Spiral ham might be a fan favorite, but it’s worth getting to know the other types, too. Your taste buds will thank us!
The flavor of a sugar-glazed spiral ham is almost better than a bowl of homemade candy (and that’s coming from a sugar lover). But it’s important to know that spiral ham isn’t the only kind of ham out there. Even though the thought of cooking any other type of ham might feel like cheating on a holiday staple, it’ll be worth venturing into uncharted territory.
What Is Boneless Ham?
Aptly named, boneless ham doesn’t contain any bone at all. The bone is removed before the ham is processed and sealed tightly in its packaging. The good news? The ham still looks like ham, thanks to the salt and water that keep it together. And they’re pretty darn affordable.
The bad news? Because it’s processed, boneless ham isn’t always as flavorful—and despite the added water, it can be a little dry. But it’s hard to beat the fact that boneless ham is so darn easy to cook and serve.
How to Cook Boneless Ham
Remember, boneless ham is already cooked. You only need to warm it up and add a glaze (totally optional, but it’ll help boost the flavor). Set the oven to about 325°, add about a half cup of water to the baking dish and season. Just place a sheet of foil over the top, and cook for about 30 minutes at most.
What Is Bone-in Ham?
There’s a definite crowd following for bone-in ham! This has everything to do with the fact that the bone simply makes the ham taste better—it maintains the flavor and keeps its moisture in check, so you don’t need to worry so much about it being too dry. Even though bone-in hams are simply nicer to look at when glazed or garnished, this doesn’t completely erase the fact that bone-in ham can be tough to work with—seriously, have you ever tried cutting bone-in ham? (Here’s how.)
How to Cook Bone-in Ham
For fully cooked bone-in hams, set the oven to 325°. Remove any skin from the ham and use a knife to carve a crosshatch pattern throughout. Cook the ham, facing downward on its flat side, in a pan. Remember to add a little water and insert cloves into the ham for more flavor before placing in the oven. Cook the bone-in ham for about 2½ hours total.
What Is Spiral Ham?
Last but certainly not least, spiral ham is a delicacy around Easter, Christmas and any other holiday that calls for a centerpiece. Spiral ham can be made boneless, but butchers typically create a spiral ham cut by slicing a bone-in ham into one big spiral shape. Not only does spiral bone-in ham have a natural and preserved fresh flavor—it’s also a lot easier to cut, because of the extra work done at the butcher’s block. Even though the bone is still there, you have clear cutting lines to follow while slicing.
The only caveat with a spiral ham involves dryness, which can be easily avoided by cooking the spiral ham in a sweet glaze.
How to Cook a Spiral Ham
Create a mouth-watering glazed spiral-sliced ham by cooking the ham as you normally would—in the oven at 300°, cut side down and covered, for about 1¼ hours. After mixing the glaze, spread it over the ham and cook for 20 to 30 minutes longer.
Before you start your ham, take a quick look at our secrets for a perfectly baked ham!
The Best Recipes for Baked Ham
Although I usually buy spiral-sliced hams, I decided to do a home-baked ham with a gingery glaze. This is how you do special-occasion dining. —Ally Phillips, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
When I wanted to try something new with our holiday ham, I created this cider glaze. It’s slightly sweet but still has the spicy flavor my family craves. —Rebecca LaWare, Hilton, New York
There’s nothing I’d rather serve for Easter dinner or another springtime occasion than succulent baked ham. My recipe features a rub that adds flavor to the meat plus a delicious cherry sauce with a hint of almond. — Lavonn Bormuth, Westerville, Ohio
I’ve been told my Easter ham is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds. The combination of apricot, brown sugar and gingersnaps ensures plenty of oohs, aahs and yums! —Melanie Wooden, Reno, Nevada
Your Easter celebration will be so simple to orchestrate with this sweet, smoky ham recipe at your fingertips. It feeds a crowd and the baked ham glaze tastes fantastic. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
I fix this moist, tender ham to serve my large family. It can be readied quickly in the morning, frees up my oven, tastes outstanding and can feed a crowd. Covered with colorful pineapple slices, cherries and orange glaze, its showstopping appearance appeals to both children and adults. —Denise DiPace, Medford, New Jersey
That show-stopping entree you’ve been hoping for is right here, and it only takes five ingredients to make. The sweet and tangy cranberry glaze pairs beautifully with succulent ham. —Joni Peterson, Wichita, Kansas
Smoky and sweet flavors come through in every bite of this Kentucky-style ham. Since I found this recipe, it’s the only ham I make. —Sue Schiller, Tomahawk, Wisconsin
In my mind, few foods in a holiday spread are as tempting as a big, spiral-cut ham. I always hope for leftovers so we can have ham sandwiches in the following days. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
With just four ingredients, this pineapple glaze for ham is straightforward and simple — just what you’re looking for in a holiday ham with easy steps. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Nothing is better at the holidays than a delicious ham baking in the oven. The preserves mixture will be sure to please all of your guests.—American Dairy Assoc, Stacy Duffy, Chicago, Illinois
This glaze is our favorite way to perk up a ham. Leftovers make zippy sandwiches—with more horseradish, of course! —Cathy & Monte Seus, Tulelake, California
This old-fashioned sugar glaze gives your ham a pretty, golden brown coating just like Grandma used to make. The mustard and vinegar complement the brown sugar and add tangy flavor to this glazed ham recipe. Be prepared to serve seconds! —Carol Strong Battle, Heathville, Virginia
This is one of my husband’s favorite recipes. He makes it regularly for his group of friends on the weekends because it’s so good and easy. —Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, Wisconsin