Brown Sugar Glazed Ham is beautifully juicy, seeping with flavor, boasts crispy caramelized edges and the BEST Brown Sugar Glaze you will ever sink your teeth into! This Baked Ham is the perfect centerpiece for Easter and Christmas!
This Brown Sugar Glazed Ham Recipe made with brown, sugar, honey, mustard and spices is sweet, smoky and dripping with flavor AND it only takes minutes of hands on prep time! Whether it’s for Easter, Christmas or just a big family gathering, nothing is easier or more economical for a crowd than a beautifully caramelized baked ham. If you’ve never baked a ham before, don’t be intimidated, I’ve included detailed instructions on everything you need to know about How to Bake a Ham so you are guaranteed a masterfully cooked, incredibly tender, beautiful Brown Sugar Glazed Ham every time!
To me, Easter is the first real mark of spring and reminds me of all the reasons we have to be grateful. (You can read my Easter address I gave after my kidney transplant HERE). It is a time to gather with family and friends and to reflect on love, hope and new beginnings. And of course, we do this over food, and at my house, always over Baked Ham like my Cider Maple Glazed Ham and now this Brown Sugar Glazed Ham – only the best of the best for Easter!
There are thousands and thousands of Baked Ham recipes out there but what sets this baked ham recipe apart is the Brown Sugar Glaze for ham. It creates a crispy-sweet caramelized outside, yet juicy and smoky inside and plain drool worthy deliciousness all over.
This Baked Brown Sugar Glazed Ham post is really long because I want to answer any possible questions, but please don’t be intimidated by baking a ham – it is SO Simple. Hams are sold fully cooked and fully sliced, all the heavy lifting has already been done so all we have to do is smother it in Brown Sugar Glaze and warm it up!
What you need to know about buying ham for this glazed ham recipe
What kind of ham to buy for glazed ham
For or Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, you will want to purchase a fully cooked, bone-in, spiral cut ham.
- Fully Cooked: Most hams you find in the grocery store have been soaked in brine and either smoked, baked or boiled before being sold – that means they are already fully cooked and safe to eat cold straight out of the package. When purchasing your ham, just take care to check the label that it says “Fully Cooked” and not, “Cook before eating.”
- Bone in: To achieve the juiciest baked Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, it is important to use a bone-in ham. As in all meats, hams cooked with the bone are more flavorful and moist. And bonus, you get the ham bone for fabulous stock, stews and soups! Bone-in hams also boast superior texture because boneless hams have to be reshaped after the bone is removed so it won’t fall apart when sliced resulting in a bit of a spongy texture. And last I checked, spongy + ham = no Bueno.
- Spiral Cut: Most bone-in hams come spiral cut which means they are pre-sliced in a continuous spiral all the way around the bone resulting in thin slices that easily pull away AKA all the work is done for you! Now all that’s left is to reheat and make our best ever brown sugar glaze for ham!
How to know how much ham you will need for glazed ham
Estimate about ¾ pound of bone-in ham per person. So, a 10-pound bone-in will serve 13 people.
Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham
Baked hams are wonderfully salty and delicious all on their own but can be made extra special with a delectable Glaze. Ham Glazes add flavor, color, and texture and promote the glorious caramelization of the hams surface.
Glazes for baked hams should be a balance of sweet and tangy and the ham provides the savory salty. The best glaze for a baked ham contain either honey, brown sugar or maple syrup for the sweet and either mustard, vinegar, or some sort of juice for the tang. I went with a Brown Sugar Glaze for this ham and it is phenomenal and soooo easy!
This Brown Sugar Glaze is sweet, slightly tangy and boasts layers of subtle flavor from the spices. Many Glaze recipes don’t contain any other spices but that is like only salting carne asada and expecting it to be out-of-this-world. Not happening. If you don’t add seasonings to your glaze, you are missing serious opportunity to add flavor.
This Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham is a simple whisking of brown sugar, honey, Dijon, yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon and some hand-picked spices and simmering for a minute or so for the brown sugar to dissolve – that’s it! Most of the spices are ½ teaspoon or less with the exception of the cinnamon so we are creating a tapestry of flavor that is warm, delicate and comforting and not overpowering.
