How To Cook Hillshire Farm Ham to Juicy, Flavorful Perfection

As ham lovers, we get excited when the holidays roll around because that means it’s time to cook up a delicious Hillshire Farm ham! These iconic hams are a staple at gatherings and feasts, but cooking them just right can be tricky. Undercooking leaves the meat dry, but overdoing it makes the ham stringy and tough.

After years of practice, we’ve dialed in the perfect method for cooking Hillshire Farm hams so they turn out juicy, flavorful and impressive every single time. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share pro tips, timing, temperature, carving techniques, and more. You’ll learn how to prepare, bake, glaze, slice and serve a holiday-worthy ham with minimal fuss.

Grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

Choosing Your Hillshire Farm Ham

Hillshire Farm offers a few different ham options so first you’ll want to pick the right one for your occasion

  • Bone-in half ham – Unsliced and ideal for larger gatherings and holiday meals. Cured for full flavor.

  • Sliced spiral ham – Convenient pre-sliced ham perfect for everyday meals. Brown sugar coated.

  • Deli sliced ham – Thin sliced lunchmeat style ham for sandwiches and snacks. Lower fat.

The bone-in half ham works well for special events when you want an impressive whole ham centerpiece You’ll need to do the slicing

Meanwhile, the pre-sliced options make weekday meals and lunches a cinch. It just depends on your needs!

Thawing Your Frozen Ham

Many hams arrive frozen, so safely thawing them is the first step for proper cooking. Here are your options:

  • Fridge thaw – Allow 24 hrs for every 4-5 lbs. Safest method.

  • Cold water thaw – Submerge sealed ham in cold water, changing every 30 mins. Fast thaw.

  • Microwave defrost – Much faster but can lead to uneven cooking. Use as last resort.

For best results, we recommend fridge thawing. It gently thaws the ham while preventing bacterial growth. Plan ahead and thaw in the refrigerator 1-2 days before cooking.

Tricks For Prepping Your Ham

Before cooking, prep your ham for maximum flavor:

  • Trim excess fat – Leaves just a thin layer for flavor and lets glaze penetrate.

  • Score the surface – Make criss-crossed shallow cuts for the glaze to seep into.

  • Apply a glaze – Brush with a sweet/savory glaze. Brown sugar, honey, mustard work well.

Take the time to trim, score, and glaze and your ham will be taken to the next level. Now let’s get to the good stuff – the cooking!

How To Cook Hillshire Farm Ham In The Oven

Baking the ham in the oven is hands down the best technique. Follow these steps for perfect results:

Step 1: Preheat Oven

Preheat your oven to 300°F. This moderately low temp prevents drying out.

Step 2: Place Ham in Pan

Put your ham in a baking pan with at least 1-inch deep sides. Remove any plastic disks from bone.

Step 3: Cover Tightly with Foil

Wrap your ham completely in foil, sealing it tightly. This locks in moisture.

Step 4: Bake Ham

Figure 15 minutes per pound, until the internal temp hits 120°F. For a 10 lb ham, that’s about 2.5 hours.

Step 5: Rest and Carve

Let it rest 10-15 minutes before carving so juices redistribute. See our carving tips below!

It’s that simple. With this oven method, your ham will emerge tender, juicy, and full of flavor.

Getting the Internal Temperature Just Right

Monitoring the internal temp is crucial for ham perfection. 120°F is the sweet spot for ideal juiciness and texture.

Here are some tips for using your meat thermometer properly:

  • Insert into the thickest portion, avoiding bone.

  • Thermometer should reach center of ham.

  • Wait 15 seconds for an accurate reading before removing.

  • Clean thermometer well between uses.

Taking the temperature eliminates guessing and ensures food safety. Cook your ham until the thermometer reads 120°F for the perfect amount of juiciness and tenderness.

Glazing Your Ham for Flavor and Beauty

Adding a glaze takes your ham from ho-hum to spectacular. Brush on a sweet, sticky mixture during the last 30 minutes of baking for amazing results.

To make a simple brown sugar glaze:

  • Mix 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 2 tbsp mustard and 1 tbsp vinegar.

  • Brush over ham during the last 30 minutes of baking.

  • Add cloves, cinnamon or pineapple slices for extra flavor.

As the glaze bubbles and caramelizes, it forms a gorgeous glossy sheen. The flavor permeates the meat, taking it to new heights of deliciousness. We love using a brown sugar glaze, but feel free to get creative with your own recipes.

Step-By-Step Carving Like a Pro

Carving the ham to perfect slices is easier than it looks with these tips:

  • Place ham cut side down on a large cutting board. This creates stability as you slice.

  • Use a long sharp knife to cut thin, even slices.

  • Cut parallel to the bone starting at the shank end.

  • Hold ham firmly in place with a carving fork as you slice to prevent slipping.

  • Once ham is sliced, cut remaining meat from the bone.

  • Arrange slices neatly on a platter for an impressive presentation!

With the right carving technique, you’ll have beautiful ham slices in minutes. An electric knife makes the job even easier if you have one.

Serving Your Ham with Delicious Sides

A perfectly cooked Hillshire Farm ham deserves some tasty accompaniments! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Pineapple rings – A classic pairing that complements the sweet, salty ham.

  • Scalloped potatoes – Creamy potatoes bake up wonderfully alongside ham.

  • Honey glazed carrots – The sweet carrots match the glazed ham beautifully.

  • Dinner rolls – Fluffy rolls are ideal for sopping up the ham juices.

  • Green bean casserole – This holiday staple pairs perfectly with the savory ham.

  • Fruit salad – For a lighter side, colorful fruit salad balances the hearty ham.

Mix and match your favorite sides for a spectacular ham-focused feast. Now let’s discuss leftovers!

Storing Leftover Ham for Later

Like most hams, Hillshire Farm ham stores well for later. Here are some storage tips:

  • Let ham cool completely before refrigerating leftovers.

  • Store sliced ham in shallow airtight containers or resealable bags.

  • Refrigerate for 3-4 days or freeze for 2-3 months.

  • When freezing, wrap ham tightly in plastic wrap or foil to prevent freezer burn.

  • Label bags with date and contents for easy identification later.

With proper storage techniques, you can enjoy leftover ham all week long! The pre-sliced versions make excellent sandwiches and snacks.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re new to cooking ham, chances are you have some questions. Here are the most common:

How long does an uncooked ham last in the fridge?

An uncooked ham will last about 1 week in the refrigerator. Cook frozen hams within 1-2 months for best quality.

Can I cook a ham straight from frozen?

Yes, you can cook a frozen ham but it will take much longer, around 20-25 minutes per pound. Thaw first if possible.

What’s the best way to reheat leftover ham?

We recommend reheating sliced ham in the oven or toaster oven wrapped in foil. The microwave can make it rubbery. Reheat to 140°F.

What’s the best way to store cooked ham?

For longevity, slice the ham and store in airtight containers or bags. Use leftover ham within 4 days and freeze the rest for up to 3 months.

Satisfying and Simple Ham Dinners

We hope these tips help you cook your next ham like a seasoned pro! Let us know if you have any other ham cooking questions. Here’s to mouthwatering, stress-free ham dinners all season long. Dig in!

Unboxin Doxin – Hillshire Farm Brown Sugar Cured Ham Spiral Sliced

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