How to Cook a Canned Ham to Perfection in Your Crockpot

Canned hams provide a quick and easy protein option for busy home cooks. With minimal preparation, you can transform a basic canned ham into a delicious centerpiece entrée by slow cooking it in a crockpot. I’ll walk you through my simple process for infusing flavor into canned ham and keeping it moist and tender. With a few tips and tricks, you’ll be whipping up restaurant-quality ham at home with hardly any hands-on time.

Benefits of Crockpot Canned Ham

  • Requires only 5-10 minutes of prep time. Once you add your ingredients to the slow cooker, it does the work for you.

  • Infuses the ham with extra moisture and flavor. The acidic cola helps break down tissue while the spices impart flavor.

  • Yields incredibly tender meat that shreds easily. The low slow cooking prevents drying out.

  • Frees up your oven. You can use it for side dishes instead of the ham.

  • Provides leftovers for sandwiches, soups, casseroles, and more. Canned ham is very versatile.

  • Lets you customize flavors. Swap out glaze ingredients to suit your tastes.

Step 1: Choose Your Canned Ham

I prefer a boneless canned ham for this recipe. It will contain less salt than ones with a bone. Look for a 3-4 pound ham to serve 6-8 people. Name brands like Hormel Black Label or Cook’s are good quality.

Make sure to choose a fully cooked ham. The crockpot is only reheating it to a safe temperature and adding flavor. An uncooked ham would require a much different and longer cooking method.

Step 2: Prepare the Ham

Remove the ham from its can, peel off any plastic wrap or coating. Place it in your crockpot.

Then, using a knife, lightly score the ham by making shallow X-shaped cuts across the top. This allows the glaze to really seep into the meat.

Finally, pat the ham dry with paper towels. This helps the spices and glaze stick when you add them next.

Step 3: Make a Glaze

Here’s where you can customize flavors to your liking! A basic brown sugar glaze is always delicious.


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 tsp ground mustard

Mix these into a paste and rub all over the scored ham. The sugar will caramelize and the mustard adds tang.

Other glaze ideas:

  • Brown sugar and whole grain mustard
  • Orange marmalade and chopped rosemary
  • Maple syrup, chili powder, and cayenne pepper

Step 4: Add Liquid

Pour one 12-ounce can of cola into the crockpot. Coke, Pepsi, or any dark soda will work. The sugars and acids help break down the ham for tenderness.

You can also use fruit juices like pineapple, apple, or orange instead of soda. Avoid adding any extra water though.

Step 5: Cook on Low

Place the lid on your crockpot and cook the ham on LOW for 4-6 hours. The time varies a bit depending on crockpot wattage and ham size.

Canned hams are already fully cooked. You just need to heat them to 140°F for food safety and let the flavors meld.

Step 6: Make a Glaze

After 4 hours, the ham should be heated through. Now you can make a glaze if desired.

In a small saucepan, combine any pan juices with brown sugar, honey, and mustard. Warm over medium heat until thickened. Brush this glaze over the ham during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

Step 7: Rest, Slice, and Serve

When the internal temperature reaches 140°F, turn off the crockpot. Let the ham rest for 15 minutes before removing it. This allows juices to redistribute so your ham stays moist.

Slice into portions and serve! Classic pairings include baked potatoes, scalloped apples, roasted asparagus, biscuits, and berry salad.

Helpful Tips and Variations

  • For a smoky flavor, add 1 tsp liquid smoke to the crockpot.
  • For spicy ham, use brown sugar mixed with Sriracha or harissa paste.
  • You can double the glaze recipe and reserve half to pass at the table.
  • Add cloves, allspice, cinnamon, or nutmeg to the glaze.
  • Use ginger ale or root beer instead of cola.
  • Cook bone-in hams for more flavor, but watch the salt content.
  • For smaller gatherings, reduce cook time for a 2 lb ham to 4 hours on low.

Dinner Ideas Using Canned Ham | Ham Dinners


How long does it take to heat a precooked ham in a crock pot?

As a rule of thumb, an eight to 10-pound precooked ham will take about four to six hours on low in a slow cooker. But a smaller ham that’s four to six pounds may only need two to three hours when cooked on low.

Does ham need to be submerged in a slow cooker?

Pour in the cola, and make sure the ham joint is submerged in the liquid. Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on medium/high. I find that 5 hours is enough in my slow cooker. You want the gammon joint to be cooked through and tender but still retain its shape.

Are canned hams cooked?

Canned hams are fully cooked so it is safe to eat the ham without heating it. However, if you wish to heat the ham, reheat it in a 325 °F oven until it reaches 140 °F internal temperature.

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