Skip those expensive glazed hams and make your own instead!
Glazed ham is delicious, but it’s not necessarily healthy. The ham itself isn’t terrible — about 289 calories and 15 grams of fat per 4-1/2-ounce serving — but the glazes are usually made from pure sugar. Not only that, but glazed ham is much more expensive than regular ham. If you only knew how easy it was to make your own, you’ll never buy a glazed ham again! Our easy ham glaze recipe only contains four ingredients. All of them are probably already in your pantry: honey, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar. They come together to create a crowd-pleasing main dish that’s perfect for any holiday gathering.
What to Look For When Buying a Ham
There are a few different types of ham, and you want to make sure you pick up the right type for your holiday gathering. They’re not very common, so you probably won’t run into this issue, but be sure you don’t accidentally buy a fresh ham. These hams are raw (just like a pork loin), and they’ll need to be cooked for much longer than the recipe below details.
The hams you want have been cured and smoked, and they should be labeled as “fully cooked” on the packaging. You only need to reheat the ham with the glaze, a process that usually takes between 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Be aware that some ham has been plumped up with water. Look for one that doesn’t contain “water added” or “with natural juices” on the label.
Types of Ham
We prefer bone-in, unsliced ham. These hams are fully intact and look like a roast. Cooking them with the bone in makes the meat more flavorful. Keeping them whole also prevents the ham from drying out when it’s reheated. Plus, you get to use the bone to make split pea and ham soup later! You also get to choose the thickness of the slices with this type of ham, cutting them as thin or as thick as you desire.
Spiral sliced hams still have the bone intact, but they’re pre-sliced for convenience. All you have to do is slice along the bone to release the slices from the roast, making serving that much easier. These spiral sliced hams can sometimes dry out when they’re reheated, though, and they may also come pretreated with a glaze.
Finally, there are boneless hams. The bone is removed before curing and smoking the ham, and a special process is used to press the ham together so it doesn’t contain a large hole. The texture is slightly different in a boneless ham, but they still taste great. This is a good option if you need a smaller ham, as they’re generally available in smaller sizes.
How Much Ham Do I Need?
We suggest estimating 1/3 to 1/2 pound of bone-in ham per person, or 1/4 to 1/3 pound of boneless ham per person. The nutrition information below is calculated based on a 4.5-ounce portion of ham per person, or just over 1/4 pound.
An Easy Ham Glaze Recipe for the Holidays
Our ham glaze recipe couldn’t be any easier. You’ll start by reheating the ham in a 325°F oven. The heat is gentle enough to heat the ham through in about two hours without drying it out. We also recommend covering the ham with foil to add extra moisture insurance.
We recommend placing the ham on the rack of a roasting pan, but you have options if you don’t have one. You can place it on an oven-safe cooling rack set inside a baking sheet. If you don’t have one of those either, don’t fret; add a layer of chopped onions, carrots, or potatoes to the bottom of the pan to elevate the ham. The vegetables will taste great after they’re cooked in all the ham drippings!
Then, we score the ham to allow the glaze to reach deeper inside the meat. With a sharp knife, make 1/4-inch deep cuts into the top of the ham. The diamond pattern makes the ham very attractive, and you have the option to add cloves in each diamond point to give the ham a classic look.
After the ham is heated to 130°F, it’s time for the glaze. We use honey to keep the sugars natural, using a little brown sugar to help the glaze come together in a thick paste. The Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar add the perfect level of tangy flavor to balance out the sweet flavors. Spread the glaze evenly over the ham, and in about 15 to 30 minutes, the ham will look absolutely gorgeous!
Serving This Easy Glazed Ham Recipe
Glazed ham makes an excellent centerpiece for any holiday meal. It’s also easy enough to pull off for a weekend dinner. When the ham is finished, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Then, using a sharp slicing knife, make several cuts vertically from the top of the ham down towards the bone, stopping when the knife reaches the bone. Then, turn the knife horizontally and run it along the bone to free the slices. Repeat the process on the other side of the ham.
Now that the ham is carved, serve it with your favorite side dishes! It pairs well with any type of salad, like this Spinach, Lentil, and Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette or a Garlic Braised Greens and Chickpea Salad. It’s also fantastic on its own with any number of vegetable side dishes, like Parmesan Roasted Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Charred Corn, or Cauliflower-Parsnip Puree.
If you end up with leftovers, don’t be afraid to get creative. Glazed ham makes an incredible ham and cheese sandwich, but it can do so much more than sandwiches. Use thin slices to make baked breakfast cups or add large diced pieces to sweet potato hash. It’s also great in soup recipes like chowder, salads, casseroles, and more!
The Best and Easiest Glazed Ham Recipe for the Holidays
- 1 bone-in ham unsliced and fully cooked, about 5 to 7 pounds
- whole cloves (optional)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar packed
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Place the ham on a rack set inside a roasting pan or a large casserole dish.
- Score the surface of the ham, making 1/4-inch deep cuts in a diamond pattern. If desired, insert a whole clove into each diamond point.
- Cover the ham with a piece of foil and bake for 1-1/2 to 2hours, until it reaches 130°F.
- While the ham is baking, combine the honey, brown sugar,mustard, and apple cider vinegar.
- Remove the ham from the oven and discard the foil. Spread the glaze evenly over the ham.
- Bake for an additional 15 to 30 minutes, uncovered, until the ham reaches 140°F.
- Let the ham rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. If the ham is uncut, make several vertical cuts down towards the bone, stoppinng when the knife reaches the bone. Then, run the knife horizontally along the bone to free the slices. Turn the ham over and repeat the process. For a spiral cut ham, you'll only need to make the horizontal slice along.
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