How to Make Easter Ham!

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Hippity, hoppity, Easter is on its way! Which usually means frocks, family, and HAM! Cooking a ham is a simple thing……truly it is. Mainly because when it comes to hams, there is very little cooking required; it’s the choosing part that sometimes feels overwhelming. But I’m happy to share with you how to make a juicy, succulent, flavorful Easter ham with tips from the grocery case to the dining table.

Chris is throwing his hands up at trying to figure out which ham to buy. Don’t worry! I’ve got some helpful tips!

As you behold the bunker that is home to all the hams at the grocer, do you find yourself thinking the following?: “Should I purchase a fresh ham…..and what does fresh mean, exactly, when it comes to ham?  Or, should I purchase a cured ham….and, by the way, I’ve been told a cured ham is fully cooked….is that true???  And what about spiral cut hams….is that really a perk or just a gimmick to make it seem easier??    I just want to buy a ham that my family will enjoy for Easter dinner; why does it have to be so complicated??? I’m so confused!”
Because purchasing a ham can seem like a daunting task, I’ve created a little tip sheet with some basic info that might help:

There are 2 Main Types of Ham:

  1. Cured Ham – a leg of pork can be cured in one of two ways:  by brining, or by curing with a dry rub and hung to dry.  These hams are pink in color and are typically sold as ready-to-eat, though not always; some cooking may be required.  Always check the label – hams that need to be cooked are required to be labeled with cooking instructions.  Hams that only need to be reheated will be labeled as fully cooked.  Either way, hams need to stay refrigerated until you are ready to cook them.  Some cured hams are also smoked.
  2. Fresh Ham – uncured leg of pork and must be labeled as “fresh” ham as part of its name. Fresh hams have the same color and texture as a fresh uncooked pork roast and must be cooked before eating. Fresh hams are not very commonly available; cured or smoked hams are much more widely consumed at the holidays.

Whole Ham Vs. Spiral Cut?

A spiral cut ham makes carving much easier since it’s already cut into thin slices that simply need to be cut away from the bone.  And while that is super convenient, I still love a whole ham because it retains more of its moisture when cooked.

Should I purchase a ham that is labeled a bone-in ham?

A bone-in ham is a little more work for the cook since it requires that we cut around the bone when serving the ham.  But, because the bone makes the meat so much more flavorful, it is definitely recommended. ( And a good leftover ham bone is nice for adding flavor to soups or for making broth.)

How much ham should I purchase?

If you’re serving ham as the single main course of your meal, purchasing about 1/3 – 1/2 of a pound per person for bone-in ham is a good idea. If you’re serving a boneless ham, you can likely get away with 1/4 – 1/3 of a pound per person.

The Best Ham Recipes

Three Ham Glazes

You might have your own favorite ham recipe or you may prefer to buy a pre-cooked ham that you simply warm up. In either case, one of my delicious glazes will wow your guests (and your ham)! Make your favorite recipe and top with one of these warm glazes. Pop it back under the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize on top of the ham, then serve. Yum!

Balsamic Brown Sugar Glaze

1 cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup pineapple juice
5 Tbs. good balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. spicy brown mustard

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.

Orange Spice Glaze

1 cup orange marmalade
1 tsp. ground mustard
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup pineapple juice

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.

Apricot Chipotle Glaze

1 cup apricot jam
1/3 cup pineapple juice
chipotle powder or chipotle sauce or puree, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.

Now You’re Cookin’,
Chef Alli


**This recipe was featured as part of Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen on WIBW 13 News, April 2017. Special thanks to the farmers and ranchers of the Kansas Farm Bureau for making this segment possible!
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. It may also contain “affiliate links”. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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