How to Carve a Ham — Directions for Boneless, Bone-In and Spiral Ham

Apr 05, 2023 / MIN READ


Ham is a delectable, juicy centerpiece that’s perfect for any occasion, making sure all of your guests leave full and satisfied — not to mention how versatile this meat is for leftovers. When your next event calls for delicious ham, follow these carving steps for the best results.

What kind of ham should you buy?

You really can’t go wrong when choosing a type and cut of ham because, at the end of the day, it’s all tasty. But, let’s take a closer look at some of the differences to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

  • Cured or uncured: Most of the ham meat you’ll find in stores today is cured and typically fully cooked to add flavor and extend its shelf life. However, you can always choose an uncured option without antibiotics.
  • Bone-in vs. boneless vs. spiral-cut: Cured and uncured hams can come with and without the bone, but bear in mind that boneless meat will be easier to work with. You can also consider a spiral sliced ham, which has distinct cutting lines to follow for the simplest carving process.
  • Butt-end or shank-end: The butt half of a ham is generally larger so you can carve thick horizontal slices, but you’ll have multiple bones to carve around. On the other hand, the shank half is smaller and has only one bone in the center, giving you thinner slices and helping you avoid cutting complexities.

Rest assured that no matter which type of ham you choose, the carving process is pretty simple.

Directions to carve a ham with ease

There are a few tools to gather before getting started: All you’ll need is a cutting board large enough to fit your ham or half ham, a carving set (i.e., a sharp knife and carving fork) and a serving platter. Once you’ve let your baked ham rest for 15 to 20 minutes, you’re ready to go!

Bone-in ham

  • Step 1: Insert your carving fork into the center of the ham, making sure to cut as close to the ham bone as you can and slice off the largest chunks.
  • Step 2: Now, you can slice that portion into thinner pieces vertically.
  • Step 3: After this, carve the remaining meat. You can do this by slicing horizontally into the bone, then vertically along the side of the ham bone.

Boneless ham

Because boneless ham doesn’t contain a large bone, it’s easier to prepare this type of meat. Simply, slice your ham as if it were a loaf of bread. And if you find it difficult to cut through a large section, you can cut it in half first and then slice it.

Spiral ham

If bone-in and boneless ham don’t sound like the option for you, you can always consider spiral-cut ham which comes pre-sliced. This means with spiral sliced hams, most of the hard work is already done for you: just cut the thin slices away from the bone in a downward motion, and voila!

Need a ham for your next get-together? Head to your local grocery store to pick up your favorite Hatfield® ham for a flavorful result.

Someone carves a holiday ham on a wooden cutting boardDirections to carve a ham with ease

Got leftover ham? Try these recipes

If you’re carving a large holiday ham, or simply a delicious ham for any occasion, there’s a good chance you’ll have leftovers at the end of the night. Don’t worry about letting your remaining ham go to waste. You can elevate almost any meal by adding your excess ham slices!

Not sure where to start? For something hearty and comforting, try our favorite recipe for crockpot ham and potato soup. Or, you might use your remaining meat to make a filling, all-in-one meal with our recipe for authentic pork fried rice.

Explore a range of pre-seasoned, high-quality hams from Hatfield®

At Hatfield®, our products are created with one goal in mind: to bring you high-grade pork that tastes great. Flavorful hams that are pre-seasoned and premium quality help you spend less time in the kitchen so you can focus on being with your loved ones instead.

Use our store locator to find your favorite Hatfield® products in a supermarket or grocery store near you once you’re ready to get started.