This classic Pineapple Baked Ham is flavorful, moist (not dry at all!), and topped with a sticky brown sugar honey glaze. It’s the perfect main course for holiday dinners or any day dinners.
We start with a cooked ham and dress it up so that it is both flavorful, delicious and yes, juicy. No dry ham business here!
Everything you every need to know about preparing the best ham for the holidays is here! Read on! 🙂
We’ve baked a lot of ham around here, and Baked Ham with Pineapple is my favorite way to bake a big piece of ham.
These pineapple rings help maintain moisture in the ham, and brings about yummy flavors.
You can also eat the pineapple along with ham if you are like me and am obsessed with the ham and pineapple combo. If you don’t care for pineapples, toss them after cooking, but do not omit pineapples because they are an important part of this recipe!
It’s just such a versatile dish. Whenever I make a large piece of ham (and it’s not limited to the holidays), not only do we eat it as a main course with a few sides, we make sandwiches with it, add it to homemade pizzas, make omelettes with it, and then transform leftovers into other yummy ham dishes.
So many options and variety from one ingredient! And I love it!
How to cook ham without drying it out
One of the most common things that makes ham not appealing is a dry piece of ham. Yes, flavor is important (and we will absolutely make sure this is crazy flavorful!), but if everything is right but the ham is not juicy and moist, it won’t taste good.
I’m going to walk you through step-by-step how to cook ham well, and avoid that dryness in your baked ham.
The ham we are using here is a pre-cooked piece of ham. A very large cooked piece of ham, may I add. Because it is cooked, we are essentially heating up the ham when we put it in the oven.
I’m going to give you all my tips and tricks to heating up ham well while keeping it juicy and moist:
- Cooking it under low heat, and very slowly. Low and slow is the way to go on this!
- Make sure ham is completely defrost before cooking.
- Cover with aluminum foil for all or most of the cook time.
- Check on it often – you can always cook longer if it’s undercooked, but you can’t do anything about it once it’s overcooked.
- Use a meat thermometer so you can monitor it closely and remove from oven once ham reaches 150℉
- No rushing. No cutting corners. You need time and a little bit of patience.
It’s worth it, I promise.
And I assure you, it’s not half as intimidating as it sounds. I have complete faith in you. 💛
What kind of ham to use
There are so many types of hams out there. If you are trying to figure out what to buy, here is what I typically recommend.
In order to maintain moistness in ham, I like to get ham that is 1) not spiral cut (they dry out too quickly when baked), and 2) bone-in.
And as I mentioned above, pre-cooked ham is what is mostly available and the easiest.
If you get spiral cut ham or non bone in ham, be careful and do not overcook them because they do dry out faster.
How to make it
It’s time. Let’s make a Pineapple Baked Ham!
Bring ham to a large roasting dish (remove roasting rack) with the non skin side faced down, them add about 1 cup of water to the bottom of the dish.
Some recipes will call for scoring the ham, but I don’t like to do that because in my experience that also dries out the ham.
Cover roasting dish with aluminum foil. Use two pieces like I did if needed, and make sure to seal it fairly tightly.
The idea is to “steam” the ham when it is baked the oven so that it doesn’t dry out.
Bake it low and slow at 325℉ for 1 hour.
Brown Sugar Honey Glaze
While ham is baking, prepare the glaze on the stovetop, which is made with:
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice (I use the leftover juice from the canned pineapple rings. I always get canned pineapples that is soaked in 100% juice, not syrup. One can should be sufficient for this.)
- Salted butter (avoid unsalted because the salt in the butter contributes to the flavor)
- Brown Sugar
When ham is done, remove from oven.
And starting right here is when the instructions get a bit less ‘one size fits all’.
There are a lot of variable in terms of how long to bake the ham, whether to cover or not, how often to check it, etc.
It depends on the size of the ham, how well your oven heats up (not all oven heat to the right temperature evenly), whether ham is bone in or not, how big is the bone in the ham, the shape of the ham, how cold was the ham when you brought it into the oven…I could go on and on.
Lots of variables! To give a one size fits all instruction for any baked ham (or large baked piece of meat) is somewhat impossible. And the results will be all over the place.
