The Ultimate Guide To Cooking Ham In An Air Fryer

cooked ham air fryer recipe

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of cooking ham in an air fryer. We will explore the food science behind this cooking method, culinary details, selection, cleaning, preparation, tips, variations, doneness checks, and provide you with a delicious cooked ham air fryer recipe. So, let’s get started and discover the wonders of air fryer cooking!

Introduction to Cooking Ham in an Air Fryer

Air fryers have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their ability to create crispy and delicious dishes using less oil than traditional frying methods. Although primarily known for cooking fries and chicken wings, air fryers can be equally incredible for cooking a succulent and flavorful ham.

Ham, a versatile meat, can be enjoyed in various forms; from sandwiches to salads, it adds a delightful touch to any dish. By using an air fryer, you can achieve a perfectly cooked ham with a lovely crust and juicy interior. Now, let’s dive into the food science behind air fryer cooking and why it’s a fantastic choice for ham.

The Science Behind Air Fryer Cooking for Ham

To understand why air fryer cooking is ideal for ham, we need to explore the principles behind this cooking method. Air fryers work by circulating hot air rapidly around the food, creating a crisp exterior while retaining moisture inside. This hot air circulation ensures even cooking and reduces the cooking time compared to conventional ovens.

When cooking ham in an air fryer, the dry heat generated by the appliance helps to render the fat in the ham, resulting in a beautifully caramelized crust. Additionally, the consistent hot airflow prevents the ham from drying out, keeping it tender and succulent.

Selecting the Perfect Ham for Air Fryer Cooking

cooked ham

The selection of the right ham is crucial for achieving excellent results in your air fryer. Here are a few key points to consider:

  1. Type of Ham: While various types of ham are available, we recommend using a boneless, fully cooked ham for air fryer cooking. This type of ham provides convenience and allows for better control over cooking times and even browning.

  2. Size and Shape: Choose a ham that fits comfortably in your air fryer basket without overcrowding. This allows for optimal air circulation and ensures even cooking.

  3. Seasoning: Opt for a plain or lightly glazed ham to have control over the flavors and prevent excessive oil splatters during cooking.

Cleaning and Preparing your Air Fryer

cooked ham

Before embarking on your culinary ham adventure, ensure your air fryer is clean and ready to go. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Exterior Cleaning: Wipe down the exterior of your air fryer with a damp cloth to remove any dust or residue.

  2. Interior Cleaning: Remove the air fryer basket and any accessories. Wash them with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Ensure they are completely dry before proceeding.

  3. Check for Residue: Inspect the heating element and any crevices for residual food or grease. Remove any build-up using a soft brush or a damp cloth.

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Once your air fryer is spotless, you’re ready to begin preparing your ham for cooking.

Preparing the Ham for Air Frying

close up view of air fried cooked ham

To ensure your ham turns out scrumptious and perfectly cooked, you need to follow the right preparation steps. Let’s take a look at the process:

  1. Thawing: If using a frozen ham, ensure it is completely thawed before cooking. Most fully cooked hams are sold pre-thawed but double-check to avoid any cooking delays.

  2. Preliminary Seasoning: Apply a thin layer of oil or cooking spray to the surface of the ham. This helps create a beautiful crust and prevents the surface from drying out during cooking.

  3. Optional Glazing: If you prefer a glazed ham, gently brush your desired glaze onto the surface of the ham. Avoid excessive amounts as it may cause the glaze to drip and potentially burn in the air fryer.

With your ham adequately prepared, it’s time to move on to some essential tips that will ensure your cooking process goes smoothly.

Tips for Cooking Ham in an Air Fryer

close up view of air fried cooked ham

Cooking ham in an air fryer can be a breeze with these helpful tips:

  1. Preheat Your Air Fryer: Just as you would preheat your oven, it’s essential to preheat your air fryer. This ensures the cooking temperature is consistent from the start and promotes even cooking.

  2. Use Foil or Parchment Paper: To minimize the risk of glaze or marinade drippings clogging your air fryer, consider lining the bottom of your air fryer basket with foil or parchment paper. Remember to create small holes for air circulation.

