nutritious addition to sandwiches, omelets, salads and more when eaten in moderation as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

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