Learn how you can make a ham in no time at all using your Instant Pot. Yes, certain size hams will actually fit in the pot!
Find our Instant Pot ham recipe at the bottom of the post. It's a crowd pleaser, especially for any holiday meal. It's also a great way to save oven space.
This blog post is sponsored by Dearborn Sausage Company.
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Is there anything the Instant Pot can't do?
Turn a frozen chicken into soup. Check
Make yogurt. Check
Pop popcorn - with the right lid. Check
Cook a ham......
That is the one we are going to look at today - I think you know what the answer is going to be.
- ⚙️ Why It Works
- 📏 How Do You Fit a Ham
- 🐖 Types of Ham
- 🐷 Dearborn Hams
- ⏲️ How Long Does It Takes to Cook
- 🧂 How To Flavor a Ham
- ❓ Is It Worth It?
- 🥊 Instant Pot vs. Oven
- 🥤 How Much Liquid
- 🙋 Does It Come Out Moist?
- 🧹 How to Make a Glaze
- 🧰 Do You Use the Trivet?
- 🍠 Side Dishes
- 🍽️ Instant Pot Recipes
- 📧 Email List
- Instant Pot Pineapple Brown Sugar Ham
⚙️ Why It Works
So our answer to our first question of the day is yes, of course you can cook a ham in an Instant Pot. That leads into our next question, why would you want to?
Time. You want your ham to be done fast. Whether it's Christmas or Easter dinner, you got hungry guests awaiting. Cooking the ham in an Instant Pot or any pressure cooker for that matter will save you on time. Your guests' bellies will be fuller, faster.
Here is the thing with ham - it's already cooked. So the goal is to completely re-heat the meat all the way to the center while at the same time keeping the meat from dying out. So we aren't worried about eating raw meat here. That gives us an advantage and a reason why the Instant Pot is a good option.
📏 How Do You Fit a Ham
The biggest challenge of all for doing a ham in an Instant Pot is getting the ham to fit. They are all different sizes of Instant Pots. the bigger you got the easier it's going to be. The largest size Instant Pot is the 8 quart model. I have a 6 quart.
Sure you could trim the ham to fit your Instant Pot perfectly, but who wants to do that. There are a couple things you could do to make sure you get the right fit. You can take just the pot to the store with you. Most of us probably wouldn't have the forethought to do it. Or maybe we are scared of looking like some kind of a weirdo.
What I did was I called my wife who was at home and had her measure our Instant Pot. I then borrowed a ruler from the school supply section of the grocery store and measure the hams until I found one that I knew would fit. Yeah that was pretty nerdy.
💡 Tip - The top of the ham can be above the max fill line. That is only for liquid.
🐖 Types of Ham
Here are the types of hams that should work as as long they fit in the pot:
- spiral cut ham
- butt end
- shank end
- pre-sliced ham
🐷 Dearborn Hams
I have much love for Dearborn Hams because they are a Michigan company and I am life long Michigander! Dearborn has been in business for over 70 years - three generations of making quality meats. - you gotta try their hot dogs by the way.
Dearborn's Blue Box Spiral Ham is known throughout Michigan and beyond. No holiday around here goes on without them. The ham is smoked for up to 24 hours. That equals great flavor.
Dearborn has several other ham offerings as well including the semi boneless ham that I made in the Instant Pot for this very blog post.
⏲️ How Long Does It Takes to Cook
The answer is going to depend on the size of your ham. Let me share with you my experience.
A 7.45 pound ham is what I started with. My research showed that other people were cooking their ham for as low as 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes. I decided to try it right in the middle at 15 minutes at high pressure, followed by a natural release.
I was happy with the result. Perfectly hot throughout and done in a fraction of the time it would take in the oven.
Keep in mind the size of your ham is going to change the cooking time. 2 ½ minutes per pound is a good estimate that I feel safe with recommending. It still can vary based on the shape of your ham as well as the bone (or lack there of) in your ham. My ham was semi-boneless. It only had one circular shaped bone running through it.
💡 Tip - If you are not confident that the ham is fully re-heated in the middle you could always use a thermometer to check. You just need to hit 140 degrees for the ham to be hot enough.
To give yourself a leg up (get it ham is made from the leg of a pig!) you should set the ham out before cooking. Getting the ham to room temperature is great way to make sure the ham will be re-heated all the way to the center.
Ham has plenty of salt in it so you don't need to worry it's going to spoil or that your going to get sick. I am only talking about an hour or so here.
🧂 How To Flavor a Ham
Pretty much anyway you normally would flavor your ham would work in the Instant Pot. Your going to want to have some liquid. You want the liquid to have some flavor. Just old plain water is going to do anything for your ham.
You can keep it to simple ingredients like just the ham, pineapple juice, brown sugar, and cloves like I do or use any of these other ideas.
