This easy slow cooker cola ham recipe is made with a fully cooked ham, brown sugar, mustard, and cola or Dr. Pepper. You can use either light or dark brown sugar in the glaze for this popular dish.
A USDA inspected fully cooked ham can be eaten without heating, but heating improves the flavor and texture. If your ham is not labeled "fully cooked," make sure it reaches the minimum safe temperature of 145 F (63 C). Also, make sure the ham you buy will fit comfortably in your slow cooker.
See the tips and variations below for ideas and flavor variations, including instructions for a pineapple-topped ham and a variation on the mustard glaze.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed, light or dark)
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 cup cola (Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, etc.)
- 1 (4-5 lb) ham (bone-in, fully cooked, or 3-5 lb boneless ham)
- Optional: whole cloves
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and mustard; stir to blend thoroughly.
- Moisten the mixture with just enough cola to make a smooth paste. Reserve the remaining cola and set aside.
- With a sharp knife, score the ham with shallow slashes in a diamond pattern. Rub the ham with the brown sugar paste mixture. If desired, insert a whole clove in each "X" in the diamond pattern.
- Place ham in the slow cooker and add the remaining cola.
- Cover the pot and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Turn the slow cooker to LOW and continue cooking the ham for about 7 to 9 hours longer. Baste the ham about 1 hour before it's done.
- A fully cooked ham is done when it reaches a temperature of 140 F (60 C). If your ham is not pre-cooked, the minimum safe temperature is 145 F (62.8 C). Use an instant-read food thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the ham (not touching bone) to ensure the ham has reached the safe temperature. See more about how to heat a fully cooked ham.
Note: A larger ham can be cooked in a large slow cooker. Cook for 1 hour on HIGH, then 8 to 10 hours on LOW. See this meat temperature chart for safe cooking tips.
Tips and Variations
- Pineapple-Topped Cola Ham: About an hour before the ham is done, place several pineapple slices over the surface of the ham, securing them with toothpicks. For a decorative presentation, stick a maraschino cherry in the middle of each pineapple slice with more toothpicks.
- Citrus Flavor: Add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (or orange juice) for citrus flavor.
- Gourmet Mustard: Replace the dry mustard with 1 heaping teaspoon of Dijon mustard or a favorite gourmet mustard blend.
- Spiced Ham: Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the glaze mixture for a touch of spice.
- Adjust for Larger Hams: For a larger ham prepared in a large slow cooker, the glaze can be doubled.