How To Cook A Ham Perfectly, 4 Ways

Traditional Easter ham on the table served with Easter brunch

How To Cook A Ham Perfectly, 4 Ways

Are you curious about the best way to cook a ham perfectly? Ham is a popular holiday dish. Its versatility makes it suitable for sandwiches, casseroles, salads, and more! 

Ham comes from the leg of a pig and undergoes perseveration for the best quality and shelf life. Ham also contains essential nutrients that we need every day, like carnosine, iron, Vitamin B, and selenium. Additionally, this meat is a great source of protein.

One of the downsides of eating ham is that it contains high amounts of sodium. However, in moderation, ham brings to the table a unique flavor that is quite strong. It also is an excellent main dish that is so versatile that it can be dressed up in so many ways! At the end of this article are some delicious ingredients to add to your ham when playing with flavoring. However, first, we must explore the best ways to cook ham perfectly! Let's take a look below. 

The Flavor of Ham

The flavor of the ham is unique. It is sweet yet has a distinct flavor that many enjoy. No matter what you add to ham, the flavor will always shine through because it is rich and powerful. Sometimes, it tastes savory and smokey, but there will always be a sweet undertone to ham.

Traditional Sliced Honey Glazed Ham Ready for the Holidays
Ham is a popular dish that is great for holidays and just everyday lunch or dinner!

©Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

How to Cook Ham That Your Kids Will Want to Eat

Meat has a very unique texture. Sometimes, it can be easy to introduce ham to children. They latch right on! Other times, it may take a few tries to convince them to try this meat with its intense flavor and distinctive texture. There are a few different ways to cook ham perfectly. One of these ways may have your child coming back for seconds! 

How to Bake a Ham Perfectly

One of the most popular methods of cooking ham is by baking it. Sometimes, it takes trial and error to bake the perfect ham without drying it out. These steps can help you discover precisely how to get your next baked ham right! 


  • Bone in ham
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Cloves 
  • Water


  • Oven
  • Roasting pan


The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your ham and whether or not it is already pre-cooked. Be sure to check the directions for how long to cook the ham you purchase. Although it will vary, the general rule is to cook the ham between 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 18 to 25 minutes per pound.


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prep the ham by adding the cloves and pre-slicing if it's not already sliced. Add the brown sugar into the slices and on top of the ham. 

Place the ham into the roasting pan and add the water. The water should come up to about one inch on the roasting pan. Cover the pan tightly with foil. This will keep the ham moist.

Bake the ham in the oven for 18 to 25 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature is at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and let rest for around 15 minutes before enjoying! 

How to Cook a Ham in the Crock Pot

A crockpot is a mom's best friend! Did you know you can cook ham perfectly in the crock pot? It's true. Here is how.


  • A pre-cooked three to five-pound ham
  • Pineapple juice and pineapples
  • Cloves
  • A can of Coke


  • A crockpot


Prepare your ham by pre-slicing the top and placing the cloves on top. 

Next, add it to the crockpot and pour in the apple juice and a can of Coke. Add the pineapples to the top of the ham.

Cook on low for four to six hours or until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Traditional Sliced Honey Glazed Ham Ready for the Holidays
Ham is very versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways. These ways include pan-frying, crockpot, and in the air-fryer!

©Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

How to Pan Fry a Ham

Ham is not only for the holidays! Aside from deli ham, ham steaks are another popular way to enjoy this type of meat. One of the best ways to eat ham steaks is by pan-frying. This is a quick and simple way to whip up a meal for the family or an individual dinner! 


  • Butter
  • Brown sugar 
  • Ham steak
  • Fully cooked ham steaks


  • Cast iron skillet or frying pan
  • Stovetop


First, heat one tablespoon of butter in your cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat until melted. 

Cook the ham steaks on each side for around four minutes in the cast iron skillet. 

Remove the ham steaks from the heat and set aside. 

Melt the remaining butter in the skillet and add the brown sugar over medium-low heat. 

Add the ham steaks back to the brown sugar mixture and cook for an additional ten minutes or until the brown sugar is fully melted, being sure to turn the ham several times to distribute the glaze evenly. 

Remove from heat and enjoy while hot! 

How to Air Fry a Ham

The air fryer is quickly becoming a kitchen favorite. It is easy to use and can cut cook time down by quite a bit! It is also possible to cook a delicious ham in an air fryer. Here is how. 


  • Three-pound boneless ham that has been pre-cooked
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Pineapple juice


  • Air fryer
  • Foil


Prep your ham by wrapping it in foil, ensuring you open it at the top. Be sure there is plenty of room where the foil is not touching the heating elements and cannot blow around the air fryer. Place your three-pound pre-cooked ham in the air fryer at 350 degrees.

Cook for 25 minutes. 

While you wait, combine the ingredients for the glaze: brown sugar, honey, and pineapple juice. 

Open the foil and add the glaze when the ham is done cooking. 

Continue to cook the ham, after tightly closing back the foil, in the air fryer for ten to 15 more minutes. The internal temperature should reach at least 135 degrees Fahrenheit. 

When the ham reaches this temperature, remove the foil from the top and cook for around ten minutes. You will know the ham is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Remove from the air fryer and enjoy while hot! 

An electric Air Fryer on table with blurred kitchen background. Lifestyle of new normal cooking.
The air fryer is quickly becoming a popular tool to use in the kitchen.

©Casezy idea/Shutterstock.com

Delicious Options to Add to Your Ham

Ham has a unique flavor that many love, and some can't stand. Regardless of your preference, there are many ways to dress up a ham! Adding one or more delicious options to your ham can add to the flavor. You can also bring to life different notes within the ham that may have been hidden before. If you are on the search for a unique ingredient to explore the flavors of ham, take a look below:

  • BBQ maple glaze
  • Sweet and spicy jerk glaze
  • Tangy peach glaze
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Yellow mustard
  • Molasses
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Clove 
  • Garlic butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey 
  • Sugar
  • Onion powder 
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground ginger 
  • Ginger ale
  • Orange juice


  • Ham is processed meat that comes from the legs of pigs.
  • This delicious meat is low in fiber, carbs, fat, and calories. 
  • There is plenty of protein in ham. 
  • It is also high in iron and vitamin B. 
  • Ham can be dry-cured, wet-cured, or smoked. 
  • Ham has many important nutrients, like carnosine, selenium, and choline. 
  • Ham also may have the ability to reduce inflammation and high blood pressure. 
  • Ham is very high in sodium, around 26% of the DV. 

Yummy Ways to Eat Ham

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