If you’ve never cooked bone-in ham on your own, there’s no need to worry! Cooking a ham is a lot easier than it seems, from cooking times to temperatures, we’re here to help you with any questions you may have about bone-in ham.
Hams are a holiday staple in many households, but they’re also a great meal all year round! While it’s easy to grab sliced ham from the deli at your grocery store, cooking your own ham at home will give you the best-tasting results. If you’re looking to cook a bone-in ham, then this is the article for you!
If you’ve ever wondered what the term “ham” means, you’re not alone! Ham is a cut of meat from the leg of a pig that is often cured, smoked or baked. When it’s cooked right, ham is juicy, tender and full of flavor! Among the many different types of ham out there, we recommend bone-in ham for its delicious flavor and texture.
Which is Better: Bone-in or Bone-out Ham?
This depends on how much work you’re willing to put in! Bone-out hams are usually easier to cook and carve because the bones were removed before the ham was processed. Sadly, bone-out hams are often preserved with water and salt, which affects the texture of the meat and makes it less flavorful. In contrast, bone-in hams are undeniably more flavorful and have a better texture, but they need more effort to carve.
Is a Bone-in Ham Already Cooked?
Most hams that you purchase from the store will already be fully cooked. When purchasing your ham, check to see if the package says things like pre-cooked, fully cooked, cured or baked. If you see any of these words, then your ham most likely just needs to be reheated.
What is the Best Way to Cook a Bone-in Ham
The most common way to cook a bone-in ham is in an oven, this method requires little supervision and makes sure that the meat is being heated evenly. If you’re looking for an alternative way to cook your bone-in ham, grilling is a great option. Grilling your ham is similar to using an oven, simply place the ham in a pan and cook using indirect heat.
If you want a flavorful and juicy ham, then glazing is the way to go. Glazing is a cooking technique that pours or brushes a coating over your dish to enhance the flavor and keep it moist. There are lots of popular glazing ingredients for ham such as brown sugar, honey, and even bourbon. You’ll want to glaze your ham before putting it in the oven and then apply a second layer 30 minutes before your ham is done.
TIP: Scoring the meat with perpendicular cuts before cooking is really important when making glazed ham, it helps the flavor seep deeply into the meat!
How Long to Cook a Bone-in Ham
How long you should cook your bone-in ham depends on whether or not it is pre-cooked, and if it’s a half ham or a whole ham. Half hams usually weigh between 5 and 7 pounds. A fully cooked half ham should be reheated for 18-22 minutes per pound while an uncooked half ham should be cooked for approximately 22-25 minutes per pound.
Whole hams are generally between 10 and 14 pounds. A fully cooked whole ham should be reheated for 15-18 minutes per pound. An uncooked whole ham should be cooked for 18-20 minutes per pound.
What Temperature Do You Cook a Bone-in Ham?
Whether your ham is uncooked or fully cooked, the perfect temperature for cooking your bone-in ham is 325°F. This low temperature will heat the ham without cooking off all the moisture inside of it. Always check the internal temperature of the ham before removing it from the oven, it should be 145°F throughout the meat!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Bone-in ham
- Dijon mustard
- Pineapple juice
- Corn starch
How to Cook Bone-in Ham
- Take the room temperature bone-in ham and score the fat in a criss-cross pattern spaced 1-inch apart, cutting only the fat without cutting into the meat.
- In a small bowl, mix the Dijon mustard and pineapple juice, and brush the resulting mixture over the ham.
- On a roasting pan fitted with a rack, place the ham flat-side down, and bake in a 325°F oven, for 12 to 15 minutes per pound, until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 110°F. 15 minutes before the baking is complete remove the ham from the oven, cover it in foil, and turn the oven heat up to 400°F.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the pineapple juice, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, ginger and cornstarch. Boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, letting it bubble for a minute or two until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Remove the foil from the ham and brush it all over with the glaze until it is all used up.
- Bake the ham uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes until caramelized and the internal temperature of the ham reaches 140°F or 150°F. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Tips for the Best Bone-in Ham
- Remove from the Fridge 1-2 hours ahead: Before you even think about cooking your ham, you’ll want to remove it from the fridge 1 to 2 hours before you start your prep. This will raise the internal temperature of the ham, which will reduce the cooking time and ensure that the meat is cooking evenly.
- Cover during baking: Covering your ham with foil while it bakes is SO IMPORTANT! If it’s not covered, the juices from the ham will evaporate and you’ll be eating tough, dry ham for dinner.
