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How to bake an already cooked ham?

Baking an already cooked ham can infuse it with more flavor and give it a lovely glaze. While ham is fully cooked and safe to eat right out of the package, baking it further allows the natural flavors to develop even more. The process is easy and only takes a couple of hours. With a few simple preparation steps and seasonings or glaze, you can transform a basic sliced ham into an impressive entrée for holidays and special occasions. Here’s how to bake an already cooked ham to perfection every time.

Why Bake a Pre-Cooked Ham?

There are a few key reasons why baking an already cooked ham can take it to the next level:

  • Enhances flavor – Baking allows the natural salty, smoky, and pork flavors to concentrate and intensify.
  • Melts fat – The heat from the oven helps render and melt fat within the ham, keeping it moist and tender.
  • Browns exterior – The hot oven will caramelize and brown the exterior, adding texture and visual appeal.
  • Warms thoroughly – Baking evenly heats the ham throughout, so it is hot and ready to serve.
  • Adds glaze – A sweet or savory glaze can be brushed on and baked into the ham for even more flavor.

So while an uncooked ham requires baking for food safety, already cooked ham benefits from additional oven time to take the flavor, texture, and presentation up a notch. The relatively low and slow baking process keeps the ham from drying out.

Choosing a Ham

For the best results when baking an already cooked ham, select:

  • Bone-in or boneless – Both work well, bone-in has more flavor.
  • Fully cooked – Not a fresh or uncooked ham.
  • Whole, half, or spiral cut – Whichever fits your needs.
  • Honey baked, applewood smoked, brown sugar, etc. – For built-in flavor.

Some hams are cured, smoked, or seasoned, which adds extra taste. Opt for convenience with sliced, shank, or butt portions. Avoid ones labeled “ham with natural juices” as they may dry out when baked again.

How Long to Bake a Pre-Cooked Ham

The baking time will vary based on the size and shape of your ham. Plan for approximately 10-15 minutes per pound. Refer to this baking time guide:

Ham Size Approximate Bake Time
5 lbs 50 – 75 minutes
7 lbs 70 – 105 minutes
10 lbs 100 – 150 minutes
15 lbs 150 – 225 minutes

For optimum flavor and glaze adhesion, do not exceed 175°F internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer to monitor. Let the baked ham rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing to allow juices to redistribute.

How to Prepare a Pre-Cooked Ham for Baking

Take these easy steps to get your cooked ham ready for the oven:

  1. Leave ham wrapped or unwrap and place in a baking dish, fat side up.
  2. Trim off excess skin or outer layer, leaving a 1/4 inch layer of fat.
  3. Score fat in a diamond pattern, about 1/4 inch deep.
  4. Stud with whole cloves if desired.
  5. Brush all over with glaze, juice, mustard, etc.
  6. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of ham, avoiding the bone.
  7. Bake ham uncovered at 325°F until thermometer reaches 140°F.
  8. Brush with more glaze periodically during baking.
  9. Let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Scoring the fat allows the glaze to really soak into the meat. Studding with cloves adds nice flavor. Brushing on a sweet glaze, pineapple juice, brown sugar, or spicy mustard marinade throughout baking gives a lovely caramelized exterior.

Best Glazes for Baked Ham

Glazing a ham adds both flavor and visual appeal. Brush on your favorite glaze multiple times during baking for delicious results. Try these yummy glaze ideas:

Brown Sugar Glaze

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Simmer to reduce slightly before brushing onto ham when baking.

Cherry Cola Glaze

  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle cherry cola
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Simmer cola to reduce by half, then add remaining ingredients. Brush onto ham periodically when baking.

Orange Marmalade Glaze

  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • Pinch ground cloves

Combine ingredients and gently heat to melt marmalade. Brush onto ham during last 30 minutes of baking.

Coca-Cola Glaze

  • 1 cup cola
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Bring cola and sugar to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Stir in mustard and cloves.

Apricot Glaze

  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Heat gently just until melted together, then brush over ham.

Recipes for Baked Ham

These recipes result in a flavorful baked ham with delicious glazed exterior:

Brown Sugar Baked Ham

  • 1 (6-8 lb) fully cooked ham
  • Whole cloves
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

– Score ham and stud with cloves. Whisk together remaining ingredients to make glaze. Bake ham at 325°F, brushing with glaze every 20 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 135°F.

Coca-Cola Baked Ham

  • 1 (7-10 lb) fully cooked ham
  • 1 (12 ounce) can cola
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

– Score ham. Bring cola and sugar to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Mix in mustard and cinnamon. Bake ham at 325°F, brushing often with glaze, until internal temperature reaches 140°F.

Pineapple Baked Ham

  • 1 (3 lb) fully cooked ham
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple slices
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon mustard

– Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Score ham and place pineapple slices on top. Whisk juice, sugar, honey and mustard to make glaze. Bake ham at 350°F, frequently spooning glaze over ham, until internal temperature reaches 135°F.

Tips for Baked Ham Success

Follow these tips for the best baked ham:

  • Choose a fully cooked, boneless ham to make carving easier.
  • Always bake ham fat side up to prevent drying out.
  • Use a meat thermometer for perfectly baked ham without overcooking.
  • Start brushing glaze on during last 30 minutes to avoid burning.
  • Let baked ham rest at least 10-15 minutes before slicing for juicy results.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours and consume within 3-5 days.

With a sweet glaze and rest time, even an inexpensive pre-cooked ham can become an impressive entrée. The prep is minimal and it freezes well too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to bake an already cooked ham?

Yes, it is completely safe to bake a pre-cooked ham. Hams labeled “fully cooked” are safe to eat as is. Baking infuses additional flavor, juices, and color. Just be sure not to overbake, keeping the internal temperature under 175°F.

Can you bake a ham that is already smoked?

Absolutely! Smoked hams pair beautifully with baking, as the gentle oven heat allows the smoke flavor to fully develop. Choose a smoked or applewood baked ham and bake as usual. The smoky flavor will become richer and more pronounced.

How long does it take to bake ham at 350 degrees?

At 350°F, plan to bake ham for approximately 10-15 minutes per pound. So a 7 pound ham would take 70-105 minutes. Check temperature periodically and stop baking when the thermometer reaches 135-140°F.

What is the best way to reheat baked ham?

To reheat leftovers, sliced baked ham can be warmed in the oven at 300°F for 10-15 minutes until heated through. For smaller portions, use the microwave. Place slices on a microwave-safe plate, cover, and heat in 30 second intervals until warmed to 165°F.

Can you freeze baked ham?

Yes, baked ham freezes beautifully for 3-6 months. Allow the baked ham to cool completely before wrapping tightly in plastic wrap followed by foil. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating to serve.


Baking an already cooked ham is an easy way to take the flavor up a notch. Choose a bone-in, smoked, or seasoned ham and brush generously with your favorite sweet glaze. Bake at 325°F until the meat thermometer reaches 135-140°F for tender and juicy results. Allow to rest before slicing and serve warm. With clever use of glazes and seasonings, even an inexpensive cooked ham can become an elegant entrée with minimal effort.