Slow Cooker Ham is the ultimate holiday centerpiece. This recipe gives you amazingly flavorful, juicy ham with caramelized, honey-glazed edges– all without hogging up your oven space.
WHY COOK HAM IN THE SLOW COOKER?
- The prep work is quick and minimal
- All of your oven space stays open for preparing your other holiday dishes
- You don’t have to keep an eye on the ham– you can “set it and forget it”
- The liquid ingredients will flavor the ham and prevent it from drying out
- The juices from the ham infuse with the liquid ingredients and create a delicious base for the glaze
- You can serve right from the slow cooker or broil for 1-2 minutes for crisp, caramelized edges
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BEST SLOW COOKER HONEY GLAZED HAM
To start, you want to combine your glaze ingredients:
- Brown sugar, honey, and pineapple juice are the sweetening ingredients. They’ll flavor the ham as it cooks and also form the base of our glaze. And while the ham is pre-cooked, they all still help with tenderizing meat and preventing the ham from becoming tough.
- Melted butter is great for adding extra flavor and richness.
- Spicy brown mustard gives the glaze tang and mild heat, and is a go-to pairing for ham.
- Ground cloves make the glaze warm and aromatic, and are a traditional ingredient in ham glaze.
- Red pepper flakes are optional, but add heat that helps to balance the sweetness of the glaze.
And once they’re all combined, you need a ham, of course. But not any ham will be a good fit– and I mean that literally and figuratively.
You want a ham that will fit in your slow cooker, and oval slow cookers work best for this. My slow cooker is a 4 quart oval slow cooker and it can fit up to an 8 pound ham. It’s a very tight fit but that’s okay. If you have a larger slow cooker, you may be able to fit a ham that’s up to 12 pounds.
For the best flavor, opt for bone-in ham. You can also make soup with the leftover ham bone!
I personally prefer spiral sliced ham because, as I mentioned earlier, it’s easy to serve and it also has more surface area to be flavored with the liquid ingredients and glaze.
WHAT IF MY HAM STILL DOESN’T FIT IN MY SLOW COOKER?
If your ham is still too big for the lid to fit properly, use foil instead. You can get a good seal with foil and it’s alright if some of the ham is poking up above the lip of the crock pot!
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- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (8-10 lb) spiral-cut ham
- In the bowl of a large slow cooker, whisk together the pineapple juice, melted butter, brown sugar, honey, mustard, ground cloves, red pepper flakes, and garlic.
- Add ham to the slow cooker and brush or pour the glaze liquid mixture overtop.
- Cover the slow cooker (see note) and cook on low 3-4 hours.
- Remove the ham from the slow cooker and boil the liquid ingredients until thick and syrupy.
- Brush the ham with the glaze and either serve as-is or broil for 1-2 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet.
If your ham cannot fit perfectly in your slow cooker, cover the slow cooker with foil instead of the slow cooker lid to accommodate the ham.