Let’s say you forgot to thaw your ham for Easter brunch—or you remembered to move it to the fridge, but it didn’t fully thaw in time to cook according to your recipe. Fear not: Cooking a frozen ham is perfectly safe, according to the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. To fully cook, it’ll just take about 50 percent longer than a thawed ham. (Still less time than it takes to thaw!)
Whether you planned to cook your ham in the oven, slow cooker or pressure cooker, you can go right ahead following these simple guidelines for a tender, juicy, flavorful main dish.
1. In a Conventional Oven
Your trusty oven works wonders when it comes to cooking just about anything, even a frozen ham. Heat your oven to 325°, then carefully place the ham in a roasting pan with an inch of water inside. Calculate the time needed for your ham to cook in the oven based on its weight. The rule of thumb is to cook for 18 to 20 minutes per pound.
No matter which method you choose, the USDA advises an internal temperature of at least 140° for pre-cooked hams that had been in their original packaging, 145° for uncooked ham, and 165° for leftover ham or meat that’s been re-packaged. And if you don’t already have one, here’s why you absolutely need a meat thermometer.
2. In a Slow Cooker
If you decide to cook your ham in a slow cooker—and you have a Crock-Pot large enough to fit it—cook it on the low setting for at least 6 to 8 hours. If you’re working with a larger frozen ham, you may need to allow up to 12 hours for it to fully cook. (Check the temp with your meat thermometer!)
Try the slow cooker method for an Easter brunch—just set your ham in on low overnight and wake up to a readymade feast.
3. In a Pressure Cooker
If you own an Instant Pot, you probably consider it your kitchen BFF. (We can attest!) The beauty of pressure cookers, like slow cookers, is that you can throw all of your ingredients into the pot at once and end up with a delicious meal. Carefully place your ham in the pressure cooker cut-side down, along with all the other ingredients in your recipe. Cook on high pressure for 30 to 35 minutes.
With a little extra cook time, you can make a frozen ham fabulous—and make these simple side dishes while you’re waiting.
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