You can cook a precooked ham in a slow cooker, as it's a great way to warm it up before serving it. The slow cooker will keep the meat moist and prevent it from drying out. You can also add sauces, spices, fruit and other condiments to the slow cooker so the precooked ham gets infused with flavor.
Instead of trying to heat up a pre-cooked ham in a Crock-Pot, it is recommended that you reheat the meat on the stove, or in the microwave or convection oven, until the meat reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can then place the ham in the slow cooker to keep it warm until you’re ready to serve it. The temperature of the slow cooker should be above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heating Ham in a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers operate using a combination of direct heat from the electrical appliance along with the steam that gets trapped by keeping the lid on tight, according to the University of Minnesota. They cook food at a lower temperature — usually between 170 and 280 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Slow cookers are convenient because you can toss the ingredients in, go about your day and come back to a hot meal and a house that smells amazing. The lower temperatures help tenderize leaner, less expensive cuts of meat with minimum shrinkage. Plus, slow cookers also use less electricity than ovens.
The USDA cautions against heating up leftovers in a slow cooker. In fact, heating up any type of meat in a Crock-Pot is not recommended because if you put cold meat in the slow cooker, it could spend too much time heating up, giving bacteria a chance to multiply.
Temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below 140 degrees Fahrenheit are the danger zone where bacteria multiply rapidly, and taking in harmful bacteria could make you sick.
Salmonella, a type of bacteria that is sometimes found in pork, can cause infections with symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, per a March 2019 study in Diseases.
Following these steps can help ensure that harmful bacteria don't grow on the ham.
How to Cook a Precooked Ham in a Slow Cooker
Depending on your preferences, you can add other ingredients to the slow cooker with the precooked ham to infuse it with flavor and give it a sweet or savory glaze. For instance, you can make your slow cooker ham with pineapple to give it a tangy sweet-and-sour flavor.
Use the Stove, Microwave or Convection Oven First
Heat the ham either on the stove or in the microwave or convection oven. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the thickest and innermost parts of the meat are hotter than 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add Liquid to the Slow Cooker
You can use water or wine to keep the ham moist. If you like the flavor of pineapple, one variation of the recipe is slow cooker ham with pineapple juice. Just add pineapple juice to the slow cooker instead of wine. If you want a savory ham, you can use vegetable or chicken broth.
Glaze the Ham
For a sweet glaze, you can use a combination of brown sugar, honey, mustard and balsamic vinegar. If you prefer a savory glaze, use mustard, vinegar, honey, minced garlic and crushed peppercorns. Coat the ham with the glaze mixture.
Add Pineapple Pieces and Spices (Optional)
If you like chunks of fruit, you can make your slow cooker ham with pineapple pieces. Use toothpicks to pin canned pineapple rings all over the surface of the ham.
Put the Ham in the Slow Cooker
Gently place the precooked ham in the Crock-Pot. If you like, you can add spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg to the slow cooker with the precooked ham for additional flavor.
Let It Cook
Let the ham cook on the low-heat setting. Follow the manufacturer's directions to determine the amount of time required. The precooked ham should reach an internal temperature of at least 165 F to be considered safe to eat, per FoodSafety.gov.
Keep the Ham Warm
Keep the ham warm in the covered slow cooker until you are ready to serve it. Check on the ham every once in a while to make sure that it is not drying out.
The University of Minnesota cautions against leaving cooked food in the slow cooker to cool down, as this can allow bacteria to multiply. It's recommended that you either serve and eat the ham immediately or refrigerate it.
A slice of baked ham provides 30 calories, 5 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and minerals like sodium and potassium, according to the USDA. Any additional ingredients you add for the glaze may add calories to your meal.