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Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham ~ Easter Dinner from the Crock Pot!

Leave your holiday cooking to the crock pot with this quick & easy, sweet & savory Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham! Pineapple juice and a brown sugar rub featuring Dijon, balsamic vinegar, and honey melt into an amazing glaze.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham ~ an effortless way to cook your Easter ham with a glaze of pineapple juice, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and honey | FiveHeartHome.comSeveral years ago, I had the epiphany to cook my Easter ham in the slow cooker, and let me just tell you…it’s one of the most brilliant holiday cooking decisions I’ve ever made! You know how when you’re preparing a holiday meal, oven space is at a prime because there are a ton of extra side dishes to cook, not to mention homemade rolls, desserts, etc. etc.? Well, it’s always nice to ensure that some of your dishes don’t rely on said oven, whether that’s because you can make them ahead of time, cook them on the stove, or — better yet — throw them in the crock pot. And as you may have already surmised, this ham recipe falls into the latter category…and it’s so mouth-watering-ly delicious, you may never want to cook your ham in the oven again!

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham ~ an effortless way to cook your Easter ham with a glaze of pineapple juice, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and honey | FiveHeartHome.comHere’s the thing about this recipe: it’s very forgiving. It can be adapted to just about any cut and any size of ham (provided you can fit it in the crock pot), boneless or bone-in, whole or spiral-sliced. But of course, all of those factors are going to dictate the ultimate cooking time.

So let’s talk ham. You want to start with a fully cooked ham, and this recipe will simply serve to heat and glaze it. The most standard ham at the grocery store will probably be cured but not smoked, though you can choose cured or uncured, plain or smoked…it’s just a matter of personal preference. (The ham in these photos was actually uncured, which is why it’s a lighter color than deep pink, cured ham.) And if your ham includes a flavor/glaze packet, or if it has a plastic cap over the end of the bone, be sure to discard those before cooking!

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham ~ an effortless way to cook your Easter ham with a glaze of pineapple juice, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and honey | FiveHeartHome.comThe size of ham you buy obviously depends on how many people you are going to feed. You can go with a large ham for a big group, or I’ve halved this recipe and reduced the cooking time to use as small as a 2-pound petite ham half as an everyday, weeknight meal for my family (of two adults and three young children). I would recommend up to an 8-pound ham as the size that will most readily fit in a large (7-quart), oval crock pot, but of course, that also depends on the shape of the ham. If you put your ham in the crock pot and it extends in a way that the lid won’t fit snugly, you can either trim off a piece of your ham to make it fit, or use a triple layer of heavy-duty foil to cover the slow cooker with a tight seal (and then I’d still try to lay the lid on top). Just beware of hot steam when you remove the foil!

The FDA recommends reheating a fully-cooked ham to 140°F. A very small ham may reach that point in a slow cooker set to low within 2 to 3 hours, and a large ham should be to that temperature by 4 to 6 hours on low. Just keep in mind that each time you remove the crock pot’s lid, you may have to compensate for lost heat with a bit of additional cooking time.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham ~ an effortless way to cook your Easter ham with a glaze of pineapple juice, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and honey | FiveHeartHome.comAs with most cuts of meat, a bone-in ham is likelier to stay juicy, but boneless will work, too. And while a sprial-cut ham is convenient for serving and certainly adapts to this recipe, beware that it may dry out a bit faster than a whole, uncut ham. You can always baste all over the spiral slices a few times throughout the cooking process and/or slightly reduce the cooking time as compared to an unsliced ham to ensure a moist final product.

Okey-doke…that should pretty much cover the nitty gritty ham details. Now onto the yummy part of this recipe! I happen to think that the flavors of ham and pineapple are a match made in heaven, but if you don’t care for pineapple juice, you should be able to sub apple juice (or even orange juice) instead. After pouring the juice into the bottom of your slow cooker, you simply coat your entire ham with a paste made of brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey. These ingredients melt down into the most tantalizing glaze, which you later thicken and serve drizzled over the top of the ham. The glaze is honestly my favorite part of this recipe…yum doesn’t even begin to describe it. Let’s just say I have eaten could eat it with a spoon.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham ~ an effortless way to cook your Easter ham with a glaze of pineapple juice, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and honey | FiveHeartHome.comUsing a slow cooker is truly the easiest, most delicious way to cook a ham, and I look forward to making it this way every time Easter and Christmas roll around. I also use this technique with a small ham for an effortless dinner throughout the year. This is a great recipe to have in your arsenal, and I hope you have a chance to try soon (*cough* like this Easter *cough*). ;) And I hope it’s a big hit if you do!