Potential liquid choices include:
- pineapple juice
- orange juice
- root beer
- Dr. Pepper
- ginger ale
- chicken broth or stock
- ham broth or stock
When I made mine I choose to use pineapple juice. You could also use a a can of sliced pineapple with the juice. I have made ham in the past with a root beer glaze.
Other ingedients to add for flavor could include
- brown sugar
- maple syrup
- canned pineapple (use it's juice)
- Dijon mustard
- black pepper
For the coves you could just stick whole cloves into the meat or use a mortal and pestle to grind up whole coves and sprinkle it all over the ham.
❓ Is It Worth It?
This might be the most important question of them all. Does the Instant Pot make a delicious ham? Sure we want to re-heat it fast but we want it to taste good as well, we got an audience to impress, right?
I can confirm that yes you can produce a flavorful ham in the Instant Pot. The best part of the ham was the flavorful liquid that was left with at the bottom. You can use it as a dipping sauce, or hit the saute button on your Instant Pot and let it reduce a bit to get a flavorful glaze you can brush on (more on that in a moment)
🥊 Instant Pot vs. Oven
I was happy with the carmelization of the outside of the ham. However if you want it more crisp your going to need to throw it in a really hot oven for just a short bit. You want really hot because you need to do this fast so you don't dry out your meat. I would say at least 400 degrees.
You could even consider turning on the broiler but watch it really closely and if you have a sweet glaze on the outside it could burn really fast. Use caution.
🥤 How Much Liquid
½ cup of liquid is all you need. It doesn't sound like much but it's enough. When the ham is done there will be even more liquid in the pot.
🙋 Does It Come Out Moist?
Flavor. Check. Speed. Check. What about the texture? Does produce a juicy ham? Oh yeah it was moist. Not dry whatsoever.
🧹 How to Make a Glaze
Another reason to use flavorful liquid instead of just water is that you can reduce it into a flavorful glaze.
- Once the ham is done, you can remove it from the pot onto a serving platter. I cover it with heavy duty aluminum foil.
- Then hit the sauté button on the Instant Pot.
- Reduce the liquid until it has thicken, at least enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Use a brush to apply the glaze to the ham.
🧰 Do You Use the Trivet?
You need all the space you can get in your Instant Pot, there is no room for the trivet, unless your ham is exceptionally small.
Got leftover ham? If it's too much to eat, leftover ham can be frozen. Or use it in place of the bacon in my Instant Pot bean soup recipe.
🍠 Side Dishes
Here are some sides you can make with this ham that would be tasty.
- Sous Vide Sweet Potatoes
- Buttery Roasted Carrots
- Creamed Corn with Chile Peppers
- Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- Air Fryer Asparagus
🍽️ Instant Pot Recipes
Here are some other Instant Pot recipes on the blog you'll want to check out.
- Barbacoa Tacos
- Corned Beef
- Mashed Potatoes
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Meatloaf Bites
- Corned Beef Egg Bites
Overall I was satisfied with how my ham turned out. I would do it again for sure (and I have many times!). If you give it a try, please share your experience with us in the lovely comment section below.
📧 Email List
- 1 Dearborn Classic Trim Semi-Boneless Ham around 7 pounds
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- Place in the Instant Pot. Pour the pineapple juice on top.
- Add the brown sugar and ground cloves directly to the ham.
- Set to the sealing. Cook high pressure for 15 minutes.
- Let natural release
- Remove ham from Instant Pot. Cover with foil and let sit for 10-15 minutes before carving.
- Optional - pour the remaining liquid into a bowl for dipping, or hit the saute button and reduce to make a glaze.
Am I using the trivet or placing the ham in the bottom of the "bowl"?
Good question. Placing the ham in the bottom of the bowl
Did you use a pre-sliced ham? Afraid one would dry out faster. Thoughts?
No I would avoid using a pre-sliced ham. I never buy them that way because I am too concerned they will dry out.
Is half a cup of liquid really enough?
Yep absolutely. I know it sounds small but it's plenty. Your not trying to boil the ham. You just want to reheat it since hams are already cooked. That was enough water to get my Instant Pot up to pressure.
Will try this on my Thanksgiving ham! Thanks!
Do you put the brown sugar and ground cloves on the ham?
Yes you do, put it directly onto the ham. I am updating the instructions to make that more clear. Thanks for leaving a comment.
Sold me Eric. I bouught an 8.4# boneless ham today for Christmas dinner.
I haven’t checked the fit in the pot as the pot is in the dishwasher awaiting a ride.
Based on your notes I’m going to go 26 minutes, unless I have to trim and end up with a different weight.
I’ll report back on the results.
I would love to hear how it turns out for you.
Hi! I just used my instant pot and made this recipe both for the first time. It turned out EXCELLENT! I will definitely do it again. Thank you, for such a simple and scrumptious recipe!
