How to Cook the Perfect Christmas Ham: A Deep Dive into History, Recipes and Tips

Christmas ham


Christmas is here and what could be better than a juicy, beautifully glazed Christmas ham adorning our tables? In this blog post, we dive into the heartwarming tradition of preparing a classic Swedish Christmas ham. Get ready to discover the steps, secrets and flavorful nuances that make this festive dish a true masterpiece.

Cooking the perfect Christmas ham is a noble art form that requires both knowledge and care. By following a few simple steps, you can create a juicy and tasty Christmas ham that will impress your guests. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the history behind the Christmas ham, share some great recipes and give you valuable tips for making your own Christmas ham a success.


The story behind the Christmas ham

The origin of Christmas ham

The history behind the Christmas ham stretches far back in time. Originally, the tradition comes from Germany where pork was eaten during the winter months to prevent the meat from going bad. It was common to slaughter pigs in the fall and then store the pork in special meat chambers to keep it fresh during the winter. This was especially important before the invention of modern refrigeration systems.

Christmas ham in the Swedish tradition

In Sweden, Christmas ham has a deep-rooted tradition and is one of the most loved dishes on the Christmas table. Traditionally, a rimmed and raw ham is used which is then boiled or baked. The ham is then grilled with egg, mustard and breadcrumbs to give it a crispy and tasty surface.

The Perfect Recipe for Christmas Ham

Cooking the Christmas ham is a process that requires time and care, but the result is well worth the effort.

Ingredients needed

Here are the basics to create a juicy and tasty Christmas ham:

  • 1 rimmed Christmas ham (3-5 kg)
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1-2 yellow onions, in wedges
  • 1-2 carrots, cut into pieces

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Prepare the ham by removing the plastic bag but keeping the netting on.
  2. Rinse the ham thoroughly in cold water and insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part.
  3. Place the ham in a large pot and cover with water. Add allspice, bay leaves, onions and carrots.
  4. Boil the water and skim off any foam that forms on the surface.
  5. Lower the temperature and let the ham simmer for about 1 hour per kilo, or until the roasting thermometer shows 68-70 degrees in internal temperature.
  6. Remove the ham and let it cool slightly before removing the netting.
  7. Prepare the grilling by mixing eggs, mustard and breadcrumbs in a bowl.
  8. Apply the grilling to the ham and place it in a preheated oven at 225 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or until the grilling is golden brown and crispy.
  9. Remove the ham and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it into thin slices.

Tips for Succeeding with the Christmas Ham

To be successful with your Christmas ham, it is important to follow some basic tips and tricks. Here are some valuable tips that will make a difference in your results:

Keep the net on the butt

The mesh on the Christmas ham acts as a protective barrier and helps preserve the shape and juiciness of the meat during cooking. Remove the plastic bag but leave the net in place until it’s time to grill.

Cook at low temperature

To ensure that the ham becomes juicy and tender, it is important to cook it at a low temperature. In the oven, a maximum temperature of 125 degrees is recommended, while a cooked ham should simmer at a low temperature.

Use a meat thermometer

A roasting thermometer is invaluable when it comes to achieving the correct internal temperature of the Christmas ham. Cook the ham to a maximum of 68-70 degrees in internal temperature and remember that the meat continues to rise a few degrees after it is taken out of the oven.

Season properly

To give your Christmas ham the perfect taste, don’t skimp on the spices. Pour in plenty of peppercorns, bay leaves, onions and carrots during cooking to produce a rich and tasty ham.

Grill with variety

Classic grilling with eggs, mustard and breadcrumbs is a timeless favorite, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and ingredients. Add chopped parsley, kale or orange zest to give your grilling a unique twist.

Final Thoughts

Cooking the perfect Christmas ham requires time, care and knowledge. By following our tips and recipes, you can create a juicy and tasty ham that will be the star of the Christmas table. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and grilling options to put your personal touch on the dish. With a little love and care, your Christmas ham will be a success and a memory that will last a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Christmas ham

Can you buy unrhymed Christmas ham?

Yes, it is possible to buy unrhymed Christmas ham. Rimming is a process where the ham is treated with brine to give it extra flavor and longer shelf life. If you prefer a less salty ham, look for unsalted options at your local grocery store or farm.

What temperature should the Christmas ham be?

The recommended internal temperature for the Christmas ham is 68-70 degrees. It is at this temperature that the ham gets its classic “Christmas ham taste”. Remember to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature and avoid exceeding 75 degrees, as the meat may become dry.

How to avoid sticky grilling?

To avoid the grilling becoming sticky, it is important that the ham is properly cold before it is packaged. Allow the ham to cool completely after grilling and avoid wrapping it too early to avoid condensation and moisture in the packaging. Change the packaging regularly to keep the ham fresh longer.


Classic Christmas ham

Here is a recipe for those of you who want to cook your own Christmas ham. Boiled Christmas ham with mustard grilling is the finishing touch on a classic Christmas table.


1 Large saucepan
1 Oven
1 Frying thermometer


To the ham

  • 1 st Ham (any size)
  • 2 st Carnations (whole)
  • 1 st Yellow onion (in pieces)
  • 0,5 st Leek (in pieces)
  • 1 st Carrot (in pieces)
  • 25 cl Porter (beer)
  • 10 st Allspice peppercorns
  • 10 st White peppercorns
  • 1 st Thyme sprig

For Grilling

  • 1 dl Mustard (Swedish coarse grain is recommended)
  • 1 dl Syrup
  • 1 msk Corn starch
  • 1 dl Breadcrumbs


Cooked Christmas ham

  • Rinse the ham in cold running water. Then place the Christmas ham in a spacious pot. Cut a cross in the rind and insert a meat thermometer.
    1 st Ham
  • Fill with water and boil. Then pour off the water and the foam. Turn on new water, preferably boiling, just so that it covers the Christmas ham. Add the vegetables and spices. Cook slowly with the lid ajar until the Christmas ham has reached approximately 69 degrees in core temperature. It takes approximately 40-65 minutes per kilo of ham.
    2 st Carnations, 1 st Yellow onion, 0,5 st Leek, 1 st Carrot, 25 cl Porter (beer), 10 st Allspice peppercorns, 10 st White peppercorns, 1 st Thyme sprig
  • Take out the Christmas ham and rind it.

Grilling for Christmas ham

  • Mix the ingredients for the grilling (except breadcrumbs) and brush on the Christmas ham when it is hot. It is important to do this while the ham is still warm to avoid bacterial growth (which easily happens when the Christmas ham cools and is reheated).
    1 dl Mustard, 1 dl Syrup, 1 msk Corn starch
  • Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and grill your Christmas ham in a 200℃ oven for about 12-15 minutes until it gets a nice colour.
    1 dl Breadcrumbs


Christmas ham is traditionally the pièces de résistance of the Christmas table.
But it is usually served throughout Christmas, as a complement to other dishes or as a topping for sandwiches.
Feel free to try a hard bread sandwich with Christmas ham and strong sweet mustard
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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