If you taste the Brown Sugar Glaze by itself, it will taste quite sweet but remember the ham is quite salty. The saltiness from the baked ham and the sweetness of the Brown Sugar Glaze are taste bud magic.
Just one note about the Brown Sugar Glaze, it will thicken upon standing. This is easily remedied, just be prepared to reheat it on your stove for 30 seconds or so when it’s time to brush your ham for the second and third time.
Brown sugar glaze ingredients
- Honey: Use light-colored and mild-tasting honey such as clover honey.
- Brown sugar: Use light brown sugar so its light molasses tones complements the ham without overpowering it.
- Apple cider vinegar: This cuts through the sweetness with fruity tanginess. Please do NOT substitute with any other vinegar.
- Dijon mustard: This boasts a tangy, sharp, strong flavor to cut through the sweet glaze. Use more or less to taste.
- Yellow mustard: This compliments the Dijon with its milder and creamier, straightforward tangy taste.
- Spices: A tapestry of spices create a complex flavor profile without overwhelming the ham. You’ll need ground cinnamon, onion powder, garlic powder, ground sage, dried parsley, ground nutmeg ground ginger, ground cloves, paprika, pepper, ancho chili powder.
How do you cook a precooked ham?
Things You’ll Need
- 8-11 pound fully cooked, bone-in spiralized ham
- Roasting pan preferably with a rack
- Brown Sugar Glaze
- Pastry brush
- Remove ham from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. This is the same method we use for roasting a turkey, as it allows the ham to cook more evenly without drying out the outside while we wait for the inside to heat though.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place your oven rack on the lowest level. This allows the center of the ham to remain in the center of the oven while baking, ensuring that it’s cooked evenly.
- Pour 2 cups water into bottom of roasting pan with a roasting rack. The water steams around the ham creating an even moister ham. If you don’t have a rack, you can just skip this step.
- Whisk Brown Sugar Glaze ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring often, until brown sugar dissolves, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Roll out 2 large pieces of foil to wrap your ham in, making sure they overlap in the center to create one large piece of foil. Place ham on foil, top/flat side up, and slather about ⅓ of the Brown Sugar Glaze all over your ham, including in between the slices. To apply the Brown Sugar Glaze to the ham, a pastry brush works beautifully.
- Tightly wrap Brown Sugar Glazed Ham with foil so it stays nice and juicy.
- Place the ham FLAT/FACE SIDE DOWN on the roasting rack (or bottom of pan if you don’t have one). Roasting in this position helps it from drying out.
- Bake the Brown Sugar Glazed Ham until the center registers 100-110 degrees F, (approx. 10-14 minutes per pound). Take care to limit the amount of times you open the oven to check the temperature to prevent the ham from drying out.
- Create gorgeously caramelized shell by removing Browns Sugar Glazed Ham from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Carefully unwrap ham from foil and discard foil, allowing any accumulating juices in foil to drip back into the pan. Spoon juices from the bottom of the pan all over ham. Brush ham all over with ⅓ Glaze. The Brown Sugar Glaze will have thickened so you will need to return it to the stove for approximately 30 seconds to loosen.
- Leave ham uncovered to caramelize the surface and bake until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F, approximately 20-30 minutes, spooning juices over ham after 10 minutes. If you want even deeper caramelization, you can broil your ham for a few minutes (watch closely so it doesn’t burn!), but I didn’t find this necessary as the Brown Sugar Glaze caramelizes quickly just from baking at the high heat.
- Remove Brown Sugar Glazed Ham from oven and spoon juices again all over ham then brush again with Glaze.
- Loosely cover baked ham with foil and let covered ham rest 15-25 minutes. While the ham is baking, juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the meat. The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the whole ham. You can even let your ham rest closer to an hour if that fits your schedule better and serve it at room temperature.
Now sit back and relax – because you don’t have to carve your Brown Sugar Glazed Ham! With minimal prep, you can enjoy this juicy, tender Brown Sugar Glazed Ham as your beautiful Easter centerpiece with its shimmering shell of caramelized brown sugar glaze goodness.
What temperature should I bake my ham?
Remember we are starting with a fully cooked, ready-to-eat ham, so we are simply reheating a ham that’s already been cooked. For that reason, a lower temperature of 325 degrees F is ideal to not dry out our Brown Sugar Glazed Ham.
How long do you cook a precooked ham?
