How Do I Serve a Roast Ham?

Updated March 23, 2017

A classic Sunday dinner, roast ham brings a bit of formality to the table along with its sweet, savoury aroma and taste. When traditionally prepared---topped with a honeyed glaze and studded with cloves---the meat brings plenty of flavours to the palate. Choose side dishes with care so you don't complicate the meal with too many tastes. And remember that when you're serving a large roast for company, presentation adds just as much to the meal as the food itself.

Remove the ham from the oven, place it on the carving board and allow it rest for 10 minutes before carving. The meat's juices retract into the centre of the roast while cooking. The resting period allows those juices to spread back into the meat, making it easier to carve and providing a more tender serving.

Lay out the side dishes. Good sides for roast ham include macaroni and cheese, mashed or scalloped potatoes, steamed green beans with sliced and toasted almonds, and creamed corn. Don't forget the applesauce, as this makes a good condiment for the ham. Try to stay away from a very sweet applesauce, as a tart sauce pairs better with the meat.

Slice several slices of the ham before serving. Once the meat has rested, use a carving knife and slice enough meat for the initial service. Already having a few slices of meat on the serving tray makes for a good presentation and allows guests to be served immediately instead of having to wait for a carving production.

Set the remainder of the ham on a serving platter. Layer the slices out in front of it. If you have roasted vegetables along with the ham, arrange these around the platter for decorative purposes. If you would like a different garnish, try a few pieces of kale or sprigs of parsley and mint. For another direction, circle the ham with slices of baked pineapple, apple or pear.

Ask your guests to pass their plates to you and serve one or two slices for them. This is easier than asking them to pass around a large platter or having people reach toward the centre of the table. Use a serving fork and knife, leaving your personal fork at your place setting.

Things You'll Need

  • Carving board
  • Serving dishes or bowls
  • Side dishes
  • Carving knife
  • Serving platter
  • Serving fork and knife
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.