How To Cook A Ham

Cooking a Perfect Ham

Baked hams are traditionally served at Easter, holidays or special occasions. If you are wondering what type of ham to buy or how to cook it, we can help! Learn all about ham in our easy how-to guide from selecting and cooking to storing. 

  • Buying a Ham

    When picking a ham, make sure there is a good amount of lean meat to fat. The outer fat covering should be firm and white.  


    For bone-in hams, buy 3/4 - 1 pound per person.   

    For boneless hams, buy 1/3 - 1/2 pound per person.  

    This will feed a variety of appetites and give some leftovers. 

  • Storing Ham

    Keep refrigerated in its original wrapping and use by the best-before date. Leftover ham should be sliced, refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and kept for up to 4 days.  

  • Cooking Ham

    Follow recipe directions along with any specific package directions for baking a ham or use this general method. 


    If the ham has a rind (skin), you can cook it or remove the rind before cooking. Using a sharp knife and leaving a thin layer of fat, trim rind and any excess fat from ham. Score rind or fat in a criss-cross pattern to make diamonds. Press one clove into the centre of each diamond, if desired. 

    1. Place ham, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. 
    2. Check label of packaging to determine how to cook the ham. 


    • Fully cooked and ready to serve: Bake, uncovered, at 325°F for 12 - 15 minutes per pound (500 g) or until a meat thermometer registers 140°F.   
    • Uncooked or partially cooked: Bake, uncovered, at 325°F for 20 minutes per pound (500 g) or until a meat thermometer registers 160°F.   
    • If you are not sure if your ham is fully cooked, bake until a meat thermometer registers 160°F. 
  • Glazing Ham

    Ham doesn’t need to be glazed, but the glaze does add an extra layer of flavour. 

    • Apply glaze several times during last 30 minutes of cooking.  
    • Check here for some easy glaze ideas. 
  • Resting Ham

    After baking, place the ham on a warm platter and cover it loosely with foil. Let stand for 10 - 15 minutes before carving.

  • Other Cooking Methods

    Many don’t know that ham can be cooked in the slow cooker, like our Slow Cooker Lemon Glazed Ham. Or, how easy it is to cook a ham slice on the barbecue, like our Marmalade and Mustard Ham Slices. 

  • Freezing Ham

    Freezing ham before or after cooking may cause changes in flavour and texture. Any ham, frozen and then defrosted, may look and feel spongy and may taste saltier. It may not be ideal for company and would be better used in cooked dishes, such as soups, pizza or casseroles.   


    The recommended time for keeping ham frozen depends on if it is cooked or uncooked, cured or not: 

    • uncured, uncooked ham can be stored for up to 6 months 
    • cured, uncooked ham can be stored for up to 4 months 
    • cured, cooked ham can be stored for up to 2 months. 

Try some of our favourite ham recipes:

  • Medium
    Ginger Ale-Marinated Ham
  • Medium
    Maple Glazed Ham
  • Medium
    Baked Ham with a Gingersnap Crust

More about ham

From glazing to freezing, we have more ham information here. 

Want this in print? Check out our PDF here.