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Slow Cooker Ham (Best Tip for the Holidays)

If you need an easy way to cook a spiral ham that doesn’t use your oven, look no further! This easy recipe for crockpot ham will make you want to cook ham like this every year!

Are you intimidated by cooking a ham like I used to be? I mean, most of them are fully cooked to start with, so it couldn’t be that hard, right?

Well, it seemed like every time I made one, it would be so dry and not very pleasant to eat by itself. Then I learned a really simple recipe from my mom that changed everything, and the best part is you can make it in a slow cooker, giving you oven space for any side dishes you need to cook!

How to cook a ham in a slow cooker

Here’s all you need for this amazing holiday meal:

  • 1 spiral cut ham (This one was 10 pounds)
  • 1 can pineapple chunks (Feel free to keep the pineapple juice in as well)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Sprinkle the brown sugar on the bottom of the slow cooker, then gently place the ham on top of that. Pour the pineapples over the ham, cover and cook on low heat.

The cooking time for the ham depends on the size.

  • A small ham may only need 2-3 hours.
  • A large ham may need 4-6 hours.

Keep in mind that most hams are already fully cooked- all you’re doing is heating it. The temperature should read around 140 degrees F when the ham’s finished.

What if the ham doesn’t fit in the slow cooker?

I have to show you a trick, because my hams are always too tall for my slow cooker.

The one I used here is more of a round-shape. You may have an oval slow cooker, but the same tip applies:

If you can’t fit the lid over top of the ham, take two pieces of aluminum foil and criss-cross them on top of the ham, scrunching up the ends around the edges of the slow cooker to keep the heat in.

I like to place the lid on top of that, although I don’t think it really does much. The foil does a great job at this, and is great if your slow cooker is short like mine.

The end result is soft, delicious ham that falls right off the bone. I don’t even use the brown sugar glaze packet, because the pineapple and brown sugar make the ham nice and sweet; I could probably eat this ham straight up all day, every day.

How much ham do I need for my family?

I typically buy a 7-8 pound ham. And that’s typically enough to feed 6-8 people with some leftovers.

Keep in mind though, that this ham still needs to fit in your slow cooker! Really big hams may need to go in the oven, but you might still be able to use the foil trick.

What can I do with leftover ham?

If you’re anything like us, you’ll have leftovers. And lots of them.

I don’t know why I think my family of 3 (Well, 2, because Allison won’t eat ham) needs a 10-pound ham, but it’s a great way to save money for the week because you can use the leftovers in many different recipes. Here are some of our favorites:

You should hopefully have zero ham left over after making all of these! If you do, though, and you’re tired of ham, you can cut the rest into chunks and freeze it in a freezer bag. It actually keeps very well and is handy if you want to put it into a casserole.

Extra tips and tricks

  • Buy ham whenever it’s on sale at the grocery store! Easter and Christmas are when they seem to be cheapest. But you don’t have to make it for a holiday dinner- stick the entire ham in the freezer for later!
  • When cooking this ham in the slow cooker, try not to remove the lid at all until the cooking time is up. Every time you lift the lid, you release heat. And that makes the ham take longer to cook.
  • You don’t have to use whole spiral-cut hams for this great recipe. You can also use boneless ham or other type of ham. The cooking times may vary, so keep an eye on that.
  • If you are using bone-in ham, save the ham bone for soup! When you use the slow cooker for this, any leftover meat just falls right off the bone.

This is seriously the best ham recipe I’ve tried. It’s so simple and you can make it for any special occasion- Christmas, Easter dinner, or whenever ham’s on sale.

Do you have any favorite ham recipes? Share with us in the comments, I’m always looking for more!


Wednesday 15th of February 2017

This would make cooking ham for Easter much quicker! Love using my crockpot so thanks for the new recipe.

Sharonda Vizcaino

Saturday 27th of November 2021

@Stephanie, I would have never thought cooking a ham in my slow cooker, I really love this idea and the recipes on using leftover ham.

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