How to Cook Whole Boneless Ham

Learn how to cook a whole, boneless ham with the best glaze. It’s an easy option for entertaining because they come pre-cooked. All you do is add flavor.

Learn how to cook a whole, boneless ham with the best glaze. It's an easy option for entertaining because they come pre-cooked. All you do is add flavor.

It’s funny to me that ham can seem daunting to make since it almost always comes pre-cooked. Whether you’re cooking a whole, bone-in ham, or a boneless ham like this recipe calls for, all you’re really doing when you’re cooking ham is heating it through and adding flavor.

That’s why ham is so great for entertaining. You don’t have to worry about under or overcooking your meat, all of the hard work is done for you, you only have to do some finishing touches.

So, what is boneless ham?

Ham is pork that is cured or smoked from the leg of a pig. The big hams that you see with the bone in them are processed as they are. Boneless ham is typically pieces of the leg meat jelled together and wrapped in a casing. Kind of like a large, delicious piece of ham deli meat.

Why do you want to make boneless ham?

Boneless hams tend to be much quicker to cook (aka heat) and they’re easier to slice because they tend to be smaller, and there isn’t a bone to work around. While bone-in hams are sometimes spiral-sliced, which does make things easier, you do still have to work around that pesky ham hock.

So, if it’s your first time hosting a holiday meal, or you consider yourself to be more of a beginner cook, opt for a boneless ham. It’s much less hassle with plenty of meat to go around.

How do you cook a boneless ham?

This is the really easy part. All you have to do is set the ham in a baking dish with some water and cover it. It steams and heats in the oven for about an hour, I usually do 15 minutes per pound.

Now, you can stop right there. The ham is pre-cooked, as I’ve mentioned, and it’s totally safe to eat at this point. But, I prefer to add some flavor and texture with a glaze.

The glaze I use is very simple – some butter, brown sugar, orange zest, and spices. It gets brushed all over the ham in several stages, and in between each brushing, it goes back into the oven to caramelize.

When the ham has finished baking, you must rest it for a minimum of 15 minutes before slicing so it stays juicy. But the beauty of it is that you can serve it hot or cold and it will be lovely. Perfect for leftover ham sandwiches!


How to Cook Whole Boneless Ham

  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings


Learn how to cook a whole, boneless ham with the best glaze. It’s an easy option for entertaining because they come pre-cooked. All you do is add flavor.


  • 1 (5-6lb.) boneless ham
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 pinch salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Remove the ham from the packaging and place it into a large baking dish. Pour the water in the dish with the ham.
  3. Cover the dish with foil or a lid. Allow the ham to cook covered for about an hour, about 15 minutes per pound.
  4. Now, you can stop there, this will heat the ham through, and since it’s already cooked, you can eat it. However, it’s much better to add a glaze.
  5. Mix together all of the remaining ingredients to make the glaze.
  6. Pull the ham out of the oven and drain out the water. Brush the ham with the generous coating and slide it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Repeat the glazing process several more times until all of the glaze is on the ham. The glazing process should take about 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the ham from the oven, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
This post originally appeared in November 2019 and was revised and republished in December 2020.
How to Cook Whole Boneless Ham

12 responses to “How to Cook Whole Boneless Ham”

  1. Epsie says:

    Do you cut off the rind? And, if so, when, after you’ve cooked it but before you start putting the glaze on?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Epsie, I actually don’t trim anything off. If your ham looks similar to the one in the picture, you don’t have to trim anything off. Double-check from the packaging though that you have a fully-cooked boneless ham. Also check if they have specific instructions for their brand. My general experience is that the kind of ham that needs a hard rind trimmed off isn’t the fully-cooked kind and needs different instructions from those found here.

  2. Ashley says:

    Do you met the butter first? Or soften it? 

    • Christine Pittman says:

      You’ll want to melt the butter and then mix it with the other ingredients to make the glaze, Ashley. Enjoy!

  3. Heath McMullen says:

    Timing in this is waaaay off.   3lb ham, 60 minutes…75 degrees when I checked.  I keep an oven thermometer in our ovens so we know that the temp is correct.  Anyway, going to bump up temp and give it another 20-30 minutes. Fingers crossed 🤞🏻.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Heath, The instructions given were for a 5-6 lb. ham. That is, if you have a 5-6 lb. ham, you’ll cook it for about 15 minutes per pound. If it’s smaller, it might need a longer time, like 20-25 minutes per pound. This can seem counter-intuitive but reheating can be slow at first and so can take as long for a smaller ham as for a larger one.

      The USDA guidelines are here. If you look at the timetable for cooking ham, you’ll see that my numbers for a boneless ham are the same as theirs.

      Having said all that, I think that a 3 lb. boneless ham at 350F in the oven should be done by 60 minutes. In addition to the USDA site, I’ve looked at 3 different cookbooks that I use as references and they all have hams cooked to a finished temperature of 140F in that time. The All New Good Hosuekeeping Cookbook, which is one of my favorite old standbys, has a 6-8 lb. ham done in 1 hour total cooking time. A whole ham of 14-16 lbs. is listed as 1 to 1.75 hours total cooking time. So I’m really not sure what went wrong for you. The 3 lb. ham should really be finished in an hour. I’m really not sure. You say you have an oven thermometer, which is great. Have you tested your instant read thermometer to see if it’s accurate? That’s just one idea. I’m stumped.

  4. Sandy Klocinski says:

    Whole Boneless Ham is awesome! This looks like a great way to cook it.

  5. Angelica says:

    I don’t think anything is better than a whole roast of ham. I’ve only ever made bone-in, I’ll have to look harder next time I’m at the grocery store to find boneless! So much less hassle, although I do love making bone broth with the bone-in leftovers.

  6. Kathleen Duncan says:

    I have a boneless ham in the freezer. This looks like a perfect way to fix it.

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