How to Cook a Boneless Ham

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Boneless hams are fully cooked hams that have been de-boned and then pressed and formed into an oval shape. Boneless hams are high in salt, and the salt content allows the proteins in the meat to connect during the packaging process, so that they appear to be a solid piece of meat. Boneless hams are sold precooked, but they benefit from being warmed up, often with a glaze or extra seasonings, before slicing and serving.

Choosing and Prepping

  • Store boneless hams at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower in the refrigerator before using. If they are frozen, defrost overnight in the fridge before cooking for food safety concerns. Once the commercial packaging has been opened, de-boned hams need to be eaten or wrapped and frozen in 5 to 7 days. Boneless hams tend to be highly processed so, for optimal taste, choose a boneless ham that has no added ground ham and contains little to no added water or natural juices. Round-shaped, vacuum-sealed hams are generality of higher quality than canned, boneless hams.

Cooking Suggestions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 F and place your boneless ham in a baking dish or on a roasting rack. Add a 1/2 cup of water to the dish, and season your ham as desired. A sticky, sweet glaze, such as maple syrup or honey, is often used to give the ham flavor and color as it roasts. Other seasoning options include studding it with whole cloves, inserting slices of garlic throughout the ham and, for a classic 1950s presentation, placing sliced pineapple rings over the top of the ham. Tent the ham and dish with foil to preserve moisture and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until the ham is warmed through. If you want to brown the glaze, remove the aluminum foil and roast for an extra 10 minutes. It will take roughly 15 minutes per pound to “cook” a boneless ham. The ham is ready when the internal temperature reads 140 F.

Slicing and Serving

  • Boneless hams are easy to carve -- slice into slabs and serve. However, larger boneless hams may be unwieldy, and benefit from being cut in half before slicing. Slice the ham so that a semicircle is formed, and then cut half slices from the ham. Use a large fork to steady the ham when cutting in perpendicular slices against the grain of the meat. For smaller slices and a more elegant presentation, cut along the thin side of the ham -- not where the meat is exposed.

Storage and Reheating

  • Cooked boneless ham can be eaten as soon as it has been cooked, or it can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days after it has been “cooked.” The leftover ham can also be frozen for 1 to 2 months. The storage times apply to large portions of boneless ham, as well as sliced boneless ham. To reheat leftover ham, warm it in a 325 F oven for roughly 10 to 15 minutes per pound. The leftover ham can also be eaten cold or at room temperature.

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