Smoked Ham Air Fryer Recipe: A Delicious Twist On A Classic Dish

smoked ham air fryer recipe

Smoked ham is a beloved culinary delight that brings comfort and flavor to every meal. With the emergence of air fryers in recent years, the possibilities for creating delicious dishes have expanded exponentially. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the art of preparing a mouthwatering smoked ham using your trusty air fryer. From understanding the food science behind smoky flavors to selecting the perfect ham and mastering the cooking process, this article will provide you with all the necessary tools to create an unforgettable dining experience.

Food Science: Unraveling the Secrets Behind Smoky Flavors

Smokiness is an essential element that adds a unique and flavorful twist to ham. The process of smoking involves exposing meat to wood smoke, resulting in complex chemical reactions that enhance the taste and aroma of the dish. When wood burns, it releases compounds called phenols and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds interact with the proteins and fats in the ham, creating a delectable smoky flavor profile.

Selecting the Perfect Ham for Smoking

When it comes to selecting a ham, several factors should be considered. Look for a high-quality, fully cooked bone-in ham that weighs around 7-9 pounds. The bone adds flavor and helps the meat retain moisture during the smoking process. Additionally, choose a ham with a nice layer of fat on top, as this will keep it succulent and prevent it from drying out.

Cleaning and Preparing the Air Fryer

smoked ham

Before you embark on your smoky culinary adventure, it is essential to ensure that your air fryer is clean and ready for action. Follow these steps to prepare your air fryer for the smoking process:

  1. Remove any lingering food particles from previous cooking sessions.
  2. Wash and dry the air fryer thoroughly.
  3. Check the heating element and air vents for any blockages or debris.
  4. Ensure the air fryer is in proper working condition.

By taking these simple steps, you ensure that your ham will be prepared in a clean and hygienic environment, providing optimal flavor and safety.

Preparing the Smoked Ham

smoked ham

Before diving into the smoking process, make sure you have the following ingredients on hand:

  • 7-9 pound bone-in fully cooked ham
  • Your choice of wood chips (such as hickory, applewood, or mesquite)
  • A mixture of complementary spices and herbs (such as garlic powder, paprika, black pepper)

Now, let’s move on to the step-by-step preparation process:

Step 1: Preparing the Wood Chips

Soak your wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before smoking. This prevents them from burning too quickly and produces a steady stream of smoke. Choose wood chips that complement the flavors of ham, such as hickory for a robust smoky taste or applewood for a milder, slightly sweet aroma.

Step 2: Prepping the Ham

Start by rinsing the ham under cold water to remove any excess salt or brine. Pat it dry with paper towels, ensuring it is completely moisture-free. This step helps the spices adhere to the meat.

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Step 3: Creating the Spice Rub

In a small bowl, combine your selected spices and herbs. A simple yet flavorful combination includes garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper. Mix them well to create a harmonious blend of flavors.

Step 4: Applying the Spice Rub

Carefully rub the spice mixture onto the surface of the ham, ensuring it is evenly coated. The aromatic spices will enhance the taste profile, adding depth to the smoky flavors as they meld with the ham’s natural juices.

Step 5: Preheating the Air Fryer

Preheat your air fryer at 250°F (121°C) for about 5 minutes. This initial heating ensures a consistent cooking temperature, allowing the ham to cook evenly and retain its moisture.

Tips and Tricks for Smoked Ham Perfection

close up view of air fried smoked ham

To elevate your smoked ham to perfection, take note of these helpful tips:

  • Place the ham fat-side up in the air fryer to allow the fat to baste the meat, keeping it moist throughout the smoking process.
  • Opt for indirect heat by placing the ham on a rack or a bed of vegetables inside the air fryer basket. This method prevents the meat from burning or becoming overly dry.
  • Monitor the internal temperature of the ham using a meat thermometer. Aim for an internal temperature of around 145°F (63°C) for a juicy yet safe-to-consume result.
  • Use the smokeless or low-smoke setting on your air fryer to prevent excessive smoke from filling your kitchen.

Remember, practice makes perfect! Experiment with different wood chips, spice combinations, and cooking times to find your own signature smoked ham recipe.

Variations: Exploring Flavors and Customization

close up view of air fried smoked ham

The beauty of smoked ham prepared in an air fryer lies in its versatility. Here are a few variations you can try to infuse different flavors into your dish:

  1. Maple Glazed Smoked Ham: Brush the ham with a mixture of maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and a pinch of cinnamon before smoking. The glaze caramelizes during cooking, imparting a delightful sweetness to the meat.

  2. Citrus-Infused Smoked Ham: Squeeze fresh orange or pineapple juice over the ham before applying the spice rub. The natural acidity will tenderize the meat while adding a refreshing citrus note.

  3. Spicy Cajun Smoked Ham: Add a kick of heat by incorporating Cajun spices, crushed red pepper flakes, and a touch of cayenne pepper into your spice rub. This variation is perfect for those who crave a little extra zest in their meal.

