Spiral Ham with pineapple ham glaze is easy to make at home and guaranteed to impress!
This pineapple glazed ham makes a beautiful centerpiece for any special occasion including Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas! It’s wonderfully juicy and bursting with flavor from the intoxicating caramelized pineapple ham glaze. To top it all off, this spiral ham with brown sugar pineapple ham glaze is super easy to make, just simmer the pineapple glaze ingredients together, slather it all over the spiral ham and bake!
I love baking ham for special occasions because it’s an easy, fool proof, main dish that everyone loves. Some of our favorite spiral ham recipes include honey baked ham, brown sugar ham, maple glazed ham and now this pineapple glazed ham!
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spiral HAM recipe
The magic of this spiral ham recipe comes from the brown sugar pineapple ham glaze. It’s made with pineapple juice, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, ground cinnamon, ginger, coriander, basil, cloves and my secret ingredient – pineapple preserves. The pineapple preserves add concentrated pineapple flavor that can’t be achieved any other way (other than hours of simmering). And if you can’t find pineapple preserves, no fear, pineapple-apricot preserves are readily available and also scrumptious. The resulting pineapple glazed ham glaze is sweet, tender, smoky, laced with warm spices and pineapple undertones.
And best of all? This spiral ham with pineapple ham glaze doesn’t cost you $75-$100 like honey baked ham, and it only takes minutes of hands-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 giving! Once you discover how easy it is to make pineapple ham at home – you will never go back!
If you’ve never made spiral ham before, I’m excited for you to kick it off with this pineapple 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 pineapple glaze, warm it up and the best pineapple ham is served!
pineapple ham glaze ingredients
The ingredients for the pineapple ham glaze are pretty straightforward, the only ingredient you may need to track down are the pineapple preserves. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pineapple preserves: Add concentrated pineapple flavor to the glaze without hours of simmering. Some grocery stores carry them, so do not, so I would call around before heading out just for this ingredients. If you can’t locate pineapple preserves, you can order them on Amazon here. Otherwise, I have seen pineapple apricot preserves at almost every grocery store which would make a great substitute.
- Pineapple juice: Usually comes in a pack of 6 oz. cans located with the juices which are the perfect size for recipes. I freeze leftover pineapple juice in plastic bags for smoothies or acai bowls – so good.
- Orange juice: Enhances the fruity flavor and tanginess of the pineapple juice. You can use fresh or freshly squeezed bottled orange juice.
- Brown sugar: Adds a hint of molasses that granulated sugar is missing that plays beautifully with the warm spices and smoky ham. If you don’t have brown sugar, you may substitute granulated sugar or half granulated sugar, half honey.
- Butter: Creates a luxuriously buttery base to the glaze. Make sure to use unsalted butter because the spiral ham is already very salty.
- Dijon mustard: Boasts a tangy, sharp, strong flavor to cut through the sweet glaze. Use more or less to taste. I don’t suggest using yellow deli mustard because it tastes flat but you could use spicy brown mustard or stone ground mustard.
- Spices: Pineapple plays well with a number of spices, so I added a hint of ground cinnamon, onion powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, dried basil, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves, paprika, and pepper. It’s a lot of seasonings but they do not overwhelm the pineapple ham glaze – rather they create a mesmerizing tapestry of flavor.
WHAT IS spiral cut HAM?
For this pineapple glazed ham, 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. SO EASY!
WHAT KIND OF HAM SHOULD I BUY?
For the best pineapple glazed 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!
I prefer smoked spiral ham for this pineapple ham recipe. The smokiness plays beautifully with the sweet and tangy pineapple – and it adds so much flavor! If you can’t find smoked spiral ham, then baked is great too.
Should I buy BONE-IN OR BONELESS HAM?
Bone-in hams boast superior texture and flavor to boneless hams. The bone-in hams are 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 baked ham recipe!
How to Cook a Spiral Ham (with Pineapple Glaze)
How to make pineapple glaze for ham
- Mix – To make the ham glaze recipe with brown sugar pineapple, add the pineapple juice, pineapple preserves, butter, brown sugar, mustard and seasonings to a saucepan.
- Melt – Melt the butter over medium heat then simmer for about 7 minutes or until the glaze is syrupy. You want it thick enough to stick to the ham, but thin enough that it’s easily spreadable. If it becomes too thick, then thin with some water over low heat.
- Taste test – If you taste the pineapple ham glaze by itself – it will be deliciously sweet, but you might feel like it’s too sweet or missing something – and that something is the saltiness of the ham. Salt balances the sweetness, enhances the spices and rounds out the flavor profile. Once the spiral ham and the pineapple glaze unite – magic happens.
