Baked Ham

Baked ham can be delicious. Unfortunately it often comes out dry. I came across a technique in Cook’s Illustrated a few years ago and it has held up across multiple testings. It makes use of an oven bag, you should be able to find them with the foils and plastic wrap in your local mega-mart.

Bake Ham
Servings: 12+
Prep time: 90 minutes
Total time: 3 hours


  • 1 bone-in ham, preferably shank, 8-10 lbs.

Special Equipment:

  • 1 container large enough to hold the ham (I use a stock pot)
  • 1 large oven bag


  1. Place the ham, still wrapped in factory plastic, in the large container of your choice. Fill the container with hot tap water until you cover the ham. Cover and rest for 90 minutes. Drain water and repeat for a second 90 minute cycle.
  2. Set an oven rack in the lowest spot in your oven, removing any other racks. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  3. Drain water, transfer ham to a cutting board and remove the plastic wrapping. Look for, and remove if present, a plastic disk over the bone on the cut end of the ham.
  4. Trim excess fat, leaving an 1/8″ layer. Transfer the ham to the oven bag, remove excess air and cinch the top with the provided bag tie. Trim any excess plastic above the tie. Place the bag in a 13″x9″ glass baking dish.
  5. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for ~90 minutes, rotating dish every 30 minutes.
  6. Check the temperature of the ham after 90 minutes. If it has reached 100°F. remove from the oven and allow to rest, in the bag. If not then continue to cook.
  7. Allow to rest 15 minutes before carving.

I go back and forth on whether a spiral cut ham works as well as non-precut ham. Spiral is convenient and provides a more picturesque result. Personally I like thicker pieces of ham than you get with a non-precut ham though.

Family tradition states that ham is served with a glaze/sauce made from brown sugar, yellow mustard and a small amount of pineapple juice. I find the ham tasty enough without the excess sweetness.

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