How to Cook Ham Steak

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Ham steaks make for a quick, but delicious protein for almost any meal. Saute one alongside eggs at breakfast or broil one in the oven with a sweet glaze to have with sweet potatoes for dinner. Ham steaks are versatile, flavorful and easy to prepare. The steaks usually come boneless and thin-cut, or thick with the bone still in; you can also cut ham steaks from a leftover holiday ham. The type of steak you choose depends on your personal preference -- the cooking process is the same.

Pan-Roasting or Pan-Frying

Ham steaks are a natural for cooking in a hot pan over moderate heat. The outside of the ham caramelizes slightly, giving the meat an irresistible crispy exterior to counter its moist interior. Heat the pan and add a bit of cooking spray or a teaspoon of cooking oil. Cook for about 3 minutes each side for thin ham steaks, or 5 to 8 minutes per side for thick-cut versions.

Tip

  • Once the steaks are browned on each side, remove them from the pan to make an easy vegetable accompaniment. Place chopped carrots, summer squash and onions in the lingering warm oil and cook over medium heat until fragrant and softened. Add fresh herbs, such as thyme and chives, or dried thyme along with a splash of chicken broth, salt and pepper before serving. Use the same method with a chopped apple and sweet onion to make a sauteed apple and onion pan sauce. Baked sweet potatoes, winter squash, cranberry relish and biscuits are other natural side dishes for ham steaks.

Grilling or Broiling

Ham steaks are fully cooked, so you can heat them up on a grill in less time than it takes to cook burgers or steaks. Heat the grill to medium or medium high and lay the steaks on the slats. Cook about 3 minutes per side or until heated through. Thicker steaks will require more cooking time.

Alternatively, place the ham steaks on a broiler pan and cook with high heat about 3 inches away from the heat source for 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the steaks' thicknesses.

Baking

For a fuss-free ham steak dinner, bake the steaks in an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness. It's best to add a little moisture in the form of a glaze to prevent them from drying out too much.

Warning

  • If using leftover ham, you can only reheat it once -- not multiple times. It should reach an internal temperature of 165 F.

Glaze Options

The flavor of ham melds well with sweet and salty glazes; the glaze also helps keep the ham moist.

  • A dollop of pineapple or apricot jelly works when you're in a hurry. 
  • Make a glaze by combining about 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 2 whole cloves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves; use a pastry brush to coat the steaks before you pan fry, grill, broil or bake them. 
  • Lime juice and brown sugar also combine to make a tangy glaze.  
  • Combine ketchup with hot sauce, dry mustard and brown sugar for a sweet-hot glaze. 

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