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Ham in a Roaster Oven

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This is my favorite recipe and cooking tips for making a juicy Ham in a Roaster Oven dripping with caramelized pineapple glaze.

This centerpiece ham is an easy dinner that will make you look like a kitchen superstar when cooking for a large group of people during the holidays or for Sunday dinner.

A beautiful spiral ham ready to be sliced.

Ham in Roaster Oven

I was so excited to learn how juicy and flavorful spiral ham can be when cooked in an electric roaster oven!

Did you know you can even caramelize a ham right in an electric roaster? I had no idea, and it works just great.

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I cooked two ten-pound hams in an electric roaster oven at once, and they were delicious.

This will be handy when the holidays roll around, and I can free up my oven for side dishes because the ham is cooking separately in the electric roaster.

Roaster ovens cook with moist heat. When you wrap the hams in foil and essentially “steam” them in the electric roaster, they turn out juicy, tender, and beautifully glazed. And talk about easy!

And by the way, did you realize you can also make turkey in a roaster oven and prime rib in a roaster oven?

WHAT TO LOVE

  1. It’s super easy to cook a delicious ham in a roaster oven.
  2. Using a roaster oven for cooking the ham frees up your regular oven for all the side dishes you need to cook for that big holiday meal.
  3. An electric roaster oven can be plugged in anywhere, and it’s also great for transporting food to an event so you can keep it warm when you get there.
A sticky-sweet spiral ham on a platter.

HAM IN A ROASTER RECIPE INGREDIENTS

For the Ham

  • Spiral Ham
  • Pineapple Juice

For the Glaze

  • Canned pineapple, chunks or sliced, in heavy syrup
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Butter
  • Spicy Brown Mustard
  • Spices: Granulated Garlic, Granulated Onion, Cinnamon, Smoked Paprika
All the ingredients for making ham in a roaster.

RECIPE TIPS

  • Hams will cook more quickly and evenly if you allow them to rest on the counter (unpackaged) for 30-40 minutes before you begin cooking. The ham juices that coagulate at the center of the ham when it’s chilled come out to the edges.
  • Cooking times are approximate. For best results, always use a meat thermometer so you know the exact internal temperature of the ham.
  • If you cook just one ham in the roaster, cooking throughout fully will take one-third less time. Less volume (ham) in the roaster means it can cook the meat more quickly. Always cook by internal temperature, not by time. The finished internal temperature of the ham should be 140 degrees F. at the center of the meat.
  • If the pineapple juice added to the roaster at the beginning of the cooking process doesn’t cover the bottom to a depth of 1/4-inch, add some more juice, broth, or water until it does.

HOW TO COOK HAM IN A ROASTER OVEN

Preheat an 18-22 quart roaster oven to 275 degrees F. I used an 18 quart electric roaster when I made this recipe.

Remove the hams from their packaging, reserving any ham juices inside the accumulated packaging.

Let the hams rest, uncovered, on the counter for 30-40 minutes to remove the chill from the meat, helping the hams to cook more quickly and evenly.

Combine the reserved ham juices (from within the packaging) in a medium bowl with the pineapple juice and set aside.

Place two long sheets of wide heavy-duty foil onto the counter in a cross shape, one placed vertically and the other laid over it horizontally.

Place a flat-side-down ham (also called the cut side) onto the center of the sheets of foil where they intersect.

Tightly wrap the ham in the foil, sealing everything up at the top. Repeat the wrapping process with the second ham.

Lay the rack across the bottom of the roaster. Pour the pineapple juice (that has the ham packaging juices added) into the bottom of the preheated electric roaster oven.

If the liquid doesn’t cover the bottom of the roaster to a depth of 1/4-inch, add some more juice, broth, or water until it does.

Pouring juice into a roaster pan with the rack on the bottom.

Place both foil-wrapped hams onto the cooking rack, then secure the lid onto the roaster.

Two hams wrapped in foil placed into an electric roaster oven.

Cook the hams for approx. 2 hours or until they reach an internal temperature of 120 degrees F. when tested with an instant-read meat thermometer.

If you cook just one ham in the roaster, it will likely only take 1 – 1 1/2 hours to reach 100 degrees F. internally.

**You can see that the hams in the photo below haven’t yet reached 120 degrees F. at the center, but they are getting there!

An instant-read meat thrmometer inserted into the center of a ham.

While the hams cook, prepare the glaze. Place the canned pineapple (with the juice) into the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse the food processor until the pineapple is smooth. It will still be rather “pulpy” in texture, fyi.

Place the pineapple pulp into a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Bring the glaze to a low boil, stirring often. Reduce to a simmer and cover.

Cook the glaze for 1-2 minutes, keeping a careful eye on it, then remove the saucepan from the heat.