  3. Rotate the Ham: Halfway through the cooking time, rotate the ham to ensure it browns evenly on all sides. This step is crucial if your air fryer doesn’t have a rotating feature.

Determining Doneness

Properly cooked ham should be juicy and reach a safe internal temperature. Follow these guidelines to achieve desired doneness:

  1. Internal Temperature: Using a meat thermometer, aim for an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) for fully cooked hams. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the ham without touching the bone.

  2. Resting Period: Once cooked, allow the ham to rest for about 10-15 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful ham.

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Cooked Ham Air Fryer Recipe

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for – the delicious cooked ham air fryer recipe. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll have a mouthwatering ham ready to impress:


  • 1 boneless, fully cooked ham (approximately 2-3 lbs)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil or cooking spray
  • Optional glaze of your choice


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 360°F (182°C).

  2. Apply a thin layer of cooking oil or cooking spray to the surface of the ham.

  3. Place the prepared ham into the air fryer basket, ensuring it doesn’t touch the sides.

  4. Cook the ham for approximately 15 minutes per pound. Halfway through the cooking time, rotate the ham for even browning.

  5. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Once the ham reaches 145°F (63°C), it’s perfectly cooked.

  6. Remove the cooked ham from the air fryer and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

  7. If desired, brush the ham with your preferred glaze during the last few minutes of cooking or while resting.

  8. Slice and serve the delicious cooked ham with your favorite sides or use it in sandwiches or salads.

Variations and Serving Suggestions

While the above recipe offers a classic approach to cooked ham, feel free to experiment with flavors and ingredients. Here are a couple of fun variations and serving suggestions to inspire your creativity:

  • Maple Glazed Ham: Use a maple syrup-based glaze with a touch of Dijon mustard for a delightful blend of sweet and tangy flavors.

  • Citrus and Herb Infused: Infuse your ham with the zesty flavors of citrus fruits like orange or lemon, along with aromatic herbs like rosemary and thyme.

Serve the cooked ham as a centerpiece for holiday dinners, alongside roasted vegetables, or slice it up for use in sandwiches, salads, or casseroles. The possibilities are endless!


Cooking ham in an air fryer opens up a world of culinary possibilities. By understanding the food science, selecting the right ham, prepping it meticulously, and following a few pro tips, you can achieve a succulent, juicy, and flavorful ham with a beautifully caramelized crust. Experiment with glazes, flavors, and serving options to truly make the dish your own. Enjoy the journey of exploring the art of air fryer cooking, and savor every bite of your cooked ham masterpiece!

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FAQS On Cooked Ham Air Fryer Recipe

How Much Time Does It Take To Cook Ham In An Air Fryer?

The cooking time depends on the size of the ham, but on average, it takes 25-30 minutes to cook a 1-2 pound ham in an air fryer.

Can I Use A Pre-cooked Ham In An Air Fryer?

Yes, you can use a pre-cooked ham in an air fryer, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Reduce the cooking time by 5-10 minutes, and make sure that the internal temperature reaches 140°F.

How Do I Prevent The Ham From Drying Out In The Air Fryer?

To prevent the ham from drying out, you can baste it with melted butter or a glaze of your choice. You can also wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and cook it for the first half of the cooking time, then remove the foil to allow the ham to brown and crisp up.

What Temperature Should I Set The Air Fryer To Cook Ham?

Preheat the air fryer to 350°F to cook ham. This temperature is ideal for achieving a crispy exterior while keeping the interior moist and juicy.

How Do I Know When The Ham Is Fully Cooked In The Air Fryer?

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the ham. The ideal temperature for fully cooked ham is 140°F. Make sure that the internal temperature is evenly distributed by checking multiple spots of the ham.

Can I Add Vegetables To The Ham While Cooking It In The Air Fryer?

Yes, you can add vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and onions to the air fryer to cook alongside the ham. Cut the vegetables into small pieces and toss them in oil and spices before adding them to the air fryer basket with the ham.

Can I Cook A Frozen Ham In An Air Fryer?

Yes, you can cook a frozen ham in an air fryer, but it will take longer. Preheat the air fryer to 325°F and cook the ham for 15-20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F. It’s recommended to thaw the ham before cooking it in an air fryer.