How to Cook a Ham

Everything you need to know about how to cook a ham for your holiday dinner. Start with a spiralized ham and make a homemade honey ham glaze for a deliciously flavorful tender & juicy ham.

We LOVE making a comforting ham dinner! Here we’re sharing the basics of how to bake ham. Find a recipe for honeybaked hams and cranberry ham on our site also. They’re both delicious!

brushing glaze over spiral ham

Easy Baked Ham Recipe

Thanks to the Ohio Pork Council for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

For the first 10 years of our married life I cooked everything in the slow cooker. Have a roast? Slow cook it. Pork chops? With gravy in the slow cooker. Stew? Yes, you guessed it….pull out the slow cooker. Since starting this website 5 years ago, I’ve loved learning how to cook a tender roast in the oven, grill a perfect steak and cook stew in the dutch oven.

Learning how to cook a ham is no different. Don’t get me wrong…I still love a good slow cooker ham. But every now and then I buy a spiral sliced ham and let it do its “slow cooking” in the oven. We’re talking today about how to make a tender, juicy ham with delicious glaze.

Prepping for Easter? Check out our complete Easter dinner menu.

How to Choose a Ham

There are different types of ham that you’ll find in the store. In short there are three types: spiral sliced, bone-in unsliced hams, boneless hams. Bone-in unsliced hams allow you to cut slices to your own desired thickness. Boneless hams obviously have the bone removed, then during the curing process the ham is pressed back together to get a uniform shape. Sometimes boneless hams will have a slightly different texture than traditional hams.

My favorite type of ham is spiral sliced. They are super easy because it comes perfectly sliced in sizes ideal for sandwiches or serving. It also makes a beautiful centerpiece on your dinner table. Spiral sliced hams often come with a seasoning packet. I normally throw that seasoning packet away and make my own glaze, which we’ll talk about next!

Ham Glaze Recipe

I like to make a glaze sweetened with honey, brown sugar and maple syrup. I’d have to say that those are my three favorite sweeteners! Add a touch of dijon mustard and black pepper for just a little spice. If you’d like you can add ¼ teaspoon of cloves or ginger. I’ve done this occasionally to give the ham a “Christmas” flavor, but most of the time I leave out those two spices.

ham glaze in a bowl with a pastry brushHow to Bake Ham

Baking a ham is easier than you may think. I simply place the ham in a roasting pan (or 9×13 pan), then pour a cup of ginger ale and a cup of orange juice overtop the ham. This not only adds to the flavor but helps keep the ham juicy while it cooks.

Cover either the ham itself or the pan with foil. Make sure it is covered well so the ham doesn’t dry out.

Set the oven to 350 degrees and bake the ham, basting every 15-20 minutes. Uncover the ham when you baste it, but then cover it back up when you put it back in the oven.

How Long to Bake Ham

It will normally take about 10-15 minutes per pound to heat the spiral sliced ham to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. We set our oven to 350 degrees and plan for it to take about 1 ½ to 2 hours for the nearly 10 pound hams we buy.

Can I Make This Ham in the Slow Cooker?

Yes! You can make this ham in the slow cooker. I set the slow cooker to low, place the ham in the crockpot, and pour the ginger ale and orange juice overtop. Then I mix up the glaze and pour it over the ham. After about 4-5 hours the ham should be warmed through. If I cook this ham in the slow cooker, I try to baste it several times while it cooks so that those delicious flavors get distributed all thr0ugh the meat. The part of the ham that is soaking in the juices will have the most flavor though. You could always turn the ham over part way through cooking so the whole ham has time to simmer in the juices.

Slow cooker ham will not look as pretty as oven baked ham, but it will be tender and flavorful.

a closeup of spiral sliced ham
how to cook a ham
how to cook a ham

How to Cook a Ham

4.82 from 32 votes
Everything you need to know about how to cook a ham for your holiday dinner. Start with a spiralized ham and make a homemade honey ham glaze for a deliciously flavorful tender & juicy ham.
Servings 30
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 10 pound fully cooked spiral sliced ham (weight is approximate)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup ginger ale

Ham Glaze

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Remove the ham from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the ham sliced side up in a roasting pan.
  • Pour the orange juice and ginger ale overtop the ham.
  • Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine the syrup, honey, sugar, mustard and pepper. Mix well. 
  • Baste the ham with juices and brush with ham glaze. Bake again for 20 minutes.
  • (Be sure to leave about ½ cup of ham glaze for basting again right before serving.)
  • Continue baking them ham, basting with the honey glaze every 15 minutes until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  This will take about 10-15 minutes per pound of fully cooked ham. Plan for about 90-120 minutes of cooking for a ham. 
  • Remove the ham from the oven and allow it to rest covered for 10-15 minutes.
  • Baste with the remaining ham glaze right before serving.

Video

Author Julie Clark
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword christmas dinner, easter dinner, ham dinner

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Everything you need to know about how to cook a ham for your holiday dinner. Start with a spiralized ham and make a homemade honey ham glaze for a deliciously flavorful tender & juicy ham.

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Comments

  1. What kind of maple syrup is used ?? Can I use the plain kind that’s used on pancakes ?? Like aunt Jemima??

    1. You can use Aunt Jemima or 100% pure maple syrup, but yes, just pancake syrup πŸ™‚

  2. This sounds amazing and I will be cooking this Sunday. A little nervous though. Not much of a cook. So you completely cover the ham with the foil loosely or tight?

    1. We cover it loosely rather than tight, but we do push it around the ham to also. So kind of in between both. πŸ™‚

  3. 5 stars
    Excellent!!! Best recipe ever! My family requests this every year. Plus they want double the glaze lol. So tender and delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe! πŸ˜Šβ€οΈπŸ˜‹

  4. Do you put the OJ and ginger ale on the ham within the foil and wrapped in it? Or do you put in on the pan itself with the ham wrapped separately?

  5. Do you keep the ham covered with foil the entire time, or baste and leave open to the oven heat while cooking for 2-3 hours? I haven’t tried yet, I just have a question.

  6. 5 stars
    Omg this looks so DELICIOUS πŸ˜‹ I’m gonna try it, can this be cooked In the crockpot πŸ€” I love cooking in my Crock-Pot it makes meat turn out so tender…..

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