How to Cook Ham: A Detailed Guide


Greetings fellow foodies! There’s nothing more satisfying than a delicious ham roast for a special occasion, but cooking it perfectly takes some skill. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Our step-by-step guide will help you create a succulent, flavorful ham that your family and friends will love.

Before we dive in, let’s go through some basics. Ham is a cut of pork that comes from the hind leg of a pig. It can be sold either cooked or uncooked, and can be smoked or unsmoked. Ham is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from sandwiches to casseroles.

In this article, we’ll be focusing on how to cook an uncooked, bone-in ham. Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need:

Ingredients Tools
1 uncooked, bone-in ham Oven-safe roasting pan
1 cup brown sugar V-shaped rack
1/2 cup Dijon mustard Basting brush
1/2 cup honey Meat thermometer
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar Foil
1/4 cup water Carving knife
Assorted spices (optional) Carving board

Preparing the Ham

Step 1: Remove the Ham from the Refrigerator

Remove the ham from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 2-3 hours before cooking. This will ensure that the ham cooks evenly.

Step 2: Preheat the Oven

Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C).

Step 3: Score the Ham

Using a sharp knife, score the skin 1/4 inch deep in a diamond pattern. This will allow the glaze to seep into the ham and give it a beautiful, caramelized finish.

Step 4: Add the Ham to the Roasting Pan

Place the ham skin-side up on a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan. This will allow the fat to drip off the ham and make it crispy.

Step 5: Prepare the Glaze

In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, Dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, water, and any spices you’d like to add. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.

Step 6: Apply the Glaze

Using a basting brush, apply the glaze generously all over the ham, making sure to get it into the scored skin. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the glaze for basting later.

Cooking the Ham

Step 7: Cover the Ham with Foil

Cover the ham with foil and place it in the oven. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 140°F (60°C).

Step 8: Check the Temperature

After about 2 hours of cooking, remove the ham from the oven and check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. If it’s not yet at 140°F, return it to the oven and check again every 15-20 minutes.

Step 9: Baste the Ham

Once the ham has reached 140°F, remove it from the oven and baste it with the remaining glaze. Return it to the oven, uncovered, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the glaze is caramelized and the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C).


1. How long does it take to cook a ham?

It takes approximately 10-15 minutes per pound to cook a ham. However, the cooking time may vary depending on the size of the ham and the oven temperature.

2. What temperature should a ham be cooked to?

A ham should be cooked to an internal temperature of 140°F (60°C) before it’s taken out of the oven. However, it should be allowed to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute. The internal temperature should reach 145°F (63°C).

3. Can I use a pre-cooked ham for this recipe?

No, this recipe is for an uncooked, bone-in ham. Pre-cooked hams only need to be heated through and glazed, and the cooking time will be much shorter.

4. Can I cook a ham in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can cook a ham in a slow cooker. However, it’s important to check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that your slow cooker is big enough to accommodate the ham. The cooking time will also be longer than in an oven.

5. Can I freeze ham?

Yes, ham can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator when you’re ready to use it.

6. Can I use a spiral-cut ham for this recipe?

Yes, you can use a spiral-cut ham for this recipe. However, you may need to adjust the cooking time since it will cook faster than an uncut ham.

7. Can I make the glaze in advance?

Yes, you can make the glaze a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before using it.

8. How can I tell if my ham is done without a meat thermometer?

You can tell if a ham is done by inserting a fork into the thickest part of the meat. If the juices run clear, it’s done. However, we highly recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure that the ham is cooked to the correct temperature.

9. How should I store leftover ham?

Leftover ham should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze leftover ham for up to 2 months.

10. What can I do with leftover ham?

You can use leftover ham in a variety of dishes, from omelets to sandwiches to casseroles. Check out our website for some delicious leftover ham recipes!

11. How should I carve my ham?

Start by cutting off a slice from the bottom of the ham so that it sits flat on the cutting board. Then, make a horizontal cut along the bone to create a flat surface. Cut thin slices perpendicular to the bone, and repeat until you’ve carved the entire ham.

12. Can I use a different type of meat for this recipe?

While this recipe is specifically for a ham, you can use a similar glaze on pork loin or tenderloin. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

13. Can I add other flavors to the glaze?

Absolutely! You can experiment with different spices and herbs to create a glaze that suits your taste buds. Some popular options include garlic, rosemary, and thyme.


And there you have it, folks! We hope this guide has helped you master the art of cooking ham for your next special occasion. Remember to use a meat thermometer to ensure that your ham is cooked to perfection, and to allow it to rest before carving. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any further questions or if you’d like to share your ham-cooking experiences with us. Happy cooking!

Take Action Now!

Ready to put your ham-cooking skills to the test? Head to your local grocery store and pick up a delicious, uncooked ham. With the help of our guide, you’ll be able to create a mouth-watering meal that your family and friends will love.


While we have done our best to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we cannot guarantee that every reader will have a successful experience with this recipe. Cooking times and temperatures may vary based on the individual oven and ham size. Please use caution when handling hot pans and sharp knives, and consult a doctor if you have any food allergies or concerns about your health. Enjoy your ham responsibly!

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