This Baked Ham with Apple Cider Maple Glaze is dripping with flavor, wonderfully moist and beautifully caramelized with the BEST glaze! It only takes minutes of hands on prep and feeds a crowd making it the perfect impressive, hassle free main dish for Christmas and Easter!
Christmas is NEXT WEEK! Can you believe it?! Although my parents will be in Europe (serving for our Church), my older brother from NY is coming to stay with me and my sister and her family just got back from 4 ½ months in Europe so it will be a fun family filled holiday!
And just like Christmas is a time for family and to celebrate our Savior, to me, it also is a time for Christmas ham. As early as I can remember, our family Christmas dinner centerpiece has always been a big juicy glazed ham. I looked forward to it for weeks in advance along with funeral potatoes (now replaced with Sweet Potato or Original Scalloped Potatoes Au Grain with Bacon and Gruyere!). So in anticipation of the upcoming Christmas feast, I’ve been experimenting with Glazes, because, what really sets a ham apart (aside from cooking it correctly so it remains juicy), is the Glaze. Its all about the Glaze. Its all about this Apple Cider Maple Glaze.
But before we get to the delectable Glaze, let’s talk ham. Not only is a baked ham one of the easiest dinners to prep for the holidays, it serves loads of people and is extremely economical. To achieve the juiciest ham, it is important to use a bone-in ham and to not overcook it, because after all, the spiral smoked ham is already cooked, we are just warming it through. A helpful trick to cook the ham evenly and not overcook the outside while trying to heat the inside, is to remove the ham from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before cooking and let it come close to room temperature.
Meanwhile, you make your heavenly Apple Cider Glaze. Its sweet with just a slight tang and is just plain lick the pan DE-licious. The Glaze is a concoction of apple cider, pure maple syrup (please, no imitation, Aunt Jemima here), Dijon mustard, yellow mustard apple cider vinegar and a pinch of aromatic cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, dried thyme, pepper, chili powder. HEAVEN. I’ve also added 2 teaspoons cornstarch to help the Glaze thicken so you only have to simmer and reduce the Glaze for about 20 minutes instead of an hour. And believe me, 20 minutes is much more conducive to not only weak knees but weak will power as the smell of this Glaze is incredible.
After your Apple Cider Maple Glaze has thickened, you slather about 1/3 of it all over your ham, in between the slices and every nook and cranny. Next, tightly wrap your ham in foil so it doesn’t dry out while roasting.
Next, if you have a roasting rack, I suggest placing 2 cups water in the bottom of your roasting pan then placing your rack on top. This creates an even moister ham, but if you don’t have a rack, you can just skip this step and your ham will still be delish.
Bake your ham for about 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches about 110 degrees F, because remember, we are just heating the ham, not cooking it. Remove the ham from the oven, envelop in Apple Cider Maple Glaze again, then continue to cook at 400 degrees F, with the ham exposed for 20 more minutes as the edges brown and the Glaze caramelizes. If you want even deeper caramelization, you can broil your ham for a few minutes, but I didn’t find this necessary as the sugary Glaze caramelizes quickly just from baking at the high heat.
Then all that’s left is to remove the ham from the oven, Glaze once more and spoon the flavorful juices from the bottom of the pan all over the ham. Cover the ham loosely with aluminum foil and let sit for 15 minutes to reabsorb the juices then carve away your gorgeous, caramelized Apple Cider Maple Glazed Ham to the oohs and ahs of your family as they drool at your gorgeous, masterfully cooked ham. As everyone sinks their teeth into the wonderfully moist ham, the oohs and ahs will transform into mmmmmm…..mmmmmm…..mmmmmm…..
That’s a Christmas ham.
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