How to Cook Juicy and Tender Ham Steak in the Instant Pot

Ham steak is a delicious cut of meat that’s perfect for busy weeknights or holiday meals. With its rich salty flavor and tender texture when cooked properly, ham steak makes for a satisfying main course. But cooking it just right can be tricky. Oven baking often leads to dry bland results, while pan frying overcooks the exterior before the interior is done. Fortunately, the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker provides the ideal method for cooking ham steak so it turns out juicy, flavorful and delicious every time.

Benefits of Cooking Ham Steak in the Instant Pot

Using the Instant Pot to cook ham steak provides several advantages:

  • Juicy and tender meat – The pressurized environment gently cooks the meat while sealing in moisture, preventing it from drying out. The ham steak turns out incredibly succulent.

  • Locks in flavor – Pressure cooking not only keeps the natural juices inside the ham, but also infuses it with more pork flavor The end result is very rich, savory ham

  • Doesn’t require babysitting – Unlike pan frying or oven baking, you can just set the Instant Pot and walk away until it beeps. No need to constantly monitor it.

  • Quick cook time – Ham steak cooks up very fast under pressure, ready to eat in less than 30 minutes.

  • Versatile – You can flavor or glaze the ham however you want. It also pairs well with many side dishes.

Tips for Choosing Ham Steak for the Instant Pot

When selecting ham steak for pressure cooking, keep these tips in mind:

  • Get boneless – Bone-in ham steak won’t cook evenly in the Instant Pot. Opt for boneless for best results.

  • 1-inch thick – Thinner ham steak may overcook while thicker pieces take too long. Aim for 1-inch thickness.

  • Fully cooked – Purchase ham steaks that are already fully cooked, not fresh. Pressure cooking times are for reheating pre-cooked ham to safe serving temperature.

  • No breading – Breading and batter won’t crisp up well in the Instant Pot. Go for uncoated ham steak.

  • Watch the salt – Some ham steaks are very high in sodium. Compare labels and choose lower sodium if possible.

Step-by-Step Instant Pot Ham Steak Recipe

This simple recipe produces tender ham steaks with a lightly crisped outer coating in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker:


  • 2 lb boneless ham steak, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1⁄4 cup apple juice
  • 1⁄4 cup water


  1. Place ham steak slices in bottom of Instant Pot.

  2. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, honey and apple juice until well combined. Pour mixture over ham slices, turning to coat both sides.

  3. Pour water into Instant Pot.

  4. Secure lid, making sure valve is sealed. Select High Pressure and set cook time to 8 minutes.

  5. When time is complete, use quick release method to depressurize.

  6. Carefully remove lid. Ham steaks are ready to serve.


  • Cooking time is for 1-inch thick pre-cooked boneless ham steak. Adjust time for thicker/thinner pieces.

  • For bone-in ham steaks, add 2-3 minutes to cook time.

  • The sugar, honey and apple juice create a lightly crisped, caramelized coating on the ham.

  • Let ham steaks rest 5 minutes before serving.

Flavor Variations for Instant Pot Ham Steak

One of the great things about cooking ham steak in the Instant Pot is that you can easily customize the flavors. Just adjust the sauce ingredients to suit your taste. Some flavor ideas:

  • Orange-Chipotle – Use orange juice, adobo sauce, brown sugar and minced chipotle peppers.

  • Pineapple-Teriyaki – Combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and minced ginger.

  • Cola-Bourbon – Use cola, bourbon, Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard.

  • Maple-Dijon – Mix together maple syrup, Dijon mustard, brown sugar and salt.

  • Cherry-Pepper – Use cherry juice, whole grain mustard and crushed red pepper flakes.

Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Ham Steaks

Follow these tips for the best results when making ham steaks in your Instant Pot:

  • Use a quick release after pressure cooking to prevent overcooking.

  • Lay ham steaks flat and evenly in the pot so they cook through at the same rate.

  • Brush both sides of the ham with the sauce mixture before cooking to maximize flavor.

  • Let the ham steak rest for 5 minutes before cutting so juices redistribute.

  • Use a meat thermometer to check doneness; ham should reach 140°F.

  • Add liquid smoke to the sauce for a smoky flavor without charring the meat.

  • Mix sauce ingredients right in pot so sugars dissolve; less cleanup too!

  • For convenience, prep and refrigerate sauce packets ahead to use when ready.

  • Try different juices, mustards, spices and sweeteners to customize the flavor.