The glaze will be very thick, resembling the texture of applesauce.

Nice thick pineapple ham glaze.

Once the hams have reached 120 degrees F at the center, open the foil wrapping of each ham.

Pour about two-thirds of the prepared warm glaze over the hams, then tightly close the foil, covering the roaster with the lid.

A partially cooked spiral ham that has just had glaze added to the foil packet.

Continue to cook the hams in the roaster (still set to 275 degrees F) until they reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. at the center, approximately 35-40 minutes longer.

Open the foil and use a pastry brush to brush the remaining one-third of the glaze over the exterior of each ham.

A whole spiral ham covered with glaze.

Now, turn the roaster up to 425 degrees F. Open up the foil on each ham, pulling it back as far as possible or tearing some away to expose the hams.

Cover the roaster with the lid and bake the hams for 15-20 minutes longer to let the glaze caramelize.

Two hams side by side in a roaster, fully caramelized.

Let the hams cool before using two heavy meat forks inserted into each side of a ham, lifting each one to a cutting board. Slice as desired and serve.

HOW MUCH ROASTER HAM PER PERSON?

For a spiral ham with a bone in the center, plan on 1/2 pound of ham per person as a good rule of thumb. If it’s a boneless ham, figure 1/3 pound per person.

No matter which type of ham I cook in my electric roaster oven, I usually always figure 1/2 pound per person when buying the ham because I want to have leftovers!

WHAT TEMPERATURE DO YOU COOK A SPIRAL HAM IN A ROASTER OVEN?

Spiral ham cooks beautifully at 275 degrees F. in my electric roaster oven. This is considered a low-and-slow temperature, perfect for cooking a tender and juicy ham.

Cook the spiral ham tightly wrapped in foil for approx. 12-15 minutes per pound. Remember that a different type of ham may take longer to cook than a spiral ham in a roaster.

WHAT IS A SAFE INTERNAL TEMPERATURE FOR A FULLY COOKED HAM?

Cook ham to an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. at the center when tested with an instant-read meat thermometer at the thickest part.

DOES A ROASTER NEED LIQUID IN THE BOTTOM WHEN YOU COOK WITH IT?

Cooking in a roaster without liquid in the bottom is not a good idea for two reasons. First, it’s very hard on the roaster to dry-cook without liquid inside it.

Secondly, adding liquid to the roaster helps to ensure that what you are cooking inside stays moist and tender.

Essentially, the liquid on the bottom circulates inside the roaster, creating heat and steam that cooks the meat.

To be safe, make sure there’s a liquid that covers the entire roaster bottom by about 1/4-inch. That liquid can be water, broth, beer, juice….or a combination of any of those liquids.

A spiral ham with meat sliced off on one side.

WHY COOK THE HAMS COVERED IN FOIL?

Wrapping the hams in foil to cook helps them retain their natural moisture.

Once you add the glaze to the hams, the foil holds the glaze tightly against the meat, adding more moisture and extra flavor.

DO SPIRAL-CUT HAMS TEND TO DRY OUT MORE WHEN THEY COOK?

Because a spiral ham is pre-sliced, the meat can easily dry out more if left exposed. Wrapping the ham in foil is the secret to cooking spiral-cut ham that is juicy and tender.

WHAT GOES WELL WITH JUICY SPIRAL HAM?

Side dishes for ham have a wide range – everything is pretty darn good alongside ham. Something rich and creamy like cheesy orzo pasta is always a great pairing….or what about mac and cheese?

I love sweet potatoes with roaster ham, too. Two of my very favorite sweet potato recipes are sweet potato crumble and sweet potato au gratin.

We probably shouldn’t leave out vegetable side dishes for ham, should we? Sweet corn in a velvety cream sauce is always a hit. Maple bacon brussels sprouts compliment roaster ham in a big way, too.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ELECTRIC ROASTER HAM LEFTOVERS?

If you like cheesy potatoes, you’ll like using leftover ham to make Ham and Creamy Potato Casserole. And what about a budget-friendly cabbage soup with leftover ham that cooks in 3 minutes in your Instant Pot? Heck yes!

One of my very favorite things to make with leftover ham is Ham Salad. I always use my Grandma Lucille’s recipe and think about how she cheated and used bologna to make ham salad. None of us were the wiser because it tasted so darn good.

FREEZING LEFTOVER HAM

Place the leftover ham slices into a heavy-duty freezer bag to store safely in the freezer for up to 6 months.

I like to portion out my leftover ham into one or two-pound packages to pull out just the right amount needed for making ham sliders or a pot of ham and corn chowder.

DO YOU HAVE TO GLAZE A HAM WHEN YOU COOK IT?

No. I recently made Maple Pecan Ham and kept the glaze separate, serving it on the side. This way, my guests could have their ham glazed or unglazed.

