How Long to Sous Vide Ham: The Complete Guide

Sous vide cooking has revolutionized the way many home cooks prepare meals. This precise cooking method allows you to cook food to the exact doneness you want, every time. Sous vide ham is incredibly easy to make and results in juicy, tender meat with fantastic flavor. But the key to sous vide ham perfection is knowing exactly how long to cook it.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explain everything you need to know to make foolproof sous vide ham. We’ll cover:

  • Benefits of sous vide ham
  • How long to cook different types and sizes of ham
  • Sous vide ham times based on doneness levels
  • Tips for maximizing texture and flavor
  • Glazing and serving suggestions

After reading, you’ll be a sous vide ham expert ready to make this tasty meat for your next meal!

Why Cook Ham Sous Vide?

Ham is already a fully-cooked product, so some people wonder why you would bother using the sous vide cooking method. Here are some of the biggest benefits

  • Guaranteed moisture: The vacuum sealed bag retains all the natural juices and prevents the ham from drying out. This is especially helpful for reheating leftovers.

  • Precise temperature control You can dial in the exact temperature to achieve the texture you want, whether soft and tender or firm and sliceable

  • Forgiving method: Since ham is pre-cooked, it’s nearly impossible to overcook. Leaving it in for longer just makes it more tender.

  • Hands-off: Once sealed in the bag, sous vide ham cooks unattended. You don’t have to worry about basting, burning, or drying out the meat.

  • Convenience: Cook sous vide ham straight from the freezer. No need to remember to thaw!

With sous vide, you get deliciously moist and juicy ham every time with little effort required. It’s easy to see why it’s become a popular preparation method.

How Long to Sous Vide Different Types of Ham

The time needed to sous vide ham depends largely on the size and type of ham you are cooking.

For a bone-in half ham (7-10 lbs), you’ll need:

  • 6-8 hours for sous vide

For a boneless ham (3-4 lbs), you’ll need:

  • 4 hours for sous vide

For ham steaks or chops (1 inch thick), you’ll need:

  • 45-90 minutes for sous vide

Keep in mind that since ham is already cooked, you cannot really overcook it with sous vide. Longer cook times will just make the meat increasingly tender. For best results, refer to the timing guidelines above.

For a frozen ham, simply add 50% more time to the cook time. So a 4 hour cook time would become 6 hours for frozen meat.

Sous Vide Ham Cooking Times Based on Doneness

In addition to basing sous vide ham cook time on size, you can also adjust time and temperature to achieve different levels of doneness:

  • For medium rare ham, cook at 135°F for 10-16 hours
  • For medium ham, cook at 140°F for 10-20 hours
  • For well done ham, cook at 145°F for 10-20 hours

Again, the wide windows for cook time show how forgiving sous vide ham is. As long as you are within the temperature and time ranges, you’ll end up with tender, moist meat.

I recommend cooking ham to medium or just beyond for the best texture. This keeps it juicy while still allowing clean slices. Well done ham can become mushy.

Pro Tips for Maximizing Texture and Flavor

Follow these tips when cooking sous vide ham for the very best results:

  • Remove ham from packaging and vacuum seal in a sous vide bag – this prevents plastic flavors from transferring.

  • Trim excess fat to prevent odd textures. Leave a 1/4 inch fat cap for moisture.

  • Add aromatics like thyme, rosemary, garlic, citrus zest, peppercorns, etc. for extra flavor infusion.

  • Chill ham in an ice bath after cooking if you want firm, sliceable texture.

  • Torch the exterior for crispy, caramelized browning before serving.

  • Use a flavorful glaze like brown sugar, honey, maple, or mustard to complement the ham.

  • Let it rest 5-10 minutes before slicing for the juices to redistribute.

Glazing and Serving Sous Vide Ham

Glazing sous vide ham before serving adds a burst of sweet and sticky flavor. Follow this easy method:

  1. Cook ham using sous vide time and temp guidelines.

  2. Remove ham from bag and pat dry. Place on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.

  3. Make your glaze of choice and brush on ham. I love brown sugar and balsamic!

  4. Broil ham for 3-5 minutes until glaze bubbles and browns.

  5. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let rest 5-10 minutes.