Pineapple Ham Tools
Now that we have the pineapple ham glaze squared away, it’s time to talk ham. To cook the spiral ham you will need:
- 8-11 pound fully cooked, bone-in spiralized ham
- Roasting pan, preferably with a rack
- Pineapple Glaze
- Basting 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.
HOW TO COOK a spiral HAM
Now onto the main event – actually cooking a spiral ham. It’s easy, with minimal prep and fabulous dividends. Here’s how:
- Let the ham come to room temperature: Remove the spiral 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.
- Add water to the pan: 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 the pineapple ham glaze: Add all of the brown sugar pineapple ham glaze ingredients to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium until butter melts, then bring to a simmer, stirring often, until the glaze thickens to the consistency of syrup, about 7 minutes (you don’t want it too thick).
- 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 ½ of the pineapple ham glaze all over the outside of the ham and in between the slices.
- Wrap ham: Tightly wrap the pineapple glazed ham with the foil it is laying on so it stays nice and juicy while baking. 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.
- Bake the ham: This will depend the size of your ham, but plan on about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Glaze ham again: Remove the pineapple 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 and discard the foil. Brush ham all over with the remaining pineapple ham glaze, including in between slices.
- Caramelize the outside of the ham: Leave the spiral ham uncovered and bake for about 20 minutes or until the outside of the ham is caramelized.
- Let rest: loosely cover the pineapple glazed ham with foil and let rest for 15-minutes. This will allow 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 spiral ham!
Pineapple Spiral Ham Recipe Tips
- Bring ham to room temperature: Plan on removing your ham from the refrigerator 2-3 hours ahead of time so it can come to room temperature and cook evenly.
- Don’t make glaze too thick: The glaze is ready when it is the consistency of syrup, just thick enough to stick to the ham. To thin the glaze after it thickens for the second glazing, you can heat over low heat in the same saucepan or microwave it for 30 seconds or until it returns to the consistency of syrup. You can add splash of water to help thin if needed.
- Don’t overcook: Because the ham is already cooked, it can dry out easily if overcooked. Use your meat thermometer and check your ham right at 10 minutes per pound then as needed to achieve the correct temperature. Better yet, use a digital probe thermometer, and set the desired temperature.
- Let the ham rest: Do NOT skip the resting period once the spiral ham is pulled from the oven. Letting the pineapple ham rest makes the ham ultra juicy!
My favorite thermometer for spiral ham
For perfectly cooked spiral ham that you don’t have to babysit, I suggest this digital probe thermometer- it retrieves temperature precisely to within ±1.8°f (±1°c )! I use it on baked chicken, pork tenderloin, pork loin, beef tenderloin, steak, etc. in the oven and on for meat on the grill too! The thermometer allows you to set the desired temperature and an alarm will set as soon as it reaches the set temperature.
Note, if you’ve never used a probe thermometer before, the LCD display does NOT go in the oven or barbecue! You insert the probes into the meat and weave the cables out of the oven and the magnetic back allows you to stick it on your oven door or you can use the flip-out countertop stand.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A THERMOMETER?
If you don’t own an instant-read thermometer, I suggest baking the ham for just 11 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 Serve Spiral Ham
WHAT SIDES ARE BEST WITH pineapple HAM?
This pineapple glazed ham pairs beautifully with all your favorite sides! We particularly love it with Hash Brown Casserole, Pina Colada Fruit Salad, and Baked Parmesan Asparagus. And you can’t skip dessert! Here’s a snapshot of options to choose from or you can see them all on my Easter page:
- Potatoes: are a must with baked spiral ham! Try any of these potato favorites to complete your pineapple glaze ham dinner: Company Mashed Potatoes, Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes, Smashed Potatoes, Twice Baked Potatoes, Au Gratin Potatoes, Hash Brown Casserole or Roasted Pesto Potatoes.
- Risotto: if you’re more of a rice than a potato person, get your comforting carbs in the form of risotto! My risotto recipes are all baked in the oven so they are hand’s off, foolproof and SO EASY. And of course, they taste divine. You can bake the risotto while your ham is resting or bake them before the ham and reheat on the stove because they reheat beautifully! You’ll be drooling over Parmesan Risotto, Mushroom Risotto and Butternut Squash Risotto.
- Green Salads: you have a variety to choose from depending on whether this is an Easter Ham or Christmas Ham. We love Strawberry Salad Spinach Berry Salad and Strawberry Broccoli Salad in the spring and Apple Salad, Fall Salad, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad and Roasted Beet Salad in the winter.
- Fruit Salads: are a refreshing side to the savory ham. Perfect Fruit Salad, Creamy Grape Salad, Pina Colada Fruit Salad, Winter Fruit Salad and Berry Salad in Honey Mascarpone Dressing will amp up your fruit game!
