Honey Baked Ham is easy to make at home!
This Honey Baked Ham is unbelievably juicy, bursting with flavor and boasts an intoxicating caramelized sugar coating. While it is not an exact copycat of the popular HoneyBaked Ham Store version, I dare say it is the BEST Honey Baked Ham you will ever taste – store bought OR homemade! To top it all off, this Honey Baked Ham costs a fraction of what you would spend at the HoneyBaked Ham Store – and you don’t have to wait in line or worry about them running out! This Honey Glazed Ham tastes gourmet but is super easy to make and will impress all of your Easter and Christmas guests!
Happy almost Easter! When I think of Easter, I think of the reason for the season and family gathered around a feast of food, with ham as the prized centerpiece – it simply isn’t Easter without ham! and you are going to LOVE this Honey Baked Ham recipe!
This Honey Glazed Ham is based off of my popular Brown Sugar Glazed Ham but instead of brown sugar, I use honey, granulated sugar and apricot preserves for a multi-dimensional sweetness. The Honey Baked Ham is sweet, tender, smoky and dripping with flavor due to hints of a plethora of warm spices.
And best of all? This Honey Baked Ham doesn’t cost you $75-$100 and it only takes minutes of hand’s on prep! It is actually one of the easiest and most economical main courses you can make for the holidays – and the leftovers keep on on giving! Once you discover how easy it is to make Honey Baked Ham at home – you will never go back!
If you’ve never baked a ham before, I’m excited for you to kick it off with this Honey Glazed Ham recipe. I’ve included detailed instructions and step-by step photos on everything you need to know about What Ham to Buy, and How to Bake a Ham so you are guaranteed a juicy inside and beautifully caramelized outside every time.
And if you’re intimidated – just remember, hams are sold fully cooked and fully sliced – ALL you have to do is slather on the glaze, warm it up and Honey Baked Ham is served!
What Kind of Ham Should I Buy?
For the best Honey Baked Ham, you want to purchase a fully cooked, bone-in, spiral cut ham. It is easy to find fully cooked hams at the grocery store, just look for “Fully Cooked” and not, “Cook before eating” on the label.
Fully cooked hams have been soaked in brine (tender!) and either smoked, baked or boiled before packaging. This means they are completely cooked and therefore completely safe to eat without even warming up!
Which is better bone-in or boneless ham?
Bone-in hams boast superior texture and flavor to boneless hams. The bone in hams is surrounded by connective tissue, mostly collagen. As the gelatin melts, it essentially is self-basting and keeps the meat incredibly moist and flavorful. And bonus, you get the ham bone for fabulous stock, stews and soups!
Boneless hams, on the other hand, are the same cut of bone-in ham but the bone has been removed and the ham has been reshaped so it won’t fall apart when sliced. This process of compacting and reshaping the ham results in a bit of a spongy texture – which has no place in the best Honey Baked Ham.
What is the best cut of ham?
For this Honey Baked Ham recipe, you want a spiral-cut ham. Most bone-in hams come spiral cut which means they are pre-sliced in a continuous spiral all the way around the bone. This is beneficial for two important reasons:
- most importantly, slices allow you to slather glaze in between every slice which means the ham is flavorful through and through and not just on the surface – you CANNOT achieve this depth of flavor without a pre-sliced ham.
- all the work is done for you! Simply pull the slices away instead of laboriously carving your baked ham.
How Much Ham Should I Buy?
Assuming you are going to serve your baked ham with a few sides, I would estimate about 3/4 pound of bone-in ham per person. So, a 10-pound bone-in honey glazed ham will serve 13 people.
What temperature should I bake my ham?
This Honey Baked Ham recipe starts with a fully cooked, ready-to-eat ham. Remember, we are not cooking the ham, we are reheating the ham so we want to cook it at the lower temperature of 325 degrees F. This warms our ham without drying it out. We will then increase the temperature to 400 degrees F just for 20 minutes or so to caramelize the outside.
Ham Cooking Time
We want to cook our Honey Baked Ham to an internal temperature of 135 degrees F. This temperature is just enough to warm it through and will take about 10-13 minutes per pound. We don’t want to overcook our ham or it will be dry – in fact it is better to “under cook” your ham than to over cook it, as this ham is safe to eat at any temperature and tastes fabulous at room temperature as well. Allow approximately two hours for your 8-11-pound Honey Glazed Ham.
How do You Check the temperature of Baked Ham?
To check the temperature of baked ham, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the ham without touching the bone, as the bone conducts heat and will be a much higher temperature than the meat. Also, only check the ham after 90 minutes and limit the amount of times you check the temperature to prevent the ham from drying out.
Baked hams are sensationally smokey and salty, just begging to be balanced by a luscious sweet glaze. Ham Glazes not only add flavor as they cradle every nook and cranny, but they also promote fabulous texture as they aid in the glorious caramelization of the ham’s entire surface.