We cook our Brown Sugar Glazed Ham to an internal temperature of 140 degrees F, just enough to warm it through, about 10-14 minutes per pound. We don’t want to overcook our ham or it will be dry (and remember it is safe to eat at any temperature). Allow approximately two hours for your 8-11-pound Brown Sugar Glazed Ham.
When you take the temperature of the ham, take care to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone. Also, limit the amount of times you open the oven and check the temperature to prevent the ham from drying out.
Brown sugar glaze FAQs
Yes, please do! Glazing is a common and delicious way to add flavor, sweetness, and a glossy finish to a smoked ham. The glaze can enhance the overall taste of the ham, creating a balanced contrast to the smoky and savory notes of the meat. Popular glaze ingredients for smoked ham include brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, pineapple juice, Dijon mustard, and cloves, among others. Glazing can be done during the final stages of cooking or reheating the ham, allowing the sugars in the glaze to caramelize and create a tasty, flavorful crust.
– Simmer or Reduce: As it heats, the liquid will evaporate, and the glaze will naturally thicken. Stir frequently to prevent burning or sticking. Be patient, as this process may take a few minutes.
– Add Cornstarch: Mix a small amount of cornstarch with water to create a slurry. Gradually whisk this slurry into the glaze while it’s simmering. Cook for a few minutes, and the glaze should thicken. Be sure to whisk continuously to avoid lumps.
If the sugar in your glaze is not fully dissolved, then it can be grainy. Take care you simmer it thoroughly to dissolve the sugar.
LOOKING FOR Side DISHES?
- Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese
- Potatoes Au Gratin
- Berry Feta Spinach Salad
- Company Mashed Potatoes
- Honey Garlic Roasted Carrots
- Brown Butter Roasted Asparagus
- Winter Fruit Salad or Summer Fruit Salad
- Sweet Cornbread
- Baked Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar
And of course, ham is the gift that keeps on giving not only as your star of Easter but it makes fantastic leftover sandwiches, soups, breakfast enchiladas, etc. and the ham bone means the best stock for soups, stews galore.
Brown Sugar Glazed Ham. From my house to yours, wishing you a very Happy Easter!
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Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
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- 1 (8-11 pounds) bone-in, fully cooked spiral-sliced ham
- Aluminum foil
- Roasting pan
Brown Sugar Glaze
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup clover honey
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp EACH onion powder, garlic powder, ground sage, dried parsley, ground nutmeg ground ginger, ground cloves, paprika
- 1/4 tsp EACH pepper, ancho chili powder
- Remove ham from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Pour 2 of cups water into bottom of roasting pan with a roasting rack. (Skip step if you don’t have a roasting rack.)
- Whisk together all of the Brown Sugar Glaze ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring often, until brown sugar dissolves, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Roll out 2 large pieces of foil to wrap your ham in, making sure they overlap in the center. Place ham on foil, flat side up, and brush ham all over with approximately ⅓ of the Glaze, including in between slices. Tightly wrap ham with foil and place ham FLAT/FACE SIDE DOWN on the roasting rack (or bottom of pan).
- Bake ham at 325 degrees F until the center registers 100-110 degrees F, (approx. 10-14 minutes per pound). Remove ham from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
- Carefully unwrap ham from foil and discard foil. Spoon juices from the bottom of the pan all over ham. Brush ham all over with ⅓ Glaze (Glaze will have thickened so return to heat to loosen, about 30 seconds).
- Leave ham uncovered to caramelize surface and bake until the ham reaches an internal temperature of around 140 degrees F, approximately 20-30 minutes, spooning juices over ham every 10 minutes.*** Turn oven to broil for more caramelized edges if desired watching closely so they don’t burn.
- Remove ham from oven and spoon juices from bottom of pan/foil again all over ham and brush again with Glaze. Loosely cover with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes then spoon more juices over ham and serve with any remaining Glaze (and my husband loves it with a side of Dijon as well).
- Optional: Serve with Easter or Christmas sides linked below recipe.
**You may substitute chili powder for ancho chili powder if you don’t keep it stocked.
***Take care to insert thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone. This temperature is safe as we are just heating the ham – it is already fully cooked. It is better to under “warm” your ham than to overcook it. Do not overcook your ham or it will be dry.
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