Does Prosciutto Need to Be Refrigerated? – All You Need to Know

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The salty, savory prosciutto is favored by all – old and young. You make it at home or buy it from the store; enjoying it for long is everyone’s plan. And it’s a universal fact that refrigeration is always satisfactory for storing something longer.

But prosciuttos are dried and cured meat, so you might be skeptical about whether you should refrigerate it or not. Therefore, the overly asked question arises: “Does prosciutto need to be refrigerated?”

Storing prosciutto depends on many factors – opened or wrapped, homemade or store-bought, a leg or slice, etc. Dry-cured whole leg prosciutto – wrapped well or vacuumed – doesn’t need refrigeration. Room temperature is fine for them. But, If it’s store-bought and opened, it needs refrigeration. 

Let’s give insights to know more about the refrigeration requirement of prosciutto and tips and tricks to store it.

Types of ProscuittoRefrigeration
Homemade prosciuttoUncut ones don’t need refrigeration and stay for 6-12 months. 
Store-bought prosciuttoNeed refrigeration; it lasts till the expiry date.
The whole-leg ProscuittoDoesn’t need refrigeration and stays around 8 weeks in dry, cold weather.
Unopened Sliced prosciuttoNeeds refrigeration. Last 4 months.
Opened sliced prosciuttoNeeds refrigeration, stays good for 3-5 days.
Cooked prosciutto

Needs refrigeration. Unopened ones stay till the expiry date; however, you should eat the opened ones within 3-5 days.

Do Cured Meats Need To Be Refrigerated?

Do Cured Meats Need To Be Refrigerated

Some types of cured meats can be left out at room temperature and won’t deteriorate. Moreover, refrigerating some types might cause an increase in oxidation and the acidity of the meat. 

Meats like cured hams that are kept slightly wet for the unique flavor and texture require refrigeration. Store-bought meats do not require freezing until opened. Once its vacuum-sealed packaging is opened, it starts to spoil and requires refrigeration.

But there are certain cautions you need to follow to refrigerate the meat. Some of them are given below.

  • You should cut the fats out with a sharp blade.
  • After taking it out from the refrigeration, one should consume it as quickly as possible.
  • The cured meats shouldn’t be refrozen once they have been removed from the freezer.
  • Cured meats mostly expire within three months after opening, so keep the date in mind when you first start freezing them.

Does Prosciutto Need To Be Refrigerated?

does prosciutto need to be refrigerated

Many often ask – can prosciutto be refrigerated? The answer primarily depends on what kind of prosciutto you have.

There are different storing tactics for different types of prosciutto. Some require refrigeration, and some can stay well at room temperature.

Prosciutto – sliced, opened, unopened, cooked, homemade, or store-bought are all different. Therefore, this variety needs specific supervision while storing, considering the condition.

For example – both sliced and cooked prosciutto can be frozen. And frozen prosciutto will last for up to two months if maintained in a vacuum-sealed container.

1. Sliced Prosciutto

Prosciutto, in whatever form, should always be kept in a cool pantry or refrigerator. You should not keep Sliced prosciuttos, especially the unopened ones, at room temperature. By storing it in the fridge, you should look for the expiry date and use it until it expires.

Once the packaging of the sliced prosciutto is opened, it will be good to eat within three to five days. Store it in an airtight ziplock bag.

2. Cooked Prosciutto

You should always store prosciutto Cotto in the fridge. When compared to ordinary prosciutto, Cotto has a shorter shelf life. The unopened ones will stay good till the expiry date.

But you must finish the opened pack within three to five days. So, one should try not to open more packs than needed.

Prosciutto Cotto is cooked and then dried, much like bacon. Because if it isn’t cured, mould or germs can grow more quickly than on ordinary prosciutto.

3. Whole Leg Prosciutto

Storage is easier if you have a full prosciutto leg. Likely, you don’t have enough space in your fridge for it.

You must seek out the coldest room possible. If you have space in the fridge, take advantage of it. Make sure the room or fridge has as little humidity as possible.

A properly stored prosciutto leg should last up to 8 weeks. You should keep it cool and dry all the time. For buying and storing a full, uncut prosciutto leg, store it at a dry and cold room temperature for about a year. 

The ham’s quality may decline during this time, even if it won’t go bad.

If you’ve chopped the leg, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator, it will stay fresh for up to two months. The meat will stay fresh if the wrapper is changed once a week.

4. Store-Bought Prosciutto

The expiration date usually lasts for sixty to ninety days. But this number is applicable for the unopened vacuum-sealed packs. Once you open the sealing, it is good for two to three days. 

The sealing and the packaging keep the moisture and humidity away, which keeps the ham fresh and free from bacteria. 

