How to Slice Ham Paper Thin

Whether you are cooking a dish for your family or entertaining friends, slicing ham paper-thin can be tricky at times. A common question that arises in the kitchen is how to slice ham paper thin. It takes practice and patience to get the perfect cuts every time, so it is important to find a technique that works best for you. This article will answer this question and provide helpful tips on achieving great results.

The most important part of the process is getting the meat as cold as possible before slicing. Ensure it’s in an airtight container and place it in the fridge overnight to ensure maximum chill.  Read on for more information! 

How to Slice Ham Paper Thin

10 Methods on How To Slice Ham Paper Thin:

1. Use a Sharp Knife.  

Use your other hand to hold the ham’s leg firmly in place. Slice with the grain (not against it) for best results. If your ham is pre-cooked, wet your knife blade between cuts to make the slicing easier.

2. Use a Food Processor to Slice Ham Paper-thin.  

Because of its uniform thickness, you can cut evenly sized slices from a block of cheese using a food processor with the slicing blade attachment. However, the thickness of the slice is still up to you. Just be careful not to cut yourself!

3. Freeze Pork to Make Slicing Easier.

Before cutting into your ham, chill it in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up the meat. This will allow you to cut clean, even slices through your ham with less effort.

4. Slice Ham Against the Grain.

This is a step that many people overlook but is very important for paper-thin slices of ham. To determine the direction of the meat’s grain, look at how it’s put together or “knit.” You can tell it follows lines and curves instead of just being squashed together. Ideally, it would help if you cut perpendicular to these lines and curves to slice across them rather than along them.

5. Blowtorch Pork for Paper-thin Slices.

Using a blow torch, quickly sear meat on both sides until slightly browned and bubbling. Before making your sandwich lightly, you can also use the torches’ flame to toast the bread. For the best results, sear your ham paper-thin but not too thin.

6. Use an Electric Knife.

Electric knives are designed specifically for slicing meat, cheese, and bread very thinly or even through it so long as the power cord reaches where you need it. Electric knives are easy to use and comfortable to handle. They make carving simple, whether you’re cooking your ham with an electric knife or using it to slice leftover holiday ham.

7. Try a Meat Slicer.

Meat slicers can slice ham paper-thin and come equipped with several different blades so you can get the thickness you prefer. You can also use a meat slicer to slice bread. Some meat slicers can be adjusted to slice cheese as well.

8. Get a Boning Knife and Saw Away.

If you like your ham paper-thin, using a regular utility knife won’t cut it unless you use some elbow grease and hold the blade at an extremely sharp angle to give yourself the thinnest slices possible. Instead, invest in a boning knife. Boning knives are designed to get into small fish areas, so you will have an easier time getting thin slices of ham.

9. Use an All-Purpose Chef Knife.

Don’t have a boning knife? Not to worry. Your all-purpose chef knife should do the trick too! Hold the ham down with your non-cutting hand, and cut parallel slices into the meat that stop just short of entering your cutting board or plate. Since you’re using the same knife for both hands, you may need to give your arm some extra support while you work.

10. Use a Serrated Knife.

If you don’t have an electric, boning, or all-purpose chef knife, don’t worry! Your serrated knife is another great way to get paper-thin ham slices without too much effort on your part. Simply cut down into the meat at a 45-degree angle and rotate your ham. Then, continue to slice perpendicular to the cuts you made and watch as you turn your ham into paper-thin slices.

Procedures: How to Slice Ham Paper Thin 

Step 1:

Place the ham on a cutting board so the long side is parallel to you.

Step 2:

Using a carving knife, score a line along the skin of your drawn line. Be careful not to cut into the actual meat.

Step 3:

As you keep the drawn line next to you, slice down towards yourself until the blade is about an eighth of an inch away from the line.

Step 4:

Keeping the knife blade so it is against the skin, with one hand holding the ham in place with a fork or other grip, slice with short quick strokes away from you. Repeat this procedure until you have reached your original drawn line, and then continue to slice the ham thinly.

How to Slice Ham Paper Thin

Step 5:

For added effect, turn the ham so it is perpendicular to you and cut off thin slices of meat around the bone into a circular pattern until the whole bone is revealed.

Step 6: 

Keep some ham out on a platter for guests to enjoy while placing other pieces on plates with crackers.

Some Tips and Suggestions:

1. Use a very sharp knife and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes before slicing. The cold blade will stay sharper for longer and will allow you to slice more thinly than if using a room-temperature blade.

2. When your ham comes out of the oven, use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to score the skin in one-inch intervals. This will allow you to get more even slices of ham without the problem of sliding the ham around on the cutting board.

3. Let your hot baked ham rest for 15 minutes before slicing; this helps keep it juicy and allows time for juices that are driven to the center by the heat to redistribute.

4. Place ham on a cutting board that has been coated lightly with non-stick cooking spray. The ham will not stick to the surface if using this method, allowing you to get even slices of meat or skin.

5. Have an extra set of hands ready who can hold down your paper-thin ham slices as you cut. This prevents the ham from moving and allows for even slicing.

6. Brush off any crumbs from your baked ham before you start to slice it; this helps keep the paper-thin pieces of meat from getting caught in crevices or folds on your ham.

7. Rinse your ham with warm water before placing it in the oven; this allows easier skin removal after baking.

8. Use a slicer or an electric knife to slice your ham paper-thin. The results are usually better than when using a regular kitchen knife, and you can slice more evenly than if trying to do so by hand.

