Glazed Ham

This glazed ham relies on brown sugar, pineapple, honey, marmalade, mustard, and a baked ham for its centerpiece-worthy good looks and classic taste. Easy as can be and impressive as heck.

Glazed Ham Recipe

Plonk this brown sugar glazed ham on your holiday table and then simply step back, listen to the gasps and oohs and aahs, accept your accolades, and watch it disappear. The innate ham-iness is the baked ham’s dominant flavor, and its easy assembly is a large part of its appeal, but the hints of pineapple, marmalade, and mustard certainly don’t do it any wrong. Quite the contrary, actually. Most people who’ve tried this have declared it the best ham ever. Sorta makes you want to see what all the fuss is about, eh? This recipe has been updated. It was originally published March 25, 2015.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Choose A Ham

Let’s be honest, shall we? It can be intimidating to step up to the butcher counter and be confronted with countless different types of ham. Spiral-sliced. Smoked. Cured. Uncured. With natural juices. Water added. It’s enough to make you want to just walk away and order Chinese for Christmas dinner.

Here’s the thing. You can’t go that wrong. Most hams that you find shrink-wrapped at the supermarket are already cooked. Which means they just require warming through. And that in turn means almost anything you buy will get the job done without making anyone sick. Which is a pretty darn good place to start. As for the rest of the words on the package, once you grasp a command of them, they simply help you discern what you want or don’t want in the ham if you’re sorta picky about what you put on your table. Here’s what you need to know:

Ham. Ham With Natural Juices. Ham With Water Added. Ham and Water Product.
Ideally, you want to buy “ham.” Not “ham with natural juices.” Not “ham with water added.” And definitely not “ham and water product.” These are the different phrases you’re going to encounter as you look at supermarket hams. Opt for ham whenever you can. The rest just add water and, in most instances, salt. This adversely affects the taste and texture of the ham. It also has an unpleasant effect on your pocketbook as you’re essentially paying for additives, not ham.

Spiral-Sliced
Many hams come already sliced, which is typically referred to as “spiral-sliced” on packaging. Spiral-sliced often refers to bone-in hams, which tend to retain more flavor and moisture than boneless hams, which sometimes tend to take on a little something of a processed ham look and feel. There’s a slightly higher tendency for a spiral-sliced bone-in ham to dry out in the oven before serving than a bone-in ham that’s not already sliced. The trade-off is the spiral-sliced is a nice thing if you’re terrified of the spectacle of you standing in front of guests trying to gracefully hack your way around the bone come carving time. Up to you.

Smoked
Most supermarket hams have been smoked, which imbues the meat with a subtle or not-so-subtle flavor. Take a look at the label to see what kind of wood chips were used. Hickory is going to impart a more pronounced and bolder smokiness than applewood.

Glazed
If you’re holding a printout of this recipe for glazed ham in your hand as you stand at the butcher counter, then you want to purchase a ham that doesn’t already come slathered or injected or glazed with honey or maple. Reason being you don’t want the flavors of the recipe that you’re going to slather all over the outside of the ham competing with the flavor that’s already been injected into the ham. You also don’t want to double up on the glazes and injections because that could get pretty darn sweet.

How Big A Ham To Buy
Figure about 1/2 pound per person. Slightly more if it’s a bone-in ham. Slightly less if it’s a boneless ham. And, natch, allow for more if you’re big into leftovers.

Glazed Ham Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Serves 8 to 12

Ingredients

  • One 4 1/2-pound (2-kilogram) smoked boneless ham
  • 3 heaping tablespoons marmalade (smooth, not chunky)
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 heaping tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  • 2. Place the ham, skin-side up, on a wire rack placed in a large roasting pan. Pour enough water into the pan to reach a depth of 1 inch (3 centimeters). Cover the ham and pan tightly with foil and crimp the edges to ensure that no steam escapes. Slide the shiny metal behemoth into the oven and roast for 2 hours.
  • 3. Meanwhile, combine the marmalade, pineapple juice, honey, brown sugar, and mustard in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 4. Remove the ham and pan from the oven. Crank the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). While the oven preheats, take a careful look at your ham. If the skin hasn’t already been removed, you’ll need to do that with a sharp knife, being careful to leave a thin layer of fat. [Editor’s Note: Chances are, if you bought your ham in the U.S., the skin will have been removed.] Using the tip of your sharp knife, carefully cut a crisscross pattern in the fat. The ham will be quite hot so be careful.
  • 5. Brush some of the marmalade glaze over the ham. Return the ham and pan to the oven and roast, uncovered and brushing with the glaze every 10 minutes, until the surface of the ham is brown and crisp, about 30 minutes more. Remove the ham and pan from the oven and let rest for a few minutes. Thinly slice the ham and serve warm or at room temperature.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Trudy Ngo-Brown

Apr 08, 2017

I made this glazed ham over the holidays, but it's a recipe that's easy enough to do for a nice weekend dinner. There was very minimal prep, and most of the time spent was hands-free while the ham baked—who doesn't love that?! This was so simple to pull together and provided plenty of leftovers for our small family. I used orange marmalade and juice from some canned pineapple for the glaze. I left the ham in the foil for 2 hours as directed, but I took it out after 20 minutes of basting, as I was using the convection setting on my oven, and the ham seemed plenty brown at that point.