Most of us seem to enjoy the savory-sweet flavors of glazed ham, but some do not. Keeping the glaze separate and served on the side keeps everybody happy at the family dinner.

A spiral-cut ham is especially nice with a glaze because it can get down into all the little nooks and crannies of the cuts in the ham!

WHEN DO YOU BASTE A HAM?

If you wrap your hams in foil while they cook in the roaster oven, they become self-basting hams – talk about easy!

An electric roaster oven ready to cook turkey.

HOW LONG WILL ROASTER-COOKED HAM STAY FRESH?

The USDA guidelines say that ham is good for 3-5 days in refrigeration after it has been cooked.

HOW LONG DOES A SPIRAL HAM STAY GOOD FOR ONCE YOU PURCHASE IT?

Check the dates on the packaging. There is always an expiration date for hams since they are perishable items with a finite shelf life.

IF HAM IS FULLY COOKED WHEN PURCHASED, WHY DO I NEED TO COOK IT AGAIN?

It’s true. Vacuum-packaged hams processed in federally inspected U.S. plants can be safely eaten cold, straight from the package.

But, just as with many other things in this life, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

All cooked ham should be reheated to an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. for the best eating experience.

PREP AHEAD ROASTER HAM

Yep. Prepping ahead is always the best thing we can do to make dinner go more smoothly.

You can cook your ham in the roaster oven 1-2 days before your event, then reheat the ham slices right before serving it. The glaze can also be made ahead of time, too.

Sometimes the thing that helps me the most is just getting the ham unpackaged and put into a disposable pan because then I know all I have to do is wrap it in foil and pop it into the roaster oven.

You could even wrap the ham in foil ahead of time, too. Sometimes cooking is a mental game, and prepping ahead does help!

HOW TO COOK A NON-SPIRAL HAM IN A ROASTER OVEN

You can cook any ham in a roaster, not just spiral-cut ham. If you’re cooking a regular bone-in ham in the roaster oven, you will need to plan for 15-20 minutes per lb. or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. at the center.

The time it takes for a ham to cook varies depending on the ham size and how your roaster oven cooks.

Boneless ham can also be cooked in an electric roaster. I like to slice the ham, and slather the glaze on each piece.

Layer the pieces across the bottom of the roaster in a bit of broth or juice to keep it good and moist. Cover the slices with foil to moisten the ham until ready to serve.

Upclose shot of a spiral cut roaster ham.

MORE FAVORITE RECIPES

If you love Instant Pot cooking like I do, you may want to try cooking your ham under pressure. It only takes 12 minutes under pressure to cook a delicious orange-maple ham in your Instant Pot.

Use your leftover ham bone from this recipe to make Old-Fashioned Ham and Bean Soup – talk about satisfying and belly-warming.

Sticky Ham is a family-favorite that’s baked in the oven. The glaze is made from pure maple syrup, honey, and bourbon – so easy to make and just delicious.

Maple Glazed Ham includes just 4 ingredients, including orange marmalade, pure maple syrup, and butter.

Golden brown and caramelized, a sprial ham ready to be enjoyed.

Ham in a Roaster

This is my favorite recipe and cooking tips for making a juicy Ham in a Roaster Oven dripping with caramelized pineapple glaze.
This centerpiece ham is an easy dinner that will make you look like a kitchen superstar when cooking for a large group of people during the holidays or for Sunday dinner.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 84kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE HAM

  • 2- 10 lb. fully cooked spiral-sliced hams
  • 2 cups pineapple juice

FOR THE PINEAPPLE GLAZE

  • 15 oz. can chunk or sliced pineapple in heavy syrup
  • `1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated onion or onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, may substitute sweet paprika

