How Long Does Prosciutto Last? Shelf Life, Expiration Dates, and Storage Practices

How long does Prosciutto last? Worried about a large amount of prosciutto you brought from the market? Wondering how long does Prosciutto last? Want to know tips and tricks to increase shelf life and other storage practices? Read on from the below modules and know how to last your prosciutto for longer, and how to check whether your prosciutto has gone bad. Also, no more worries about the expiration date. Do check Can Ham Go Bad from here.

How Long Does Prosciutto Last

What is Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is a part of Italian cuisine. It is an old Italian recipe dating back to pre-Roman times. Even now, the dish is so popular and it is being used by people all over the world. But the shelf life and storage of prosciutto are something that we need to take care of. Know the best storage practices to make your prosciutto last longer.

Types of Prosciutto

Though prosciuttos are available in different forms, people prefer two major types. These two types of prosciuttos are given below. These can be either homemade or can be bought from your nearby grocery shop.

  • Prosciutto Crudo: The raw, cured ham is known as prosciutto crudo. It is uncooked, unsmoked, and dry. It is usually served as thin slices.
  • Prosciutto Cotto: Cooked ham is called prosciutto cotto. This has a lighter flavor than prosciutto Crudo. This is often seasoned with herbs and spices.

Both are very popular all over the world, used by people in large numbers, and are also ready to savor!

How Long Does Prosciutto Last? – Prosciutto Expiration Date and Shelf Life

Be aware of the fact that, just like any other meat, Prosciutto will also get rot or decay at some point in time. However, it is all about the proper making, packing, and storage that gives prosciutto a long life span as well as perfectly flavored. The long life span of prosciutto purely depends on the variety and storage space you choose.

Conditions Fridge
Pre-packaged prosciutto (unopened) Date on the label + 7 – 14 days
Pre-packaged prosciutto (opened) 2 – 4 days
Prosciutto bought at the deli 2 – 4 days
Dry-Cured Prosciutto 6 – 12 months
Vacuum-Packed Prosciutto 6 months

Note that shelf life varies with prosciutto on the fridge and those that are kept at room temperature. Yes, it can also be stored outside the fridge. Read on to know more about storage.

Prosciutto shelf life

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How to Store Prosciutto?

You can use several methods to preserve your prosciutto for a longer period of time. Here are some of the techniques to ensure a longer life span for your prosciutto.

Storing at Room Temperature

You can also store prosciuttos at room temperature. Dry cured meat can be thus stored at a temperature not exceeding 65°F. You can also store them in a cold pantry with less or no moisture. But this can also alter the texture of the dish.


Dry-cured prosciutto legs are ideal to store for up to a year in the refrigerator in their original vacuum-sealed pack. However once opened or sliced into pieces it would be better if you could use it within forty days. The flavor will also start losing once you open it. The fridge temperature must not exceed 500 F. Use a plastic tight container or a zip lock bag before storing it in the freezer.

Sliced Prosciutto

Vacuum-sealed sliced prosciutto which is commonly available on the market lasts up to two to three months in your refrigerator. Make sure it is not opened. Freshly sliced prosciuttos however have a short span of life of up to a week. It will spoil fast because of the higher chance of exposure to bacteria. Try to cover the sliced pieces with gravy or sauce before freezing. This will avoid it from getting much dried.

Frozen Prosciutto

Frozen prosciutto can last up to three months in the frozen state but it is not an ideal way to use it. Defrosting the frozen prosciuttos affects the texture, taste, flavor, and quality of the meat.

Other Storage Techniques

Be careful to keep your prosciuttos away from cheese, as the pungent smell of cheese can alter the flavor of the prosciuttos. Keeping your prosciuttos away from sunlight and other heat sources is also highly recommended.

Once the vacuum seal is opened you can use wax paper, freezer paper, cling wrap, or aluminum foil as alternatives. If you are using a cling wrap or cling film, make sure to cover it with a kitchen towel as an additional layer. Always check out the instructions on the label and the expiry date for your safety.

How to Tell if Prosciutto is Bad?

Before knowing any signs of spoilage, learn the signs of ideal prosciutto. Prosciutto is a sweet and salty flavored dish and has a color varying from light pink to brownish red. The fresh meat will be soft and tender. The white lines streaked in between are nothing but layers of fat. Ensure that your prosciutto has a fresh color varying from pinkish shade to red.

Below are some of the signs that warn you about any spoilage of prosciutto.


The ideal smell of fresh prosciuttos is sweet and salty with herbs if any. The smell can be similar to that of bacon. Cooked prosciutto can have a smell of deli ham. If you notice any bad odor, most likely a sour smell coming out from your prosciutto, there is a higher chance that it is under decay.


A change in the color of your prosciutto from what you have made is also an indication that it might be in the process of decay. If it is turning to a dark or grey color, it is sure that it is spoiled. Don’t hesitate to throw it away with a clear green color also.

Long Span of Storage Time

A long time span of storage also makes way for the possibility of decay. It will also get too dry after a longer period of time. A well-stored and preserved prosciutto can last up to a maximum of two years. Using prosciutto for more than three years of preparation is not recommended.

Too Much Dry

Sliced prosciuttos have a higher chance to get dried. It is not recommended to eat very dry and hard-sliced prosciuttos.

Molds on the Surface of Prosciutto

Any sign of mold is another grave indication that your prosciutto is no more useful. If it is a whole prosciutto leg, don’t worry, just cut off the molded parts and discolored parts from further affecting the whole of the leg.

Slimy Texture

The slimy and greasy texture of prosciutto is also an indication that the dish is spoiled. The slimy texture is due to the breakdown of lactic acid. Avoid using it with such clear-cut indications.

It is also not recommended to taste prosciutto if you feel it is spoiled. Eating spoiled prosciutto is way dangerous to your body.

How Long Does Prosciutto Last

Interesting Facts about Prosciutto

  • ‘Ham’ is what prosciutto means in Italian. Prosciutto is made by preserving the hind leg of pigs using salt.
  • The word prosciutto means ‘to suck out moisture’.
  • It takes almost 2 years to prepare prosciutto.
  • Prosciutto is a very healthy dish as it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
  • Consumption of prosciutto can prevent megaloblastic anemia and it helps in balancing your body fluids as well as fight infection.
  • Prosciutto also has the rich presence of a heart-friendly fat named oleic fat.
  • Prosciutto is known for low calories and has the presence of minerals like iron and thiamine.

FAQs on Can Prosciutto Go Bad?

1. Does Prosciutto Go Bad if not Refrigerated?

No. You can actually store your prosciutto at room temperature if it is properly vacuum sealed. However, the temperature must not exceed 65°F.

2. What increases the Shelf Life of Prosciutto?

A proper vacuum seal is what helps to increase the shelf life of prosciutto. Once opened, use wax paper, aluminum foil, or an airtight container. Also, keep it away from food items like cheese.

3. How long can sliced prosciutto last in the fridge?

Sliced, unopened prosciutto can last up to 3-4 months with the vacuum seal. Once opened it would be ideal to use it within a week and best to use it within 4 days.

4. Is it Safe to Eat Prosciutto Raw?

During the drying process, salt draws out blood and moisture from the ham preventing it from getting affected by bacteria. Thus you must notice the fact that meat is totally safe to eat raw. This is one of the reasons why it remains a favorite dish of people.


Hope you got information regarding how long does prosciutto last. Also, do check our instructions to see if your prosciutto has gone bad. Do follow our storage tips to increase the shelf life of your prosciutto. For more information and updates regarding food-related queries, visit our website @Can Food Go Bad. Don’t hesitate to contact us in the comment section below.

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