Small, fully cooked hams are perfect for a baked ham dinner for one or two, especially when topped with one of my three favourite glazes. But don’t stop there! These fully cooked hams are very versatile and can be used for so many cold or hot dishes. Have a look at the list below and let me know how else you like to use cooked ham.
Choosing a Fully Cooked Ham
Ham is meat from the hind leg of a pig that has been wet or dry cured and/or salted with or without smoking. There different types of fully cooked and un-cooked hams available in grocery stores and butcher shops. Each has a different cooking method, so be sure to match the recipe you’re following with the type of ham of you have.
I tested the recipe in this post with a small fully cooked dinner ham. These hams are made from chopped ham that has been pressed into a “football” shape. You can buy full or half football hams like I did for our dinner for two.
Spiral hams are becoming more popular in Canadian grocery stores. These hams come either bone-in or boneless and come pre-sliced. It’s convenient, but personally I find the slices to be too thin and can dry out when cooking.
You can also get large fully cooked hams either bone in or boneless. These hams are from the original cut of pork (not cut and shaped like the football hams) and have been cured and pre-cooked. They look more like traditional uncooked hams. You can use the same cooking method and glazes as in this recipe, just double check the cooking time for your size of ham.
To ensure you’re getting a fully cooked ham always read the package carefully and look for FULLY COOKED or READY TO EAT. If the package clearly states “cook thoroughly” it is an uncooked ham and cooking times and temperatures are important to ensure your ham is cooked safely.
Is Ham Healthy?
Ham is a lean protein that offers a variety of nutrients and vitamins.
Depending how the ham has been cured or processed, it can be very high in sodium and nitrates (potentially cancer causing). As an animal protein, ham also contains cholesterol and saturated fat. There are some low sodium hams – check the label.
How does that fit with your needs and health wishes?
For me, born and raised on a German diet of ham and cured sausages, giving up ham completely is unlikely. But, I know I need to watch how much I eat, so ham, deli meats and other cured, processed meat like bacon are occasional foods that we enjoy once a month or every two months.
How to Avoid Drying Out Ham
The biggest concern with pre-cooked or fully cooked hams is over cooking or drying them out. Here’s how to ensure that doesn’t happen to you.
- Cover: Whether using a lid or aluminum foil, cover the ham during cooking to keep moisture locked in. If you prefer to caramelize the glaze, remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes of cooking and increase the heat.
- Use a meat thermometer: Use a meat thermometer to check the inside of the pre-cooked ham reaches 60°C (140°F), that will ensure it’s nice and hot throughout. Because this is a pre-cooked ham, this temperature is not about food safety – but ensuring you have a nice hot ham throughout. Be sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the ham without touching the bone for an accurate reading.
- Baste the ham: Basting the ham with its own juices or a glaze will help keep it moist and add flavor.
- Cook at Low Temperature: A low temperature of 160°C (325°F) ensures you won’t dry out your ham. You can go to 180°C or 350°F if you want to speed things up – just don’t overcook and be sure to have moisture in the baking dish.
Storing Pre-Cooked Hams
Before Cooking – Closed Package
Check the Best Before Date on your sealed, pre-cooked ham, chances are you have a couple of months to use it. Once you open the sealed package, you should use your ham within 3-4 days.
After Cooking – Cooked Ham Leftovers
Store cooked ham leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freezing Pre-Cooked Ham
Fully cooked hams like the “football” ham I used in this recipe are safe to freeze. However, because they have high moisture level, the texture may change once thawed. You can freeze fully cooked ham before or after baking.
For best results, I recommend dicing up any leftovers in convenient portion sizes so you can add them to soups, casseroles, pizzas or other dishes. When diced, any texture changes are less noticeable than when you use whole frozen hams as a main entree.
8 Other Ways to Use Pre-Cooked Hams
The best part about fully cooked hams is that you can use them in SO many other ways. Use them them cold just as is or use them as ingredients in other recipes. Here are 8 ideas to get you started.
- Ham sandwiches: Thinly sliced pre-cooked ham makes a great addition to sandwiches, wraps and buns.
- Ham and eggs: Whether in a quiche, frittata, omelette, breakfast strata or a quick breakfast scramble – ham and eggs are always a good combination.
- Ham and pasta: Dice and add to your favourite hot pasta dish like this Ham & Peas Mac & Cheese or toss into a pasta salad.
- Ham and soup: Chop and use in a creamy chowder in cabbage soup or in a brothy vegetable soup. The possibilities are endless.
- Ham and potato hash: Dice up pre-cooked ham and potatoes, and cook them in a skillet for a tasty hash. Add some onions and peppers for extra flavor.
- Ham and baked beans: Toss some diced ham in with your baked beans or chili.
- Ham in salad: Add diced pre-cooked ham to any type of salad whether it’s a green salad, potato salad or pasta salad.
- Ham on pizza: With or without the pineapple, ham is a great addition to pizza.
These are just a few examples of how pre-cooked ham can be used in different dishes. The possibilities are endless!
Recipe for Baking a Fully Cooked Ham
How to Bake a Fully Cooked Ham with 3 Glazes
- 1 small fully cooked ham
Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze (more options in notes)
- 1/2 cup hot pepper jelly
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).
- Place fully cooked ham flat side down in an oven-proof dish large enough to fit ham with some room to spare. Use glass, ceramic dish, oven-proof skillet or roasting pan.
- Score top of ham by making shallow cuts, 1 cm deep (1/4"), through the outer rind both lengthwise and crosswise.
- Combine all glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Spoon glaze over ham pushing some into the shallow cuts. Cover with lid or foil to keep ham moist during baking.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes per half kg or one pound.* You'll know it's hot throughout when an internal temperature reaches 60°C (140°F). Halfway through baking, baste ham by spooning the glaze around the ham over the top.
- Remove the ham from oven and let rest for a few moments before slicing.
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Favourite Side Dishes to Go with Baked Ham
- Roasted vegetables: Since you’ve got the oven going – roast some veggies! Just note that they’ll take longer since the roasting temp for the ham is lower than typical roasted veggies.
- Mashed potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic side dish that goes well with ham.
- Mashed Potato Patties: If you happen to have leftover mashed potatoes – make these patties!
- Salad: Pick a salad any salad! Citrus Salad, Spinach Salad, Carrot and Apple Salad, Caesar Salad
- Spaetzle & Gravy For a German take on things, make these German noodles, gravy and why not toss in some braised red cabbage.
- Scalloped Potatoes/Au Gratin: You can never go wrong with creamy, cheesy potatoes!
- Corn on the cob: Sweet corn on the cob is a classic side dish that pairs well with ham. You can grill or boil the corn and serve it with butter and salt.
- Frozen Vegetables – During winter, I’ll often add some Frozen Green Beans or Peas on the plate.
What’s your favourite side to go with ham and which of the glazes will you try first? Let me know how your baked ham turns out. Comment below or tag me on Instagram @getgettys.
Select, store and serve seasonal food for everyday cooking with Getty. Getty is a food educator and Professional Home Economist,who loves sharing tips and recipes following the seasons from her Canadian kitchen. Sign up to get seasonal tips and recipes delivered to your inbox. Learn more about Getty or check out her books and pdf guides.