How to Cook a Ham in the Oven

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Easy tips and steps with everything you've ever wanted to know about how to cook a ham in the oven. Baked spiral ham recipe with a simple glaze.

Every Christmas and Easter, we bake a ham, whether we're having company or not. And sometimes through the year, if prices are cheap enough, we'll bake a whole ham and cut it up for lunchmeat that week.

roasted spiral cut bone-in ham in roasting pan

I absolutely love a good ham. It's always a treat, especially when we serve it with ham gravy (or ham gravy with cornstarch), mashed potatoes, green beans, and Grandma's homemade dinner rolls.

Mmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

While it's fairly easy to make a baked ham, there are lots of things to think about when you're baking a ham in the oven. Things like how to keep it moist, how long do you cook a ham, and on and on.

Hopefully, I'll be able to answer all of your burning questions about how to cook a pre-cooked ham. But if you don't find the answer to your questions, leave me a comment (I check them every week day), and I'll reply back to you.

If you love ham as much as I do, you'll love my pineapple ham too.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my recipe tips, important info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the actual ham recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card with a longer how to video.

slices of baked ham on gray plate with serving fork stuck in ham

INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED:

  • A pre-cooked ham – My ham is a 10-pound spiral cut ham.
  • Glaze packet – It usually comes with the ham, and you'll find it in the packaging.
  • Water

Remember, all of the ingredient amounts you’ll need are in the printable recipe card below.

KITCHEN TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED:

Roasting Pan with Rack

Aluminum Foil

Small Saucepan – for making the glaze.

Basting Brush – You'll need this to brush the glaze on the ham.

pre-cooked ham baked in the oven, sitting in roasting pan

HOW TO COOK A HAM IN THE OVEN

Baking a fully cooked ham is a pretty straightforward, simple, and easy process. And usually, your package will have all the instructions you need.

Before you get started, be sure to preheat the oven to 250° F.

  1. Remove the ham from its packaging, and place it face down in the roasting pan. Important Tip: If your package has any juices in it, pour them into the bottom of the pan, along with about a cup of water; this will help your ham to stay more moist.
  2. Cover the ham tightly with foil (all of it but the bottom, so the juices can run out into the pan, and so juices can steam into the ham, keeping it more moist). Then bake the ham according to the instructions in the recipe card below (or according to your package instructions). Usually, you'll bake it for 12 to 15 minutes per pound. So a 10-pound ham will bake for about 120+ minutes.
  3. About 45 minutes before the end of your bake time, empty the glaze packet into a small saucepan, along with the water.
  4. Bring your glaze to a boil over high heat while stirring constantly.
  5. At this point, you'll need to remove the glaze from the heat. And about 1/2 hour before end of cook time, remove your ham from the oven, take off the foil, and apply the glaze all over the outside of the ham with a basting brush. Then bake it, glazed and uncovered, for another 30 minutes or so.
  6. When the ham is done, you can bring it out of the oven, let it cool just a bit, and slice it for serving.
steps for how to cook a ham in the oven, using roasting pan, and how to glaze the ham with a basting brush

HOW LONG IT TAKES TO COOK A PRECOOKED HAM

Let's talk about cooking time and internal temperature for a minute.

Always be sure to look at the packaging instructions for your specific ham, and follow what it says for cook time.

This spiral ham came from Aldi, and it said 12 to 15 minutes per pound. So being a 10-pound ham, it needed to cook for about 2 hours (120 minutes) or more, but not too long or it'll dry out.

An 8-pound ham would take about 96+ minutes to bake. A 12-pound ham, 144+ minutes. And so on and so forth.

According to the USDA, spiral-cut cooked hams that were packaged in processing plants under USDA inspection must be heated to 140 °F as measured with a food thermometer (165 °F for leftover spiral-cut hams or ham that has been repackaged in any other location outside the plant). Cook-before-eating hams or fresh hams must reach 145 °F (with a 3-minute rest time) to be safely cooked before serving. Read more of their Ham and Food Safety instructions.

slices of glazed ham on gray plate with Italian parsley

WAYS TO KEEP A SPIRAL HAM FROM DRYING OUT

There are a few specific steps you can take to keep a fully cooked ham from drying out while it's baking…

  • Like I mentioned above, save ham juices from packaging, and pour them into the bottom of the pan; this will help your ham to stay moist.
  • You can put a little less than a cup of water or some kind of stock/broth in the bottom of the pan before baking if you want. This will also add moisture.
  • Covering your ham with foil helps it to retain moisture, as well. Of course, you can also bake it in a roasting bag.

CAN YOU FREEZE PRE-COOKED HAM?

Yes, you can freeze a pre-cooked ham.

I suggest cutting your ham up into smaller portions and freezing it in airtight containers or freezer bags with aluminum foil; that way it's easier to get those smaller portions out and re-heat them.

