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How to Bake a Pre-Cooked Spiral-Sliced Ham

by
author image Gwen Bruno
Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.
How to Bake a Pre-Cooked Spiral-Sliced Ham
Baking a precooked ham in the oven allows you to warm the meat to bring out its flavor and aroma. Photo Credit: Darren Muir/Stocksy

A pre-cooked, spiral-sliced ham provides you with an entree that's both simple to prepare and convenient to serve. Such hams are particularly popular for holiday meals and buffet dinners. As its name implies, pre-cooked ham has been previously baked, smoked or cured and comes ready to eat. By placing the ham in the oven, you're simply warming the meat to bring out its flavor and aroma. Before you put the ham in the oven, you can also apply a flavorful glaze to lightly caramelize the meat’s surface. Spiral-sliced hams are sold already cut to the bone into thin, continuous slices, so the meat is easy to serve.

Things You'll Need

  1. Broiling or roasting pan
  2. Foil
  3. Glaze (optional)
  4. Pastry brush
  5. Instant-read thermometer

Step 1

Preheating the oven ensures that your oven is the optimal temperature before you cook your ham.
Preheating the oven ensures that your oven is the optimal temperature before you cook your ham.

PREHEAT THE OVEN: Place your oven rack on the lowest level. This allows the center of the ham to remain in the center of the oven while baking, ensuring that it's cooked evenly and thoroughly. Check the ham’s packaging for heating recommendations and heat the oven accordingly; otherwise, heat it to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the USDA, you shouldn't cook meat at temperatures any lower than this.

Step 2

Avoid using a flimsy aluminum pan for cooking, as this can increase the risk of spilling dangerously hot broth.
Avoid using a flimsy aluminum pan for cooking, as this can increase the risk of spilling dangerously hot broth.

PREP THE HAM: Remove the wrapping and any additional covering on the ham. Select a large broiling pan or roasting pan. If using a lightweight, disposable aluminum pan, place it on a baking sheet for stability. Aluminum pans on their own are often too flimsy to control and may cause you to drop them or spill hot broth.

Step 3

Covering the roasting dish keeps your ham from drying out too much.
Covering the roasting dish keeps your ham from drying out too much.

GET READY FOR BAKING: Place the ham cut-side down in the pan. Cover the roasting pan with a lid or cover the ham tightly with aluminum foil to keep it from drying out.

Step 4

Average cooking times for a pre-cooked, spiral-sliced ham range from two to three hours total.
Average cooking times for a pre-cooked, spiral-sliced ham range from two to three hours total.

Heat the ham only long enough to warm it. It requires no further cooking for safe eating, and heating it too long or at too high a temperature will cause it to become dry.

COOK THE HAM: Heat the ham for about 10 to 18 minutes per pound at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow approximately two hours for a half ham and three hours for a whole ham.

Step 5

Glazes are optional, but they can add extra delicious flavor to your ham.
Glazes are optional, but they can add extra delicious flavor to your ham.

GLAZE THE HAM: If you'd like, use a pastry or basting brush to glaze the ham as desired. If your glaze contains sugar, wait until the last hour of cooking to apply it so it doesn’t burn. If you are using a ready-to-use glaze that came with the ham, follow the directions on the packet.

Step 6

Make sure you don't open the oven or uncover the ham too frequently, as this can cause the ham to dry out.
Make sure you don't open the oven or uncover the ham too frequently, as this can cause the ham to dry out.

CHECK THE TEMPERATURE: Periodically check the ham’s temperature with an instant-read thermometer, taking care to place the thermometer so it touches the meat only and not the bone. Replace the lid or foil after checking the temperature. To prevent the ham from drying out, limit the amount of times you open the oven.

Step 7

Make sure your ham is at the correct internal temperature before removing from the oven.
Make sure your ham is at the correct internal temperature before removing from the oven.

FINISH COOKING: Remove the ham from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit if the ham was packaged in a USDA-inspected plant (at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit if it wasn't), according to the USDA. Again, make sure the tip of the thermometer does not come in contact with the bone when taking the temperature.

Step 8

You beautiful pre-cooked, spiral-sliced ham is now ready to serve and eat!
You beautiful pre-cooked, spiral-sliced ham is now ready to serve and eat!

LET SIT BEFORE SERVING: Allow the ham to rest for 20 to 30 minutes after removing it from the oven and before serving it. This will make it easier to pull apart the already-cut pieces.

TIP

Save the ham bone after all the slices have been removed. You can use it as the base for a flavorful split pea, bean or lentil soup.

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