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.

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.