Swedish Christmas Ham (Julskinka)

Swedish Christmas ham recipe julskinka

The Spruce / Nita West

  • Total: 5 hrs 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 5 hrs
  • Yield: 1 ham (25 servings)

Merry Christmas in Swedish is "God Jul" and no Swedish “julbord” (Christmas buffet) would be complete without Christmas ham (“jul” + “skinka” = “julskinka”). Ham in Sweden is salt-cured and unsmoked or “fresh.” It’s often served cold on the Christmas buffet, but serving it warm is certainly acceptable.

If you can only find salt-cured hams that have been smoked, you can go with that, but, it's worth the effort to source and prepare a salt-cured fresh (uncooked) ham for this traditional Christmas entree. IKEA often carries hams in the freezer section, especially seasonally. For best results, make sure that it still has its thick covering of pork fat.

Other popular Swedish Christmas foods include rice porridge (Risgrynsgröt ) and fragrant limpa bread, a moist rye bread flavored with fennel or anise, cumin, and orange rind.


  • 1 (7- to 9-pound) fresh unsmoked, salt-cured ham
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons grainy mustard (Swedish, if you can get it)
  • 6 tablespoons finely crumbled gingersnaps (or breadcrumbs)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F and place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven.

    Ingredients for Swedish Christmas ham recipe
    ​The Spruce / Nita West
  2. Rinse the ham well to remove any excess salt and pat it dry.

    Rinse ham
    ​The Spruce / Nita West
  3. Place pork, rind-side up, in a heavy roasting pan. Put the pan in the oven and roast until the internal temperature on an instant-read thermometer registers 160 F (about 4 1/2 hours). Remove from the oven and increase heat to 450 F.

    Place pork on roasting pan
    ​The Spruce / Nita West
  4. Carefully slice the rind off of ham (in Scandinavia, this crispy, delicious, heart attack-inducing crackling is often served as a side dish.)

    Carefully rinse rind off ham
    ​The Spruce / Nita West
  5. Whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, and mustard, and spread evenly over the entire surface of the ham.

    Whisk egg yolks, brown sugar, mustard
    ​The Spruce / Nita West
  6. Sprinkle with the crumbled gingersnaps or breadcrumbs until covered.

    Sprinkle with crumbled gingersnaps
    ​The Spruce / Nita West
  7. Return ham to oven and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

    Return ham to oven
    ​The Spruce / Nita West
  8. Remove from oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.

    Remove from oven
    The Spruce / Nita West
  9. Carve and serve warm or let it cool completely and serve it cold.

    Carve and serve
    The Spruce / Nita West