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Christmas: Gammon or Ham?

Updated: Feb 8

Gammon and ham are perfect for Christmas. Ideal for feeding a crowd and nibbling on those days around the big event where you’re not quite in the mood for a big meal. But what's the difference?

We are often asked what the difference between the two is. The simple answer is that gammon is just uncooked ham. Whether or not you want to experiment with preparing your own – or if you have a treasured family recipe you want to recreate – should inform your buying choice. Tight for time? Buy ham. Luxuriating in cooking over the holiday period? Try gammon.


Cooking your own gammon will allow you to flavour and glaze it to suit your own tastes. It can be served thickly sliced as a warm meal, but once cooked you can use it in just the same way as ham.

We recommend cooking on the hob: cover the joint with cold water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for a further 20 minutes per pound plus ten minutes at the end. Allow to rest before serving, or cool fully if you intend to use as a ham.


You can add vegetables (we would recommend carrots, celery and onion), herbs and spices to the cooking liquor or use apple juice or cider instead of water.


If you’re planning to glaze your gammon, baste it over the joint and cook at 180C for 20-30 minutes until brown and sticky. Remember to baste the glaze back over the ham every 10 minutes so that it’s where you want it to be, not stuck to the bottom of your favourite roasting tray!


Looking for inspiration? Here are some of our favourite combinations:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/spiced-christmas-gammon-membrillo-glaze https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/cola-ham-maple-mustard-glaze https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/pineapple-chilli-glazed-gammon https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/entertain/cider-braised-gammon-with-brown-sugar-glaze/ https://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/apple-baked-and-glazed-gammon/

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