When it's time to re-heat, just make sure you have plenty of time for thawing, especially if you're thawing a big, huge ham.

Keep in mind, according to the USDA, you can store a spiral-cut ham or ham leftovers in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days; and you can freeze them for about 1 to 2 months.

WHAT TO DO WITH A HAM HOCK

Don't just throw away that ham hock or bone. Repurpose and make something delicious.

15-bean soup with rice is a great way to use a ham bone and make something comforting. My mom and grandma always used ham hock to make a big pot of pinto beans, and we'd eat it with cornbread.

sliced ham on gray plate with Italian parsley

WHAT TO DO WITH HAM LEFTOVERS

Here are a few ideas for what to do with all that leftover ham.

GET THE PRINTABLE RECIPE

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ham recipe

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How to Cook a Ham in the Oven

Easy tips and steps with everything you've ever wanted to know about how to cook a ham in the oven. Baked spiral ham recipe with a simple glaze.
4.56 from 18 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Pork Recipes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 52kcal
Author: Mel Lockcuff

Equipment

  • Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack
  • ThermoPro Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer Kitchen Cooking Food Candy Thermometer
  • Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil (200 Square Foot Roll)
  • Basting Brush Silicone Heat Resistant Pastry Brushes, Dishwasher safe, Set of 4
  • Ebelbo Oven Turkey Cooking Bags, Roasting Bags For Food – Large Size 19×23.5 Inch, 25 Pack
  • Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 1-1/2-Quart Saucepan with Cover

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 250° F.
  • Remove the ham from its packaging, and place it face down in the roasting pan. If your package has any juices in it, pour them into the bottom of the pan, along with about a cup of water; this will help your ham to stay more moist.
  • Cover the ham tightly with foil (all of it but the bottom, so the juices can run out into the pan).
  • Bake the ham according to the instructions in your packaging; usually, it will require you to bake it for 12 to 15 minutes per pound. So a 10-pound ham will bake for about 120+ minutes.
  • About 45 minutes before the end of your bake time, empty the glaze packet into a small saucepan, along with the water.
  • Bring your glaze to a boil over high heat while stirring constantly.
  • Remove the glaze from the heat. And about 1/2 hour before end of cook time, remove your ham from the oven, take off the foil, and apply the glaze all over the outside of the ham with a basting brush.
  • Finish baking the ham, glazed and uncovered, for another 30 minutes or so.
  • When the ham is done, you can bring it out of the oven, let it cool just a bit, and slice it for serving.

Video

Notes

*I used a 10 pound spiral cut ham for this recipe. You can also add less than a cup of water to the bottom of the pan to help your ham stay more moist while cooking.
*I use a little less than a cup of water.
*The glaze packet usually comes with the ham, and you'll find it in the packaging.
HOW LONG IT TAKES TO COOK A PRECOOKED HAM
Always be sure to look at the packaging instructions for your specific ham, and follow what it says for cook time.
This spiral ham said 12 to 15 minutes per pound. So being a 10-pound ham, it needed to cook for about 2 hours (120 minutes) or more, but not too long or it'll dry out. An 8-pound ham would take about 96+ minutes to bake. A 12-pound ham, 144+ minutes. And so on and so forth.
According to the USDA, spiral-cut cooked hams that were packaged in processing plants under USDA inspection must be heated to 140 °F as measured with a food thermometer (165 °F for leftover spiral-cut hams or ham that has been repackaged in any other location outside the plant). Cook-before-eating hams or fresh hams must reach 145 °F (with a 3-minute rest time) to be safely cooked before serving. Read more of their Ham and Food Safety instructions.
WAYS TO KEEP A SPIRAL HAM FROM DRYING OUT
  • Like I mentioned above, save ham juices from packaging, and pour them into the bottom of the pan; this will help your ham to stay moist.
  • You can put a little less than a cup of water or some kind of stock/broth in the bottom of the pan before baking if you want. This will also add moisture.
  • Covering your ham with foil helps it to retain moisture, as well. Of course, you can also bake it in a roasting bag.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 212mg | Sugar: 6g
Tried this Recipe? Tag us Today!Mention @mellockcuff or tag #aomrecipes!
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7 thoughts on “How to Cook a Ham in the Oven”

  1. I am planning on making this ham and serving with a Hashbrown Casserole. If I cook the ham first at 250…. can I take it from the oven, cover it and put in my warming oven at low till the casserole cooks for an hour at 350? I don’t want to dry out the ham. Maybe I should cook the casserole first and leave that in the warming oven… please help!

    Reply
  2. Thank you for all of this information. I baked a 3 lb. ham and it was wonderful. I do have a question, though – the glaze packet didn’t come with any instructions and I didn’t know how much water to add, or how long to boil it. I added too much water and ended up boiling it so long that some of it was hard and unable to be spread on the ham. Your pictures are beautiful, but please add info on the glaze packet.
    Thanks!

    Reply

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