Crock-Pot Ham

4.86 from 42 votes
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Effortlessly delicious, this Crock-Pot ham simmers in maple syrup and brown sugar and glistens with a rich glaze. It’s a festive centerpiece that is sure to dazzle at holiday gatherings!

Crock-Pot ham with maple syrup glaze.

A baked ham requires a lot of oven space, but the slow cooker is a compact countertop device, making it easy to prepare other parts of your feast. My holiday ham is a popular main course for special occasions like Christmas and Easter dinner.

The beauty of preparing this Crock-Pot ham recipe is that the meat is already precooked. The key is to gently reheat it so the texture stays tender while infusing sweet spices that reduce to a syrupy glaze.

“Stop what you’re doing, and go make this ham! It’s so simple and has so much flavor!!!”—Marlee

Recipe ingredients

  • Ham: There are different types of fully cooked ham options, like cured, uncured, or smoked. You can find them sold as unsliced boneless ham or spiral-cut ham with bone-in, which is the least processed. Avoid water-added ham, as the flavor is considerably diluted. A 5-pound boneless ham fits perfectly in a 6-quart-sized Crock-Pot.
  • Sweetener: Maple syrup and dark brown sugar add a pure sweetness and molasses taste to the glaze.
  • Juice: Tangy and sweet pineapple juice enhances the flavor of the sauce. The tropical fruit adds a wonderful aroma to the ham.
  • Mustard: Dijon mustard adds pungency, balancing the sweet sauce.
  • Spices: Intense warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves flavor the glaze and boost the sweet smell, giving baked notes.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Make a simmering sauce

Step 1: Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, maple syrup, brown sugar, pineapple juice, and Dijon mustard to balance the sweeteners. I figure no more salt is necessary because some will infuse into the liquid from the ham as it simmers.

Prepare the ham

Large ham cooking inside a slow cooker.

Step 2: Add half the maple sauce to the cooking vessel, then place the ham cut-side down to absorb the flavorful liquid. I like to pour the rest on top to coat the surface of the meat. If cooking a spiral ham in the crock pot, ensure the slices face up.

How to cook ham in a Crock-Pot

Step 3: Cover the lid and cook on the “Low” setting for 3 to 4 hours to prevent the ham from drying out. The steam created from the sauce mixture keeps it moist as it slowly cooks in the vessel.

The ham is ready when it reaches an internal temperature between 135 to 140ºF (57 to 60ºC) on a meat thermometer. A 5-pound boneless ham in the slow cooker will take about 3 ½ hours on “low” heat. Depending on the size, spiral or larger cuts may need an additional 1 to 2 hours.

Step 4: Cover the ham with foil and rest for 15 minutes. Don’t throw out the sauce. Use it to make a maple brown sugar glaze.

Make a glaze

Spoon showing the consistency of a reduced brown sugar glaze.

Step 5: The flavorful sauce at the bottom of the vessel is sweet, savory, and full of spices. Don’t let it go to waste! Reduce the sauce in a skillet or small saucepan by boiling off the excess moisture to concentrate the sugar solids, creating a sticky, spiced maple glaze. The process takes about 15 minutes.

Glaze the ham

Basting brown sugar glaze on the outside of a ham.

Step 6: Brush the sticky glaze all over the ham. It will cling to the surface, creating a mouth-watering crust. If using a spiral sliced ham, make sure to get some in between the cuts.

Slice and serve

Carving slices of ham on a wooden cutting board.

Step 7: If the ham is uncut, transfer it to a carving board and make slices about ¼-inch thick. Transfer to a platter and serve the glaze warm on the side. I made sure to have extra for you because it’s so good.

Flavor variations

This slow-cooker ham recipe is easy to customize! Try these tasty options:

  • Ham: For this recipe, I used boneless, unsliced ham. If you prefer a bone-in ham, increase the size by 25% to 50%. Ensure it can fit in the slow cooker vessel and is not over 8 pounds.
  • Juice: Instead of pineapple juice, use orange or apple juice. Add pineapple chunks and juice for a heartier sauce.
  • Sweetener: Honey or agave is a great swap for maple syrup. Coconut sugar, demerara, muscovado, or homemade brown sugar can be used.
  • Spices: Add ginger (fresh or powdered), freshly cracked black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, star anise, or all-spice. Use my pumpkin spice recipe for a bold mix!
  • Herbs: Add sprigs of rosemary or thyme to the sauce. This will infuse the dish with its herbaceous notes and aroma.

How much ham to buy per person

How much each person might eat can be a little unpredictable. If your family is hungry like mine, having more is best. To be on the safe side, you can use this formula for feeding guests at a holiday dinner:

  • Boneless ham: ½ pound per person
  • Bone-in ham: ¾ to 1 pound per person

This is a reasonable estimate if the ham is the main entree. With a 5-pound boneless ham, I got twenty ¼-inch thick, hearty slices. This will feed 8 to 10 people if they have two pieces each. You would then need between a 6 ¼ to 7 ½ pound ham for a bone-in ham.

Side dishes to serve

Ways to use leftovers

Frequently asked questions

How do you keep ham from drying out in Crock-Pot?

