Baked Ham Air Fryer Recipe: The Ultimate Guide

baked ham air fryer recipe

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on baking a delicious ham using an air fryer! In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of food science, culinary details, selection tips, cleaning guidelines, preparation techniques, helpful tips and variations, doneness checks, and of course, a detailed recipe. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice cook, this guide aims to provide you with all the necessary information to master the art of baking a ham in the air fryer. So let’s get started!

Food Science: Understanding the Magic Behind Air Fryers

Air fryers have become increasingly popular due to their ability to replicate deep-fried texture and flavor using minimal oil. The science behind this lies in the air circulation and the Maillard reaction. Air fryers utilize rapid air technology to circulate hot air around the food, creating a crispy exterior, while maintaining a succulent and moist interior. The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction that occurs between amino acids and reducing sugars when exposed to high heat, resulting in the browning and development of complex flavors. Combining these two factors, air fryers can produce wonderfully cooked hams with that desirable crispy crust.

Choosing the Perfect Ham for Air Frying

When it comes to selecting a ham for air frying, it’s crucial to consider the type and cut. The most popular options are fully cooked spiral-sliced hams or bone-in hams. Fully cooked spiral-sliced hams are convenient because they are pre-cooked and pre-sliced, making serving and portioning a breeze. On the other hand, bone-in hams offer a traditional appeal and tend to have more depth of flavor. Whichever type you choose, ensure it fits comfortably inside your air fryer basket without touching the sides for even cooking.

Cleaning Your Air Fryer: Setting the Stage for Success

baked ham

Before embarking on any culinary endeavor, it’s important to start with a clean kitchen and equipment. The same goes for your air fryer. Make sure it’s clean and free from any food remnants or grease buildup. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning guidelines. Typically, the removable parts of an air fryer, such as the basket and the tray, can be easily washed with warm soapy water or placed in the dishwasher under the recommended settings.

Preparing the Air Fryer for Baking a Ham

baked ham

Now that your air fryer is spotless, it’s time to prepare it for the baking process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Preheat: Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (175°C) for about 5 minutes. Preheating ensures even cooking and reduces the overall cooking time.
  2. Assemble the Basket: Place the air fryer basket inside the air fryer, making sure it is securely in place.
  3. Line the Basket: Line the basket with aluminum foil or parchment paper. This helps to catch any drippings and makes cleaning up easier afterward.
  4. Grease or Spray: Lightly grease the foil or parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray or brush it with a small amount of oil. This prevents the ham from sticking while promoting a crispy exterior.
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Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Baked Ham

close up view of air fried baked ham

To achieve the best possible result, here are some important tips and tricks to keep in mind when baking ham in an air fryer:

  • Seasoning: Before placing the ham in the air fryer, season it generously with your desired spices and herbs. Traditional choices include black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and mustard powder. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
  • Glazing: For a flavorful and glossy finish, apply a glaze of your choice during the last few minutes of baking. Common glaze options include honey mustard, maple syrup, or a blend of brown sugar and Dijon mustard. Brush the glaze evenly over the ham and allow it to caramelize slightly.
  • Basting: To ensure a moist and succulent ham, baste it with its own juices or glaze periodically throughout the cooking process. This helps to infuse the flavors and prevent it from drying out. However, avoid opening the air fryer too frequently as it may disrupt the cooking process.
  • Turn or Rotate: If your air fryer doesn’t have a rotating feature, consider flipping or rotating the ham halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning and cooking on all sides.

Variations and Customizations for Your Baked Ham

close up view of air fried baked ham

While the classic baked ham is incredibly delicious, there are various ways to experiment and add your own twist to this traditional dish. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Sweet and Savory: Combine sweet and savory flavors by adding pineapple rings, maraschino cherries, and a drizzle of honey to the top of the ham before baking. This creates a delightful contrast and adds a touch of tropical flair.
  • Mustard Glaze: For a tangy kick, create a glaze using Dijon mustard, honey, and a hint of apple cider vinegar. The mustard complements the rich flavor of the ham perfectly.
  • Spice Infused: Add a bit of heat to your ham by incorporating spices like cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or chipotle powder into the glaze. This variation is sure to please spice enthusiasts.
  • Fruit Infusion: Instead of using a traditional glaze, try simmering apricot preserves, orange marmalade, or even a cranberry reduction for a burst of fruity flavor.
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Checking Doneness: Ensuring the Perfect Ham