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham ~ Easter Dinner from the Crock Pot!

*See Tips & Tricks

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham ~ Easter Dinner from the Crock Pot!

Leave your holiday cooking to the crock pot with this quick & easy, sweet & savory Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham! Pineapple juice and a brown sugar rub featuring Dijon, balsamic vinegar, and honey melt into an amazing glaze.

Ingredients

  • Fully-cooked ham, approximately 7 to 8-pounds (*see Tips & Tricks below)
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Remove ham from packaging and discard any flavoring packet. If using a bone-in ham, check end of bone for a plastic cap and, if present, discard.
  2. Pour pineapple juice in bottom of a large (7-quart), oval slow cooker.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar, Dijon, balsamic vinegar, and honey into a paste. Spread brown sugar mixture all over ham and place, flat side down, in slow cooker.
  4. Cover slow cooker with lid and set to low. Cook ham for 4 to 6 hours or until meat is tender and internal temperature reaches 140°F. If desired, flip and baste ham halfway through cooking time and again about an hour before ham is done.
  5. Once ham is done, remove to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Skim fat and strain juices from crock pot into a pot and place on the stove over medium heat. In a small bowl, use a fork to stir cornstarch into water to make a slurry. Slowly pour slurry into pot while whisking ham juices. Allow mixture to bubble and thicken for a minute or two, occasionally stirring. If you desire a thicker sauce, you may stir in a bit more cornstarch slurry. Do not add straight cornstarch to the hot liquid or it will clump, and do not over stir the sauce once the cornstarch has been added or it may not thicken appropriately.
  6. Serve ham warm with sauce on the side or drizzled on top. If you prefer an oven-cooked ham effect, you may also glaze entire ham with thickened sauce and pop it under the broiler for about 5 minutes (watch it closely!) before serving.

Tips, Tricks, & Variations

*You may use a bone-in ham (recommended) or boneless, whole or spiral cut, cured or uncured, smoked or not, shank, butt, or shoulder. *To determine number of servings, estimate approximately 1/2 pound of boneless ham per person and 3/4 pound of bone-in ham per person. *A ham that's less than 7 or 8 pounds will probably reach 140° sooner than 4 to 6 hours. The ham is already cooked, so all you are doing is heating it through to a safe temperature and allowing it to absorb the flavors of the glaze. For example, a small 3-pound ham will probably be done in 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Overcooking will lead to a tough, dry ham, even in the crock pot! You may also want to halve the other recipe ingredients if cooking a ham that's smaller than 4 pounds. *Try to ensure that your ham is going to fit in your crock pot before buying it. However, if your ham is particularly large or of a shape that will not allow the lid of the slow cooker to properly close, trim off a chunk of ham to make it fit. As a last resort, you may cover the slow cooker with a tightly-sealed, triple layer of heavy duty foil instead. Beware of hot steam when you remove the foil!

http://www.fivehearthome.com/2014/04/01/slow-cooker-brown-sugar-ham-easter-dinner-from-the-crock-pot/

Side dishes to go with ham…

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes ~ the perfect Thanksgiving side dish, featuring a smooth, creamy filling and topped with toasty marshmallows or crunchy pecan streusel | FiveHeartHome.com

Bacon Green Bean Bundles with Brown Sugar Glaze
Bacon Green Bean Bundles with Brown Sugar Glaze | {Five Heart Home}

Creamy Cheesy Corn Casserole
Creamy Cheesy Corn Casserole ~ decadent with cream cheese and cheddar, this corn is perfect as a holiday side dish and can even be made in the crock pot | {Five Heart Home}
Savory Herb & Cheese Monkey Bread

Savory Herb and Cheese Monkey Bread ~ quick and easy, made with refrigerated biscuits, festive for the holidays, from Thanksgiving to Christmas to Easter | {Five Heart Home}

Roasted Asparagus with Brown Butter Pecans
Roasted Asparagus with Brown Butter Pecans ~ a delicious spring side dish that would be perfect for Easter | FiveHeartHome.com

Honey-Glazed Carrots with Thyme & Lemon
Honey-Glazed Carrots with Thyme and Lemon ~ a perfect spring side dish, and a gorgeous addition to your Easter menu! | FiveHeartHome.com

