Question: I thawed a frozen ham for dinner this Sunday, but now I won't have time to cook it. How long can I keep the thawed ham in the fridge?
Answer: If you thawed the ham in the refrigerator, you’ve got a few days.
Ham that’s been defrosted in the fridge can be safely kept for an additional 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator before cooking, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You also can safely refreeze the ham within that same timeframe.
On the other hand, if you thawed the ham in the microwave or in cold water, the USDA advises that you cook it immediately.
That’s because with either method, the ham could have at least temporarily warmed up to a temperature higher than 40°F. At that point, harmful bacteria can begin to multiply rapidly and prompt cooking is required to destroy it.