Ham is a delicious holiday meal and an excellent turkey alternative on thanksgiving.
However, it’s a time-consuming endeavor that requires prior preparation—knowing how long to cook ham is the first of the many steps.
Patience is the recipe for a tasty homey ham meal.
So, how long to cook ham?
The time and temperatures to cook ham depend on variables like cooking method, ham cut, pre-cooked or raw ham, and size.
Most hams are pre-cooked; thus, reheating takes a shorter time, unlike fresh ones.
Notably, it’s easy to overcook or undercook ham in whichever state; therefore, use an instant thermometer to ascertain doneness.
This article guides you on how long to cook ham per pound, smoked, pre-cooked, or fresh in the oven or slow cooker.
We break it down for you to ensure your serve a perfectly cooked ham.
Do you cook ham at 325F or 350F?
According to the USDA guidelines, the best temperature to bake a cooked or uncooked ham in the oven is 325F.
Alternatively, you can cook ham at 350F, but it will take a shorter timeline.
For example, a 7lb arm picnic shoulder takes about 20 minutes per pound at 350F.
The exact weight and meat cut take approximately 30 minutes per pound at 325F.
How long to cook ham per pound?
Most commercial hams come cooked and ready for consumption straight from the package, depending on how it was cured.
Therefore, the cooking time largely depends on whether it’s cooked or uncooked, how much it weighs, and your method.
Typically, ham is packaged and sold as half (average 7- 10 pounds) or whole (average 10 – 18 pounds).
A pound takes about 25 to 30 minutes at 325F in the oven.
Thus, adjust the timing according to the size you are preparing to maintain an internal temperature of at least 145F.
How long to cook a smoked ham per pound
Smoked ham can either be cooked or uncooked.
If cooked, you need to reheat it at 325F until the internal temperature reaches 145F.
Depending on the ham cut, it takes roughly 10 to 20 minutes per pound.
For instance, Whole ham takes longer to cook than bone-in ham.
Uncooked smoked ham must cook at 325F until a final internal temperature of 150F.
Depending on the cut, it should take about 15 to 40 minutes per pound—the whole bone-in takes 20 minutes, while the shoulder boneless is approximately 40 minutes per pound.
How long to cook bone-in ham per pound
Bone-in ham produces tender meat and dense flavors perfect for several recipes.
A pound of ham bone-in takes about 10 to 15 minutes; thus, a 10-pound ham meal will cook for approximately two and a half hours.
Carefully monitor the temperature to avoid overcooking.
Remove the heat source and let the bone-in ham stand for about 3 minutes to reach a final temperature of 160F.
A thermometer would give an accurate reading, but you can use a
How long to cook boneless ham per pound
Depending on the cut, a whole leg bone-in takes about 30 minutes at a 325F baking temperature.
A boneless shoulder roll or butt takes about 35 to 40 minutes per pound at 325F.
On the other hand, canned boneless ham cooks for about 20 minutes per pound at 325F to a 165F internal temperature.
How long to cook fresh uncooked ham per pound
The time required for cooking fresh ham depends on the cut; however, the baking temperature should be 325F with a final internal temperature of 145F.
For instance, a whole leg bone-in takes about 25 minutes per pound, while a half bone-in cooks for 40 minutes per pound.
How long to cook country ham per pound
Country ham is dry-cured and mainly sold uncooked, unlike the wet-cured city ham that is common in grocery stores.
These country hams are salty and need soaking in the refrigerator before cooking to subdue the salt, preferably for 4 to 12 hours, depending on the size.
Country ham takes about 20 to 25 minutes per pound to boil.
Drain and glaze the ham in a roasting pan and bake at 400F for about 15 minutes.
Remove the source of heat at 155F and let it stand to reach a final internal temperature of 160F.
How long to cook a frozen ham
First, thaw the frozen ham to room temperature before cooking.
We discuss the different cooking durations based on the method used;
In an oven
Bake frozen ham at 325F for about 20 minutes per pound in a conventional oven.
Cooking a 10 lb. ham is about 2 ¼ hours of total cooking time.
Adjust the time and temperature according to the ham cut used.
Cover the ham in foil to allow even cooking.
In an instant pot
What we love most about pressure cookers is how it simplifies the cooking process; you add all the ingredients, set the time, and come back to a delicious meal.
