How to Bake a HamWho needs a “how to” for baking ham?  You just stick it in a roasting pan, cover it and bake it, right?

Not really.  Baking a ham is certainly not difficult, but it’s not as simple as that.  There is great variation in the types of ham you bring home from the grocery store.  Smoked ham can be fully cooked and only require warming, or it may require to be fully cooked.  Some hams have bones-in, others are boneless.  You might bring home a whole ham, a half ham, or even just a portion.  All of these factors affect cooking temperature and time.

Then there is the question to glaze or not to glaze.  Also, do I want a delicious sauce or sauces to serve with my ham?  How much do I serve my guests?  Do I bake fat side up, or down?

I will try to answer all those questions, and provide a few tips to help you avoid potential smoked pork pitfalls in this article. In sharing what I’ve learned, down the road of ham, I hope to help you avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made.

It’s safe to say I was brought up a big fan of baked ham.  My family often served ham during the holidays when other families were dining on turkey.  We didn’t save ham just for the holidays either.  Ham always provided multiple meals in addition to the original dinner. From sandwiches, to fried with eggs for breakfast, and almost always as the stock for a delicious pot of bean soup.

So when I thought about it, baked ham really lent itself to Kitchen Survival.  It met all three of my site’s base criteria: it’s affordable, delicious, and easy to prepare.

With that said, below you will find some basic tips for baking ham, a cooking timetable, and then some nice recipes for glazes and sauces.  Glazes are for basting where sauces are served with the ham. Bring on the ham!

Baked Ham 101:

  • Allow 1/3 to 1/2 lb. per serving for bone-in ham and 1/4 to 1/3 lb. per serving for boneless ham.
  • Bake ham at 325°F.
  • Always bake whole hams fat side UP in a roasting pan.  Half hams should be placed flat face side DOWN.
  • Cover your ham in aluminum foil while roasting.
  • If using a meat thermometer insert it so its tip reaches the center of the thickest part of the ham and does NOT rest in the fat or touch the bone.
  • Follow the Timetable for Roasting Smoked Pork below for cooking times and temperature readings.
  • To glaze a baked ham, remove from oven when there is 15 minutes left to bake.  Increase oven temperature to 400°F.  Remove aluminum foil and discard drippings from roasting pan.  Score ham by cutting diamond shapes about 1/4-inch deep through fat.  Spoon desired glaze over ham.  If desired, insert 1 whole clove in each diamond.  Return ham, uncovered, to oven for remaining 15 minutes.
  • Once you remove ham from the oven; re-cover and let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Timetables for Roasting Smoked Pork:

Ham – Cook Before Eating

Smoke Ham Cut Weight (#’s) Internal Temp. Mins. per #
Whole (boneless) 8 to 12 165°F 17 to 21
Whole (bone-in) 14 to 16 165°F 18 to 20
Half (bone-in) 7 to 8 165°F 22 to 25
Portion (boneless) 3 to 5 165°F 35 to 40


Ham – Fully Cooked

Smoke Ham Cut Weight (#’s) Internal Temp. Mins. per #
Whole (boneless) 8 to 12 130°F to 140°F 15 to 18
Whole (bone-in) 14 to 16 130°F to 140°F 15 to 18
Half (boneless) 4 to 6 130°F to 140°F 18 to 25
Half (bone-in) 7 to 8 130°F to 140°F 18 to 25
Portion (bone-in) 3 to 4 130°F to 140°F 27 to 33

Timetable source: USDA and National Pork Producers Council

Internal Temp. is what you use with an internal thermometer. When the thermometer reaches the value listed in the chart, or within the range listed, the ham is done.

Baked Ham Glaze Recipes:

Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham
Your basic brown sugar glaze, this is a classic. As such it pleases the most people, I’ve found.

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. vinegar OR water

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Brush glaze on ham during last 15 minutes of baking (see glaze tips above).

Pineapple Glaze for Ham
A little zestier then the brown sugar standby glaze. I like this glaze better; think luau.

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained

In a small bowl, combine ingredients; mix well. Brush glaze on ham during last 15 minutes of baking (see glaze tips above).

Orange Soy Glaze for Ham
This glaze gives the ham a more subtle citrus flavor then the Pineapple Glaze with an Asian flair. An excellent glaze.

1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

In a small bowl, combine ingredients; mix well. Brush glaze on ham during last 15 minutes of baking (see glaze tips above).

Blueberry Chipotle Glaze for Ham
Blueberry preserves and chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce makes for a delicious glaze that definitely breaks from tradition.

1/3 cup blueberry preserves
2 Tbs. finely chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (from 7-oz can)
2 Tbs. brown sugar, firmly packed

In a small bowl, combine ingredients; mix well. Brush glaze on ham during last 15 minutes of baking (see glaze tips above).

Baked Ham Sauce Recipes:

Creamy Mustard and Horseradish Sauce for Baked Ham
My personal favorite of all the baked ham sauces. Just enough bite.

1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs. prepared yellow mustard
2 Tbs. apple cider
2 tsp. prepared horseradish

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours to meld flavors. Serve with baked ham.

Apple Raisin Sauce for Baked Ham
A perfect sauce for the holidays, so yummy it’s sure to please all at the table.

1 Tbs. butter
1 cup apple juice
2 Tbs. lemon juice
3 Tbs. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins

In a saucepan combine all the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon; approximately 10 minutes. Serve with baked ham.

Mike’s comments:

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and recipes. My mouth is now watering for ham. If you have any tips or recipes you’d like to share, I would gladly include them in this article. As the blog makes its transition to a website I really want the content to reflect both myself and my wonderful readers.

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