How to Cook the Perfect Easter Ham
Slathered with a sticky, slightly spicy pineapple-rum glaze, our new Easter ham recipe will wow everyone at the table. And it's easy! Nail the details using the trusty Yummly Smart Thermometer.
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Photographs by Brittany Conerly. Recipe by David Bonom
When it comes to choosing a star for the Easter table, there are those in the ham camp and those in the leg of lamb camp. Me, I love nothing more than a big, salty sweet, smoky ham, generously glazed and with caramelized, crispy edges. Could there be a better partner for tender, delicately spiced Hot Cross Buns? Not to mention ambrosia, another Easter essential (per my brother-in-law, anyway.) Or spring peas, for that matter, if I’m going the savory route.
If you’re on Team Ham, you’re in luck. Our new Yummly original recipe for Rum, Pineapple, and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham seasons the holiday centerpiece with tropical, caramel-rich flavors, tangy lemon juice, allspice for depth, and a tiny bit of cayenne to bring the glaze together. It’s a phenomenal recipe that promises lots of happy campers at your table, and more than a few licked fingers.
Having taken the recipe for an early test-run, I can vouch that it’s easy to pull off, but with a few important details that guarantee success. Ready to learn more?
Jump ahead to:
Which ham should I buy?
According to the experts at pork.org, the vast majority of hams sold in the U.S. are cured (injected with flavorings) and fully cooked (usually smoked). From there you can choose bone-in or boneless, unsliced or spiral-cut, and from the butt or shank end.
• Go for bone-in. At Yummly we’re big fans of bone-in hams. A ham with the bone is especially beautiful, and the bone seems to add flavor.
• Get it unsliced. By slicing the ham after cooking, you don’t run the risk of losing any juices, as you might with a spiral-cut ham. And you get to brush on your own glaze, which many consider the best part!
• Butt or shank? You’re buying a half-ham for this recipe, which weighs 7-8 pounds and feeds about 14 (or fewer, with plenty of leftovers). When a whole ham is cut in half there's the butt end, which is rounder, and the shank end, which has a pointed portion of the leg included. Either cut works great here.
In short: Buy a fully cooked, bone-in half ham from the butt or shank, 7-8 pounds (not pre-sliced). Plan ahead just in case you need to order it from a butcher or grocery store.
How to prep your ham
Prepping a cooked, bone-in ham is pretty quick.
• Remove skin, if any. Your ham is likely already skinned, but if not, remove the tough, brown skin with a sharp knife, leaving ¼ to ½ inch of fat on the ham to baste the meat.
• Score it. With your sharp knife, lightly score the top (fat side) of the ham (both fat and meat) in a cross-hatch diamond pattern, making sure not to go in more than ⅛ to ¼ inch. The scoring will look beautiful and will give the glaze more to cling to.
How to season an Easter ham
Cooked ham is seasoned as part of the curing and smoking process, but for a stellar eating experience, you want to finish your smoked ham with a shiny glaze that plays off the meat's salty sweet flavors. David Bonom, a talented recipe developer, created the beautifully balanced combination in the Rum, Pineapple, and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham recipe. It’s tropical, sweet, tangy, and richly spiced, with a little heat.
How to cook Easter ham using the Smart Thermometer
The Rum, Pineapple, and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham was designed especially for the Yummly Smart Thermometer, which takes the guesswork out of two key points: knowing when the ham is hot enough to start glazing, and knowing when it’s hot enough to serve.
Here’s more about the recipe.
• Use a roasting pan. You’ll need a large roasting pan that will let the glaze evaporate and thicken as the ham heats; 12x17 or 13x16 inches is perfect, but if your pan is a bit smaller, you can cook the glaze a little longer.
• Insert the Yummly Smart Thermometer up to the black cap. Following the insertion guide in the Yummly app, insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the ham, not touching the bone, all the way to the base of the black cap so no metal is showing.
• Select “Cooked Ham.” Since the ham is pre-cooked, you just need to get it hot. The Cooked Ham setting in the app will tell you when the meat reaches the perfect temperature, 140°F.
• First heat to 100°F. Cover the ham loosely with foil, creating a hole for the black cap on the Thermometer so the Bluetooth signal isn’t blocked. Then heat the ham without the glaze to 100°F (1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours). Tracking the temp is easy using the Yummly app on your phone.
• Baste with the ham glaze. Pour the pineapple juice glaze over the meat and start basting the surface of the ham every 10 minutes until the meat reaches 140°F and the glaze thickens (another 50 minutes to 1 ¼ hours).
• How long to cook Easter ham? A bone-in, 7-8 pound cooked ham baked at 350°F takes 2 ¼ - 2 ¾ hours total.
• How do you know ham is done? The Yummly Thermometer will alert you when your cooked ham reaches an internal temperature of 140°F.
Get the recipe
Our favorite new baked ham recipe makes a beautiful centerpiece for your Easter table, but keep it in mind for year-round celebrations, including 4th of July and Christmas.
Bonus: What to serve with Easter ham
The perfect side dishes for your holiday ham may depend a bit on whether you’re thinking Easter brunch or Easter dinner. Either way, you can’t go wrong with spring vegetables, potatoes, warm rolls, and comfort food sides.
Keep exploring Easter recipes
Half the fun of cooking a holiday meal is the planning. You just might need some deviled eggs, mimosas, and a Peeps cake to fill out the menu!