So here is what I will do. I’ll give you as much instructions as I can, but ask that you take certain things into consideration, and be open to tweaking accordingly.
Once you get ham out of the oven, use a meat thermometer and check on the temperature of the ham. Then you do one of two things:
Scenario 1 – Ham is still far from being done
If the thickest part is below 125℉, brush glaze, secure pineapple and cherries with toothpicks, and cover ham with aluminum foil and bake it at 375℉.
Every 20 minutes, remove ham from oven, unwrap the aluminum foil, check on the temperature of the ham, brush more glaze on it, wrap it again with aluminum foil, and bring it back to the oven to bake.
Repeat this until the thickest part of the ham reaches 140℉. And then ham is ready to serve.
You may need to do the 20-minute interval twice, or three times, or even four or five times. But it is important to keep checking and not wait too long to check on the ham to avoid overcooking it.
Scenario 2 – Ham is close to being done
If the thickest part of the ham is above 125℉ when you pull it out from the oven for the first time, brush on the rest of the glaze, add pineapples and cherries, cover and bake at 375℉ and check it in 15 minute intervals until ham reaches 140℉.
For both scenarios, if the temperature of the ham is getting very close to the 140℉ mark but isn’t quite there yet, you may want to check on the ham more frequently to avoid overcooking it.
Also, feel free to bake ham uncovered during the last 10 minutes if needed. Baking uncovered does speed up the process, but it will also dry out the ham a lot faster so avoid doing so for longer than 15 minutes. And you should only bake it uncovered at the very end.
As a point of reference, the last time I made this, I had a 9 pound ham bone-in ham and I cooked the ham for the first hour under 325℉, then did two rounds of the 20-minute intervals.
Note: this recipe is best used for ham that is above 7 pounds and not suitable for small hams!
Serving the ham
After ham is done, let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.
The pineapple rings and cherries makes the ham look vibrant and gorgeous so you don’t really need to do much with it.
Sometimes I like to throw in a few extra pineapple rings and some fresh herbs like parsley to brighten up the platter if you really want to deck it out even more!
As for sides that goes well with ham, here are some of my favorites!
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli
- Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
- Easy Garlic Parmesan Asparagus
- Honey Garlic Roasted Carrots
- Honey Butter Rolls
- Cheesy Garlic Rolls
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
- Lemon Pepper Smashed Potatoes (by Oh So Delicioso)
Just what I need today and everyday: juicy, perfectly baked ham with a sticky crust, infused with pineapple, brown sugar, honey flavors.
A little sweet, a little savory…a whole lot of yum.
Be still my heart. 🥰
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Pineapple Baked Ham
- 9 lbs bone-in ham cooked
- 1 cup water
- 20 oz canned pineapple pineapple rings
- 10 oz maraschino cherries drained
Brown Sugar Honey Glaze
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice from canned pineapple
- Defrost ham completely overnight.
- Pre-heat oven to 325℉.
- Place ham on a large roasting dish and pour water to the bottom of the dish. Cover the entire dish with foil and secure it tightly. Bake covered for 1 hour.
- While ham is cooking, bring glaze ingredients to a small pot and bring to boil. Lower heat to medium low, stir and continue cooking until liquid thickens. If liquid is too thick, add more pineapple juice (from canned pineapples) to dilute it. Set aside.
- Remove ham from oven and use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the ham.
- If temperature if below 125℉, brush glaze all over ham, secure pineapple and cherries with toothpicks (see Note 1), cover ham with aluminum foil and bake it at 375℉. Every 20 minutes, remove ham from oven, unwrap the aluminum foil, check on the temperature of the ham, brush more glaze on it, and wrap it again with aluminum foil, and bake. Keep doing this until internal temperature of ham reaches 140℉ (see Note 2). If the thickest part of the ham is above 125℉, brush glaze all over ham, secure pineapples and cherries, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375℉ and check it in 15 minute intervals until internal temperature of ham reaches 140℉. (See Note 3 & 4)
- Remove ham from oven when done and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Slice ham into thin slices. Serve and enjoy!