Scalloped Potato Flan with Gruyere & Garlic
Scalloped Potato Flan with Gruyère and Garlic ~ served overturned and sliced for an elegant presentation | {Five Heart Home}

Spring & Easter ideas…

Spring Salad with Mixed Berries, Candied Almonds, & Honey Citrus Vinaigrette
Spring Salad with Mixed Berries, Candied Almonds, and Honey Citrus Vinaigrette ~ a beautiful, delicious salad with vibrant flavors and varied textures | FiveHeartHome.com

Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies
Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies ~ mini carrot cake whoopie pies filled with cream cheese frosting make an easy, hand-held Easter dessert | FiveHeartHome.com

Hard-Boiled Egg Chicks & Bunnies
Hard-Boiled Egg Chicks & Bunnies ~ a cute way to use up those extra Easter eggs! | FiveHeartHome.com

Lemon & White Chocolate Tiramisu Mason Jar Trifles
Lemon and White Chocolate Tiramisu Mason Jar Trifles ~ a quick and easy springtime dessert; cute and portable for picnics or parties | FiveHeartHome.com
Springtime Asparagus Tart with Ham & Mushrooms
(perfect for using up leftover Easter ham!)
Springtime Asparagus Tart ~ with ham, mushrooms, Swiss, and a buttery crust | FiveHeartHome.com

Free Easter Hymn Printable
Free Easter Hymn Printable ~ Christ the Lord Is Risen Today {with 3 Color Choices} | FiveHeartHome.com

See all of our RECIPES <<< here!

And see all of our PRINTABLES <<< here!

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Comments

  1. Debbie Caraballo says:

    I would just love to do this, as we’re definitely having ham. Your glaze recipe has ingredients that go great together. Only prob is, I don’t have a 7 qt oval…and have been wanting one for a long time! Hmmm….might be checking the ads this weekend! Lol…seriously, I love the recipe, and would be so much easier to cook this way. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    Deb

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I think you definitely deserve a new slow cooker this weekend, Deb…after all, the recipe said you have to have one! ;) Seriously, though, you can use a smaller or different shaped crock pot as long as the ham you buy will fit in it. :) I’m glad you’re going to try cooking your ham this way…I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using my oven after using this method! Hope you’re having a great week…

  2. I really like a sweeter tasting ham, so this might be a recipe that I want to try. Hope you have a great day!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Heidi! I like sweet ham as well because I think it’s a nice contrast to the salty meat. I feel like this recipe has a nice balance of flavors overall, and I hope you enjoy it if you try it. Thanks so much for stopping by…happy Friday!

  3. Your cooked ham looks yummy!

  4. Coming over from the link party at A Little Claireification — this looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  5. This sounds and looks amazing! It’s crazy isn’t it? Last year was the first time I did a ham in the crockpot…definitely a lightbulb moment…and a ‘WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO TRY THAT?’ Thanks so much for sharing at Weekend Potluck. <3 to you for linking back too. =) Please come back again soon.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you so much for the sweet comment, Marsha! I love making anything I can in the crock pot, and you are so right…it was a lightbulb moment for me as well when I figured out that I could cook a holiday main course in the slow cooker! ;) I so appreciate you stopping by and hosting Weekend Potluck each week…it’s one of my favorite link parties. Hope you’re having a wonderful week! :)

  6. Genius idea to cook the ham in the crock pot! And your ham looks so delicious! Yum! :)

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you so much, Jocelyn! It was harder taking attractive photos of a ham than I thought it would be — ha! ;) Thanks for stopping by…hope your week is going well!

  7. Hurrah for you! This yummy dish is being featured at our Weekend Potluck party this week! Stop by when you can and check it out. As always, thanks a million for sharing. I can’t wait to try this!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I am honored by the feature, Marsha, and you are so sweet to stop by and let me know! I love, love, love partying with y’all each week. ;) Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  8. michelle says:

    I made this today and it turn out wonderfully. I changed it a little bit by adding carrots and onions to the crock pot and they tasted really good too.

    The only thing that didn’t turn out was the final sauce. I must have done something wrong. It never thickened even though I added more cornstarch after the first amount didn’t work. Im guessing that it is either because I didn’t skim the fat off (I don’t know how) or because of the carrots and onions.

