How much ham do I need for 10 12 people?

Figuring out how much ham to buy for a large gathering can be tricky. You want to make sure you have enough so that everyone gets plenty to eat, but you also don’t want to spend more than you need to or be stuck with lots of leftovers. When trying to determine how much ham to buy, there are a few key factors to consider.

How many people are you serving?

The first thing you need to know is how many guests will be attending your event or meal. You stated you will be serving 10-12 people. Having an approximate guest count will allow you to estimate how much ham to purchase.

What other components make up the meal?

Rarely is a ham served by itself. Most ham meals also include side dishes and other components. Before determining how much ham to buy, think through what else you will be serving. Some common side dishes that pair well with ham include scalloped potatoes, green beans, rolls, and fruit salad. If you will be serving the ham with lots of sides and appetizers, you may be able to get away with purchasing slightly less ham. However, if the ham will be the focal point of the meal, then plan on buying extra.

How many servings do you need?

To determine how much ham to buy, you need to estimate how many servings your guests will eat. As a general rule of thumb, plan on 3-4 ounces of ham per person if it is the main course. Here is a simple formula to use:

Number of guests x Number of ounces per serving = Total ounces of ham needed

For 10-12 guests with 4 ounces each:

10 guests x 4 oz = 40 oz (or 2.5 pounds)

12 guests x 4 oz = 48 oz (or 3 pounds)

So for 10-12 guests, you would need between 2.5 – 3 pounds of sliced ham.

Should you buy a whole ham or sliced ham?

Once you know approximately how many pounds of ham you need, the next decision is whether to purchase a whole, bone-in ham or go with pre-sliced ham. Here are some pros and cons of each option:

Whole Ham


  • Typically cheaper per pound
  • More impressive presentation
  • Can use bone and leftovers for soups or beans


  • Requires more work to cook and carve
  • Can be harder to calculate exact quantity
  • Requires a large roasting pan

Sliced Ham


  • Very little preparation needed
  • Easy to buy the exact amount you need
  • Convenient to serve and portion


  • Typically more expensive per pound
  • Less visual appeal
  • No bone for soup stock

For a group of 10-12, buying a pre-sliced ham is likely easier. You can purchase the exact amount you need without worrying about having leftovers or an inadequate amount.

How many pounds of ham should you buy for 10-12 people?

Based on the estimate of 4 ounces per person, for 10-12 guests you would need between 2.5 – 3 pounds of sliced ham. To give yourself a little wiggle room, you may want to purchase 4 pounds of sliced ham to be safe.

Here is a table with estimates for serving 10, 11, and 12 guests:

Number of Guests Ounces Per Person Total Ounces Needed Pounds of Ham to Buy
10 4 40 2.5
11 4 44 2.75 (round up to 3 pounds)
12 4 48 3

As you can see, to comfortably accommodate 10-12 guests, purchasing 4 pounds of pre-sliced ham is a safe quantity.

What types of ham should you buy?

Not all ham is created equal. Here are some of the most popular varieties of ham and their characteristics:

Spiral Cut Ham

Spiral cut ham has uniform slices carved in a spiral shape around the bone. It is easy to serve since the slices are already cut. This type of ham is a little more expensive but perfect for a party or large gathering.

Bone-In Ham

As the name implies, bone-in ham contains the original bone. It has excellent flavor but requires more time and effort to cook and carve. Bone-in hams need to cook approximately 18-20 minutes per pound.

Boneless Ham

Boneless ham is usually less expensive than bone-in varieties. Since the bone has been removed, it cooks slightly faster at around 15 minutes per pound. Purchase boneless ham if ease of preparation is your top priority.

Black Forest Ham

Black Forest ham is smoked over pine and has a robust, hearty flavor. It pairs especially well with savory sides and vegetables.

Honey Baked Ham

Honey baked ham is coated with honey, brown sugar, and other sweet glazes. It has a lovely caramelized exterior and juicy interior with balanced sweet and salty flavors.

What about leftovers?

Even when carefully calculated, you may still end up with some leftover ham after your event. Fortunately, ham leftovers can be incorporated into many different dishes:

  • Omelets or scrambled eggs
  • Quiches or frittatas
  • Soup – split pea, bean, or vegetable
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches
  • Pizza or flatbreads
  • Casseroles or pasta bakes
  • Hash

Get creative with the leftovers! Slice, dice, or shred the ham to give classic recipes a tasty twist.


Determining the right amount of ham to purchase for a party takes some planning. Think through the number of guests, side dishes being served, and how many servings each person will likely eat. For a group of 10-12, you will probably need between 2.5 – 3 pounds of sliced ham. Buy around 4 pounds to be safe, and choose a pre-sliced spiral cut or boneless ham for easy serving. With a little forethought, you can ensure you have plenty of delicious ham for all your guests to enjoy with minimal leftovers.

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