Sweet Baked Ham {Pressure Cooker Instructions}

If you have an InstantPot you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say every single thing that I make in the kitchen causes me to think: can this be done in the InstantPot?

I’ve had ridiculous conversations with myself about whether or not I should spend/waste the time trying to make {insert just about any recipe possible – yes, even chocolate cake} in the InstantPot. I’ve had some failures, thanks to this obsession. But, wonderfully, attempting my beloved Sweet Baked Ham in the InstantPot (a stovetop pressure cooker will work, too) was a raging success.

If you aren’t familiar with that recipe, you should be. Really. It’s a life changing way to prepare ham (we make it constantly – not just for Easter – it’s that good).

But a lot of people get hung up on the fact that the ham in the original recipe needs to be boiled in a huge vat of vinegar and water. That step is absolutely crucial to the success of the ham – the vinegar helps tenderize the ham, and I promise that your ham won’t come out tasting like pickles.

Later, the tender pieces of ham bake in a sweet and tangy bath of brown sugar and mustard and the result is absolute ham perfection. I don’t actually mind letting the ham bubble away on the stove since it’s pretty easy to let it do its thing and come back for it in a couple of hours; however, with the magic of the InstantPot, I knew this step could probably be simplified.

And it is. Today’s post is basically a chance for me to jump in, wave at your face to get your attention, and say: if you have an InstantPot or stovetop pressure cooker and you have a hankering to make the Sweet Baked Ham, it is easier than ever!

And if you don’t have an InstantPot, this Sweet Baked Ham alone may make it worth it (along with the other million of reasons I have fallen in love with it – if you’re new to the idea of pressure cooking, here’s a great starting place).

With the InstantPot or stovetop pressure cooker, the 2-3 hour vinegar bath step is reduced to well under an hour (just 30 minutes cooking time), plus the pervasive vinegar smell is minimized (as a sidenote: I could be completely delusional, but I think making the ham in my InstantPot this way, thanks to all that white vinegar, helped deodorize the ring that’s managed to pick up every odor under the sun so far – basically it didn’t smell like the chili I made months ago after the ham was cooked in it, so there’s another bonus for you). 

Sweet Baked Ham {Pressure Cooker Instructions}

I’m not going to republish the Sweet Baked Ham recipe here but I’ll detail how to get the basics of the vinegar bath done in a pressure cooker. Here we go:

1) Abandon the idea of getting a huge shank ham like in the original recipe. You’re going to have to settle for a smaller cut of ham that will fit in your pressure cooker (InstantPot or stovetop) and probably opt for boneless, but just like before, I highly recommend (caution?) that you do not use a spiral sliced ham as it will overcook and get weird. Right now Costco sells half cuts of ham (boneless but not sliced) that worked perfectly for this – the one I bought was right around three pounds, I believe (sorry I forgot to take a picture of it).

2) Cut the ham into large chunks (not itty bitty pieces!) so they nestle tightly into the bottom of the pressure cooker. If the cut of ham you have has large layers of fat, you may want to trim those also (or you can trim them after it cooks).

3) Fill the pressure cooker to cover the ham (without exceeding the max fill of the pressure cooker) with a 2:1 ratio of water to vinegar like in the original recipe.

4) For the InstantPot, secure the lid and select Manual –> 32 minutes –> and let it go. For a stovetop pressure cooker, secure the lid and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. Let both the pressure cooker and InstantPot naturally release before opening the lid.

5) Slice or pull the ham into pieces (discard the cooking liquid) and proceed with the recipe (adding the brown sugar/mustard mixture and baking). This pressure cooker step can be done several days in advance of actually serving the ham. See the original recipe for more details.

A few extra notes:
I have NOT tried using the InstantPot to warm the ham with the brown sugar mixture since I don’t want the ham to overcook.

If you find the ham isn’t as tender as you like after it pressure cooks, simply secure the lid again and bring to high pressure for a few more minutes.

The texture of the ham using a pressure cooker is slightly different than the ham made in the original recipe on the stovetop. Maybe just a tad softer? I’m not sure since I didn’t have a side-by-side comparison but it is still delightfully tender and delicious.

And there you go! Another point in favor of pressure cooking. If you have any questions, comment below – especially let me know if you are planning to try this ham in the pressure cooker for Easter!

Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links above for the InstantPot.

35 Responses to Sweet Baked Ham {InstantPot Instructions}

  1. Theresa says:

    so bummed, ham was dry & tough. could it be that I didn’t let it NPR (natural pressure release) have caused this? just put back in for 10 min. a bit better. got solutions?

  2. Christine says:

    Step one turned out beautifully, but sadly the second step did not produce a “glaze” at all and the extra time in the oven just dried out the beautifully cooked ham. I can still salvage it, but I’m wondering why it seemed to work for everyone else and I ended up with basically dry “pulled ham.” I think using regular mustard instead of dried ground would’ve make more sense.

  3. Kristen says:

    So the last step is done in the oven or the instapot… i shredded my ham and have it back in my instapot with the brown sugar mix…i am confused. First time using my pot!

  4. Marcee Buckley says:

    This is a weird question but could you do this with a beef roast?

  5. T Carney says:

    We have made the original recipe a few times and love it. Now we have another great IP recipe to try. Thanks! BTW, the cooking with vinegar really does seem to take the smell out of the silicone ring. We did it with vinegar and lemon juice and it works really well.

  6. Cheryl R. says:

    Can the ham with the mustard/brown sugar mixture be cooked in a slow cooker rather than the oven? Would you cook it on high or low and how long? Any ideas?

    • Mel says:

      On the original post for the sweet baked ham, I’m pretty sure several people have used the slow cooker for the brown sugar/mustard part. I don’t remember the details so you might want to check out that post (but my best guess would be 2 hours on low – you don’t want it to dry out).

