Every year around the holidays I get several emails asking about the best way to cook a spiral ham so that it stays moist and tender. And I totally understand why I get the questions.
Who wants to spend the money on a large piece of meat that you are planning to serve to your family and friends and have it turn out dry and tasteless?
Luckily, with just a few simple steps you will have the perfectly cooked ham on your holiday table. And it takes very little effort when compared to cooking a turkey!
In fact, to make things clear, you really don’t cook a spiral ham. Instead, you are reheating a piece of meat that has already been fully cooked.
Although it would be rare to find a spiral ham that hasn’t been previously cooked, it is best to check the label on the front of the package. Here you will find the words ‘fully cooked’ or ‘previously cooked’.
And if you can’t seem to find where that is labeled, look for the baking instructions. Instead of seeing instructions on how to cook the ham, it should include instructions on how to reheat it.
Now that you know how to pick out a fully cooked spiral ham, it is time to determine how large of a ham to purchase.
How Much Ham Per Person
When you are serving a spiral sliced ham, plan on approximately 1/2 pound per person if it is a boneless ham. However if you have a bone-in ham plan on increasing that amount to 3/4 pound per person.
Of course, the amount will depend on if you are serving all adults versus a combination of adults and children. However, I would always suggest that you base the number of serving on adult portions.
This will allow you to have enough leftover ham to enjoy over the next few days. Therefore, if you will have a total of 10 individuals at your holiday table, you will want to purchase at least a 5 pound boneless ham or a 7.5 pound bone in ham.
Tips For Cooking A Spiral Ham
1. Purchase a Good Quality Ham
Whenever possible, purchase a good quality ham from a butcher shop. Many of the cheaper, grocery store hams have been injected with solutions and sometimes artificial flavors.
Although you can still reheat the ham with the instructions listed below, it is best to purchase one with no additives.
2. Use A Large Roasting Pan
Make sure that your ham can fit completely inside of your roasting pan without touching the sides. This will allow the ham to reheat evenly and not burn (and dry out) on the edges that touch the pan.
3. Add A Little Liquid At A Time
Before you start cooking a spiral ham place 1/2 cup of liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan. I prefer to use a combination of chicken stock and orange juice.
However, you can use just about any liquid that you prefer. The important point here is to start with a little liquid so that you have just a slight amount of moisture inside the pan.
You don’t want to add too much liquid as the ham will then boil rather than reheat.
4. Place The Ham Face Down In The Pan
In order to prevent the meat from drying out, place the ham face side down in the roasting pan. This will allow the folds of the spiral cut ham to remain tight during the reheating process.
As the ham bakes, the meat will remain moist because the juices can’t easily escape.
5. Cover The Spiral Ham Before Cooking
One of the best tips that I can give you on how to cook a spiral ham so that it stays moist is to tightly cover the roasting pan. If the pan has a lid and it can be tight and secure over top of the ham you can use it.
However, a simple cover of aluminum foil will work just as well. Just be sure that it fights tightly around the edges and there are no holes for the liquid to escape.
There is no need to actually wrap the ham itself in foil. Covering the roasting pan will allow the juices to remain inside the pan, keeping the ham nice and moist.
6. Low & Slow Cooking Temperature
Another crucial key to keep the ham from drying out is to reheat it using the low and slow method. Although you may find instructions to turn the oven on 325°F or above when reheating a spiral ham, doing so will put you at risk for having a ham that is less than desirable.
Instead, keep the oven at 275°F and reheat the covered ham for 15 minutes per pound. This will allow enough time for the center to become warm and the outer slices to remain moist.
7. Baste & Add More Liquid As The Spiral Ham Cooks
As your spiral ham cooks baste quickly remove the lid and baste the every 30 minutes. This is the time that you can also add more liquid if needed.
However, be sure to have the liquid ready and handy before removing the foil. You want to keep the ham covered as much as possible.
8. Use An Instant Read Thermometer
One of the most valuable kitchen tools that you can ever have is an Instant Read Digital Thermometer. By checking the internal temperature of the ham it will ensure that you remove it from the oven just at the right time.
Once the thickest section of the meat reads 140°F, remove the roasting pan from the oven. As the ham rests, the temperature will continue to increase to the recommended serving level of 145°F.
Just be sure that you don’t touch the bone when checking the temperature as this will throw off the accurate reading of the meat itself.
9. Add A Glaze
To add more flavor and to keep the ham moist be sure to apply a glaze over the ham. You can use the glaze packet that came with the ham or make your own Honey Baked Ham Glaze, the choice is up to you.
However, it is best to apply the glaze towards the end of the reheating process. Brush the glaze on the surface of the ham when the internal temperature is around 120°F.
Then when you remove the ham from the oven place the ham on its side and brush the remaining glaze between the spiral cuts. This will guarantee every slice will be nice and juicy.
Crock Pot Spiral Ham Cooking Instructions
If you’d like to make a spiral ham in a slow cooker it is easy to do so, as long as the ham fits down inside, with the lid on. Follow the same steps and cook on low for about 4 hours.
Be sure to baste the ham with the juices after 2 hours of cooking. Then baste every hour after.
Apply the glaze during the last 30 minutes of cooking and be sure to check the internal temperature for doneness.
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- 10 pound spiral cut ham, previously cooked
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Place the ham on the counter 1 hour before you put it in the oven. Preheat oven to 275°F.
- Place 1/4 cup of broth and 1/4 cup orange juice in the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Remove any outer wrapping from the previously cooked ham and discard. Place the ham face down in the roasting pan. Cover the pan with a tight fighting lid or with aluminum foil.
- Place covered ham in the preheat oven and bake for 15 minutes per pound. Baste every 30 minutes.
- Once the internal temperature reaches 120°F, apply the ham glaze from the packet that came with the ham or make your own glaze (Recipe below)
- Keep heating the ham covered until the internal temperature of the thickest section reads 135-140°F. Remove from the oven and let the ham rest for 10 minutes.
- Flip the ham over on its side and use the remaining glaze to brush in between the spiral slices.
- Serve warm
Optional Homemade Ham Glaze Recipe:
- 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup pineapple juice
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 large orange, juiced and zested
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, pineapple juice, honey, orange juice, orange zest, Dijon mustard, and ground cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Recipe provided by Make Your Meals
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 534Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 242mgSodium: 3707mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 84g
Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.