Keeping Ham Perfectly Warm in the Crockpot – My Tried and True Tips

As someone who loves hosting gatherings for family and friends, keeping food piping hot and ready to serve is a top priority And that can be tricky with a centerpiece main dish like a holiday ham Nothing ruins the mood like a dried out, lukewarm ham.

Luckily, I’ve found that a crockpot is a fantastic way to keep ham warm and delicious for hours The slow, moist heat prevents drying while allowing you to focus on spending time with guests instead of worrying about the meat

In this article, I’ll share my best tips and tricks for using a crockpot to keep your ham hot and tasty until mealtime. With a little strategy, you can ensure your ham stays succulent and appetizing for the duration of your event Let’s get started!

Why a Crockpot Works Well for Ham

Compared to traditional ovens, crockpots have some advantages when it comes to keeping ham ready to serve:

  • Gentle ambient heat doesn’t dry out or overcook ham.

  • Enclosed environment traps moisture and steam to prevent drying.

  • Warmer setting simply maintains temperature instead of actively cooking.

  • Ham stays hot for hours without needing to be checked on frequently.

  • Has protective inner crock liner to prevent ham juices from touching heating element.

A crockpot provides the ideal environment for effortlessly keeping fully cooked ham at optimal eating temperature and texture. Now let’s look at how best to utilize it.

Prepare Ham Appropriately

Proper preparation is key to delicious crockpot ham. Be sure to:

  • Cook ham fully to an internal temperature of 140°F before placing in crockpot.

  • Allow cooked ham to rest 15-20 minutes before slicing or pulling to let juices redistribute.

  • Slice ham or cut into chunks to allow better heat penetration. Avoid stuffing in a whole unsliced ham.

  • Mix juices from baking pan into sliced or pulled ham to provide extra moisture.

Starting with properly cooked, rested and sliced ham means it just needs gentle reheating in the crock, not extensive further cooking.

Add Liquid for Moisture

The moist environment of the crockpot prevents ham from drying out. But adding liquid provides extra insurance:

  • Chicken, beef or ham broth provides savory flavor.

  • Fruit juices like pineapple, apple or orange give a sweet note.

  • Water works in a pinch. For boneless hams under 3 lbs, use 1 cup water. Scale up for larger hams.

  • Liquid from the original ham pan offers great meaty depth.

  • Avoid letting ham sit directly in liquid. Use a rack or foil balls to lift it up.

Liquid in the pot creates steam which keeps the ham deliciously moist for hours on warm.

Use Lower Warm Settings

Crockpots offer a range of temperature options. For ham, lower is better:

  • The “Low” setting holds at around 200°F – good for gentle warming.

  • “Keep Warm” or “Warm” settings maintain about 165°F to prevent overcooking.

  • Don’t use High – it reaches upwards of 300°F and will dry ham out.

  • Check your manual as exact temps vary by make and model.

Stick to your crockpot’s lowest temperature settings to perfectly hold already cooked ham at serving temperature.

Maintain Proper Food Safety

When food is held at warm temperatures for extended periods, proper food handling is critical:

  • Don’t keep ham in the “danger zone” between 40°F-140°F for more than 2 hours.

  • Leftover ham should be refrigerated within this 2 hour window.

  • When reheating, heat fully to 165°F and maintain temperature at 140°F or above.

  • Discard any ham that sits out too long; don’t risk foodborne illness.

Follow USDA food safety guidelines to keep your warm crockpot ham safe to eat. Don’t take shortcuts.

Allow the Crock to Pre-Heat

For best results, pre-heat your empty crock before adding the ham:

  • Turn crock to Low or Warm and allow to run empty for 30 minutes.

  • This gets the inner surface nice and hot to better hold temperature once food is added.

  • A preheated vessel will recover heat faster when opened to serve.

That quick pre-heat gives you a head start on even warming.

Mix and Match Heat Sources

You can use multiple heating devices together for keeping ham piping hot:

  • Preheat crock, then transfer to a warming tray to free up crockspace.

  • Combine a warming tray with chafing dishes for elegant serving.

  • Use a crockpot or low oven to hold reserve ham slices that are swapped out.

  • Have a heated towel-lined cooler ready for easy transport to a party.

Employing different heat sources gives you flexibility and keeps ham at perfect serving temperature.

Finish with Lovely Glazes and Sauces

A flavorful glaze or sauce puts the final touch on beautiful crockpot ham:

  • Brush on glazes near the end to avoid burning – they contain sugar.

  • Smoky-sweet options include bourbon, maple, honey-mustard and brown sugar.

  • Fruity glazes like pineapple, peach, cherry or apricot add brightness.

  • Savory sauces like mustard, chimichurri or horseradish cut richness.

A bit of glaze or sauce adds flavor, glossy appeal and extra moisture. Take ham up a notch!

With the right strategy, the crockpot can hold a fully cooked ham for hours on end without any drying or cooling. Now that you know how to keep crockpot ham perfectly hot and delicious, you can focus on enjoying time with your guests. Here’s to your next successful ham-centered gathering!

Can you heat a pre cooked ham in a slow cooker?


How to keep a ham warm without drying it out?

The goal is to reheat the ham without drying it out. The best way to do this is to place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Add water to the bottom of the pan and cover the whole thing tightly with foil. Bake at 325F for 16-20 minutes per pound, until a meat thermometer registers 135F.

How long can ham stay in a crockpot on warm?

Most appliances will automatically shut off after 20 or so hours on this setting, but you shouldn’t leave food in a slow cooker for an extended length of time. The general rule of thumb is that 2-4 hours is the maximum length of time you can leave food in a slow cooker on warm.

How long to warm 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.

How to keep ham warm for a party?

As to the ham, since hams are usually fully-cooked, I’d slice it and either (1) cover it with foil and put your warming drawer on its medium or high setting and just let the ham be warmed/cooked in there or slice it and heat it covered in the microwave.

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