A spiral-sliced ham is a treat for holidays, picnics or a family dinner any time of year. While a spiral-sliced ham is already cooked and safe to eat as-is, you may prefer your ham hot with a tasty glaze. Because these hams are easily dried out by too-long or too-hot baking, the best way to cook a spiral ham is to slowly heat it to an internal temperature of 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, or to the recommended temperature on the package directions. If you need to keep the oven available to bake the side dishes, you can heat the ham in a large crock pot on the counter.
Bake a Spiral-Sliced Ham
Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Some spiral ham recipes call for the oven to be heated to 275 degrees.
Remove the thawed ham from the packaging materials. Generally, the ham requires 24 hours in the refrigerator to thaw. Place the ham with the flat side-down in a heavy roasting pan. Cover securely with heavy foil and place the ham in the oven.
Bake the ham at 10 minutes per pound at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, or 10 to 14 minutes per pound at 275 degrees. Thus, a 9-pound spiral ham cook time would range from 90 minutes to two hours, depending on the oven temperature.
After removing the ham from the oven, allow it to stand for 10 to 15 minutes before carving the slices from the bone. Remove the meat by cutting horizontally along the leg bone. Then, remove the remaining ham slices by cutting vertically along each side of the leg bone.
Bake in a Cooking Bag
Some spiral-sliced hams arrive in oven-safe plastic wrapping. If you accidentally removed the plastic, or prefer to use a cooking bag to keep the ham moist while warming, just put the ham in an oven bag. Place the bagged ham in a roasting pan. Pierce the top of the bag one or more times to release steam. Bake for 10 minutes per pound at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do not use a paper grocery bag as an oven bag. Use only plastic bags manufactured for use in the oven.
Slow-Cook the Ham
Slow-cook a spiral-sliced ham in a large slow cooker. Place the ham in the crock pot. Cover the meat with your favorite glaze recipe. Set the crock pot on low and cook for three to four hours, until the internal temperature reaches 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can brown the top of the ham and glaze it by finishing it in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the ham in a roasting pan, brush the glaze over the top, and heat for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the glaze is bubbling and lightly browned.
Spiral Ham Recipes
While the basic heating instructions remain the same, glazes vary from the prepackaged glaze included with the ham to your favorite family recipe. Some recipes call for the glaze to be brushed over the ham every 20 to 30 minutes, while others recommend uncovering the ham and glazing it 30 minutes before the meat has finished baking.
Glazes usually incorporate a combination of sweet and savory ingredients, which might include orange juice, pineapple juice, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, apricot preserves, Dijon mustard, garlic and/or cloves. You can arrange pineapple slices or chunks and maraschino cherries over the ham and then pour the glaze over the top of the fruit and the ham.
Reheating Ham Slices
To avoid drying out the leftover ham, reheat a few slices at a time in a pan with a little glaze, juice or water, Cover and bring the liquid to a boil; then simmer gently until the ham is hot through.
When warming leftover ham slices in the microwave, put the meat in a microwave-safe container. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of liquid and cover. Warm for a minute or two and check the temperature with a meat thermometer. Alternately, arrange the ham slices in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate, brush a little liquid or glaze over the meat, cover and use the "food plate" setting. Precooked pork products should be heated to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
- University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service: Will You Have Ham for the Holidays
- University of Wisconsin Extension: Selecting and Preparing a Ham
- Reynolds Kitchens: Holiday Dinner Ham (Half Ham)
- University of Illinois Extension: Cooking Meat
- University of Illinois Extension: Meat Temperature Chart