Feel free to customize and experiment with these variations to discover your own personal twist on traditional smoked ham.

Doneness Checks: Ensuring Ham Perfection

To ensure your smoked ham is cooked to perfection before serving, perform these simple doneness checks:

  1. Color: The ham should develop a beautiful golden-brown crust, imparted by the spices and smoke. The fat on top should render and become slightly crispy, enhancing both presentation and flavor.

  2. Internal Temperature: Check the internal temperature of the ham using a meat thermometer. Aim for a reading of around 145°F (63°C) to guarantee a juicy center while ensuring the meat is safe to eat.

  3. Juices: When pierced with a fork or knife, the juices released from the ham should be clear, indicating that it is cooked through.

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If any of these factors are not met, return the ham to the air fryer and continue cooking until desired results are achieved.

Cleaning and Maintenance: Preserving the Lifespan of Your Air Fryer

After enjoying your delectable smoked ham, it’s essential to properly clean and maintain your air fryer for future use. Follow these steps to ensure the longevity of your device:

  1. Allow the air fryer to cool completely before attempting to clean it.
  2. Remove the accessories and non-stick basket, and wash them with warm soapy water. Use a non-abrasive sponge to avoid damaging the non-stick coating.
  3. Wipe the interior of the air fryer with a damp cloth to remove any residual oil or debris.
  4. Dry all components thoroughly before reassembling, allowing them to air dry completely to avoid mold or mildew.
  5. Store the air fryer in a clean and dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.

By maintaining your air fryer’s cleanliness and functionality, you ensure that each subsequent culinary adventure will be as satisfying and flavorful as the last.

Recipe: Smoked Ham Air Fryer Marvel


  • 7-9 pound bone-in fully cooked ham
  • Wood chips of your choice
  • Spice rub:
    • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons paprika
    • 1 tablespoon black pepper


  1. Soak the wood chips in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the air fryer to 250°F (121°C) for 5 minutes.
  3. Rinse the ham under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper to create the spice rub.
  5. Apply the spice rub evenly onto the surface of the ham, ensuring full coverage.
  6. Place the ham fat-side up in the air fryer, ensuring it is on a rack or bed of vegetables to prevent direct contact with the heating element.
  7. Drain the wood chips and place them in the air fryer’s exterior smoking chamber or follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding wood chip placement.
  8. Close the air fryer and smoke the ham for approximately 1-2 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
  9. Remove the ham from the air fryer and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.


Smoking a succulent ham in an air fryer is a fantastic way to infuse delectable flavors into an already beloved dish. By understanding the food science behind smoky flavors, selecting the perfect ham, and mastering the preparation and cooking process, you are well on your way to achieving smoked ham perfection.

Remember to experiment with different variations, spices, and cooking times to create your signature twist on this classic dish. With a little practice and creativity, your air fryer will become a versatile tool in your culinary repertoire, producing mouthwatering smoked ham that will undoubtedly impress your family and friends.

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So, fire up your air fryer, select your favorite wood chips, and prepare yourself for a culinary adventure that will delight your taste buds and elevate your cooking skills to new heights!

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  • FAQS On Smoked Ham Air Fryer Recipe

    What Is A Smoked Ham Air Fryer Recipe?

    The smoked ham air fryer recipe is a cooking method that uses an air fryer to prepare a dish made of smoked ham with crispy skin on the outside and juicy meat on the inside.

    How Can I Make Sure My Smoked Ham Is Cooked Properly In An Air Fryer?

    To ensure your smoked ham is cooked properly, you should use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. The ham should reach an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) to be considered safe to eat.

    What Type Of Ham Should I Use For A Smoked Ham Air Fryer Recipe?

    You can use any type of smoked ham for this recipe. However, it is recommended to use a bone-in ham as it will provide more flavor and tenderness.

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

    The cooking time varies depending on the size of the smoked ham and the air fryer’s wattage. Generally, it takes around 15-20 minutes per pound to cook a smoked ham in an air fryer.

    What Are Some Spices Or Herbs I Can Use To Season My Smoked Ham?

    You can use a variety of spices and herbs to season your smoked ham, such as garlic, paprika, thyme, rosemary, and black pepper. You can also add a glaze made of honey, brown sugar, mustard, or maple syrup to add some sweetness.

    Can I Cook Other Dishes In The Air Fryer At The Same Time As My Smoked Ham?

    It is not recommended to cook other dishes in the air fryer at the same time as your smoked ham. The smoke and the juices from the ham can interfere with the other dishes’ flavors and textures.

    What Sides Go Well With A Smoked Ham Air Fryer Recipe?

    A smoked ham air fryer recipe goes well with a variety of sides such as roasted potatoes, green beans, carrots, coleslaw, or mac and cheese. You can also serve it with a salad or bread.