Aga baked ham

This is what I cook if I am catering for a fair few people.  So I always cook it for my daughters’ birthday parties.   It was my youngest’s 3rd birthday this weekend and we were having a family tea for her.

It’s very easy to cook this ham in a four-oven Aga as you can just leave it to cook away all night.  You could cook it in a conventional oven at a low temperature, but I guess that may use a fair amount of electricity and there are probably better ways of cooking a ham in a conventional oven.  This is a recipe from my Mum, but I have no idea where she got it from.

This ham weighed 6kg and cost in the region of £17.00 from my local butchers.  It fed 8 adults and two children at the party and has supplied us with enough ham for two ham and cheese omelettes, a spaghetti carbonara for four, about five sandwiches, and there’s a bone for the dog when it is all finished, so it is quite a bargain really.

I placed the ham in a large bowl and filled it with water and then drained this water away and refilled with fresh water.  I covered the bowl and then kept it in a cold place overnight.  Soaking a ham like this makes sure that it is not too salty and because I won’t be boiling it in water is probably wise, but ask your butcher if they think it is necessary when you buy your ham as cures can be different.

The herbs and spices faintly scent the ham and this way of cooking preserves the full flavour of the meat and retains a delicious moistness.

6kg ham
3 bay leaves
15 black peppercorns
5 juniper berries
4 whole cloves

For the glaze:

3 tsp mustard powder
3 tsp soft brown sugar
3 tsp maple syrup
15-20 whole cloves


After soaking the ham in water in a bowl for at least twelve hours place the ham in a deep sided roasting tin with the bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries and 4 whole cloves.  Cover loosely with foil – make a tent so that the foil does not come in contact with the top of the ham otherwise you may find that the salt in the ham attacks the foil during the long cooking. Place in the simmering oven of a four-oven Aga and leave overnight or for 10-12 hours.

Remove the roasting tin from the oven.  Remove the rind of the ham with a sharp knife but leave as much of the fat underneath as you can.  Score the fat into diamond shapes with the knife.  Mix the mustard, sugar and maple syrup in a small bowl and spread all over the fat of the ham.  Pierce the ham at the corners of each diamond with a whole clove.  Place in the baking oven of the Aga  (about 180°c) for 20-25 minutes until the glaze is bubbling and golden.

Put the ham onto a meat platter and leave to get completely cold and then slice into lovely thick slices.

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16 thoughts on “Aga baked ham”

  1. ok the ham looks absolutely lovely but it’s the aga that has really got me. Living in Italy and reading lot’s of US blogs I don’t get Aga pangs very often and I forget that I long long long for an aga..
    I grew up with a big red one that I still cook on it when I go back to my parents. There is nothing like it and I think once you have cooked on an aga it is rather hard to settle for anything thing else.
    Ok the ham looks wonderful.

    1. theordinarycook

      Hi Rachel,
      I know, I am a very lucky woman, I love my Aga and will have to be dragged from it kicking and screaming should we ever move house.

  2. Amanda Halliwell

    Hello Kath
    I have just taken delivery of my Aga and have a large ham waiting to be baked for Christmas! It is a 3 oven Aga, should I still do it overnight in the simmering oven and finish off in the baking oven? Many thanks Amanda

    1. Dear Amanda,
      Ooh now you have asked me, I am so used to my four oven Aga that I had to visit the Aga website for advice. I didn’t know they did a three-oven Aga. I would say yes, you have a simmering oven and a baking oven, so please do follow the same instructions. The only difference between the three-oven and the four-oven Aga is that the latter has a warming oven too. It’s very exciting having a new Aga and just in time for Christmas. I hope you really enjoy all the benefits and the delicious food you will be cooking on it. Please let me know how you get on. I hope you enjoy my ham recipe.
      Best wishes

    1. Thank you Amanda. A 2.5kg ham will need much less time. I would say if you popped it in the simmering from cold, then it would need 2.5 – 3 hours to cook. Then a 10-15 minute blast in the oven with the glaze on. This is just guess work on my behalf though, so keep an eye on it. It might need a bit more or a bit less. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know how you get on. Kath

  3. i have bought a ham from butcher its 2.5 kg and is boneless the butcher reassured me this was enough for 10 people but not sure now after reading your you think about 3 hours in simmering oven for this size

  4. Kath when you put the ham in the simmering oven do you add liquid with the herbs?
    My ham is huge, about 9.5kg but it fits the large aga roasting tin.

    1. Hi Jill, I don’t put any liquid in with it. It cooks in its own juices and plenty will come out during the cooking but it remains a very juicy joint. I have another ham recipe which is equally good if you do want to cook it in liquid . Both are very good. Enjoy you ham and your Christmas, best wishes Kath

  5. Anyone reading this please note, cooked bones should never ever be given to a dog. Raw yes, cooked no!

  6. Laura M F Westbury

    This recipe has proved brilliant. Faced with a 6kg ham for Boxing Day, I needed a recipe that would make use of the Aga ovens instead of boiling it in my pre-Aga fashion. [Apart from steaming the fanless kitchen out, the joint would fit properly into none of my saucepans…]. The ham turned out tasty and moist and was hassle free.
    Thank you
    PS As we have AIMS on the Aga, the ham went into the baking oven overnight – on slumber mode it works like a simmering oven.

    1. Brilliant! I am really pleased that I was able to help. It does make a very good ham and thanks for the advice on the AIMS, which hopefully will prove useful to others. Happy new year.

  7. Lucinda Charlesworth

    Can I cook this in a 2 oven aga? In the simmering oven overnight and then in the roasting oven to finish off?

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