Wonderful. Thanks for sharing your experience and I am glad it worked out for ya.
How long did it take to come to pressure?
I have a fresh from the pig ham, how long should it cook in the instant pot? Will be my first time using it. Do I need to adjust the minutes per pound? I read 2 1/2 minutes per pound for a cooked or smoked ham, would that be the same amount of time?
I was suddenly struck by a craving for ham that bordered on insanity and this method came to the rescue before I went "ham" on the family! Thanks for the method, worked like a charm.
I've already purchased the pre-sliced Honey Ham before i read this! Arrgh! Any suggestions on preventing it from drying out? Would pineapple juice be the liquid of choice with Honey ham that comes with it's own glaze packet? How long to cook and what pressure? (I'm in charge of bringing the Ham to my son's house ....30 miles away! Thinking of just using the instant pot to cook it there so it's served hot). Thanks in advance!!
Wonderful. I am glad you liked it. Thanks for sharing that.
I need to time it one of those times. I think it might have been around 10 mintues or so. Don't quote on me on that. I will test it again eventually and update the post.
My daughter loves when I cook ham in the pressure cooker.I first soak the ham in water a few times to rinse off some of the salt. Then I put it in the pot and add a can of pineapple with the juice and brown sugar. I never know how much or for how long, so now I have your instructions. Thank you! Will make mine for New Year!
I just put a very small ham in my instapot without reading anything about it. I added a full can of pineapple chunks with juices. Hit the meat option. Let it steam release on its own. It was absolutely delicious and very moust!
So, I hate pineapple with a passion, so I was contemplating using orange juice and doing a rub of brown sugar and cajun seasoning. Anyone tried OJ before? Also, I have a boneless half ham from Costco so I'm not sure how long I should put it in for. Excited that I found your post! Can't wait to try this out!
Orange juice would be wonderful as well!
I just want a plain ham no sugar or pineapple. How do I cook this ?
Leave out the sugar and you can replace the pineapple juice with just water.
The best ham I've ever made--turned out juicy & delicious. I used whole cloves as that's what I had on hand. The pineapple juice on the bottom was wonderful. Easy & quick weeknight dinner. Thanks for sharing.
Kim, thanks so much for sharing. I am really glad that you liked the ham.
I have a 9 lb semi boneless I’m hoping will fit in my 8 qt instant pot. I’m going to try the “meat” button as well after using the pineapple juice and Brown sugar. I’ve read several places you ALWAYS have to use a cup of water in bottom but with the pineapple juice that would suffice, right?
I thought I'd give this a try for an early Easter dinner. Used orange juice and brown sugar on a 5# ham using the meat setting for 15 minutes. Reduced the remaining juice and brown sugar after pulling the ham. Guess who my wife says is cooking ham from now on?
Thanks for sharing that. I appreciate hearing that it turned out well. Orange juice is a great choice as well.
Ok I hate cloves. Is there a replacement or just omit?
I totally understand. You can simply omit the cloves. If you wanted to try something else if you like allspice or freshly grated nutmeg, those might be options for you to consider.
Tried this today . . . after cooking my 7 pound ham for 15 minutes it was cold in the center. We tried again and added 10 more minutes. It was still just warm in the center and not steaming. If we had let it rest 10-15 minutes as suggested it would have been stone cold. This was my first time using my new Instant Pot. Any suggestions as to what might have gone wrong. The ham was delicious by the way . . .just not really hot.
The ham wasn't frozen was it?
Let me know what exact type of ham you choose.
I have not had any this issue before so I am curious to get to the bottom of why it didn't work out for you.
I made this tonight it turn out amazing!!!! I didn’t have any clove so I use half all spice and cinnamon spice. I put a can of pineapple chunks with juice in the pot it was so moist. My ham was 8lbs4oz I cooked it for 25 minutes.
I am so glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to share what you thought!
How long should I cook a FROZEN 6.65 butt ham with bone in my 8 qt instant pot?
Thank you for any suggestions you might share. ?
I have not cooked one that was frozen yet. Looking at other people that have done it times seem to be around 30-35 minutes. That might be a good starting place. I will have to test that on my own soon.
I just got an instant pot for my birthday, and I would love to make this ham for Easter tomorrow...what does a "natural release" mean? I know nothing about instant pots and how they work. What are the steps?
Great question, when you put the lid on your Instant Pot you need to set it to sealing. There is a little nob on top. When the cooking time is over, you can either turn the nob to release the steam into the air, which is very hot, or do what's called a natural release and leave the nob at sealing. Right by it is a silver piece that goes up when the pot comes to pressure and goes back down when it's not. So to do a natural release just leave it alone until the silver piece goes back down, then you can open the pot.
Do you put fat piece up or down?
Fat should be up, so that when any of it melts it runs down the ham.