Frying Ham

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Frying is a dry heat cooking method, which can b used on city hams, country ham, and ham slices. Frying ham works on the principle of using hot oil to cook the meat, producing a serving of ham with a crispy brown outside and juicy, flavorful meat inside.

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Whatever type of ham you are going to be frying should be carved into slices 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Ham center slices also work well for frying. When frying use a heavy skillet with deep sides. If there is enough fat on the piece of ham being fried, oil is not needed when frying ham. See our Ham Cooking Guide for information on other methods to use when cooking ham.


Frying the Ham

Ham Center Slices | Country Ham Slices

Ham center slices:


  • Trim skin from outer edges of the slices of ham but do not trim the fat.

  • Pat slices dry with paper towels before placing in the pan.

  • Place the slice in a heated pan and fry over medium high heat. If there is a sufficient amount of fat on the piece of ham no oil will need to be added to the pan. If the slices are lean, add a little oil to the pan before heating.
  • When frying smaller ham slices, they should be placed in a single layer with enough room between slices so that they are not crowded, this will allow pieces to cooked and brown more evenly.

  • Turn the slices often until both sides are lightly browned.

  • When ham is done the fat should be a transparent color. The amount of time required for cooking will depend on the thickness of the slice.
  • Do not overcook. Overcooking will cause the meat to become dry, tough, and hard. Trim excess fat after ham is done frying.

Country Ham Slices:

  • Country ham can have some of its saltiness removed by allowing it to soak in water for a period of time. Place the ham in the skillet and cover with cold water. Allow it to seat for 6 to 8 hours.

  • A faster method can also be used where the ham is placed in the skillet with 1 to 2 cups of hot water and allow it to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Place the slices in a single layer with enough room between them so that they are not crowded, this will allow pieces to cooked and brown more evenly. Fry over medium high heat. If there is a sufficient amount of fat on the piece of ham no oil will need to be added to the pan. If the slices are lean, add a little oil to the pan before heating.

  • Turn slices when first side is browned.

  • Slices are done when both sides are nicely browned.

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