How to Deep Fry a Precooked Ham for Maximum Flavor

Deep frying a ham may sound intimidating, but it’s actually a simple way to infuse juiciness and amplify flavor. While baking is the traditional route for holiday hams, deep frying is a foolproof method that locks in moisture and prevents overcooking. If you have a precooked bone-in ham ready for the holidays, trying deep frying it can give your menu an extra wow factor.

Here is a complete guide to successfully deep frying a precooked ham to crispy, mouthwatering perfection.

An Overview of Deep Fried Ham

Deep fried ham has become a rising new preparation method because of its numerous advantages:

  • Moist, tender meat and crispy exterior skin
  • Intense, flavorful crust from frying at high heat
  • Shorter cooking time than traditional oven methods
  • Minimal prep work required

When the ham is submerged and cooked in hot oil, it develops an irresistible crunch on the outside. The high heat also caramelizes the natural sugars in the meat, forming a savory, almost candied crust.

While fresh hams require extensive curing and smoking starting with a precooked ham makes deep frying quick and easy. Within an hour you can have a show-stopping entree ready for your holiday table.

Step-by-Step Guide to Deep Frying Precooked Ham

Follow these simple steps to deep fry a precooked bone-in ham:

Choose a High Quality Precooked Ham

Look for a ham labeled “fully-cooked” or “ready-to-eat” from a trusted brand. Avoid ones with added water or broth injections. Hams cured with natural smoking are ideal.

Prepare Your Ham

Pat the exterior dry thoroughly with paper towels. Score the fat layer in a diamond pattern. This allows the heat to penetrate and fat to render.

Heat Oil to 375°F

Pour oil into a large deep fryer or stockpot, filling 2/3 full. Heat oil to 375°F – this gives the ideal temperature for frying ham.

Lower Ham Slowly Into Hot Oil

Place ham into fryer basket. Lower basket gradually to prevent splattering. Submerge entirely.

Fry for 5-7 Minutes Per Pound

Fry ham for 5-7 minutes per pound, adjusting time as needed. Use a thermometer to confirm internal temperature reaches 140°F.

Drain Excess Oil

When finished frying, lift basket from oil and allow oil to thoroughly drain off ham before removing.

Let Ham Rest 10 Minutes Before Slicing

The resting period allows juices to redistribute so they don’t run out when cut.

And that’s all there is to it! With just a few easy steps, you can deep fry a precooked ham for an incredibly moist, flavorful holiday centerpiece.

Tips for Deep Frying Precooked Ham

Keep these tips in mind for foolproof deep fried ham results:

  • Test oil temperature frequently to maintain ideal 375°F heat.

  • Lower and lift ham basket slowly to prevent splattering hot oil.

  • Use heat-resistant gloves and long tongs for safety when handling hot oil.

  • If ham isn’t submerged enough, turn carefully using tongs.

  • Monitor frying closely and adjust time based on ham’s size and oil temperature.

  • Check for doneness at thickest part using a meat thermometer.

  • Let oil cool completely before straining and discarding after cooking.

Why Deep Fry a Precooked Ham?

You may be wondering why you should deep fry an already precooked ham. Here are some of the biggest benefits:

  • Maximizes moisture – The hot oil seals in natural juices so the ham stays tender.

  • Intensifies flavor – Frying heightens the ham’s salty, smoky taste and adds caramelized notes.

  • Prevents overcooking – Unlike baking, frying cooks ham evenly and prevents it from drying out.

  • Saves time – A 10 lb precooked ham takes just 60-70 minutes to fry vs 4+ hours to bake.

  • Adds crunchy crust – The ham develops an incredibly crispy, crunchy exterior skin.

  • Minimizes prep – Starting with precooked ham means no curing, smoking, or seasoning required.

When you want to take an easy fully-cooked ham to the next level, deep frying is the perfect solution.

Serving Suggestions for Deep Fried Ham

A deep fried precooked ham makes a stellar entree, but also consider these serving suggestions:

  • Slice and add to biscuits, sandwiches, omelets or pizza.

  • Dice ham and mix into cheesy hashbrown casserole.

  • Shred ham into small pieces to stir into skillet cornbread.

  • Chop ham and toss with pasta, beans, potatoes or veggies.

  • Crumble crispy bits of fried ham skin onto salads or soups.

With its balance of crispy exterior and tender meat, deep fried ham works beautifully in a variety of dishes beyond main course slices. Get creative with the leftovers!

Common Questions About Deep Fried Ham

If you’re new to deep frying ham, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is it safe to eat deep fried ham?

Yes, as long as the internal temperature reaches 140°F, deep fried ham is perfectly safe to eat.

Can you deep fry an uncooked fresh ham?

It’s best to deep fry a precooked or fully-cooked ready-to-eat ham. Uncooked fresh ham takes much longer.

Do you need to inject marinade before frying?

Marinade is optional since precooked ham already has flavor. But injecting does add extra juiciness!

What kind of oil is best for frying ham?

Peanut, vegetable, canola or lard oils are good choices for deep frying ham.

Is deep fried ham healthy?

While not the most diet-friendly preparation, enjoyed in moderation, deep fried ham can be part of a balanced diet.

Enjoy Mouthwatering Deep Fried Ham for Your Holiday Meal

With this complete guide, you can confidently deep fry a precooked bone-in ham for an incredibly moist, juicy and flavorful entree. Take your holiday ham up a notch with the satisfying crunch and amplified taste of deep frying. Impress your guests with your cooking skills and enjoy the compliments on your crave-worthy deep fried ham centerpiece!

Easy Deep Frying Ham Recipe


Can you deep fry a pre-cooked ham?

Yes, you can deep fry a ham. Deep frying a ham locks in moisture and reduces the threat of overcooking, a common mishap when using a standard oven. Use an outdoor turkey fryer to safely deep fry a whole ham.

What is the best way to cook a pre cooked ham?

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the ham on a rack in a large baking pan and add about 1/4- to 1/2 inch of water to the pan. If the ham is labeled “fully cooked” (does not require heating), heat it in the oven for about 10 minutes per pound, or to an internal temperature of 140 F.

Can you fry ham like bacon?

No, ham is already precooked. You can make fried ham out of it, but that’s about as close as you can get. It’s kinda similarly brined/cured, but different. Bacon is pork belly.

Does ham need to be fried?

People normally eat ham how it comes. You just stick in it a sandwich, heat it up for a while, and there you go. Sometimes we could even eat it by itself, maybe with some cheese. If you want to give it a small twist for a slightly different flavor, you can go ahead and fry it.

How long do you deep fry a ham?

Lower rack into fryer. Cook ham for 7 minutes per pound, or until core temperature of ham is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 8. Remove ham from fryer and allow excess oil to drain off. Carve ham and enjoy! Can You Deep Fry a Ham? Yes, you can deep fry a ham.

Is honey baked ham as good as regular ham?

The addition of honey will affect the calorie content of the food. One tablespoon of honey contributes to approximately 64 calories. In addition, the use of heat when making baked ham will reduce the quality of the honey.

How do you cook a fried ham?

How to do it 1. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and fry the ham until it has lightly browned. 2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the milk and butter, and season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pan with the fried ham and cook, moving constantly, until the egg has curdled. Season with salt and pepper.

How do you deep fry a glazed spiral ham?

“Make your glazed spiral ham crunchy and bacony on the outside while moist and juicy on the inside. Only in TX would we deep fry meat that is already cooked!” In an outdoor turkey fryer kind of contraption heat several gallons of peanut oil to 375.

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