Wondering how to make Slow Cooker Ham? It’s the easiest way to cook a smoked bone-in ham and it turns out PERFECT every time! Includes recipe for ham gravy.
When I think about holiday meals, my mom’s ham always comes to mind so that is the recipe I will be sharing today. I called it Mom’s Famous Bone-In Ham and while it isn’t exactly famous in the traditional sense, my mom’s delicious ham is well known and loved. My mom says that it is her go-to recipe for dinner company because it is so easy to make and always turns out well.
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Where is the recipe for slow cooker ham? In this post, I will share step-by-step instructions with photos for how to make ham in the slow cooker, as well as answering FAQs about the recipe and sharing a short video showing the recipe in motion. But you can go directly to the recipe by scrolling down to the bottom of the post.
Everyone that has ever had my mom’s ham says they love it and want to know how she made it and what brand of ham she used. I’ve heard people exclaim that it is like eating candy. In fact, one of my brothers will eat leftover ham instead of dessert!
So, what’s the big secret? Cook the ham slowly over a long period of time. That’s it! My mom buys whatever brand of ham is on sale at the grocery store so I do the same. I look for a ham that is smaller in size and looks like it will fit into my large crockpot.
Wondering what ham to buy?
To make a slow cooker ham, look for a bone-in shank or butt portion half ham that is smoked, fully cooked, and vacuum-packed. This kind of ham can be eaten cold, right out of the package.
A shank ham is the lower part of the ham. It tends to be fattier and chewier but is easier to carve. A butt portion ham is the upper end of the ham. It tends to have more meat and is more tender but can be harder to carve.
There are a couple of other kinds of ham that may be available at your local grocery store. A boneless ham has the bone removed and is pressed to reshape it. Although it is easy to slice without the bone, it doesn’t have the same texture and tenderness as a cooked bone-in ham.
A spiral cut ham is sliced before it is vacuum-packed. They often have a glaze already applied, which you may or may not prefer, and can dry out while cooking so be careful about how you cook it.
How To Make Slow Cooker Ham
Step One: Unwrap the Ham
If the ham is frozen, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.
Place the ham on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut away the plastic wrapper, remove it and the round plastic piece that is covering the bone.
Step Two: Place to Slow Cooker
Transfer the ham to the crockpot with the cut side down. This smoked, bone-in butt portion ham weighed just over seven pounds and fit perfectly into my crockpot.
If your ham is too big to fit into your crockpot, cut some of the ham off so that it fits. Tuck the pieces in around the ham. The pieces will cook the same as the rest of the ham.
Add 1/2 cup of water to the slow cooker to help keep the ham moist.
Step Three: Cook in Slow Cooker
Put the lid on the crockpot and cook the ham on low for 4-6 hours.
Moisture gathers on the top of the slow cooker and drips down on the ham, keeping it moist so you don’t have to baste it.
Step Four: Carve the Ham
Slice the ham perpendicular to the bone (meaning make your slices directly towards the bone). Then, slice along the bone to free the slices of ham.
Step Five: Serve the Ham
Put the sliced ham on a platter to serve or put it back into the ham juice in the slow cooker and turn it to warm until you are ready to serve.
If there is a longer period of time before serving, give the ham a stir every once in while and baste the ham slices with the juice on the bottom.
The ham drippings are perfect for homemade gravy and it is easy to make. Melt butter in a pan, stir in flour and then whisk in the ham drippings and milk. The ham gravy recipe is included in the recipe card below.
We really enjoyed our dinner and I am going to make my slow cooker ham and cheese soup with the leftovers. My teen told me that my ham is just like grandmas. She said that no one else makes ham like we do and that when she has ham at her friend’s houses, it never tastes as good.
Slow Cooker Ham Recipe FAQs
1. Can ham be frozen? Yes! You can freezer the vacuum-packed ham before cooking it (you will have to thaw it before cooking). Or you can freeze leftover ham to serve another time or to use in a future recipe.
2. Can ham be cooked in a slow cooker? Yes, I’ve found that cooking ham in a slow cooker is the easiest way to cook it and you end up with juicy, tender ham.
3. Can I add brown sugar to my slow cooker ham? The recipe in this blog post is for slow cooker ham without brown sugar. But if you prefer a sweeter ham, start with a spiral-cut ham. Coat it with one cup of brown sugar, drizzle it with 1/4 cup of real maple syrup and use 1/2 cup of pineapple juice instead of water. Baste the glaze over the ham several times while cooking.
4. How long does it take to cook a ham in a slow cooker? It takes 4-6 hours on low to get the ham to an internal temperature of 140˚F.
5. Can I slice my ham before putting it in the crockpot? Yes, you can slice it first but be careful not to overcook it or it will dry out.
What should I serve with ham?
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes are an easy, hands-off way to make mashed potatoes. The potatoes cook while you concentrate on other dishes or tasks!
This fluffy Strawberry Jello Salad recipe is perfect for every occasion from summer barbeques and holiday dinners! It is a dessert salad that everyone loves.
Serve Sautéed Green Beans with Bacon and French Fried Onions at your holiday dinner and they will become a new family favorite!
Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole is the EASIEST way to make this classic side dish. Plus, cooking green bean casserole in a crockpot frees up oven space!
What can I make with leftover ham?
A hearty bowl of Slow Cooker Ham and Cheese Soup is the perfect way to warm up! Put it in the crockpot in the morning on a busy weekday for an easy dinner.
This Cheesy Ham Pot Pie recipe is easy to make for a family dinner. Use up leftover ham, julienne scalloped potatoes, and frozen vegetables.
These are the BEST Ham and Cheese Croissants that my grandma used to make us! They are quick, easy and so delicious.
This Chicken Wild Rice Soup with Ham is a great way to use leftovers. It is perfect for cold winter days!
Updated from original recipe posted November 1, 2013.08
Photo from my original blog post.