If you’ve ever wondered how to cook a spiral ham, look no further. It couldn’t be easier, you just need a few tips and tricks so your holiday ham stays juicy and tender!
Every time Easter or Christmas season rolls around, I inevitably receive a few emails from readers asking how to cook a spiral ham. What they’re really asking is “how do I prevent my ham from drying out if it’s already been cooked and sliced?” And while I prefer cooking a fresh ham (the flavor just can’t be beat), sometimes it’s nice to just throw one in the oven and know that all I have to do is heat it and eat it.
So let’s talk about how to cook a spiral ham. First, you should put a ham glaze on the outside of your ham but also between the slices, too; this will add tremendous flavor. I usually just throw something together (it almost always involves jam and adobo sauce, I just can’t resist that spicy-sweet combo, even on ham) but I’ve put together a simple ham glaze recipe for you in case you need one. If you’re ever in a pinch, another easy ham glaze recipe is simply equal amounts of maple syrup and brown sugar then Dijon mustard to taste – couldn’t be more simple and it’s delicious!
When it comes to “cooking” your ham, wrap lightly with foil while baking. This will keep the juices in and prevent them from evaporating while your ham is in the oven. You can occasionally open the tinfoil and baste the ham with the juices, too, which only helps keep it more moist. Cook it low and slow – you’re really just reheating it – and just long enough that your ham is warm but not dried out. Typically this is about 18 minutes per pound but I’ll sometimes pull mine out about 20 minutes before that since it will stay warm in the tinfoil (and even room temperature ham is MUCH better than dry)! Most directions for cooking a spiral sliced ham tell you to reheat your ham at 275F and I agree with this method. The reason for this is because you want to heat your ham slowly so that by the time the center of your ham is warm the outside slices aren’t dried out.
I hope these easy tips will help answer how to cook a spiral ham and allow you to focus on the rest of your holiday dinner. And don’t forget to save that ham bone; I have a terrific and easy Split Pea Soup with Ham recipe coming tomorrow!
You could add in a splash of bourbon to this glaze or a few tablespoons of adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles), too.
I use the same amount of glaze regardless of the size of my ham. Anything over 12 pounds, however, and I'd increase the amounts by at least 50%; you can always serve extra glaze on the side (just warm it slightly in the microwave just before serving).
- 1/2 cup jam (apricot, peach and cherry all work well)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mustard (use your favorite, I love a spicy brown)
- Let your ham sit on the counter for about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 275F. Line two pieces of foil in different directions on top of large baking sheet. Remove all packaging from ham (including glaze packet) and discard. Place ham on top of foil.
- Mix together all ham glaze ingredients. Spread glaze all over the top and sides of ham and between each slice (you can use a brush but I find that using my hands is easiest). Pull up the sides of the foil and wrap ham gently (not loose but not too tight, either), using additional foil if necessary.
- Place ham in oven and bake for approximately 18 minutes per pound, opening foil to baste with juices a couple of times during cooking. Remove from oven and baste once more with juices (you can serve extra at the table if desired). Serve and enjoy!