- Heat to 140°F (fully cooked hams): When you buy a ham that is already fully cooked, you’re basically just reheating it. This is super convenient because you’ll know that it’s safe to eat once the internal temperature reaches 140°F.
- Cook to 150°F (partially cooked hams): A store-bought ham that is only partially cooked will need to cook for longer until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F. This will ensure that your meat is now fully cooked and ready to eat!
- Bone In Spiral Ham: A spiral ham is a great option for those of you who want the flavor of a bone-in ham but the convenience of a boneless ham. Bone-in spiral hams are cut in a continuous spiral at the processing plant, this keeps the meat in its original shape but makes carving much easier. Spiral ham won’t need to cook as long as regular bone-in hams, they only need to cook for 10-14 minutes per pound.
- Slow Cooker Bone In Ham: Slow cookers are a great way to cook ham when your oven is already occupied. To give it the best flavor, glaze and season your ham before putting in the slow cooker. Your ham should cook low and slow for 2-3 hours if it’s small or 4-6 hours if it’s large.
- Pressure Cooker Bone-in Ham: If you have a smaller ham, instant pots are a great cooking method. You’ll need a trivet that can hold the ham so it’s not touching the bottom of the pot. Pour 1 cup of liquid (water, wine, broth etc.) into the bottom of the pot so the meat stays juicy and cook on high for 2-3 minutes per pound.
- Ham with Pineapple: Pineapples are great for cooking ham because they have bromelain. Bromelain helps tenderize meat while the juice from the pineapple keeps the ham moist and juicy. To cook ham with pineapple, use canned pineapple rings and place them evenly over the ham using toothpicks.
Do You Cover the Bone-in Ham While Cooking?
To keep the meat nice and moist, you should always cover your bone-in ham with foil before cooking. If you don’t, the moisture in the ham will begin to evaporate as it heats up and you’ll be left with dry ham. Be sure to loosely cover the ham with tin foil so the air in your oven can circulate properly.
TIP: You can put a small amount of water or wine in the bottom of the pan to keep your ham nice and moist!
How to Carve a Bone-in Ham
The first things you’ll need to carve up your ham are a large cutting board, a carving fork and a long, thin blade. Once your ham is on the cutting board, look for the bone and begin cutting off a few slices parallel to the bone. This will give you a flat spot that you can rest on the cutting board for easier cutting. Now begin cutting slices perpendicular to the bone until your ham is sliced almost down to the bone. For the final step, position your knife underneath the bone and slice parallel across, your perpendicular slices should release easily from the bone.
What to Serve with Ham
There are so many sides that complement a juicy ham, but here are some of our favorites! Potatoes are a classic and easy side dish, you can serve your ham with mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, or any of your other favorite potato dishes. Another dish that combines great with the flavor of ham is glazed carrots. They’re easy to make, super delicious and good for your health!
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Glazed Baked Ham
- 1 bone-in ham 7-11 pounds, fully-cooked
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup pineapple juice
Brown Sugar Glaze
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Remove the ham from the fridge 1-2 hours ahead of time to sit at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F, placing the oven rack in the lower middle of the oven. Set aside a roasting pan fitted with a rack or trivet.
- Place the ham fat-side up on a work surface. Remove the plastic disk if there is one on the bone.
- Using a sharp knife, score the fat about ¼-inch deep in a criss-cross pattern spaced 1-inch apart. (Cut into the fat only without cutting into the meat.)
- Mix the Dijon mustard and pineapple juice in a cup. Then brush over the top of the ham.
- Place the ham flat-side down in the prepared roasting pan. Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours using the general rule of 12 to 15 minutes per pound. The internal temperature should reach 110°F before the next step.
- About 15 minutes before it’s done, it’s time to glaze the ham. Remove the ham from the oven and raise the temperature to 400°F.
- Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the pineapple juice, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, ginger and cornstarch. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, letting it bubble for a minute or two until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Remove the foil from the ham and brush all over with the glaze until used up.
- Put the ham back in the oven uncovered and bake for 10 to 20 minutes until caramelized and the internal temperature of the ham reaches 140°F if the ham was fully cooked already (or 150°F if it was partially cooked).
- Serve immediately. To slice a bone-in ham, you can start by cutting around the bone. Then use a chef’s knife or ham slicer to cut slices from around the bone.
- Save the ham bone to make soup.