Ham glazes are all about balance. The ham provides the salty, and the glaze provides the sweet but it also needs to be balanced by some sort of acidity and rounded out by seasonings – so it’s not just sweet.
The best glazes for a baked ham are sweetened by either honey, granulated sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup or even jam. The acidity comes from either mustard, vinegar, or fruit juice. Many ham glaze recipes don’t contain any spices – but that is like just salting a turkey and expecting 5 star results – not happening. If you don’t add seasonings to your glaze, you are missing serious opportunity to pump up the YUM factor.
The glaze for this Honey Baked Ham is sweet, slightly tangy with hints of spices. I’ve combined sweet from honey, granulated sugar and apricot preserves for a multi-dimensional sweetness, acidity from Dijon mustard, yellow mustard and apple cider vinegar and flavor from a bevy of hand-picked seasonings.
Most of the spices are 1/2 teaspoon or less to create a symphony of flavor that is warm, delicate and comforting – none of the seasonings are overpowering, rather they work together to create a palate pleasing, taste bud satisfying experience. All these elements – the sweet, the acidity and the spices combine to create a luscious, intoxicating glaze that makes the Honey Baked Ham.
Honey Glaze For Ham
To make the Honey Glaze for this ham, simply whisk together honey, granulate sugar, apricot preserves, Dijon, yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground sage, pepper and ancho chili powder in a saucepan. Simmer for a minute or two so the granulated sugar dissolves and the apricot preserves melt.
If you’ve never baked with apricot preserves before – they are my FAVORITE way to add multi-dimensional sweetness. The apricot preserves add a sweetness and compliment the honey without overpowering it. I use apricot preserves in my Honey Buffalo Meatballs, Maple Chicken, Roasted Honey Carrots and more. These glazes are all my favorites – and the common denominator – apricot perseveres! So I knew just what to do to make this this the BEST honey glaze for ham.
If you taste the honey glaze by itself – it will be deliciously sweet and tangy, but you might feel like it is missing something – and that something is the saltiness of the ham. Salt enhances all the flavors and rounds out the flavor profile. Once the ham and the honey glaze unite – magic happens.
Ham with Sugar Glaze
You can just use the honey glaze for your honey glazed ham – and it will be satisfyingly sweet and salty, OR you can also coat the ham in sugar the last few minutes and broil. This extra sugar shell makes the ham, well – sweeter, and creates an even more tantalizing caramelized crust.
I like to use half granulated sugar and half brown sugar for a balanced flavor, but you can use more or less of whatever sugar you prefer.
Both Patrick and I love the Honey Baked Ham both ways – just with glaze – and with glaze and sugar coating – but in the end, the sugar crusted ham is our FAV. Just be aware that the sugar coated ham is on the sweeter side – which we love. If you don’t want it as sweet, you can certainly use less sugar or omit this step completely.
What do I need for Honey Baked Ham?
- 8-11 pound fully cooked, bone-in spiralized ham
- Roasting pan preferably with a rack
- Honey Glaze
- Pastry brush
What If I Don’t Own a Roasting Pan?
If you don’t own a roasting pan, you can purchase a disposable aluminum foil pan at the grocery store for just a few dollars – they even sell them at the dollar store – for only a dollar! Disposable pans are quire flimsy, so always transfer with two hands firmly gripping each side.
What if I don’t have a thermometer?
I HIGHLY recommend an instant-read meat thermometer if you don’t own one. They come in handy ALL the time when cooking chicken, steak, turkey, HAM, etc.
That being said, a meat thermometer isn’t as crucial with this Honey Baked Ham recipe as it is with turkey or other proteins that don’t come fully cooked. This baked ham is safe to eat straight out the packaging so the thermometer is used to know when the ham is heated through completely and helps you to warm the ham without drying it out.
If you don’t own an instant-read thermometer, I suggest baking the ham for just 10 minutes per pound to be on the safe side, then for just 10 minutes at 400 degrees F when called for. This way your ham is pretty much guaranteed to not be dry – but it is not guaranteed to be warmed through either. If you want a guarantee – use a thermometer :).
How to cook a ham?
- Come to room temperature: remove ham from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours. This is the same method we use for roasting a turkey, as it allows the ham to cook more evenly – instead of drying out the outside while waiting for the inside to heat through.
- Preheat oven: preheat your oven to 325 degrees F while you place the 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.
- Add water: 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 skip this step.
- Make Honey Glaze: whisk the Honey Glaze ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Glaze ham: 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, or on its side if it won’t stand up. Using a pastry brush, slather about 1/3 of the Honey Glaze all over the outside of the ham and in between the slices.
- Wrap ham: tightly wrap Honey Glazed Ham with the foil its laying on so it stays nice and juicy while baking.