    Full disclosure: I just started cooking this winter. Before that I ate nothing but takeout and sandwiches so I’m not really an accomplished cook. I think I’m missing a few fundamentals. I really love my crockpot though because I can just put everything in and walk away.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Michelle! I’m really glad that you enjoyed this recipe, and I commend you for learning how to cook! Cooking is a fun but learn-as-you-go process, so things should get easier for you through experience and trail & error. :)

      I think the most common reasons that cornstarch doesn’t thicken a sauce appropriately is that the liquid didn’t reach the correct temperature, or the sauce was stirred/agitated too much after the cornstarch was added/turned transparent in the sauce. I just tried to find a more scientific explanation for you real quick, so this probably explains it better than I ever could… ;)

      http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2010/02/cornstarch-recipe-hot-and-sour-soup.html

      Hope that helps, and keep trying! Even if a recipe doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time, you’ll eventually figure things out with lots of practice. :)

  9. The ham turned out really well Samantha!

  10. This is such a great idea. I do have an odd question though. I have a mustard intolerance (meaning it makes me sick, like being lactose intolerant), would the recipe be terrible without it? Or do you know of some other spice that could replace it? Thanks.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Not an odd question at all, Brianna! I think you can totally leave the mustard out. It’s just going to alter the flavor a bit — there won’t be a mustard-y undertone so the glaze may seem sweeter and you may notice the balsamic vinegar a bit more — but I think it will still taste good. And you can always play with the proportions until it tastes the way you like it. :) Hope you enjoy the ham and thanks again for the question. Have a great week!

      • I was also wondering about the mustard. Not really a fan of Dijon (or I buy the wrong brand) so I stay away from recipes with it. I have used dry mustard in recipes though – would that work and if so how much do you think? Making this for Thanksgiving – my kitchen will be full of crockpots!

        • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

          Hi Nancy! If you’re not a fan of Dijon, I would probably just leave it out altogether. It should still turn out great. However, you could definitely use regular mustard (non-Dijon) or dry mustard if you wish, but I would probably just add it slowly to taste after you mix together the rest of the ingredients for the paste and stop when it’s mustard-y enough for you. :) Hope this helps, and hope you have a happy Thanksgiving! I think you are super smart to utilize all those crock pots… ;)

          • Thanks! I’ll definitely taste first and go from there – hopefully I don’t blow any breakers :-). Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

      • So tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I definitely don’t want to risk my life going to the grocery store I have already planned the ham in the Crockpot and want to try your glaze recipe…I have everything except balsamic vinegar :-( I do have Apple cider vinegar..be honest, what do you think??

        • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

          Gosh, Kim…I’m not sure how apple cider vinegar would taste in this. I don’t at all blame you for not wanting to go to the store, but I think apple cider vinegar might taste stronger/more acidic in this glaze than balsamic vinegar does. I think you could include a little bit, but I’m not sure I would use the full amount. This recipe would still turn out tasty if you decided to leave out the vinegar altogether, so that’s probably what I would do if I were out of balsamic. Hope everyone enjoys the ham and that y’all have a happy Thanksgiving! :)

  11. I was looking for recipes to cook my ham in my slow cooker so I could put the turkey in the oven. I will have lots of people here. I love the ingredients in your recipe but my ham doesn’t quite fit and the top sticks out just a little but enough to not be able to put the lid on. I saw another recipe that stated it your ham is too large just use tin foil to cover it. I really need to use the slow cooker because I only have one oven and a family where some want ham and the others turkey

    How do you think this would work?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Barbara! I’ve never tried using foil in lieu of a slow cooker lid to cook a very large piece of meat, but I have read and heard many times that it will work. Here’s a post I found that gives pretty good directions if you decide to try it: http://petticoatjunctionsmom.blogspot.com/2011/04/crockpot-cooking-ham.html
      I think the key is making sure that you’re using multiple layers of tightly-sealed foil and that the foil is tucked into the crock so that any condensation drips back down into the pot. It sounds like resting the lid on top of the foil (as long as it won’t fall off) might also help retain heat. Good luck and happy (almost) Thanksgiving! :)

      • Thank you for your response and the time you took to find that site. I am hoping the happiest of Thanksgiving for you and yours.

        Barbara

  12. Neva N. Cohen says:

    Hi!
    I’m going to fix your recipe for the employees where my husband is general manager. I just realized I am out of pineapple juice. Do you think it would taste ok if I substituted orange juice?
    I realize this is an older post. Thanks for advance!

    Neva Cohen

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Neva! I haven’t tried this recipe with orange juice but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work just fine. The flavor will be slightly different but it should still be yummy. Hope this ham is a hit with everyone! I’m sure the employees who work with your husband appreciate your kindness in cooking for them. :)

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