Add a liquid such as pineapple juice, stock, or broth to create a steamy environment in the vessel, keeping the ham moist and tender. Cook on the low setting for precooked ham to rewarm the meat gently.

How long does it take to heat ham in a Crock-Pot?

A 5-pound precooked boneless ham takes 3 to 4 hours on the low setting. For bone-in, add 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size. It takes longer for the bone inside the ham to heat the surrounding protein. The best indicator for doneness is to check the temperature every 30 minutes after the minimum recommended cooking time.

Can I reheat precooked ham slices in a Crock-Pot?

Yes! Add the carved slices with some liquid to generate steam. Add ½ cups of water or a more flavorful liquid like fruit juice or savory unsalted stock or broth. Use the low setting to reheat for about 1 to 2 hours or the warm setting to keep the meat warm when serving.

Slices of ham warming in a slow cooker.

Rest the meat before slicing

After hours of reheating in the slow cooker, resting the meat gives the muscle proteins a moment to relax and retain more moisture before carving—cover and rest for 15 minutes. The carryover cooking ensures it’s warm to the center without risking overcooking.

Crock-Pot Ham

Crock-Pot ham with maple syrup and brown sugar glaze, it's an easy and flavorful meal perfect for holiday gatherings.
4.86 from 42 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • teaspoon cloves, optional
  • 5 pounds ham, fully cooked, boneless

Instructions 

  • Make the Sauce – In a medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup, pineapple juice, brown sugar, mustard, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (if using).
  • Prepare the Ham – Pour half of the sauce mixture into a 6-quart slow cooker along with the ham placed cut-side down. Pour the rest of the sauce over the ham. For spiralized ham, place slices face up.
  • Cook Time – Cover and cook the ham for 3 to 4 hours on the low setting or until the internal temperature reaches 135 to 140ºF (57 to 60ºC) on a meat thermometer. The cooking time will depend on the size.
  • Rest the Meat – Transfer the ham to a cutting board. Cover with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Make the Glaze – Add the juices and sauce at the bottom of the slow cooker into a saute pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce bubbles. Stir occasionally until the mixture thickens and reduces to 1 cup, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Glaze the HamBrush some of the glaze over the round side of the ham. Allow it to set for 5 minutes, then brush another layer on the top.
  • Slice – Cut the ham into ¼-inch thick slices, if not already spiral cut. Serve with the remaining warm glaze on the side.

Notes

  • Serving Size: ½ pound boneless ham
  • Serving Per Person: ½ pound ham for boneless, ¾ to 1 pound for bone-in. For 10 guests, you would need a 5-pound boneless ham or around 7 ½ -pound bone-in ham.
  • Using a 6-quart Slow Cooker: A 5 to 7-pound ham works best.
  • Using Bone-in Ham: Spiral-cut, bone-in ham can be used instead of whole boneless ham. Add 1 to 2 hours of cooking time, depending on size.
  • For Larger Roasts: Increase cooking time to 4 to 5 hours for a 7 to 10-pound cut. A larger slow cooker may be needed, or trim the sides to fit the vessel.
  • Substituting Brown Sugar: Add more maple syrup, honey, orange marmalade, or apple jelly.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 10 servings
Calories 573kcal (29%)Carbohydrates 5g (2%)Protein 49g (98%)Fat 38g (58%)Saturated Fat 13g (65%)Cholesterol 140mg (47%)Sodium 2709mg (113%)Potassium 674mg (19%)Sugar 4g (4%)Vitamin C 0.6mg (1%)Calcium 25mg (3%)Iron 2mg (11%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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19 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Georgina- I have not tested this recipe with raw meat. I’m guessing you can use the sauce to simmer with the pork, but make sure to check for the doneness temperature. You make need considerably more time.

  1. Ali Cook says

    Hey! FYI 454g is 1lb. So 5lbs of ham should be 2267.96g (or 2.25kg near enough)

    Easy typo I guess 🙂

  2. Jeff Eppinette says

    I made this ham recipe for Easter, and it was a fabulous hit! I carved five pounds of ham off the shank, crocked it, reduced the sauce by 50% in a saucepan, and served it over the ham slices. The combination of spices was wonderful. Easy and mouthwatering!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for sharing your experience! Happy to hear the method worked with ham carved off the shank as well.

  3. Lisa Corcoran says

    I made this a few days ago and it was the BEST ham I ever had! Thank you so much for such a great recipe. I thought it might be too sweet considering all the sweet ingredients, but it was absolutely perfect.

  4. Margie Eckert says

    Jessica, would a sliced ham get too dry if it is warmed in a crockpot with the glaze that you recommend. Thank you so much for your delicious recipes!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I think a sliced ham won’t get too dry in a slow cooker since it will be steamy. But I wouldn’t keep it warm all day, maybe just a few hours.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Increase the cooking time to about 5 hours. The most important thing to test is that the meat reaches between 135 to 140ºF (57 to 60ºC).

        • Jessica Gavin says

          Hi Rona- The glaze quantities and directions are in the recipe card. They are: 1 cup pure maple syrup, 1 cup pineapple juice, ¼ cup dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon cloves.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, but the broth will make the glaze less sweet. You make way to add more brown sugar to the glaze if needed.