- Place on rack: Place the ham FLAT/FACE SIDE DOWN on the roasting rack (or bottom of pan if you don’t have a rack). Roasting in this position helps prevent the ham from drying out.
- Baste and glaze: remove honey glazed ham from the oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Carefully unwrap ham from foil so the steam doesn’t burn your face. Discard foil, allowing any accumulating juices in the bottom of the foil to drip back into the pan. Spoon juices from the bottom of the pan all over the outside of the ham. Brush ham all over with 1/3 Glaze, including in between slices. If your honey glaze has thickened too much, you can heat it on the stove top for 30 seconds or so to loosen (I have never had to do this).
- Caramelize: leave ham uncovered and bake for 10- 20 minutes, until it reaches 130 degrees F, spooning juices over ham after 10 minutes. This gives the ham deeper caramelized flavor through and through before we add the sugar crust.
- Sugar Coating: remove Honey Glazed Ham from the oven and spoon juices again all over ham then brush again with Glaze. Next, whisk together half brown sugar and half granulated sugar and press into the surface of the ham. Keep track of where you have added the sugar because it will disappear into the glaze.
- Broil: return ham to oven and broil until caramelized, about 4-6 minutes, keeping a close eye on your ham so it doesn’t burn. You’re watching for the outside to start bubbling and turn golden. You may need to cover the top of your ham with foil to prevent excess browning or rotate your ham. I even will turn the baked ham on its side and flip a few times if I’m feeling extra gourmet so it browns evenly.
- Can I use a blowtorch? While authentic Honeybaked ham uses a blow torch, I strongly advise against it. It is very risky and unnecessary when the oven can serve as your blowtorch.
- Let rest: loosely cover Honey Baked Ham with foil and let rest for 15-25 minutes. This will allow the crust to harden slightly and more importantly, allow time for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the whole ham.
- Serve: Now sit back and relax – because you don’t have to carve your Honey Baked Ham!
How to Decorate Baked Ham
Your gorgeous caramelized Honey Baked Ham deserves a gorgeous presentation. Want to know my EASY secret? Purchase a bouquet of flowers or use flowers from your garden and place them around your ham on platter – that’s it for a stunning presentation!
SHOULD HONEY BAKED HAM BE SERVED AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?
You can let your Honey Baked Ham rest just for 15-25 minutes to reabsorb the juices and serve warm or rest closer to an hour if that fits your schedule better and serve it at room temperature. You can even serve your honey glazed ham cold, but I find this temperature more enjoyable and appropriate when using cold ham for sandwiches and not with hot sides.
What Sides are best with Baked Ham?
This Honey Baked Ham recipe pairs beautiful with all your favorite sides! It goes with:
- Pasta Salads: Creamy Bacon Pea Pasta Salad, BLT Pasta Salad with Lemon Chive Dressing,Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad, Greek Pasta Salad
- Green Salads: a big green salad, Spinach Berry Salad,Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad, Wedge Salad, Apple Cranberry Salad, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Corn Salad, Strawberry Salad
- Fruit Salads: Perfect Fruit Salad, Creamy Grape Salad, Pina Colada Fruit Salad, Berry Salad in Honey Mascarpone Dressing, Winter Fruit Salad
- Breads: Cheesy Pull Apart Pesto Bread, Award Winning Cornbread, Perfect Dinner Rolls, Buttery Breadsticks
- Potatoes: Company Mashed Potatoes, Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes, Smashed Potatoes, Twice Baked Potatoes, Au Gratin Potatoes, Scalloped Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Pesto Potatoes
- Classics: Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese, Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
- Veggies: Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Broccolini, Roasted Cauliflower, Roasted Carrots, Sauted Brussels Spouts, Glazed Carrots
How to use leftover Ham
Ham is the gift that keeps on giving! It reheats well for leftovers or can be transformed entirely into something new! Try it in:
- sandwiches (Cubano) or ham and cheese sliders
- breakfast croissants
- Cubano quesadillas
- grilled cheese
- breakfast enchiladas
- breakfast casseroles
- pasta casseroles like macaroni and cheese
- cold pasta salad
- ham and rice casserole
- rice (like Hawaiian fried rice)
- scrambled eggs
- frittata, quiche or stratta
- potato hash
- scalloped potatoes
- Hawaiian pizza or stromboli
- substitute ham for ANY RECIPE with chicken!
HOW LONG IS LEFTOVER HAM GOOD FOR?
Leftover baked ham should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When properly stored, ham is good up to 5 days. Beyond, that, freeze any uneaten ham.
CAN I FREEZE LEFTOVER HAM?
Yes! I love having leftover baked ham just so I can freeze it for a rainy day! You can freeze ham in slices for sandwiches or chop it up for future eggs, omelettes, casseroles, soups, enchiladas, etc. Frozen ham should be used within 3-4 months.
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