  7. Katie says:

    Hi Mel! When you make this ham using the 3 lb. ham do you cook it in the oven for less time? I made this ham for Easter using the smaller (3+ lb.), boneless ham from Costco. I halved the brown sugar and mustard mix, but still cooked it for an hour in the oven. The taste was fantastic, but it seemed a tad dry.

    • Mel says:

      That’s a good question, I don’t think I have consciously baked it for less time but a couple weeks ago when I made a smaller ham, I think it did end up being in the oven less time (and now, I can’t remember why). It might be a good idea to shorten the baking time if it was a little dry.

  8. Sharon says:

    With regards to the deodorising. My mother would always put a drop of vinegar in a pan if she was steaming or boiling puddings to prevent staining of the pan. The smell was terrible but it never affected the delicious pudding.

  9. Tami says:

    Hi, Mel. I’m trying out this wonderful recipe in my electric pressure cooker. The meat shredded beautifully! I used a nearly for 4 pound boneless half ham (from Costco). Now I have layered the meat with the sugar/dry mustard mix and it seems like too much. I stopped with about a half cup mix leftover. Did you find that you used less of the sugar mixture when you went to a boneless ham? Thanks so much! You inspire me almost daily.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Tami – you know, that’s a good point. I think I did use less but maybe because my ham was smaller? Good idea to just stop when it seemed like enough. I hope it turned out great!

  10. Melanie B says:

    This recipe alone has convinced me I must get myself an Instapot! A short cut to eating the best ham on earth is right up my alley. Thanks for simplifying my life!

  11. Deyce says:

    Quick question: I’m planning on trying this recipe for Easter, but my husband HATES mustard. Does the mustard powder give the ham a mustardy taste (at all)? If it does, I’ll probably still make it but set some aside and cook it without the ground mustard.

  12. Shelly says:

    Thank you for an instantpot version of this ham! We love the ham, but I have to mentally gear myself up for the hours of boiling vinegar smell in our house. So excited to try it this way. By the way, we just got back from a quick vacation and I took our instantpot so I could cook dinner in our hotel each night. I realized that each meal we made in it was from your site, and they all turned out great! And, I’ve had my instantpot for just over three years, so it holds up at least that long. Thank you for all the great recipes!

  13. Brittney says:

    Mel! You’ve read my mind….again! This was the number one recipe I was wondering how to do in the pressure cooker. Like the others, I love when you post about converting your recipes to the pressure cooker. You and your awesomeness, I tell you what……

  14. Mike says:

    I just got my shiny new InstantPot over the weekend and on Monday as I was making your Slow Cooker Maple Brown Sugar Ham recipe I could not help thinking how I wish I knew enough about cooking with an InstantPot to try the ham in it but I didn’t dare.

    Well thanks to your awesome timing, I now know how to make my first InstantPot ham (and I’ve had my eye on the Sweet Baked Ham recipe for a looooong time but the thought of boiling vinegar in my house held me at bay. Cant wait to try this thanks SO much!

  15. Natalie says:


    I have a stupid question. Ham has always been confusing for me. Do you get a cooked or uncooked ham? Some hams say they need to just be heated up and others need to be “cooked” . Help!

    • Mel says:

      Almost all hams sold in grocery stores/big box stores are fully cooked. You usually have to go to a butcher to get an uncooked ham. Most hams can be sliced and served without heating at all (for cold cuts) – but double check the label just to be sure.

  16. Jackie says:

    There is currently an instapot hiding in my garage… Not that I have seen it or anything (or that I got the shipping confirmation when my husband ordered it :0). I think it’s for my birthday. I wonder if he would notice if I pulled it out to make this ham for Easter and then put it back after.

  17. Cyndee says:

    Whoo-hoo! Another InstantPot recipe! I got one for my birthday and can’t believe how awesome it is! Looking forward to trying this recipe soon.

  18. Rachael says:

    I’m SO happy to see another Instant Pot conversion, but I just wanted to throw out that the vinegar taste was still much more powerful than I’d anticipated–just a heads-up for anyone who isn’t a big vinegar fan that you definitely can still taste it! 🙂

  19. Maureen says:

    I really think I would love to own an Instant Pot — not having to keep track of the pressure like with my stove top model would be a welcome relief. I’ve come close to a purchase, but the reviews about longevity have kept me from going for it. I suppose anything with electronics comes with risk. Since you have one to work with, what do you think the longevity might be? I feel a bit ridiculous asking, because I don’t bat an eyelash when I have to replace a deep fryer, but I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hi Maureen – that’s a great question and honestly, I don’t know when it comes to the InstantPOt since I’ve had mine less than a year. I had an electric slow cooker that lasted for over 13 years so I guess I’m hoping the InstantPot will go the distance, too, but because it’s fairly new on the market, it’s hard to say.

  20. Lacey says:

    I have an electric pressure cooker, not an instapot, but a different brand. Do you think I can still the same cook times and recipes in mine? That’s probably a dumb question…. sorry!

  21. Deborah says:

    Keep on coming with Instant Pot recipes! Love mine so much, and I completely agree with the obsession of “how can I convert this recipe to the instant pot” – I find myself thinking along those lines so many times. Happy Easter!!

  22. Mary Lynn says:

    I LOVE my Instant Pot! Please keep sharing the recipes that you have found to work well in it! I almost bought a boneless ham yesterday but since we aren’t home for Easter, I changed my mind. This recipe just changed my mind again- Ham with some yummy yeast rolls, sweet potato fries sound great for Friday night! Thanks again!!!

  23. Hilary says:

    I am SO EXCITED about this one…this ham is one of my all-time favorites, and the fact that I now can make it in my instantpot makes me want to sing and dance!!! THANK YOU soo much!!!

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