How Long You Should Cook A Spiral Cut Ham

The beauty of spiral cut ham is that most of the work has already been done for you. Most spiral ham brands sold at the grocery store are pre-cooked and pre-sliced into those luscious overlapping layers that spiral like unfolding flower petals. It's a form of edible table art that's tasty, practical for serving, and super easy to cook. That last part is key because you're not actually cooking the meat but rather reheating it after someone else has done the hard part.

Your job is just to heat it properly before showcasing it on the table. But it's not as simple as just plopping it into a hot oven for a few minutes. There's a delicate balance to sufficiently heating the meat; on the one hand, the ham might still be cold and on the other, you're left with a spiral of dried-out meat that's leaning toward jerky status.

So here's the tried-and-true rule of thumb for cooking, aka reheating, a spiral ham: Set the entire piece of cooked meat cut side down into your oven at 325 F, cover it with sturdy aluminum foil, and let it warm through until a meat thermometer registers a safe internal temperature of 140 F. notes that a whole or half spiral-cut ham weighing between 7 and 9 pounds should take about 10 to 18 minutes per pound to reach the appropriate temperature. Things get a bit more nuanced if you're infusing extra flavors, such as by adding a glaze

Glazing a spiral ham adds another cooking layer

Part of what we love about spiral cut ham is the delicious caramelized flavor and texture of the glaze. But it's not a guaranteed feature when purchasing this kind of ham, and it will slightly alter the cooking instructions. Some suppliers include a glazing packet for you to add at home, while others sell spiral hams with the glaze already drizzled over the slices. You can also make a custom glazing sauce using everyday pantry and fridge items such as brown sugar, honey, Dijon mustard, cinnamon, maple syrup, cranberry sauce, and apple or pineapple juice.  

For a deeply rich, caramel flavor throughout, it's fine to pour a small amount of glaze into the slices before covering the meat with foil and heating. However, that coveted crunchy, sweet texture and glazed sheen on top and around the rims of each slice only comes in the final few minutes. To achieve this, just remove the foil up to 20 minutes before the meat is ready, generously coat the ham with glaze, and let it finish cooking at a slightly higher temperature of 400 F. You'll end up with super tasty, crispy-glazed, sliced ham that requires only a gentle tug to release each piece onto awaiting dinner plates.