How To Make Honey-Glazed Ham in the Slow Cooker

updated Sep 5, 2022
How To Make Honey-Glazed Ham in the Slow Cooker

Learn how and why you should put your holiday honey-glazed ham in the slow cooker this year.

Serves10 to 12

Prep10 minutes

Cook4 hours to 5 hours

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

My father in-law is not a big fan of turkey. Honestly, I can relate. So about five years ago, we started adding a bone-in-ham to the family Thanksgiving menu. But each year I am the host and cook, and so I would run into a problem: After making the turkey, how do I season and heat a full ham while all the side dishes are hogging the oven space? Fortunately I settled on a solution: Put the ham in a Crock Pot!

Since most holiday hams come pre-cooked, all I have to do is load it into the slow cooker in the morning. As another bonus? After it’s been slow-cooked, the crock can be set to warm, so the ham stays moist while we wait. (There’s always at least one in-law who is late.) And ever since mastering the technique for Thanksgiving, I make my Easter ham in the slow cooker, too.

Why a Slow-Cooker Honey-Glazed Ham Is Better

Smoked, spiral-cut ham wasn’t something I always loved. The pineapple juice glaze can be overly sweet, and the texture of the meat can be unpleasantly chewy. This recipe avoids both of those qualities. I’ve given it a custom not-too-sweet glaze (though you can use the packet if you want), and the low, slow heat of the slow cooker gently braises the ham, making it the most melt-in-the-mouth tender cured pork you’ll ever eat.

Besides tasting much better than a ham baked in the oven, cooking the ham in the slow cooker eliminates some of the challenges of serving it alongside your holiday roast.

Quick Ham Guide

  • This recipe calls for a 8- to 10-pound spiral cut ham.
  • The cook time on that ham is LOW for 4 to 5 hours, basting with glaze whenever you remember to.

Buying the Right Ham for the Slow Cooker

Whole spiral-cut hams are most famously sold by the Honey Baked Hams company, but this type of ham can also be found in almost every major grocery store or at your local butcher. City hams, as they are also known, are a leg of pork that has been cured and sometimes smoked before being cooked and spiral-cut.

You don’t want a boneless ham for this recipe. Look for a spiral-cut ham that is fully cooked (it must be labeled as such) and has the bone in. Butt-end hams tend to fit into slow cookers more readily, but their bone is a little trickier to slice around. Consider the size of your slow cooker when shopping for your ham. A 10-pound ham is as big as you can go for a six-quart slow cooker.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Making a Glaze for the Slow-Cooker Ham

The glaze offers an opportunity to add considerable flavor to the ham, so we suggest making your own. I use a mixture of brown sugar, honey, mustard, and cloves. It hits all the sweet, warm, and tangy flavors that are familiar and comforting on ham. Plus, these ingredients thicken as they cook, making a sticky-sweet sauce that can be spooned over the slices when serving.

What About the Glaze Packet?

Most fully cooked hams also come with a packet of glaze mix, which you add water to. This is essentially just brown sugar and spices. There is nothing really wrong with this, and, in fact, you can use it with your ham in the slow cooker. But my glaze is not really difficult, and I think you’ll find it’s a little tastier for being homemade.

Want to try something different? 5 Easy, 3-Ingredient Glazes for Ham

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk
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How To Make Honey-Glazed Ham in the Slow Cooker

Learn how and why you should put your holiday honey-glazed ham in the slow cooker this year.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 4 hours to 5 hours

Serves 10 to 12

Nutritional Info


  • 3/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup


  • 1/2 cup


  • 1/4 cup

    Dijon mustard

  • 10

    whole cloves

  • 1

    (8- to 10-pound) bone-in, spiral-cut ham


  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Small saucepan

  • 6-quart or larger slow cooker

  • Baster or brush


  1. Make the glaze. Place 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, and 10 whole cloves in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer until the glaze is homogeneous and fragrant from the cloves, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, then remove the cloves with a spoon.

  2. Prepare the ham. Place 1 spiral-cut ham in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker, making sure you can put the lid on. You may have to turn the ham on its side, or trim a bit off the top if your ham is too large. Gently pull apart the ham's slices and separate them.

  3. Add the glaze. Pour the glaze over the ham, trying to cover as much of the ham as possible, but not worrying too much, as the glaze will fall back into the slow cooker.

  4. Cook and baste the ham. Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 4 to 5 hours. Every hour (or as you remember), baste the ham with the glaze. You can also flip the ham halfway through cooking, if desired. The ham is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F. Serve with the thickened glaze.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The glaze can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Storage: Store leftover ham in its juices in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.