Spiral ham, in fact, doesn’t require cooking; even heating is optional. I must admit, I like to eat it fresh from the oven, plus I can sell it as homemade as that. It is spirally carved, so this makes it both easy and tricky to warm. It will, of course, be easier to heat up than the whole piece, but it’s also prone to dry out if not handled properly. So, how to cook spiral ham without drying it out?
I stick by the “slow and low” rule -13 minutes per pound at 300 °F, no matter which method I choose. I love to glaze it in apple or pineapple juices, wine, or butter when I want to keep it traditional. Also, some side dishes like mushrooms or roasted carrots will keep the moisture in.
I find the ham tastiest when I pair it with something sweet like fruits or honey. Still, nothing can fix it if it’s already too dry — you need to know how to cook it properly. There are surely some tips on how to keep it perfectly juicy and enjoy it warm! Let’s dig in!
Spiral Ham Cooking Instructions for the Juiciest Results
I’ll give you detailed steps for heating in the oven, but you can use a crock pot, grill, or air fryer, as well. Just scroll down to see some heads up for those options.
If you bought frozen ham, thaw it first, preferably in the refrigerator for safety reasons. This can take from 12 hours to 3 days, depending on how big your cut is. It approximately takes 5 hours per pound of ham.
If you didn’t have time for that, you can use one of the faster methods – thawing at room temperature or in cold water. But you can also heat it frozen; just maximize baking time for 50% of the time.
Temperature and Time
The key to soft and tender meat is slow roasting at low temperatures. I would never recommend going higher than 350 °F (180 °C), and only if you’re really in a hurry. On the other side, 250 °F (120 °C) is the minimum temperature, and everything in between is perfect!
I find 300 °F (150 °C) the perfect score for nicely heated ham. The higher the temperature, the faster your lunch will be ready. But it will dry out easier if you don’t keep an eye on it.
I always follow the same old rule – 13 minutes per pound at 300 °F. Depending on the temperature, it takes 12–20 minutes per pound. To ease up on yourself, use a thermometer!
When the ham gains an internal temperature of 140 °F (60 °C), it’s ready, and you can remove it from the oven.
Baking the Ham
Now, take a large baking sheet (deep or shallow, it doesn’t matter), rack, and heavy-duty aluminum foil which will be your best friend for keeping the meat succulent.
The rack will secure even heating of the meat, especially on the bottom. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and do it properly! The foil is there to keep the steam in and allow the ham to roast in its juices.
Calculate the baking time according to how heavy your cut is and toss it in the oven. About half an hour till the end, regularly check the inner temperature with a thermometer to avoid drying out.
The glaze is optional, but it surely adds to the final taste and looks. It gives a nice, golden finishing touch, and aromatic relish. About 20 minutes before baking time is up, thoroughly glaze your ham using a brush.
Make sure to spread it in between the slices, so they can keep the moisture in. Get the ham back in the oven, but without the aluminum foil, as the glaze takes over the moisture-keeping role. By the end, the ham will have a brownish glaze and that’s your sign it’s ready!
Leave it at room temperature for about 15 minutes to cool down, serve, and enjoy!
This is the simplest method with minimum effort, but it takes a few hours more than the other ones. Just take your piece of spiral ham and place it in the crock pot, and here comes the trick. It will need some kind of liquid to create the steam, and there are plenty of options.
I prefer to add some sweet contrast to savory ham. I usually do this by mixing some juice and honey, as you’ll get the glaze along. Toss everything in the slow cooker, leave it for 3–4 hours, and serve! Holiday dinner has never been easier!
Grilled spiral ham is my new favorite discovery. Grill it covered with a lid, in an aluminum dish to keep it mess-free.
The fun part is a whole new BBQ-induced taste. You’ll achieve that by mixing apricot jam, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, white wine, mustard, and loads of spices. This mixture will secure moist and tender meat, but is very unique-flavored, too. This is a must-try!
Air-fryer method is chief for smaller spiral hams as they can fit perfectly in it. The trick is to wrap the ham tightly in the foil after you basted it with a glaze of your choice. I like to open the foil last 5 minutes for the extra crispy crust! Yum!
How to Keep Spiral Ham Moist Without Glaze?
If you fancy extra soft meat, you can have that even without glaze. My favorite way is to create a steam bath by adding wine or stock to the pan, under the rack. That way, all the flavor from the liquid will infuse into the meat while staying super moist.
Keep in mind to leave the ham covered all the time because direct heat on tender meat will dry it out. If you just don’t want to use a store-bought glaze packet, you can make your tasty sauce. Whether you want it spicy, savory, or sweet – there is a sauce for everything.
Orange, pineapple, or apple juice make a great base for the perfect sauce, along with white wine. You can add different syrups, fruits, condiments, and even coffee! Another way is occasionally basting the ham with butter, but with some herbs and spices in it for the best flavor.
What to Serve with Spiral Ham?
Here are some simple options for sides to keep the ham moist all the way!
This side dish is nothing new, but it’s in my top three! Bake it in the same pan as the ham so their aromas intertwine! Keep in mind to pair the seasoning for potatoes with the glaze, as it will drip over them while baking – that’s where the magic lays!
Honey-glazed, garlic-based, and parmesan-covered roasted carrots are a superb side dish. They pair flawlessly with tender meat and crusty outside. You can make them in the same pan, under the ham, as well.
Mushrooms have a high concentration of water, so that makes them a perfect steam bath for the ham. By the end of baking, arrange seasoned mushrooms under, and let the aromas collide. They will keep the ham juicy and the ham will keep them rich.
Figs, mango, apples, peaches, and many more are all amazing additions to salty ham. They are so luscious, fresh, or roasted and will marry impeccably with the meat. Sugar and salt may be opposites – but they still make a perfect couple!
Juicy Spiral Ham Recipe
- 1 Large Baking Sheet
- Aluminum Foil
- 1 Spiral Ham (Mine had 28 oz.)
- 1 cup Schlotterbeck & Foss Pineapple Ham Glaze
- Take the rack, aluminum foil, and the baking sheet, and remove your ham from the pack.
- The rack will secure even heating of the meat, especially on the bottom. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and do it properly! The foil is there to keep the steam in and allow the ham to roast in its juices.
- Calculate the baking time according to how heavy your cut is and toss it in the oven. So, it's 13 minutes per pound.
- Put the ham into the oven, and bake at 300 °F.
- About half an hour till the end, regularly check the inner temperature with a thermometer to avoid drying out. When the ham gains an internal temperature of 140 °F (60 °C) – it’s ready, and you can remove it from the oven.
- About 20 minutes before baking time is up, thoroughly glaze the ham using a brush. Make sure to spread it in between the slices.
- Get the ham back in the oven without the aluminum foil. By the end, the ham will have a brownish glaze, and that’s your sign it’s ready!
- Leave it at room temperature for about 15 minutes to cool down, serve, and enjoy!
Before diving into the nutritional details, please review our Nutritional Disclaimer page for important context and clarifications.