How Long To Cook A Ham

Question:

You mention that ham is the traditional Easter dinner. How long to cook a ham? How do I cook a honey baked ham? How long to cook a spiral ham?

Answer:

A ham is actually one of the easiest “roasts” or main meat dishes that you can make. Almost all hams in the U.S. are actually cured or smoked (which means they are cooked) before you purchase them. So all you are actually doing is heating it up. The key is to heat the ham for the proper amount of time so that your cooked ham is warm, but still moist and not dried out.

Hams are usually thick, so it takes about 15 minutes per pound of meat to penetrate and cook through the entire roast.

The chart below shows how long to cook a ham of varying weights.

How Long To Cook A Ham

How to Bake Ham

How Long To Cook A Ham – Cooking Times for Ham:

Ham Weight Approximate Cooking Time of Ham in a 300° Oven
4-5 Pounds 1 Hour to 1 hour 15 minutes
5-6 Pounds  1 Hour 15 Minutes to 1 Hour 30 Minutes
6-7 Pounds  1 Hour 30 Minutes to 1 Hour 45 Minutes
7-8 Pounds 1 Hour 45 Minutes to 2 Hours
8-9 Pounds  2 Hours to 2 Hours 15 Minutes
9-10 Pounds  2 Hours 15 Minutes to 2 Hours 30 Minutes


Note: If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the ham should be a minimum of 145°F (max 160°F).

More on How Long to Cook A Ham

First a few terms that you should know before you begin to cook a ham. A whole ham is the entire hind leg of a hog, so it normally weighs at least 15 pounds. Your ham is most likely a half ham from the shank end of the leg, making it meatier and tenderer than the butt end which contains more muscle and fat. There are also “country” hams (dry and salty) and “city” hams (tender and juicy). For your Easter dinner, the city ham is recommended. It should be labeled either “fully cooked” or “partially cooked”, both hams are baked in the same way.

Steps To Bake A Ham

1) Turn the oven to 300°.

2) Remove all packaging from the ham, including the little plastic tab on the cut side of the ham.

3) Make your ham look pretty while allowing the flavors to penetrate by scoring your ham. Do this by using the tip of a sharp knife cut parallel lines into the skin of the ham. These should be about 1/4 inch deep and about 1 inch apart. Then turn the ham and cut parallel lines in the opposite direction making a diamond pattern on the ham. Some people like to place whole cloves in between the squares of skin, adding both decor and flavor.

4) Place the ham with the cut side down onto a roasting pan or baking pan with sides, as there will be juices as it cooks. Lining the pan with aluminum foil helps greatly with clean up.

5) Tent the ham with aluminum foil. This means to fold a large piece of foil in half (so it looks like a tent) and then place the foil loosely over the ham.

6) Bake the ham according to the above table.

To glaze the ham, remove the ham from the oven and then remove the tin foil and brush with a glaze then return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

How To Bake A Honey Baked Ham

One of the tastiest hams around, the Honey Baked Ham, is actually best eaten chilled or at room temperature. The Honey Baked Ham instructions actually recommend not re-baking the ham as the crunchy coating will soften and become sticky.

The USDA actually has a lot to say about hams: read their ham facts for more information about all types of hams.

See our shelf life page for ham to see how long ham lasts. And don’t forget to check our blog page after Easter dinner is over to see our suggestions on what to do with your leftover ham.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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