Slow-Cooked Ham in Cider Gravy

Cider Ham

Have I told you about our favorite vendor at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market? Her name is Sarah, and she represents Autumn’s Harvest nearly every week at the market. Apparently she is a lot of people’s favorite, as she often sells out of eggs and chicken and certain sausages early in the weekend.  So immediately upon our arrival at the market, we beeline it to the far end of the pavilion to the Autumn’s Harvest stand, crossing our fingers that she still has some eggs left.

We may go to the stand quickly, but our visits are rarely short. We linger at the stand, chatting with Sarah about the weather, the farm, the recipes I made with her sausage or turkey or pork the week before, the ones I plan to make in the coming week. She suggests which sausage would be good in homemade ravioli, and sends us home with two kinds at a discount when we can’t decide. We ask about the turkeys, one of which we have pre-ordered for Thanksgiving, and she invites us out to the farm for a visit sometime.

We don’t just love Autumn’s Harvest because Sarah is so incredibly nice.  They are incredibly open as to which animals are heritage breeds and which aren’t. They also have the best sausage, incredible bacon burgers, plump whole chickens and lovely turkey legs.

Cider Ham 3

Last week, they had “mini hams,” just 1 -1 1/2 pounds, trim and lean. Since she was out of ground pork, I scratched a dinner from my original meal plan and replaced it with a mini ham, slow cooked in cider and maple syrup, which I then thickened into a gravy.

Slow-Cooked Ham in Cider Gravy

Prep Time: 4 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Yield: 4-8 servings, depending on the size of the ham

Slow-Cooked Ham in Cider Gravy

By the end of the cooking time, the ham will be so tender it will flake apart as you slice it. The slices may not be perfectly neat, but smaller pieces just give you more surface area for the cider gravy! Speaking of gravy, look for a cider that is made solely of pressed fruit, with no additives or sweetener.


  • 1 1-4 pound ham
  • 2 cups apple cider, unsweetened
  • 3/4 cups maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Place the ham in a crockpot and cover with the cider and syrup. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
  2. Transfer the ham to a plate. I find it easiest to move all the liquid to a large 4-cup measuring cup to more easily add liquid to the gravy a bit at a time.
  3. Whisk the cornstarch with 1/2 cup of the cider on the stove-top over low heat until smooth. Increase the heat to medium-low. Whisking continuously, add the cider a little bit at a time, until it is all in the gravy. Keep whisking as the gravy bubbles until it is thickened. Serve with the ham.

Make Ahead and Storage

If you have excess gravy, serve it over mashed potatoes, or tightly seal it in a freezer bag and freeze.

Maple Syrup from Vermont sent me product and compensated me for this post, but all opinions within this post are my own.  I really do love maple syrup!


  1. Linda says

    I need to try that ham. Always disliked ham because of the kind that was available during the ’60s and ’70s, when I was growing up. No farms nearby!

  2. Kristin says

    Is this recipe for a precooked ham you buy in the grocery stores? If not, how long do you suggest cooking it for?

  3. says

    I just came across this trying to find ideas for how to cook my mini ham from Autumn’s Harvest! So nice to “see” other people who love them as much as I do! I’m going to have to give this a try when I can get my hands on some cider…

    • Julie says

      Welcome! We love Autumn’s Harvest, and I’m glad to have another local blogger reading and loving them, too!

  4. Pamela says

    This sounds great. Did you use an uncured ham? Also, do you know if this would transfer well to a larger ham cooked in the oven? I have a 12 lb uncured ham and this sounds like a good recipe to try. Thanks!

    • Julie says

      If I remember correctly, it was uncured. Not sure about the oven — the beauty of this recipe is that it cooks so slowly in the cider and syrup that it gets super tender and flaky. It is worth a shot, though — let me know what you try and if it works for you!

      • Patty says

        How long do you suggest I cook a 6 lb ham in the crock pot with this recipe and how much cider and maple syrup should I use since my ham is much larger than the one you have in this recipe?

  5. Mariella says

    Can you bake thuis in an oven and still get. the dame result? And onbehagen temperature? I live in Holland and do not. have a crockpot. Thnx

    • Julie says

      I haven’t tried making it in the oven. You could try cooking it at a low temperature for a long time, but I’m not sure if you would get quite the same tender result or not!

  6. Kelsie says

    Could you do this recipe with chicken breasts instead of the ham? Maybe just cut down on the cooking time?

    • Julie says

      Possibly – it isn’t something I’ve tried, so I don’t know exactly what the cooking time would be. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

    • Julie says

      Hmm, I haven’t tried it with a larger ham. I would keep an eye on the temperature – when the internal temperature is 160F, it should be done!

    • Julie says

      I suspect that the vinegar would be too acidic and have too strong of a flavor in the final gravy. The cider may not be labeled as “unsweetened.” You just want to make sure that you don’t get something that has a bunch of sugar added, and to use cider instead of juice. In my grocery store, the cider is refrigerated in the produce section, instead of being in the juice aisle. Hope this helps!