Pressure Cooker Ham Braised in Beer

Pressure Cooker Ham Braised in Beer

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021 by Chenée Lewis

This is the holiday ham my family has every year for Christmas. It’s my grandmother’s recipe on my mom’s side, and my mom has been making it for years. The past few years, we’ve tried it in the Instant Pot and it was SO much easier! We haven’t looked back. In the pressure cooker, ham is done in just minutes and comes out even more flavorful and delicious!

Here’s our family secret to this pressure cooker ham recipe: beer! My grandmother used to braise ham in beer when my mom was young, and my mom always makes it that way too. I like to use Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Company because it has a rich flavor with hints of Christmasy spices and honey. Plus, it reminds me of being back home in Cleveland, and of Christmastime — two feelings that can’t be replaced.

If you can’t find Christmas Ale in your area, just use any beer you like! The idea is to infuse your pressure cooker ham with the beer flavor, adding a complexity to the braising liquid and complementing the sweet and savory flavors we’re also adding in.

How long should you pressure cook?

You’ll need to pressure cook this ham for 8 minutes, with a natural release. That time works best for a 4-5 pound, boneless, spiral sliced ham. If you have a smaller ham, you can use the quick release method on your pressure cooker, but I usually just let the pressure release naturally even with a smaller-sized ham.

Cooking for 8 minutes allows the ham to heat through, while also providing time for the flavors in the braising liquid to penetrate the meat. And using a pressure cooker for your ham keeps it moist and flavorful and perfect for your holiday meal!

Ingredients

  • boneless, spiral-sliced honey or brown sugar ham – It should be about 4 pounds to fit easily into a 6-quart Instant Pot. If necessary, you can trim your ham to fit.
  • canned crushed pineapple – this is a tradition for sure — the pineapple adds so much flavor and helps sweeten the glaze. If you prefer, you can use pineapple chunks or slices, or just pineapple juice! You can also swap out the pineapple altogether for another sweet fruit flavor of your choice!
  • dark brown sugar – I definitely prefer dark brown sugar for this pressure cooker ham recipe. It caramelizes so nicely during the broiling step, and adds so much rich flavor.
  • Christmas or Winter Ale-style beer – I love Great Lakes Christmas Ale, but you can use whatever beer is your favorite!
  • dijon mustard – this is key – it helps to offset the sweetness of the brown sugar and pineapple so that your glaze isn’t overly sweet!
  • ground cloves – these are optional, but if you like your ham with a bit more spice, add them in!
  • cornstarch – helps to thicken your glaze!

Equipment

You’ll definitely need a 6-quart pressure cooker, or bigger depending on the size of your ham. You’ll also want to grab something to broil your ham for that caramelized crust, either a broiler-safe baking dish or roasting pan. You could even use a cast-iron skillet for the broiler step. Here are a few more recommendations for this pressure cooker ham:

Step by Step

This pressure cooker ham is so easy to make! Here’s what you need to do to achieve the best Instant Pot spiral ham!

  1. Place ham on trivet inside your Instant Pot. We’re using the trivet to make it easier to remove the ham from the pressure cooker once we’re done! Make sure the sliced end of the ham is facing up.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your beer, brown sugar, pineapple, mustard, and cloves.
  3. Use your fingers to separate the slices of your ham and pour the glaze mixture in between the slices, letting it fall over the sides of the ham into the bottom of the pressure cooker.
  4. Pressure cook on High pressure 10 minutes, letting pressure release naturally. Once pressure has released, open the pressure cooker and use trivet to remove ham to a baking dish.
  5. Turn Instant Pot to “Saute” mode and heat glaze liquid, stirring frequently. In the meantime, mix your cornstarch with a little water until it’s dissolved. Stir this slurry into the glaze to thicken as it cooks. Once glaze is reduced and thickened, turn off instant pot and pour glaze over ham.
  6. Optional broiler step: This step is a must for me! Once the glaze is over the top of the ham, top with another 1/3 cup or so of dark brown sugar, pressing sugar into the top of the spiral slices. Then you’ll just want to broil your ham for 5-7 minutes until the sugar is nice and caramelized and the edges of the ham are crispy. It makes it sooo good!