Sofia Reino

Apr 08, 2017

This was the first time I actually made a glazed ham from scratch. Everyone loved the recipe. We decided to do it for Christmas dinner. The recipe is extremely easy to make and requires just a few ingredients. I was worried it wouldn't be enough glaze, but as I brushed the ham throughout the baking time, I realized it was the perfect amount. The glaze wasn't as sweet as those you buy commercially. The orange flavor was pretty prominent, more so than the pineapple juice. (The marmalade I used was an orange one that wasn't too sweet.) We were 8 total and still had some leftover ham. I think this ham would easily feed 10 to 12 people.

Comments

  1. Would be interested in information on that particular ham. Where purchased. Brand. Mail order. Looks like it would be a good ham. No one does old style. Or perhaps it is the different hogs today. In my dreams I remember holiday & Sunday hams of my youth. Who thought she would ever say a sentence like I just did?! If anyone knows of a lovely bone-in ham, tell.

    I am not, one bit, a fan of slideshows. I rarely deal with them. Life is short. Too many other things to do. Thank you.

    Recently found your site. I am still here. :)

    1. Bev, we’re so glad you happened upon our site and stayed. Welcome. As for the ham, I’m with you on the hams of yesteryear. I’ve queried the publisher of the book in the hopes they have a trail of where the food stylist acquired props for the photos, but haven’t heard back yet. I’m afraid much of this publisher’s content is done in Britain, which probably explains the Old World charm and sensibility of that ham. I’ll let you know if I receive a response. In the meantime, I’ve asked some home cooks I know and trust if they have a source for hams and will let you know what I learn. As for slideshows, I understand and have noted that, thanks for letting us know. Trick is, many readers like the compilation of recipes on a single topic. Kindly just ignore the slideshows and don’t hold them against us. Again, welcome!

  2. The smoked Smithfield Ham from Sam’s club is an excellent choice.

    I must add, that I am not a fan of the slideshows and never use them they take to long to load and play on my IPad. I would rather see a list with a link that I can go to if I wish.

    Like your site, though.

    1. Many thanks for the insights, Rod. Greatly appreciate them. As for the slideshow, we often have a list of links for the same content as a slideshow–in fact, the list of links is always longer than the slideshow on the same topic so offers more recipes. For example, here’s a list of links for Easter recipes. If there are any other topics you’d like to see recipes for, let me know and I’ll be happy to list your options. Lovely rest of the week to you.

  3. I made this ham for our Christmas dinner, it came out great. I used a 9 lb-plus spiral sliced ham, fed 10 people (most had seconds) and still had half the ham left over. (Yay leftovers!) After reading the ingredients in the glaze I thought it might have been cloyingly sweet but it was actually spot-on and a really nice accompaniment to the flavor of the ham. And it’s such a low-hassle recipe, it left a lot of time to enjoy the company of family while dinner was in the oven.

    1. That ham is awesome, isn’t it, E? [Editor’s Note: Everyone, E is my husband and he insisted on making this ham for Christmas dinner. And I’m so glad he did.] Also, everyone, if you opted for bone-in ham, the ham bone makes terrific stock. Just add ample water to cover, simmer with your usual stock aromatics, and pull it off the heat after an hour or two. Not certain exactly what we’ll do with ours yet. I may want to make a simple brothy ham and potato soup. I suspect E will want to do something sturdier, like maybe split pea soup. Can’t go wrong either way.

  4. Hi there! I just wanted to share that I made this over the holidays for friends…and everyone freaked out about how good it was…asking me where I bought the ham! I told them it’s this recipe!! (Because I bought an $11 ham.) We didn’t have pineapple juice but I had leftover (canned) pineapple chunks in the fridge so I blended it up in my blender and used it even though it was chunky in place of the pineapple juice. It turned out awesome!

    Seriously, loved this recipe because I have never really been a fan of sliced holiday ham…but now I am…and this will be my go to recipe! I always cut up a bunch and divide into baggies and freeze them to make ham fried rice with. So I’m looking forward to using it in other recipes! And for the first time (because of this recipe) can say I’m looking forward to making one of these hams again! :)

    1. Terrific, JulieD, thanks so much! Lovely to hear that you have a new holiday tradition! And you know, coincidentally, I had almost the exact same experience as you. My husband made this and I’m not crazy about ham but everyone raved about it. My brother even asked if you could take some leftovers home, so I packed him some but I was stingy because I wanted more for us. Leftovers have never flown out of a fridge as fast as this ham. It’s definitely a keeper.

