How to Carve a Whole Ham

How to Carve a Whole Ham

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Cutting a ham may not seem like it’s all that hard. However, it can actually be easy to “butcher” the cutting of a ham if you don’t know what you’re doing making it turn out ugly. Of course, no matter how it looks, it’s still edible. It’s just nice, especially during holidays or get-togethers, to know how to carve a whole ham. There’s nothing worse than serving up a meal that looks dissatisfying even though it might be delicious.

Orange-Marmalade-Glazed Ham - Easter Ham
Looks pretty good right? This was my first time cutting a ham. If I can do it, you can too!

Follow the steps below for how to carve a whole ham. If you would like a delicious ham recipe to get you started, try my Orange Marmalade Glazed Ham. Before we start, it’s important to note that you’ll need a good carving set. I purchased a carving knife and fork set from Amazon and you can too. Shop carving knife sets now.


Step 1 To begin carving your whole ham, choose a flat surface to place your ham on. A cutting board is fine, or you can carve your ham right on the platter. Slice a small portion off the bottom of the ham in order for it to sit flat rather than slide around.

If your ham already has a pretty flat bottom and you’re not worried about it sliding around, then you can skip this first step.

Step 2 Starting at the shank, ankle, or smaller end, make a cut until you hit the bone. Use the carving fork to hold the ham in place while you gently saw back and forth to make the cut.


Step 3 Make a second cut at an angle to form a wedged slice.


Step 4 Remove the wedge and set aside. This will make cutting into the ham to make slices a bit easier.


Step 5 Cut directly down into the ham to the bone, creating slices about 1/4″ thick, leaving each slice still connected to the ham. Try to make each slice of ham the same size.


Step 6 Next, slide your knife into the wedge you made when you started and slide it right along the bone to dislodge the slices of ham you just made.

Repeat steps 5-6 to cut additional slices.

That’s it! That’s all it takes to cut a whole ham. It may take a practice run or two to fully learn how to cut a whole ham perfectly. However, it’s not hard to get it pretty close on the first try. And once you do it a couple of times, it will become like second nature and you’ll feel like a pro at parties or holidays!

Leftovers? Here are some leftover ham recipe ideas.
Be sure to save the ham bone and any leftover ham pieces and try making a soup! We love to make split pea soup as well as ham bean soup. You can get recipes for each of these right on the package when you buy your beans or split peas.

If you have a lot of leftover ham slices, trying making another favorite recipe of ours — these Hawaiian Ham and Cheese sliders.

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