This mustard-glazed ham is covered with brown sugar and maple syrup and is simple, subtle, and super impressive. And is perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and any other holiday dinner (or insatiable pork craving).
This glazed ham recipe with mustard has a sweet, spicy, salty thing going on that’s simple, subtle, and super impressive. Not only is the end result intriguing, but the technique used to create it is rather savvy. First the ham is slathered with glaze. Then it sits over a pan of hot water in the oven as it roast so that the glaze drips into the water. As the water evaporates from the heat, the ham becomes infused with mustard flavor. Appeals to your intellect as much as your appetite, yes? And as it’s cured pork, it’s essentially already cooked, which means you’re really just reheating it so there’s no tricky food safety issues.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Mustard-Glazed Ham FAQs
Brown sugar is simply white sugar that contains molasses, and dark brown sugar has about twice the amount of molasses as light. The extra molasses means that dark brown sugar will lend a richer caramel flavoring to recipes, making it ideal for sauces, baked beans, and spice cakes. Be careful when using it for everyday baking, as the acid in molasses can react with baking soda, creating unwanted rises or spreads. Light brown sugar is best for ordinary baking. Keep in mind that when a recipe calls for “brown sugar”, it means light. If a recipe requires dark, it will always be indicated.
We adore ham with cheesy scalloped potatoes. For Easter, we absolutely must have soft, fluffy dinner rolls to tuck bits of butter and savory ham into and then love to juxtapose all of that richness with a lovely, light, mustardy salad and a side of fresh spring asparagus. For dessert? There’s so much to choose from – coconut cakes, lemon pies, kulich, angel food cake…. we could go on and on.
For the mustard glaze
- 2 tablespoons black or brown mustard seeds
- 3 tablespoons dry mustard
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
For the ham
- One (8-pound) bone-in smoked ham
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup whole cloves
- 2 cups pure maple syrup (not that Aunt Jemima crap)
- 1/2 cup mustard glaze (see preceding recipe or substitute Dijon mustard)
Make the mustard glaze
- In a jar, combine the mustard seeds, dry mustard, vinegar, salt, oil, brown sugar, and honey. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. (Alternatively, you can simply whisk everything together in a bowl.) You should have about 1/2 cup. Stash the mustard glaze in the fridge until you're ready to use.
Make the ham
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Place a roasting rack in a deep-sided roasting pan. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Pour the boiling water into the pan so it comes to just below the rack and about 1 inch deep.
- Trim any gristle from the ham. If you’re so fortunate to find a ham with skin on, be careful to keep the fat and skin attached. Place the plain ham on the rack, fatty side up, making sure the water doesn’t touch the ham. Insert an ovenproof meat thermometer in the ham at a slight angle so the tip is in the center of the thickest part of the ham and doesn’t touch either bone or fat.
- Bake the ham, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
- Remove the pan and the ham from the oven. If your ham has skin, peel it back, keeping the fat intact. Score the fat, cutting 1/4-inch-deep strips on an angle to create a crosshatch. At the corners of each crosshatch, press a whole clove into the ham. You may not need all the cloves. (We’re not gonna lie. This can take a little while. Pretend you’re a Buddhist monk. Draw your attention to the task at hand in the moment in front of you and let yourself zen out.)
- In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup and the mustard glaze. With a pastry brush, coat the clove-studded ham with about 1/2 the mustard and maple glaze.
- Return the ham to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes more.
- Remove the pan and the ham from the oven a second time. Coat it with the remaining mustard glaze.
☞TESTER TIP: Remember, cured ham is already essentially fully cooked pork, so you're simply rewarming it. No danger in serving it slightly cool in the center if the rest of dinner is done.
- Remove the ham and pan from the oven a last time. Loosely cover it with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn't touch the glaze, and let stand for 10 minutes before transferring to a platter and carving.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I’m not a big fan of ham but this mustard-glazed ham might just convert me to the hammy side of life. It’s simple, easy to follow, and makes a nicely seasoned ham that’s both tender and moist. I made this recipe to take to our family Thanksgiving dinner, so I really wanted it to impress. It was tender and juicy, not at all like the dried-out hams we’ve had before. This ham was the star of the show, usually a place reserved for Mr. Turkey at Thanksgiving. I’m sure I’ll be asked to make this again at Christmas and Easter.
Finding a ham with both a fat cap and skin these days is near impossible, so I found one that had a fat cap but no skin or visible gristle. My ham weighed in at 4.37 kilograms (just over 9 pounds). I only used 1/2 the cloves as the ham was pretty heavily covered by then. I used brown mustard seeds as the black ones weren’t available. We found that this recipe makes a quite loose and spicy mustard glaze. It was a bit thicker by the next day but not like a commercial mustard. This wasn’t an issue. Mixing the mustard glaze with the maple syrup makes a lot of sauce. I used all of it when basting the ham, as instructed, but next time I would make only half that amount. There was a lot of it left after cooking. I then transported it to the family dinner, and it was kept warm there in the oven for about 30 minutes or so. We had 12 people for dinner, and I brought home little in the way of leftovers.
I think the only changes I might make would be to use less sauce for glazing. It was a lot of sauce, and I don’t know that I’d go to the trouble of making mustard for this again. There are some really good grainy mustards out there that would do the trick for me. Cooking for large family meals, I’d prefer to save a step in the process if it’s not going to compromise the taste.
This mustard-glazed ham made me very popular with friends and family over the weekend! I used an 8-kg ham that could easily serve 12 and quite a few more (maybe up to 20?), depending on the sides you put with it. The glaze was quite thin but it coated the ham well and gave it a really nice finish, and the extra sauce served with the ham was sweet and sharp and very nice. I had friends asking repeatedly for the recipe and making plans to serve this for the holidays.
I got 72 cloves onto my ham with very small cross-hatching. That was less than half what the recipe called for, so I’m not sure how they managed to use half a cup of cloves. Prepping the ham took me 15 minutes and I spent another 15 carefully applying the cloves and glaze, so not very labor intensive at all considering the show-stopping results.
This mustard-glazed ham isn’t earth-shattering or even unique, but it’s a solid contender for as fine a holiday ham as I have ever made. It was the perfect ham. I assure you that if you come to our home for Christmas, this glazed ham will be on the table.
It really is a straightforward affair that couldn’t be easier to prep. The most time-consuming activity is pinning the gorgeous clove pattern, which always gives me a wonderful sense of accomplishment. After all, this is what separates the average ham from Grandma’s holiday treasure! At 8 pounds, my ham took nearly 2 1/2 hours as opposed to the 90 minutes mentioned in the instructions.
Originally published March 12, 2016