How many minutes per pound do you cook a precooked ham?

Quick Answer

The general guideline for cooking a precooked ham is to allow 12-15 minutes per pound at 325°F. For example, an 8-pound precooked ham would take between 96-120 minutes (1 hour and 36 minutes to 2 hours) to heat through at 325°F. The timing can vary a bit depending on the exact size, shape, and bone-in vs boneless of the ham. Always rely on a meat thermometer for doneness, heating the ham to an internal temperature of 140°F.

Calculating Cook Time

When determining how long to cook a precooked ham, the most useful guideline is minutes per pound. Here is an overview:

  • Allow 12-15 minutes per pound when baking a precooked ham at 325°F
  • For a boneless ham, use the lower end of the time range (12 minutes per lb)
  • For a bone-in ham, use the higher timing (15 minutes per lb)
  • Always use a meat thermometer and heat the ham to 140°F at the thickest part

Let’s look at some examples to see how many total minutes different sized hams would need:

Ham Weight Time at 12 min/lb Time at 15 min/lb
5 lbs 60 minutes 75 minutes
8 lbs 96 minutes 120 minutes
10 lbs 120 minutes 150 minutes
12 lbs 144 minutes 180 minutes
15 lbs 180 minutes 225 minutes

As you can see, an 8-10 pound ham would take about 1.5-2.5 hours based on the size and bone-in vs boneless. Always rely on the thermometer for doneness rather than just the time.

Key Tips for Cooking Precooked Ham

Follow these tips for the best results when cooking a precooked ham:

  • Leave the ham in its packaging or wrap in foil to retain moisture.
  • Place fat side up in a shallow roasting pan and add 1 cup water or apple juice.
  • Heat the oven to 325°F and bake for the calculated time based on size.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check for 140°F in the thickest part.
  • Remove from oven, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 15-20 minutes before slicing.

The low gentle heat evenly warms the ham throughout without overcooking the edges. Using a thermometer prevents overcooking, and resting allows the juices to redistribute.

Oven roasting vs other cooking methods

Oven roasting is the easiest and most common way to cook a store-bought precooked ham. Here is how it compares to other options:

Oven Roasting

  • Very simple method, just bake in the oven
  • Use a shallow roasting pan, add liquid, cover with foil
  • Bake at a low temp (325°F) for a long time
  • Results in even, tender, juicy ham


  • Can impart delicious smoky flavor from the grill
  • Cook over indirect heat, glazing with barbecue sauce
  • Risks drying out if not carefully monitored
  • Best for ham steaks or slices rather than whole roasts

Slow Cooker

  • Very hands off cooking method
  • Cook on low heat 6-8 hours for bone-in or 4-6 hours for boneless
  • Be sure liquid covers ham; add more if needed
  • Gives shred-able texture rather than slices

Oven roasting is definitely recommended for whole bone-in hams. However, the slow cooker can be great for boneless hams when you want an ultra-convenient method. Grilling ham steaks or slices adds delicious flavor.

How to tell when a precooked ham is done

Using a meat thermometer is the most reliable way to determine doneness for a precooked ham. Follow these guidelines:

  • Insert thermometer into the thickest part of ham, avoiding bone
  • Precooked ham is fully heated when it reaches 140°F
  • If undercooked, continue baking until reaching 140°F
  • If overcooked, the ham will register over 160°F

Going solely by the recommended bake time per pound can lead to under or overcooked ham. The shape, exact size, and bone structure can vary. Let the thermometer be your guide for perfectly heated ham.

Visual cues

In addition to checking temperature, you can look for these visual signs that the precooked ham is heated through:

  • Exterior is lightly browned
  • Fat is rendered and starting to caramelize
  • Meat fibers have slight separation when sliced

However, take these as secondary indicators and rely foremost on hitting 140°F on a thermometer for doneness.

Storing and reheating leftover ham

Properly stored, leftover precooked ham will keep 3-5 days refrigerated. Here are some tips:


  • Allow cooked ham to cool completely before refrigerating.
  • Store sliced ham in an airtight container. Whole ham can be wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil.
  • Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze for 2-3 months in freezer bags or wrapped in heavy duty foil.


  • Leftover sliced ham can be reheated in the microwave or skillet.
  • For whole hams, slices, or pieces, oven reheating works best.
  • Heat leftovers to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Avoid overcooking the ham when reheating.

Be sure to store ham properly and consume leftovers within 3-5 days for food safety. Reheating to 165°F helps kill any bacteria. With some care, precooked ham will keep well for high-quality leftovers.

Delicious ways to use up leftover ham

Besides enjoying leftover ham slices in sandwiches and salads, get creative with these ideas:

  • Ham and cheese omelet – Diced ham elevates a classic omelet
  • Ham fried rice – For an easy one-pan meal, stir diced ham into fried rice
  • Ham and bean soup – Simmer ham bone and pieces in bean soup for smoky flavor
  • Ham hash – Sauté potatoes and ham pieces together for a hearty hash
  • Ham pasta salad – Toss pasta with ham, vegetables, cheese, and dressing

Precooked ham can be added to casseroles, scrambled eggs, pizza, quiches, and more. Whether enjoying it hot out of the oven or repurposing leftovers, ham offers versatility to use up the whole roast.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you remove the skin before cooking a precooked ham?

Most hams today are sold fully cooked without the skin on. However, for those with the skin on, it’s recommend to remove it before heating. The skin prevents the fat from rendering and can make the ham dry.

Can you overcook a precooked ham?

Yes, it is possible to overcook a precooked ham. Using a meat thermometer and not exceeding 140°F internal temperature will prevent drying out the meat. Going above 160°F can make the ham unpleasantly dry.

Is it safe to not heat a precooked ham to 140 degrees?

Precooked hams are technically safe to eat cold straight from the packaging. However, heating it to an internal temperature of 140°F is still recommended for food safety and quality purposes. Cold ham tends to have an unpleasant gelatinous texture.

Can you cook a spiral cut ham like a regular ham?

Yes, spiral cut hams can be cooked in the same manner as regular precooked hams. Follow the same time and temperature guidelines, baking at 325°F and allowing about 15 minutes per pound. The only difference is heat may penetrate slightly faster thanks to the spiral slices.

Should you cover a ham when baking?

It is recommended to cover a ham while baking to prevent it from drying out. Leave it in the foil or place it foil-side down in a baking pan, tenting loosely with more foil. This retains moisture compared to uncovered roasting.


The number of minutes per pound required to cook a precooked ham can vary from 12-15 minutes based on size, bone-in vs boneless, and shape. While this provides an estimate, always rely on a meat thermometer to determine doneness, heating the ham to 140°F. Proper roasting, storage, and reheating will deliver optimum flavor and moisture when enjoying this versatile entrée. With some simple guidance on cook time, anyone can achieve juicy, tender results when preparing a delicious precooked ham.

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