Do you leave plastic on the ham when boiling?

Cooking ham can be a delicious and satisfying experience, but it’s important to do it correctly. One common question that many people have is whether or not they should leave the plastic wrap on the ham when boiling it? In this article, we will explore this question in-depth and provide you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision about how to cook your ham.


Ham is a popular dish around the world, and for good reason. It’s tasty, filling and can be cooked in a variety of different ways. Boiling is one of the more common methods used to cook ham, but many people are often unsure whether or not they should remove the plastic first. This article aims to answer that question and provide you with information about best practices for boiling hams.

The Plastic Conundrum

It’s tempting to leave plastic wraps on foods such as ham while boiling them since it provides some convenience. However, while being convenient, leaving it on could turn harmful at worst or affect your cooking quality at that least. Here are a few possible reasons why people may choose not to remove plastic when boiling their hams:


Convenience is usually a big factor in food preparation; many times and places may require fast ways of food prepping that skipping the removal of plastics wrap from ham can provide just that. And this could help prevent any potential mess on your cooking vessel.

Concerns over dryness

Some claim that by leaving plastic wrap on hams, they prevent it from being too dry during cooking because it helps lock in moisture. Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth since where there’s heat concentrated (boiling water), there will always produce steam which would circulate throughout your cooking surface anyway.

Recipes That Call for Leaving On Plastic

It’s worth noting that some recipes suggest leaving the plastic wrap intact because it may provide some additional flavor. Recipes that call for cooking ham with plastic cover include those that have marinade or sauce added, and the idea is that the steam from boiling will help infuse the ham well. Regardless, always read through your recipe thoroughly before taking it by its words.

Risks and Dangers of Leaving Plastic On Ham When Boiling

Regardless of any possible benefit people name over not removing plastic wraps from hams before boiling, there’s a high level of health hazard resulting from doing this. Here are some reasons why you should never skip shearing off plastics when cooking your ham.

Health risks associated with consuming melted plastic

The first and most obvious reason to remove the plastic wrap is related to your health since heating up plastic wraps releases toxic fumes into the air and water. These gases could contaminate your cooking surface as well as downplay your meal’s quality.

Dangers posed by melting or burning plastic in boiling water

Another safety concern related to not removing plastics wrap before boiling hams has to do with chemical exposure. Plastics themselves can melt at high temperatures and could leach toxic chemicals into food surfaces easily, posing long-term harms when consumed.

Explanation of chemicals found in some plastics that become harmful when exposed to high temperatures

Some studies have proven that certain types of plastics used in food packaging contain dangerous substances such as Bisphenol A (BPA) which become harmful when exposed to high temperatures. BPA’s extended exposure has been linked to adverse health consequences, ranging from impairing body functions, developing cancer cells, fertility reduction down respiratory diseases.

Best Boiling Practices: Removing the Wrap Off Your Ham

Ham boils better after removing the wrapping around it; here are a few benefits of this practice:

  • It allows for an even distribution of heat across its surface.
  • It enables both sides cooked evenly, providing a well-cooked dish.
  • It prevents the accumulation of steam between the wrap and ham, which could soften it into frustration.

Here is a step-by-step instruction on removing plastics before boiling your ham:

  1. Start by unwrapping your ham from its outer packaging, including any stickers, labels, or tags.
  2. Rinse the surface first in running water to get rid of any slime that may have accumulated around it (usually goes unnoticed when wrapped in plastics).
  3. Carefully remove all the plastic wraps or coverings surrounding it with scissors; be more cautious not to damage your ham while cutting off wraps.

Tips for Storing Your Ham After Removing Plastics Wraps

Proper storage is essential to keep leftover hams fresh and tender after removing their wraps. First, ensure they’re cooled at room temperature before wrapping them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap for next use. Secondarily, place them inside an air-tight container and refrigerate them within 2 hours if not ready for use immediately.

Other Alternatives for Cooking Ham without Plastic Wrap

Some other methods of cooking a ham are:

  • Baking
  • Slow-cooking
  • Grilling

While we’re discussing boiling hams specifically, these other techniques are still worth knowing if you decided never to use plastics next time you cook. Baking and roasting (or slow-cooking) can be great alternatives to boiling since they allow for evenly-distributed heat throughout the ham’s surface area without worrying about excessive moisture loss.

Tips for Better Boiled Ham Results

Without covering up your hams with plastics while boiling them, several steps one can use prevents their meat from getting dry during cooking times like adding flavors to their water stock now than just plain water.

  • Use stock instead of water: Plain water could make your food taste bland when boiled; you could replace some of it with beef-, vegetable— or chicken-based stock that would also add flavor to the ham.
  • Cooking times by weight: Another way to maintain moisture after removing plastic wraps from hams before boiling has to do with cooking times. Cooking time should be according to each ham’s significant value, and a meat thermometer might come in handy when ascertaining this.


When it comes down to whether or not you should leave the plastic wrap on your ham while boiling, the verdict is clear. Regardless of any recipe you may follow that suggest keeping plastics wrap stuck onto your ham during heat exposure, the dangers posed by consuming melted plastics cannot be overlooked. Choosing to remove it will not only help preserve the quality of your meal but also eliminate any potential health risks associated with toxic chemicals released during heating processes. Enjoy your boiled ham without any fear now that you know what best practice entails!


  1. Q: Is it necessary to remove the plastic before boiling ham? A: Yes, it is absolutely necessary to remove the plastic before boiling ham.
  2. Q: Why is it dangerous to boil ham with its plastic wrapping on? A: Boiling ham with its plastic wrapping on can release harmful chemicals that may contaminate the food and pose a health risk.
  3. Q: Can leaving plastic wrap on while cooking ham affect the taste of the meat? A: Leaving the plastic wrap on while boiling ham can alter the flavor of the meat, making it taste synthetic and unpleasant.
  4. Q: What are some alternatives to using a plastic wrap when boiling ham? A: To avoid using plastic wrap when boiling ham, you can use parchment paper or aluminum foil instead. These materials are safe for food use and will not release harmful chemicals when heated.

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