Tips & tricks for the best instant pot spiral ham

This pressure cooker ham is so easy to make and SO good, but here are a few tips to make it even better!

  • Choose the right size ham – this recipe works best with a ham that’s between 4 and 5 pounds. If your ham is smaller, just reduce the cooking time to 6 or 7 minutes. And if your ham is larger, first make sure it fits in your pressure cooker, and then add a minute to the cook time.
  • Natural Release – I like to let it naturally release at least 10 minutes to let the flavors continue to penetrate the ham. I usually forget though and by the time I check on my ham it the pressure in the pressure cooker has fully released. Either way, it should come out great!
  • Don’t be shy with the brown sugar – Maybe it’s just me, but I like my ham nice and sweet! And especially with the complex flavors added to this recipe by the beer and the mustard, I like to liberally sprinkle on brown sugar for the broiling step. So if you have a sweet tooth like me, feel free to add as much as you like!
  • Storing Leftovers: To store, you can place your ham, sliced or unsliced, into an airtight container or food storage bag. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing Leftovers: You can cut your ham into slices and pop it into a freezer bag, making sure to get some of that juice/glaze in there too to keep it moist! Then, be sure to squeeze out the air from the bag. I also like to add a second bag just to be extra sure it won’t absorb any air from the freezer.

Related Recipes

If you’re loving this pressure cooker ham recipe, you are in for a treat! Literally, because that’s what most of my recipes are — desserts!

But seriously, one fantastic dessert option to complement this Instant Pot spiral ham is my brown butter sweet potato pie! It’s always a hit for any holiday!

And no holiday meal is complete without a stunning side dish, and I’ve got you covered in that department as well! My baked macaroni and cheese recipe is so easy and just might be the BEST you’ve ever had! It’s a traditional soul food custard-style mac and cheese, with a couple extra touches to make it irresistible!

Pressure Cooker Ham Braised in Beer

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This instant pot spiral ham is a must for any holiday! Easy method for the best beer-braised pressure cooker ham glazed with pineapple and brown sugar!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine :American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 235kcal
Recipe Source: Chenée Lewis

Equipment you may need

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Position Instant Pot trivet inside instant pot and place ham on trivet, cut side down and slices facing up.
  • In a large bowl, stir together pineapple and juice, mustard, brown sugar, and cloves. Add in beer and stir until well combined.
  • Gently separate ham slices and pour pineapple/beer mixture over ham, in between slices.
  • Cook on manual pressure on High for 10 minutes, and allow pressure to release naturally.
  • Carefully remove ham from instant pot and cover loosely with foil. Turn instant pot to “Sauté” setting.
  • In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water until cornstarch is fully dissolved. Add this slurry to the remaining liquid inside the instant pot and heat, stirring, about 5 minutes until thickened and reduced.

Broiling (Optional)

  • Place ham in a broiler-safe baking dish on center oven rack and pour thickened glaze over the top. Sprinkle additional brown sugar on top of glaze, if desired. Position ham on center oven rack.
  • Position ham on center oven rack and broil 3-5 minutes or until top of ham is caramelized and browned.

Notes

  • Storing Leftovers: To store, you can place your ham, sliced or unsliced, into an airtight container or food storage bag. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing Leftovers: You can cut your ham into slices and pop it into a freezer bag, making sure to get some of that juice/glaze in there too to keep it moist! Then, be sure to squeeze out the air from the bag. I also like to add a second bag just to be extra sure it won’t absorb any air from the freezer.

Nutrition

Calories: 235 kcal | Carbohydrates: 16 g | Protein: 19 g | Fat: 10 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Cholesterol: 65 mg | Sodium: 1493 mg | Potassium: 19 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 8 g | Calcium: 37 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Tags: instant pot ham, instant pot ham cooking time, instant pot ham recipe, instant pot spial ham, pressure cooker ham, spiral ham in instant pot
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