Instructions

COOK THE HAMS

  • Preheat an 18-22 quart roaster to 275 degrees F.
  • Remove the hams from their packaging, reserving any ham juices inside the packaging that has accumulated.
  • Let the hams rest, uncovered, on the counter for 30-40 minutes to remove the chill from the meat, helping the hams to cook more quickly and evenly.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the reserved ham juices from the packaging (if using) with the pineapple juice; reserve.
  • Place two long sheets of wide heavy-duty foil onto the counter in a cross shape, one sheet placed vertically and the other sheet laid over it horizontally.
  • Place one ham, flat-side-down (this is also called the cut side) onto the center of the sheets of foil where they intersect, then tightly wrap the ham in the foil, sealing everything up tightly so that it closes at the top of the ham.
    Repeat the wrapping process with the second ham.
  • Lay the rack across the bottom of the roaster. Pour the pineapple juice (that has the ham packaging juices added) into the bottom of the preheated electric roaster oven.
    **If the pineapple juice added to the roaster at the beginning of the cooking process doesn’t cover the bottom to a depth of 1/4-inch, add some more juice, broth, or water until it does.
  • Place both of the foil-wrapped hams onto the cooking rack, then secure the lid onto the roaster.
  • Cook the hams for approx. 2 hours or until they reach an internal temperature of 120 degrees F. when tested with an instant-read meat thermometer.
    **If you are cooking just one ham in the roaster, it will likely only take 1 – 1 1/2 hours to reach 120 degrees F. internally, fyi. A single ham will also reach the final finished temperature (140 degrees F. at the center) more quickly as well.
  • Once the hams have reached 120 degrees F at the center, open the foil wrapping of each ham. Pour about two-thirds of the prepared (warm) glaze over the hams, then tightly close the foil once more, covering the roaster with the lid again.
  • Continue to cook the hams in the roaster (still set to 275 degrees F) until they reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. at the center, approximately 35-40 minutes longer.
  • Open the foil and use a pastry brush to brush the remaining one-third of the glaze over the exterior of each ham.
  • Now, turn the roaster up to 425 degrees F. Open up the foil on each ham, pulling it back as far as possible, or even tearing some away, to expose the hams.
  • Cover with the lid and continue to bake the hams for 15-20 minutes longer to let the glaze caramelize.
    **Cooking times are approximate and will vary depending on the size of your hams and how your roaster cooks. For best results, always use a meat thermometer so you know the exact internal temperature of the ham.
  • Let the hams cool a bit before using two heavy meat forks inserted into each side of each ham, lifting them to a cutting board. Slice as desired and serve.

MAKE THE GLAZE

  • While the hams cook, prepare the glaze.
  • Place the canned pineapple (with the juice) into the bowl of a food processor; pulse the food processor until the pineapple is smooth. (It will still be rather “pulpy” in texture, fyi.)
  • Place the pineapple pulp into a large saucepan over medium heat; add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.
  • Bring the glaze to a low boil, stirring often; reduce to a simmer and cover. .
  • Cook the glaze for 1-2 minutes, keeping a careful eye on it, then remove the saucepan from the heat.
    **Glaze will be very thick, resembling the texture of applesauce

Notes

RECIPE TIPS

  • Hams will cook more quickly and evenly if you allow them to rest on the counter (unpackaged) for 30-40 minutes before you begin cooking. The ham juices that coagulate at the center of the ham when it’s chilled come out to the edges.
  • Cooking times are approximate. For best results, always use a meat thermometer so you know the exact internal temperature of the ham.
  • If you cook just one ham in the roaster, cooking throughout fully will take one-third less time. Less volume (ham) in the roaster means it can cook the meat more quickly. Always cook by internal temperature, not by time. The finished internal temperature of the ham should be 140 degrees F. at the center of the meat.
  • If the pineapple juice added to the roaster at the beginning of the cooking process doesn’t cover the bottom to a depth of 1/4-inch, add some more juice, broth, or water until it does.

Nutrition

Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 109IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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15 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Terrific!!! I had FOUR large hams to cook
    for our club dinner. A friend loaned me
    her roaster oven which I had never used!
    I did some research and found this recipe!
    I was excited to learn how to use the roaster
    in which I put two hams, and two in my oven.
    This recipe was wonderful and will be a regular
    one with our clan!!!

    1. Hi Manuela –
      I’m so happy to hear your experience with this electric roaster recipe. I was thrilled with the hams when I made them that way and wanted to share with everyone how easy it is to do. Thanks for taking time to let me know.
      Let’s Keep Cookin’,
      Chef Alli

    1. Hi Harry –
      It’s nice to be able to cook the ham in an electric roaster so the oven can be freed up for holiday side dishes. I hope you’ll try it one day!
      Sincerely,
      Chef Alli

    1. Hi Elaine-
      Yes, do give it a whirl – I think you’ll really be pleased. My family thinks it’s pretty bomb!
      Thanks for commenting here – I so appreciate it.
      Chef Alli

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent tips on how to cook and glaze a ham!! I love the detail you put in on not only how to prepare it, but what to do with leftovers!! 🙌🏼

    1. Hi Stacy –
      You could certainly make this in the crockpot, but I’m not exactly sure how long it would take to get the ham up to 140 degrees F. at the center, and I don’t believe the crockpot would get hot enough to do the final step at the high temp to caramelize the exterior. Hope that makes sense! You’d have to remove it from the crockpot and place it into a 450 degree oven for a few minutes to caramelize it. Hope that makes sense. Happy Easter!
      Chef Alli

    2. Super. Thanks for your timely reply! Going to give it a try as it’s more portable today than my roaster. I’ll let you know how things turn out!
      Happy Resurrection Sunday! 😊

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