How Long To Cook Ham (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 15 to 20 minutes per pound

Ham is the cured leg of pork. It may be fresh, cured, or cured and smoked. Ham is a compact source of high-grade animal protein and has available energy ranging from 1200 to 2600 calories per pound.

Ham is most popular in the southern United States. The state of Virginia is most famous for its hams. It is also known as the “ham capital of the world” and, more succinctly, “Hamtown”.Ham is a rich source of nutrients like phosphorus, zinc, potassium, iron, and magnesium. It also provides some of the essential B vitamins such as vitamin B1, vitamin B12, and niacin.

How Long To Cook Ham

How Long To Cook Ham?

Ham is one of the favorite dishes preferred by the ham-eaters on the holidays. Ham is easier to make and it is preferred by both the kids as well as adults. There are many different varieties of hams available, some of which are the Black Forest, Virginia ham, etc.

It takes nearly 15 minutes per pound of ham to cook completely in the oven at 350 degrees. A whole ham is 18 to 20 pounds. A pre-cooked ham takes about 10 minutes per pound in the oven to cook properly. A thermometer is used to check whether the ham is cooked and good to eat or not. The safe temperature for pork products is about 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ham can be cooked without an oven. It takes about three to four hours for a ham to cook without an oven. Place the ham in the slow cooker and turn the flame from high to low. After three to four hours, a thermometer can be used to see if the ham is properly cooked or not.

A pre-cooked ham takes about twenty to twenty-five minutes to cook on the stove after it starts simmering. Slow cookers are better than an oven to cook a ham. Crockpots tend to keep the moisture a lot better than ovens. Cooking ham in a crockpot has a lot of advantages and is better for the first-time ham baker.

Cook Ham
Appliance usedType of HamTime period
In Oven(325 degrees F)Raw ham20 minutes per pound
In Oven(350 degrees F)Pre-cooked hamAbout 10 minutes per pound
On stovetop(140-160 degrees F)Raw hamAbout120 minutes per pound
On stovetop(140-160 degrees F)Pre-cooked ham20 – 25 minutes per pound

Why Does It Take So Long To Cook Ham?

A whole ham contains the “butt end” and the “shank end”. To make ham from a piece of pork, it is cured. It goes through both chemicals as well as physical changes. During these changes osmosis draws salt and other curing ingredients into the muscles of the pork and as a result protein molecules contract. Since ham is dense, it requires long and slow cooking to cook perfectly and perfectly tender.

A boneless ham takes much lesser time to cook as compared to a bonny ham. It is also easy to slice a boneless ham than a bonny ham. That is why a boneless ham is advised for a beginner.

Cook Ham

When the ham is cooked at a high temperature, the protein molecules in ham or any meat shrink and toughens. In general, a three to four-ounce cooked ham contains nearly 25 gms of protein.


The ham should not be cooked at high temperatures and should be allowed to cook slowly because of saber fruit sweets. Ham is rich in many vitamins and minerals and hence can fulfill some of the basic requirements of proteins and other essential minerals.

However, it is rich in sodium and a large amount of sodium is not good to take. Too much sodium can increase the risk of developing heart diseases and other health problems related to kidney and hypertension.

The ham is made after chemicals and physical processes and hence many additional items like, preservatives are added to preserve and enhance the flavor of ham which contains nitrates. Intake of large amounts of nitrates can also cause health issues like methemoglobinemia( a condition in which red blood cells are prevented from transporting the oxygen through the body properly), etc.

Hence it is advised to have lean ham or other varieties which have low sodium concentration as well as healthier.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. How fascinating! I never considered the science behind cooking ham, now I can use what I’ve learned to encourage my friends to eat healthier!

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