    1. It is wonderful! Ever since we first had it, my husband insists we make it each year at the holidays! As for a less chunky texture, my husband just grabs the marmalade at Trader Joe’s and it works perfectly fine. A little chunkiness is okay but if that bothers you perhaps either dump the marmalade in a blender or food processor and blitz it until smooth? Looking forward to hearing what you think of the recipe!

      1. I have to also say I love your reassuring ham buying guide. I have been cooking for a long time, but I barely ever buy ham, therefore I am always hesitant and unsure. Your guide makes it feel doable and like it’s not a huge deal that I am destined to fail. Thank you for that.

        1. You’re so very welcome, Mom24. I so appreciate your feedback! Sometimes it’s uncertain just how well (or not well) certain information is received so it’s always helpful to hear what works (or doesn’t). Thank you!

          1. Made this for Christmas dinner. The glaze smelled divine. I used it on a supermarket spiral ham. I was a tad disappointed that the glaze pretty much just glazes the edge of the ham, it was beautiful, impressive looking, caramelized and enticing, but the flavor didn’t permeate the ham. Understandable and a bit obvious but still a little disappointing.

            1. Mom24, I’m so glad to hear you like the flavor of the glaze! So many people have told us they’ve switched to this ham as their go-to for special occasions. It’s even my husband’s go-to ham recipe. One option for next time, should you like the flavor of the glaze to be more pronounced, is to make double the glaze recipe and either pour it all over the ham and let the extra pool in the pan so it mingles with the ham drippings or simply reserve half. Either way, then you have more to spoon over the sliced ham on the platter. And I think you alluded to this, but it’s difficult for any glaze to penetrate any ham given that 1. ham is pretty darn dense, and 2. it’s a glaze and not a marinade. Many kind thanks for taking the time to let us know how it went and we look forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next.

  5. There were only five of us for Christmas dinner and we all agreed it was the best ham we had ever had. The REAL issue was trying to find the right ham while taking into consideration the “do’s and don’t” of buying a ham. I have always disliked spiral sliced ham and refused to buy one so I chose a “Kentucky Legend” ham. (No horse by-products). I, too, could not find smooth marmalade so I whirled it with the pineapple juice in the blender then added everything else to cook it down. Do yourself a favor and make double the sauce to serve on the side…and the leftover ham made the very best grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Yummy……

    1. Terrific to hear, Greg! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know. And yeah, the leftovers are really something special…

  6. This reminds me so much of The Silver Palate’s glazed corned beef recipe, which I’ve been making for over 30 years. I’m imaging it would taste almost the same, with the brown sugar, marmalade, and mustard.

    1. Nods. They sound quite similar, Roni. The Silver Palate is such a treasure, isn’t it?! I learned so much about cooking from those cookbooks.

  7. I tried bagging my ham and it worked fine with this recipe. I used 7-Up in the bag along with pineapple juice. It was a spiral ham and turned out great. It was tender and juicy almost all the way through. I think having a bone in ham interfered with the juices. I love cooking in bags—it’s convenient and I don’t have to open the oven multiple times to inject juice and glaze which I pour over the top. I use pineapple slices on top after cooking and reheat for about 15 minutes.

  8. Just an observation, in the remarks proceeding the recipe you call for a spiral ham yet don’t show one in the photo and nor does the actual recipe call for one. I’m going to make this for Easter with a boneless smoked ham from a meat processor we’ve just discovered in Santa Rosa.

    1. Woody, thank you for commenting. Yes, we do explain what spiral-sliced ham is since it’s a relatively common cut that’s in a lot of markets this time of year. As you noted, this recipe is marvelous when made with many kinds of ham, including a simple boneless smoked ham. Again, thanks for your observation and we wish you a happy, happy Easter!

  9. This fall we ordered half a pig from a local farmer. We received a huge 18-pound smoked ham in our order—daunting given there are only two of us! Last weekend we were headed to the beach for a family vacation and brought along the ham and a double batch of the glaze all made up and stored in a jar. We baked the ham for dinner one night and everyone declared it the best ham they’d ever eaten. Even my sister who doesn’t like ham ate it happily, as did my non-meat-eating great nephew who is in a picky toddler phase. Everyone very much wanted sandwiches the next day made from leftover ham. The recipe was great and not as sweet as I’d feared. Thanks for sharing and it works just fine on a bone-in ham as well—the carving is just a little trickier.

    1. Marcella, that’s so magnificent to hear! Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know!

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