Set the pressure cooker to a high temperature and cook your ham for about 35 minutes per pound with 5 minutes resting or until the internal temperature reaches 160F.
In a slow cooker
A slow cooker is the best if you want tender and flavor-dense ham.
However, time is the significant downside though—you can’t use a slow cooker while in a hurry to eat.
Ensure the slow cooker is large enough to fit your ham, and add an inch of water for even cooking.
It may take 6 to 12 hours, depending on the meat size and thickness, temperature settings (low or high), and the ham cut.
How to cook boneless ham: Recipe
Picture this; a tender and juicy boneless ham dressed in pineapple rings topped with cherries and a drizzle of honey glaze.
This timeless and nostalgic meal is perfect for holidays or special occasions; it’s simple to cook.
How To Cook A Glazed Ham
A good old-fashioned Southern-style glazed ham recipe calls for three basic elements: salt pork, honey and mustard, plus optional seasonings such as cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper.
Glazing the outside of the ham involves soaking the skin in water for several hours prior to applying the glaze.
Then brush on enough glaze to coat every inch evenly. Let sit for 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Next, apply a second coating of glaze, letting it soak into the meat overnight. Finally, give it a third layer of glaze the following day.
Afterward, let the whole thing hang upside down for two weeks — yes, two full weeks — to cure completely.
You may notice that some traditional recipes call for white wine instead of cider vinegar, and that’s OK.
Vinegar gives the right amount of acidity required for curing, and it has less alcohol content than wine does. Just remember to buy only pure apple cider vinegar without extra flavors added.
Nowadays, you could skip the lengthy process altogether by buying a fully prepared glazed ham. Look for products labeled “ready to eat,” which means no brining period needed.
They still come with instructions for brushing on the final coats of glaze though, so you can always bake it yourself if you prefer.
How To Cook A Brown Sugar Ham
Brown sugar adds sweetness to the classic glaze recipe, and it helps create a rich flavor similar to molasses. Plus, it provides a subtle hint of smokey char.
In fact, smoked sugars aren’t really sugars at all; they’re flavored with wood chips and spices. Brown cane sugar is typically used for smoking.
If you decide to go this route, start with a small piece of fruitwood like oak, maple or mesquite.
Once you see the desired color, remove the chip from the flame and place it directly onto the top rack of your smoker.
Use a thermometer to check for doneness once the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F (60 degrees C), and flip halfway through cooking.
Another option is to simply sprinkle the ham with seasoned salt and wrap it tightly in foil.
Set it aside in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the seasoning to permeate throughout.
When you open the package, pour 1 cup of brown sugar over the ham, rub it around gently with paper towels, and set it back in the foil pouch.
Roast for eight to 10 hours at 180 degrees F (82 degrees C), checking it frequently during cooking. Remove from the oven and unwrap the foil.
Slice thinly, garnish with additional brown sugar and chopped pecans, and enjoy.
How To Cook A Pinapple Glazed Ham
Instead of adding brown sugar to the mix, swap it out with canned crushed pineapple juice to achieve a sweeter glaze.
Simply combine 2 cups of fresh orange juice, 4 tablespoons cornstarch, 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon minced onion with 1 cup pineapple juice.
Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer until thickened.
Brush generously over the entire surface of the ham and leave uncovered overnight.
Rinse again the next day and continue to dry thoroughly between each application of glaze. Serve sliced thin and topped with candied nuts.
For a unique spin on this dish, try making a quick marinade with soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, minced onions and olive oil.
Rub this mixture over the exterior of the ham, then tie closed with kitchen twine. Place the wrapped ham in a large pot filled with cold water.
Add bay leaves, thyme sprigs and 12 peppercorns. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil and skim off foam.
Reduce heat to medium-low, partially uncover and cook for 45 minutes per pound. Unwrap the ham and discard water.
Pat dry with clean cloth or paper towel and slice.
How To Cook A Cherry Glazed Ham
Cherry preserves lend their tangy goodness to this simple glaze, and they pair perfectly with the natural juices released by the ham during cooking.
Combine 1 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar and 1/4 cup red currant jelly in a bowl.
Spread evenly over the ham, leaving space around the edges. Wrap securely in plastic wrap and chill for 48 hours.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C); line rack of broiler pan with aluminum foil and poke slits in foil to form handles.
Put ham on rack and score lightly underneath with sharp knife tip. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F (65 degrees C).