  6. Carve into slices or chunks and serve!

Sous vide ham pairs wonderfully with all kinds of sides. Some delicious options include:

  • Scalloped or au gratin potatoes
  • Green bean casserole
  • Roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts, carrots, or asparagus
  • Classic mac and cheese
  • Cornbread, biscuits, or rolls
  • Fruit salad with berries

You can also use sous vide ham for all kinds of easy meals like omelets, sandwiches, pizza, pasta bakes, and more! It adds hearty, savory flavor to anything.

Common Sous Vide Ham Questions

If you’re new to sous vide ham, chances are you still have some questions. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Is it safe to cook ham still in the packaging?

Yes, as long as you are using a food-safe sous vide bag rated for the temperature. Commercial packaging can transfer plastic flavors.

Can I cook a frozen ham sous vide?

Absolutely! Just add 50% more time to account for thawing. A 4 hour cook time would be 6 hours for frozen.

What if I cook the ham too long?

No worries – since ham is pre-cooked, extra time just makes it more tender. For best texture, stick to the recommended times.

Do I need to sear the ham after cooking?

Searing is optional, but does provide nice browning and texture contrast. You can sear in a hot pan or use a torch.

What temperature should I reheat leftovers?

140°F for 1-2 hours ensures heated through, moist leftovers!

Make Delicious Sous Vide Ham at Home

Cooking sous vide ham is an easy, foolproof method that guarantees you juicy, tender meat every time. Now that you know exactly how long to cook different types and sizes of ham, you can start enjoying homemade ham with perfect results.

Refer back to this guide for temperature and time recommendations, flavor tips, glazing steps, and serving ideas. Sous vide takes the frustration and uncertainty out of cooking ham. You’ll have a delicious centerpiece ready for your next holiday meal or Sunday dinner thanks to this handy cooking method.

Sous Vide Easter Ham with Orange Bourbon Glaze | Anova Precision Cooker


Can you sous vide a fresh ham?

This recipe is a complete guide for totally DIY glazed ham; you’ll start by curing a raw, unsmoked ham and go all the way through the glazing process. By using sous vide mode in the Anova Precision Oven, you can cook a whole ham to a tender-yet-traditional texture every time, regardless of size.

How long to cook a fully cooked 5 lb ham?

Pre-Cooked and Bone-In Ham If the ham is a half ham weighing five to seven pounds, it should heat at 325°F for 22-25 minutes per pound. If it is a whole ham weighing between 10 to 14 pounds, heat the ham at 325°F for 18-20 minutes per pound. The internal temperature should be 140°F.

Is a ham done at 140 degrees?

If reheating is desired, hams that were packaged in processing plants under USDA inspection must be heated to 140°F as measured with a food thermometer. Leftover spiral-cut hams or ham that has been repackaged in any other location outside the plant, must be heated to 165°F.

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

Bake uncovered until the internal temperature reaches 160° (18–20 minutes per pound for a 10–15-lb. ham; 20 minutes per pound for a 5–7-lb. ham; or 35 minutes per pound for a 3–4-lb. shank or butt portion).

How long do you sous vide a ham?

To sous vide a ham, preheat your sous vide cooker to 140°F (60°C). Place the ham in a large resealable ziploc bag or vacuum bag and sous vide for anywhere from 3 to 8 hours, depending on the size of your ham. If you’re cooking a boneless ham weighing between 3-4 pounds, you’ll want to sous vide it for 4 hours at a temperature of 140°F (60°C).

How long can ham be without refrigeration and still be safe?

Most food experts recommend that ham, should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. After that time, you should discard it.

Can you cook a Ham in a sous vide cooker?

It’s even better and easier this way because most hams are “pre cooked” so you just need to heat it up using a sous vide cooker. “Sous Vide” is French for “under vacuum” so sous vide cooking is literally the art of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a precise temperature in a bath of water.

Can You sous vide a frozen ham?

If you have a frozen ham, you can still sous vide it. Just add half of the standard cooking time to frozen foods. For example, if you’re cooking a ham for 4 hours, you would add another 2 hours to the sous vide time for a frozen ham. You can also sous vide a precooked ham.

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