7 Things To Consider When Slicing Ham Paper Thin:

1. Freeze the Ham.

Freezing your meat for a couple of hours makes it easier to slice paper-thin. You don’t have to rush the thawing process to get those perfect slices. Instead, leave your ham frozen until it’s just soft enough that you can cut through it with the sharpest blade possible instead of hacking at it with a dull knife.

2. Use a Sharp Blade.

Whether using an electric slicer or doing the slicing yourself, make sure your blade is sharp! Dull knives can slip off of ham hocks, leaving unattractive pieces that nobody wants to take home from the deli counter.

3. Watch for Air Bubbles While Slicing.

A common mistake people make (which results in paper-thin slices that aren’t as thin as they should be) is not watching out for air bubbles. The best way to ensure that your ham slices through an air bubble and doesn’t just push it up and over the slice ahead of it, giving you a thicker than the desired result, hold your knife at a slightly downward angle as you slice. This will help prevent air bubbles from popping up and ruining your beautiful slices.

4. When Slicing Ham for Sandwiches, Cut Against the Grain.

If you are planning on making a sandwich or some other cold dish with the ham, it is best to cut with the grain of the meat instead of across it as you would for hot dishes like Cubanos, so that you don’t end up with dry, stringy slices.

5. Rinse the ham in cold water after slicing

Freshly sliced deli meat is great in sandwiches, but it looks terrible if it isn’t rinsed in cold water. So to get rid of the residue on your ham slices, give them a quick rinse in cold water to make sure that they look as fresh as possible.

6. Slice Ham on a Cold Cutting Board.

You can use a large clean cutting board if you don’t have a deli counter to cut your ham at the store. Make sure it is made from wood or another material that doesn’t absorb liquids, and place it in the freezer for an hour so that it’s nice and cool when slicing your meat.

Slice Ham on a Cold Cutting Board

7. Keep one Hand on the Ham as You Cut

It may not be necessary to hold the entire piece of ham steady, but keeping at least one hand firmly placed on your meat as you slice is helpful. This will help prevent slipping and ensure that every piece comes out looking as neat and clean as possible.

How Do You Thin Slice a Ham Without a Slicer?

When you want to make a sandwich or appetizer for a party, slicing a ham paper-thin can be tricky without a slicer. If you don’t have one of these appliances in your kitchen, though, there are ways that you can slice the ham into more manageable pieces. You can create paper-thin pieces of ham by creating slices from top to bottom and then side to side.

There are two methods of slicing the ham paper-thin. The first method involves using your hand to push on the edge of the ham while you slice. The second method involves using your hand to steady the ham as you push down on it with a knife. Both methods are effective when done carefully. Let’s take a look at both slicing techniques to choose which is right for your needs.

Hand Method

The most important part of this method is keeping a steady grip on the ham to avoid slipping and cutting your hand. Place the ham on a cutting board with its fatty side up, and then use a sharp knife to slice from the top corner of the large end to the bottom corner. Slice downwardly using long, even strokes to create an almost perfectly rectangular slice of ham.

Continue slicing the ham from the top corner downwards, rotating it each time you reach a corner so that the fatty side is always facing up. Keep slicing until you have thin, paper-like slices.

Cutting Method

Use a long, sharp knife to cut straight down through the ham. Start in the center and slice toward one corner. Repeat this process for each corner of the ham until you’ve reached your desired thinness. Some people prefer this method to slice from top to bottom because it’s easier to slice through all the layers of flesh and fat evenly.

When the slices are too thin, they can break when you pick them up or eat them. As a result, it’s usually best to stop slicing when the slices reach approximately 1/8 inch in thickness. This is usually around one-quarter of an inch thick, making for easy eating but isn’t as paper-thin as some sandwich meats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Mandoline Slicer Meat?

Yes, a mandoline slicer can be used to slice meat. However, it is important to use caution when using a mandoline slicer as it can be dangerous if not used properly. Always read the instructions that come with your slicer before using it and follow them closely.

What Is Deli Sliced?

Deli sliced is a type of cheese that is usually made from processed milk and has been shredded or cut into thin strips. It is often used as an ingredient in sandwiches, salads, and other dishes.

Will a Meat Slicer Cut Through Bone?

A meat slicer will not cut through bone, but a boneless slicer will. A boneless slicer has a blade that is specifically designed to slice through bone without breaking it.

Is a Meat Slicer Worth It?

A meat slicer can be a great investment if you plan to make your own bacon, ham, or sausage. It is also a good choice if you want to make your own steak, chicken, or pork chops.

The main benefits of owning a meat slicer are that it is easy to use and clean. You can also adjust the thickness of the slices you make.

There are several types of meat slicers on the market, so choosing one that fits your needs and budget is important. Some of the more popular models include the horizontal/vertical type, the electric type, and the manual type.

Can You Slice Meat With a Food Processor?

Yes, you can slice meat with a food processor. However, it is important to follow the safety guidelines that are included with your food processor.

Some of the safety guidelines that you should follow when using a food processor to slice meat include:

  • Always wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves and a face shield.
  • Keep the work area clean and free from sharp objects.
  • Use the correct size blade for the task at hand.
  • Be sure to read the manual that comes with your food processor before starting to use it.


If you need a paper-thin ham slice, don’t try to use your knife. The best way is with an electric carving knife set on the thinnest setting. It should take just one stroke from top to bottom and side to side across the entire length of the ham as it sits in its roasting pan before slicing into individual portions.

Now you know how to slice ham paper thin. And the best part is, it’s easy! You can try this technique with any meat or vegetable and enjoy a beautiful presentation for your friends and family.

Check out the article How to Make Paper Shiny With Glue

Jennifer Branett
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