Cool slightly, transfer to serving platter, and serve warm or at room temperature.
How To Cook A Bourbon Glazed Ham
Bourbon makes everything better, including gravy. Here, it turns a regular glaze into something special.
Mix together equal parts of milk, heavy cream and flour, along with 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup bourbon, grated orange peel, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Pour half of the mixture over the ham, covering the exposed flesh entirely.
Reserve remaining glaze mixture. Return ham to oven, increase temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), and bake for 15 minutes.
Turn the oven off and carefully take the ham out. Using tongs, hold the ham upright and brush the reserved glaze over the skin side of the ham.
Continue brushing the glaze over the ham until completely coated.
Lay the ham back in the oven and return to the original temperature. Repeat rinsing procedure twice daily for seven days.
Store loosely wrapped in the refrigerator up to six months.
- 8 lb. smoked boneless ham, fully cooked
- 2 20 oz. pineapple slices in juice, canned
- 20 cherries
- 1 tbsp. cloves, whole
- 2 cups honey
- 2 cups brown sugar
- Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325F
- Step 2: Score the top and sides of the ham about a ¼ inch deep and place the cloves. Set in a roasting pan.
- Step 3: Drain the canned pineapple juice, but preserve the juices. Place the pineapple slices and cherries around the ham, holding them together using toothpicks.
- Step 4: Pour ½ inch of water at the bottom of the roasting pan and tent the ham with foil. Roast for about 1 ¼ hour or until an instant thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 140F.
- Step 5: Bring a saucepan to medium-high heat and combine the honey, brown sugar, and pineapple juice. Simmer for about 30 minutes and occasionally stir until it’s thick and syrupy. Set aside.
- Step 6: Increase the oven temperature to 350F.
- Step 7: Uncover the ham and brush it with half the glaze—Bake for 20 more minutes.
- Step 8: Brush with the remaining glaze and bake for another 20 minutes until the glaze is shiny and golden brown. The crust should be crispy by now.
- Step 9: Set to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you carve a spiral ham?
A spiral ham is considered the easiest ham to slice but can be challenging for first-timers.
Insert a boning knife close to the side where there’s a bone parallel to the countertop.
Slice around the one and from the center, pilling on a serving platter.
Drizzle with desired sauce.
How long can you freeze ham?
Properly packaged cured, uncured, cooked, or uncooked ham can last up to 6 months in the freezer.
Freezing leftover in shapes and sizes makes it easier when thawing.
The general rule is to portion and store in freezer-safe bags depending on the ham cut.
How do you thaw frozen ham?
The first step is to place frozen ham in a fridge for 36 hours before reheating it in the microwave, oven, or skillet.
Alternatively, use a warm bath.
Heat some water in a large pot until it becomes warm, not boiling.
Place a container with the frozen ham bags in the warm water bath.
The frozen items will defrost in about 2 hours—this is best for cooked frozen ham.
Should you cover ham while baking?
Yes, it’s ideal for covering ham while baking as it helps retain moisture and even cook.
It also deepens the flavors leading to a tastier meal.
Baking ham uncovered leads to moisture evaporation resulting in a dry and bland dish.
The bottom line
As you prepare for the holidays, don’t stress what to cook, ham is always an excellent choice.
There’s no correct answer for the best way to cook pork.
However, remember that meat thickness, preparation method, and ham cut determine the cooking time and final temperature.
The general rule of thumb is to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 145F; that way, it’s perfectly safe for consumption.
Delicious Ham Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 325F
- Score the top and sides of the ham about a ¼ inch deep and place the cloves. Set in a roasting pan.
- Drain the canned pineapple juice, but preserve the juices. Place the pineapple slices and cherries around the ham, holding them together using toothpicks.
- Pour ½ inch of water at the bottom of the roasting pan and tent the ham with foil. Roast for about 1 ¼ hour or until an instant thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 140F.
- Bring a saucepan to medium-high heat and combine the honey, brown sugar, and pineapple juice. Simmer for about 30 minutes and occasionally stir until it’s thick and syrupy. Set aside.
- Increase the oven temperature to 350F.
- Uncover the ham and brush it with half the glaze—Bake for 20 more minutes.
- Brush with the remaining glaze and bake for another 20 minutes until the glaze is shiny and golden brown. The crust should be crispy by now.
- Set to rest for 15 minutes before carving.