To ensure your ham is cooked to perfection, you must carry out a few simple doneness checks:

  • Internal Temperature: Using a meat thermometer, measure the internal temperature of the ham. The ideal temperature should reach between 145°F (63°C) and 150°F (66°C).
  • Visual Inspection: Look for a golden-brown color on the outside of the ham. The presence of a slightly caramelized glaze is a good indication that it’s perfectly cooked.
  • Bone Wiggle: If you’re using a bone-in ham, wiggle the bone gently. If it moves freely, your ham is ready to be enjoyed!

Baked Ham Air Fryer Recipe

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for – the detailed recipe for baking a ham in an air fryer. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 1 bone-in ham (5-7 lbs)
  • Your choice of seasonings
  • Glaze of your preference (optional)


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (175°C) for 5 minutes.
  2. Season the ham thoroughly with your desired spices.
  3. Place the ham in the air fryer basket, ensuring it doesn’t touch the sides.
  4. Insert the basket into the air fryer and cook for approximately 20 minutes per pound. For a 6-pound ham, this would be around 2 hours.
  5. If using a glaze, apply it to the ham during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.
  6. Check the internal temperature of the ham using a meat thermometer. It should read between 145°F (63°C) and 150°F (66°C).
  7. Once the ham is cooked, remove it from the air fryer and allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving.
  8. Slice and enjoy your perfectly baked ham!


Congratulations! You’ve now become acquainted with the art of baking a delectable ham in an air fryer. We’ve explored the food science behind air fryers, discussed ham selection and cleaning techniques, covered crucial preparation tips, offered exciting variations for customization, shared essential doneness checks, and provided a comprehensive recipe. Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to embark on your culinary adventures and impress family and friends with your air-fried ham mastery. So go forth and enjoy the crispy yet tender goodness that awaits you!

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  • FAQS On Baked Ham Air Fryer Recipe

    Can I Cook A Whole Ham In An Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can cook a whole ham in an air fryer. Just make sure it fits inside the fryer basket and that it is not too big for the air fryer.

    How Long Does It Take To Cook A Baked Ham In An Air Fryer?

    The cooking time for a baked ham in an air fryer will depend on the size of the ham and the specific model of the air fryer. As a general guideline, a 2-pound ham will take approximately 25-30 minutes at 350°F. It’s important to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to ensure it reaches 145°F for safe consumption.

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    Do I Need To Preheat The Air Fryer Before Cooking The Ham?

    Yes, it is recommended to preheat the air fryer before cooking the ham. Preheating helps to ensure even cooking and better results. Most air fryers will have a preheat option or will require you to set the desired temperature and allow it to heat up for a few minutes.

    What Seasonings Can I Use For The Baked Ham In The Air Fryer?

    There are several seasonings you can use to enhance the flavor of your baked ham in an air fryer. Popular options include a mixture of brown sugar, mustard, honey, and spices like cloves, cinnamon, or nutmeg. You can also experiment with different glazes or marinades to suit your taste preferences.

    Should I Cover The Ham While Cooking In The Air Fryer?

    It is not necessary to cover the ham while cooking in the air fryer as the rapid air circulation within the fryer helps to brown and crisp the outer layer of the ham. However, if you find that the ham is browning too quickly or becoming too dry, you can loosely cover it with aluminum foil for a portion of the cooking time.

    Can I Use A Frozen Ham In The Air Fryer?

    While it is possible to cook a frozen ham in an air fryer, it is generally recommended to thaw the ham before air frying for more even and consistent cooking. Thawing the ham in the refrigerator overnight is the safest method.

    How Do I Know If The Baked Ham Is Cooked Thoroughly In The Air Fryer?

    To ensure that the baked ham is cooked thoroughly, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the ham, avoiding bone, and ensure it reads 145°F. If the ham has not reached the desired temperature, continue cooking for a few more minutes and recheck until it reaches the recommended internal temperature.