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Coca-Cola Ham Recipe Is the Easter Entrée Everyone Loves — So Easy in a Slow Cooker

If you need an alternative to lamb for Easter dinner, we have the perfect dish for you: Coca-Cola ham. This ham is coated in a glaze infused with the popular soft drink. It’s a surprise twist that produces a cooked main with hints of vanilla and spiced flavors. Adding this soda to the glaze also helps create a sweet, browned crust as the ham cooks. Even better, our test kitchen shares an easy method for making this ham in the slow cooker! Keep reading to learn why this drink is the ideal ingredient for the glaze and an easy cola ham recipe that preps quickly.

What is Coca-Cola ham?

This dish consists of a cooked ham that’s brushed with a glaze containing Coke. The dark soda is an unexpected ingredient that enhances the ham’s flavor and color.

How Coca-Cola ham came about

In the 1950s, home cooks, particularly in Southern regions, started using Coke in their everyday dishes. This drink’s vanilla and cinnamon flavors worked surprisingly well in a range of meals, including cakes and baked beans. Cola-glazed ham also debuted at holiday meals and potlucks — winning over the hearts (and appetites) of many. Recipes for this dish incorporate the soda into the glaze with other ingredients, including mustard and brown sugar. The end result is a juicy, caramelized ham that’s salty, smoky and sweet. No wonder it stands the test of time!

A fun flavor twist for this mouthwatering ham

While the soda’s original flavor is traditionally used for this ham, diet and fruit-infused varieties work too. In fact, food writer Nigella Lawson swears by cherry soda-flavored ham due to the drink’s fruity taste. “I went really mad [when experimenting with ham and drink pairings] and took this a step further and thought, I’m going to do ham in Cherry Coke,” she told NPR. “There is a very long tradition of cooking ham with fruit — ham with pineapple, a great ’70s classic — and you cannot tell whether a recipe’s going to work or not until you try cooking it.” To sum it up: This staple soda makes a darn good Easter ham that your dinner guests are bound to love.

How to make Coca-Cola glazed ham

Our test kitchen’s Slow Cooker Cola-Glazed Ham recipe is the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it main for your Easter. The recipe calls for a bone-in ham, which helps the meat maintain its moisture throughout cooking. Another trick that keeps the ham from drying out includes preparing it in the slow cooker. This machine locks in steam, so the ham becomes tender and juicy. As a bonus, the slow cooker’s warm setting comes in handy for serving piping hot ham to your dinner guests. (For a side dish inspiration, try these recipes for Pan Fried Potatoes and Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts.)

Slow Cooker Cola-Glazed Ham

Bone-in Coca-Cola ham
Getty

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 (12 oz.) can of any Coke flavor
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 (6 lb.) bone-in fully cooked ham

Directions:

  • Active: 10 mins
  • Total time: 4 hrs, 30 mins
  • Yield: 12 servings
  1. In pot, whisk together brown sugar, Dijon mustard, soda, allspice and nutmeg; over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring, until flavors blend, 5 minutes.
  2. Place ham in 6-qt. slow cooker. Pour cola glaze over top. Cover; cook on low until tender and meat thermometer inserted into thickest part away from bone registers 140°F, about 4 hours.
  3. Transfer to serving platter. Let sit 20 minutes before slicing. If desired, garnish with pomegranates and fresh herbs.

Easy trick for carving a bone-in ham

Carving around the bone to yield moist slices of ham is easier than you think. This tip from Real Simple involves cutting 1 to 2 slices off from the bottom of the ham before turning it flat side down. By doing so, you’ll create a steady base to begin slicing along the bone. Watch their video for a full step-by-step on how cut slices from a whole bone-in ham.


For more impressive slow cooker dishes, check out these recipes below!

10 Slow-Cooker Chicken Recipes for Effortless Suppers That Really Satisfy

Slow-Cooker Kung Pao Beef: This Easy Recipe Is Sweet, Tangy & Way Cheaper Than Takeout

‘Dump and Go’ Slow Cooker Recipes for Your Easiest-Ever Weeknight Suppers

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