Brown Bag Baked Ham produces an unbelievably juicy ham that's holiday-table ready! |

We’ve got a holiday to celebrate (if you do, of course) – Easter! Similar to Thanksgiving and Christmas, my family’s Easter menu doesn’t change too much from year to year. There’s always Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole in the morning, followed by a feast of Party Potatoes Deluxe, Green Beans and Bacon or Green Beans with Brown Butter Garlic-Sage Breadcrumbs (<< OMG) gluten-free dinner rolls, and Brown Bag Baked Ham.

I can’t believe it’s taken 8 years of blogging to share this IGE-family holiday staple with you!

Brown Bag Baked Ham produces an unbelievably juicy and tender ham that's holiday-table ready! |

Brown Bag Baked Ham is as simple as the name implies – throw a ham in a brown paper bag then bake it. HA! My Mom, and her Mom before her, has been making our Christmas and Easter hams using this method for decades and it yields the most delicious and juicy ham you’ll ever slice into. Plus, like I said, it’s a no-brainer. Bag, ham, bake. No glazing, no broiling, no brushing – just ham in all its juicy, porky glory. Amen.

I recognize that cooking a big hunk of meat can be intimidating, and I was in the same boat until my Mom taught me her paper bag baking ways several years ago. If you’re hesitant too, baking a fully-cooked smoked ham is a great way to dive into the world of big meaty meats because all you’re doing is warming it up. You get all the glory of pulling a piping hot ham out of the oven, but none of the pressure that comes along with making sure an entire turkey is cooked through, for instance!

Now, I just have to put this out there – as soon as Ben found out I was baking a ham in a paper bag he said “you know that’s incredibly dangerous, don’t you?” Buzzkill! And honestly? I didn’t! Call me crazy (go ahead, I’ll wait) but the thought truly never occurred to me because brown bag baked ham is just what my family does. Stepping back, SURE I recognize the fact that putting paper into a hot oven could be risky, but my Mom’s been baking our hams using this method as long as I’ve been alive without incident.  Plus the bag doesn’t come anywhere near the sides, bottom, or top of the oven. That said, if you don’t feel comfortable baking a ham in your oven then of course, don’t!

As for the rest of you? LET’S DO THIS.

Homemade Italian Sausage


Homemade Italian Sausage

Brown Bag Baked Ham produces an unbelievably juicy and tender ham that's holiday-table ready! |

Start with a bone-in smoked ham. My family has always used Amana hams, made in Amana, IA, and boy are they delicious! Plan on 1/2lb ham per person which sounds like a lot, but that’s figuring in the weight of the bone plus any fat that will be trimmed away.

Next, cut the handles off a brown paper grocery bag. Then, wait for it….

Put the ham in the bag. Told you it was easy!

NOTE: if you’re nervous about using a paper sack, you can use one of these “oven ready” bags like this or this.

Fold the top of the bag down then place on a cooling rack set atop a 9×13″ baking pan and press the bag down around the ham.

Move the oven racks to the very top and very bottom of the oven then place the ham inside and bake for 18 minutes per pound at 325 degrees. So, for example, you’d bake a 2lb ham for 36 minutes. Be sure the bag isn’t touching the racks, back, or oven door.

Ta da!

As soon as you press the ham, the juices start flowing. Truly, the brown bag baking method makes The. Best. Ham. You’ve GOT to try it!

Slice the ham then serve it up with your choice of sides. Like I said, we usually go the party potatoes and green bean route, but I’ve got a new side dish recipe that I’ll be sharing with you later this week

Last thing – we always buy a ham that’s a couple pounds over the amount we’d eat at Easter dinner because the leftovers are so versatile. Saute chopped ham and spinach then top with a fried egg. Pair with swiss cheese to make a decadent hot ham and cheese sandwich, or enjoy it between two slices of bread straight out of the fridge with plenty of mayo and mustard. Of COURSE, you’ve got to make a batch of this soup, too. What can I say, Brown Bag Baked Ham is the gift that’s keeps on giving!

From our family to yours – enjoy!

Brown Bag Baked Ham produces an unbelievably juicy and tender ham that's holiday-table ready! |

Brown Bag Baked Ham

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Brown Bag Baked Ham produces an unbelievably juicy and tender ham that's holiday-table ready!


  • Smoked, bone-in ham (1/2lb per person)


  1. Place oven racks in the lowest and highest positions then preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a cooling rack on top of a 9x13" baking dish then set aside. Cut the handles off a paper grocery bag then place the ham inside. Roll the opening of the bag down then press the bag around the ham and place on top of the cooling rack. Bake for 18 minutes per pound (so for a 2lb ham bake for 36 minutes,) then remove ham from bag, slice and serve.


  • Be sure the paper bag is not touching the sides of the oven, back of the oven, or baking racks.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

Brown Bag Baked Ham produces an unbelievably juicy and tender ham that's holiday-table ready! |