Herb Crusted Ham Recipe

This Herb Crusted Ham recipe is used with permission and courtesy of Virginia Willis, cookbook author, and her website, Virginia Willis Culinary Productions.  Recipe from Virginia’s cookbook, Bon Appit, Y’all: Recipes, and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking.

Virginia says, “Mama and I now share the cooking at the holidays.  I usually prepare the main courses, we share the side dishes, and she prepares the desserts. This Herb Crusted Ham is an Easter favorite.

You may be surprised to see lavender listed as an ingredient in this herb crust.  Although very commonly found in desserts, lavender, especially sweet English  lavender, is an incredibly versatile herb for savory cooking.  Be sure to use only pesticide-free, food-grade leaves and blossoms from an organic farmer’s market or online; lavender from florists, spas, or home dor shops are probably not appropriate to eat.  The key to cooking with lavender is to start out with a small amount of flowers, and add more as you go.  A little amount of the sweet, perfumed herb is wonderful, but adding too much lavender to your recipe is much like eating a bar of soap.  A little goes a long way.”

close up image of Herb Crusted Ham

Lavender is an incredibly versatile herb for cooking.  As a member of the same family as many of our most popular herbs, it is not surprising that lavender is edible and that its use in food preparation is also returning.  Flowers and leaves can be used fresh, and both buds and stems can be used dried.  Lavender is a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme.  Learn more about culinary lavender.

Check out Ham 101 to learn all about cooking hams and more great Ham and Pork Recipes.

Herb Crusted Ham Recipe:
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: Herb Crusted Ham Recipe
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh, untreated lavender flowers (culinary lavender)
  • Half of an uncooked, bone-in ham (6 to 8 pounds), preferably shank end, with skin
  • Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • Chicken stock or low-fat reduced-sodium chickon broth (approximately 2 cups)
  1. In a small bowl, combine the thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and culinary lavender.  Season the ham with salt and pepper.  Rub the herb mixture all over the ham and set aside to marinate and come to room temperature, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  3. Place the herb crusted ham in a large roasting pan.  Bake approximately 25 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F. on an meat thermometer inserted near the bone, approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

  4. Remove from the oven and transfer the ham to a wire rack.  Tent the ham loosely with aluminum foil and let stand until the center of the ham registers 155 to 160 degrees F. on the instant-read thermometer, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, to make the Au Just Sauce, pour the pan drippings into a fat separator; remove and discard the fat.  Transfer the drippings into a small saucepan to make the au jus.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat.  Decrease the heat to medium to keep warm until serving.  Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

  6. Making Au Jus is more of a technique and not a recipe.  You will have to do this by feel or guess work.  It depends on how much juice is left in your pan (plus the juice from slicing the ham), and how many people you will be serving.  Add your chicken stock and/or wine according to how much Au Jus you think you will need for each person being served.  I wish I could give you exact directions, but it is impossible to have an exact recipe for this.

  7. Once the ham has rested, transfer to a cutting board and carve; add accumulated carving juices to the Au Jus Sauce.  Arrange the meat on a warmed serving platter and serve with the Au Jus on the side.

  8. Serves 6 to 8.

Thermapen Internal Temperature Cooking ChartI get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer. Originally designed for professional use, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world.  I only endorse a few products, on my web site, that I like and use regularly.

You can learn more or buy yours at: Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer.

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