5. Home-Made Prosciutto

You can keep it at room temperature if it is uncut and a whole leg. But if it is sliced, one should follow the techniques of storing the sliced prosciutto process. 

Use foil papers and rubber bands to seal the wrapping so no moisture can enter properly. It will stay fresh for two months if you store it in the refrigerator.

Does prosciutto go bad?

Does prosciutto go bad

Prosciutto stays well for two to three months in airtight packaging. If you open it, the oxidation process fastens the spoiling of the cured meat. So, prosciutto does go bad after that particular period.

Well, there are some techniques you can follow to determine if your cured prosciutto is edible or not.

  • The cured prosciutto starts to have a bright pink or crimson color and has white lines, and the fats of the meats become visible. 
  • The smell also becomes very pleasant. 
  • The cooked prosciutto also turns light pink with slightly visible thin white lines of fat.

The baked prosciutto changes its color into grey and darkens further when it starts to spoil. It also starts to form moulds, and the smell gets really bad.

One should not open a ham packaging and leave it in the refrigerator for over a week because it will spoil, and you will have to throw it away.

Does unopened prosciutto go bad?

Unopened prosciutto stays fresh for two to three months. After that, it starts showing symptoms of deterioration, and eventually, it goes bad.

One should always follow the instructions and check the expiration date while consuming this kind of cured meat as prosciutto.

What Is The Best Way To Eat Prosciutto?

What Is The Best Way To Eat Prosciutto

You can eat prosciutto with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, grapes, melons, or white or red wine. It goes delicious with pieces of French bread or crackers.

The flavor and taste will increase with the sides. You can also make a cheese board assortment with this cured prosciutto and some gourmet cheeses.

You can also make a summer salad with it. It also goes well with asparagus, eggplants, and broccoli as well.

You can also make delicious pizzas and pasta with this kind of ham.

Is Prosciutto Healthy?

Prosciutto is a delightful method to supplement your diet with protein, vitamins, minerals, and taste. It’s simple to incorporate into any dish if an additional protein is required.

Adults should consume 10 to 35% calories in protein each day. It contains 10% of your regular vitamin B12 needs. 

Moreover, Proscuitto can assist in establishing a healthy diet when paired with nutritious items like veggies. Fruit and vegetable consumption has been related to a decreased risk of various chronic illnesses.

Health Risks Of Prosciutto

Health Risks Of Prosciutto

Prosciutto has 1.5 grams of fat content and 520 milligrams of salt per meal. To prevent cancer, the Cancer Research Center suggests avoiding cured beef. Colorectal cancer is 20% more likely in people who consume more than twice a week. 

In addition, prosciutto has 520 mg of salt per meal. The daily salt intake for most people is 2,300 milligrams, with an optimal limit of  1,500 mg.

Two pieces of prosciutto will put you over a quarter of the total of your regular salt intake. Most people already consume too much salt, which can raise blood pressure. This, in turn, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, prosciutto can induce stomach cancer (AICR). Meat allergies are not rare, but they have become increasingly frequent in recent years. In this case, avoid all the meats and the cured ones like prosciutto.


  • Do You Need to Cook Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is dried and preserved ham and does not require cooking as it is already bacteria-free. But ensure that no air can enter while it is being stored; otherwise, moisture will produce bacteria and molds in the meat and make it inedible.

You can eat prosciutto raw as long as it doesn’t go bad, like salami or sausage. The dried meat, even prosciutto Cotto, doesn’t require cooking at all because the curing process lowers the moisture and bacteria growth.

  • Can I substitute prosciutto for ham?

Prosciutto can be used as a great alternative for hams. It can also be a great substitute for bacon, salami, or pancetta. These sliced delicacies can be replaced by other cured meats in the pizzas and pasta anytime. 

  • Can you warm up prosciutto?

Yes, you can warm up the prosciutto in a microwave oven. Set the temperature to 350 degrees and heat it for a couple of minutes to have a nice and warm plate of sliced prosciutto.

You may also microwave it for approximately thirty seconds while covering it with a paper towel. Because the oils may spill, we recommend covering it with a dish. You may also pan-fry it, which is ideal for serving with an omelet.

Final Words

Prosciutto is indeed a delicious addition to your meal. However, you need to follow a particular path while storing different types of prosciutto. So, if you ask, “does prosciutto need to be refrigerated?’’ – in reply, I will have to ask what kind of prosciutto you have.

Usually, this dry cured meat doesn’t need refrigeration and can stay at room temperature for a long time. As it’s preserved with salts, the chance of developing hazardous germs decreases significantly. But that doesn’t guarantee it’ll stay indefinitely. Therefore, refrigeration is necessary with certain prosciutto – sliced, store-bought, and opened.

If not stored properly or for a long time, prosciutto can go bad and create a slew of complications if consumed.

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