Tasty Ways to Serve Instant Pot Ham Steak

Ham steak cooked in the Instant Pot has a lovely lightly glazed exterior with a juicy, tender interior. Here are some delicious ways to serve it:

  • On a hoagie roll with melted Swiss cheese, Dijon and onion

  • Diced up in twice baked potatoes or potato skins

  • In an omelet with bell peppers and onions

  • On top of a green salad with vinaigrette dressing

  • Alongside cheesy scalloped potatoes and steamed veggies

  • In a sandwich with barbecue sauce and coleslaw

  • On top of creamy grits or polenta

  • Tossed with pasta, peas and Alfredo sauce

  • Simmered in bean soup or split pea soup

  • Topped with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries

Make-Ahead Instant Pot Ham Steaks

Like many Instant Pot recipes, you can prep the ham steaks ahead:

  • Assemble sauce packets and refrigerate overnight.

  • Season and coat raw ham steaks, arrange in freezer bag.

  • Freeze up to 2 months; thaw in fridge before cooking.

  • Pre-cook ham steaks, let cool and refrigerate up to 4 days.

  • Reheat refrigerated leftover ham steaks with sauce for 5-6 minutes at High Pressure.

Common Questions about Instant Pot Ham Steak

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What size Instant Pot do I need?

  • A 6 quart Instant Pot is sufficient unless cooking for a very large group.

How long does it take to come to pressure?

  • Around 10-15 minutes is typical to pressurize when cooking ham steaks.

Can I double the recipe?

  • Yes, you can double or triple the recipe in most 6-8 quart models.

Do I need to add extra liquid?

  • No, the small amount of juice and water is enough moisture.

What can I use instead of apple juice?

  • Apple cider, pineapple juice, cola or broth all work well too.

Is ham steak healthy?

  • In moderation, ham can be part of healthy diet. Look for lower sodium options.

Cooking juicy, flavorful ham steaks is easy with the Instant Pot. In just minutes, you can enjoy tender, succulent ham steak topped with your favorite glazes and sauces for a delicious family meal. Give this Instant Pot ham steak recipe a try soon!

How to Cook Ham Steak


How do you heat up a precooked ham steak?

Place ham steaks on microwave-safe plate, overlapping slightly, with 1/4 cup water; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) for 4 to 6 minutes. Let stand in microwave 2 minutes before serving. Heating times will vary depending on wattage of your microwave.

Are ham steaks fully cooked?

Ham steak: Opt for a fully cooked, 8-ounce ham steak, which can typically be found in the meat section of your grocery store, sometimes near breakfast meats like bacon. The packaging should clearly indicate terms like “fully cooked,” “cured,” or “hickory smoked.” Avoid uncooked versions for safety reasons.

Why is my ham steak so tough?

Ham steak becomes tough when it is over cooked. Avoiding over cooking will make the ham steak tough.

What is the difference between a ham steak and a ham roast?

Generally speaking, a ham steak is simply a sliced piece of ham that isn’t very thick. Typically, ham steak comes from the leg or shank of a pig, and it can be a convenient way to enjoy a little bit of ham without pulling out an entire ham roast. One of the best parts about cooking with ham steak is its convenience.

How do you cook a Ham in an Instant Pot?

Pour the honey over the ham. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the steam release knob to the Sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook button (or Manual) and then the + or – button to choose the cook time in minutes. Your ham’s cook time will depend on the weight/thickness. Use High pressure. This is for a bone-in UNCUT ham.

How long does a ham last in an Instant Pot?

Ham lasts for quite a while, so it’s not a bad thing to have leftovers of! This Instant Pot ham is so easy to prep. Simply cut it into a few chunks so it will fit in your Instant Pot, pour a brown sugar, mustard, and orange juice mixture over top, and cook on high pressure.

Can you cook a reheated Ham in an Instant Pot?

That’s where the Instant Pot comes in! For food safety purposes, use an instant-read thermometer to verify your reheated ham is at least 145°F in the thickest part after cooking. The steamy environment inside your pressure cooker is PERFECT to heat a precooked ham so it’s just the right temperature for serving!

Is Instant Pot ham good?

Instant pot ham not only has the best flavor and texture, but it is so simple and easy to make! You just set it and forget it, and when it’s all done, the clean-up is easy, and the food is delicious! You can’t ask for anything much better than that when it comes to cooking in the kitchen.

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