- Pasta Salads: scream spring and are a light, refreshing side to the ham. Creamy Bacon Pea Pasta Salad, BLT Pasta Salad with Lemon Chive Dressing, Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad, Greek Pasta Salad and Italian Pasta Salad are all favs.
- Veggies: you can have your sheet pan veggies all prepped and ready to go then throw them in the last few minutes with the ham to cook because the roasting times are very similar. Try Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Root Vegetables or Roasted Carrots, in the oven or Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Glazed Carrots or Brown Butter Balsamic Asparagus on the stove.
- Casseroles: you probably don’t hear the word “casserole” and think special occasion, but these casseroles pair beautifully with this pineapple spiral ham and will elevate any plate: Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese, Zucchini Casserole, Green Bean Casserole or Creamy Brussels Sprouts.
- Breads: You can go as simple as store-bought rolls or as fabulous as Cheesy Pull Apart Pesto Bread, Award Winning Cornbread, Perfect Dinner Rolls, or Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.
- Dessert: there are too many fabulous desserts to list here, so I recommend checking out my Easer desserts page. Some of my favorites include Lemon Pound Poke Cake, Kentucky Butter Cake, Crème Brûlée, Chocolate Raspberry Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Blueberry Cheesecake, Hummingbird Cake, Lemon Blueberry Cake, Cream Cheese Stuffed Carrot Cake.
SHOULD baked HAM BE SERVED AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?
Let the pineapple glazed ham rest just for 15 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.
Pineapple Glazed Spiral Ham Storage
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.
How to reheat spiral ham?
Reheat the pineapple ham in a 325-degree F oven for no more than 10 minutes per pound, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees F. If reheating just a few slices of ham, wrap the slices in foil and check after 5 minutes.
Can you freeze a spiral 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.
HOW TO USE LEFTOVER baked HAM
Baked ham is the gift that keeps on giving! It reheats well for leftovers or can be transformed entirely into something new! Try it in:
- ham and cheese sandwiches, Cubanos, Monte Cristo sandwiches or ham and cheese sliders
- Cubano quesadillas
- grilled ham and cheese
- green salad such as antipasto salad or cobb salad
- cold pasta salad such as Italian pasta salad
- soups such as white bean, ham tortellini soup, chicken cordon bleu soup, navy bean soup and bean and bacon soup
- pasta such as homemade mac and cheese
- casseroles such as baked mac and cheese or ham and rice casserole, or swap ham for the protein in chicken divan, King ranch casserole, tuna casserole, etc.
- potatoes such as scalloped potatoes or hash brown potato casserole
- Hawaiian pizza or Stromboli
- rice (like Hawaiian fried rice)
- breakfast croissants
- breakfast enchiladas
- breakfast casseroles
- scrambled eggs
- frittata, quiche or strata
- potato hash
- hash browns
- substitute ham for ANY RECIPE with chicken!
Pineapple Ham Recipe FAQs
Assuming you are going to serve your spiral ham with brown sugar pineapple ham glaze with a few sides, I would estimate about ¾ pound of bone-in spiral ham per person. So, a 10-pound bone-in spiral ham will serve 13 people.
This pineapple glazed spiral ham 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 of the ham
Allow approximately two hours to cook an 8-11-pound spiral ham. The ham should be cooked to cook to an internal temperature of 135 degrees F. This temperature is just enough to warm it through and will take about 13-15 minutes per pound. We will divide the cooking time up and cook for 10-13 minutes per pound to reach 100-110 degrees F and then remove the foil to finish cooking to 135 degrees F as the outside caramelizes.
You don’t want to overcook the ham or it will be dry – in fact it is better to “under cook” your ham than to overcook it, as this ham is safe to eat at any temperature and tastes fabulous at room temperature as well.
To check the temperature of baked spiral 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 number of times you check the temperature to prevent the ham from drying out.
It is best to wrap the spiral ham in foil while baking for the majority of time so it stays moist while reheating. After about 90 minutes or 100 degrees, unwrap the ham and bake it uncovered to achieve golden caramelization all over the outside of the ham.
A 10-pound spiral ham will take approximation 15-20 minutes per pound to cook at 325 degrees F. First, bake until the center of the ham registers 100-110 degrees F. Remove ham from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Leave ham uncovered to caramelize surface and bake until the ham reaches an internal temperature of around 130 degrees F, approximately 15-20 minutes.
Using fresh pineapple on ham can be problematic because it contains an enzyme called bromelain, which can break down proteins. When fresh pineapple is placed directly on ham and cooked together, the bromelain can tenderize the meat too much, resulting in a mushy texture and potentially affecting the overall quality of the dish. Canned pineapple, on the other hand, is used because it has been processed to reduce its enzymatic activity so it complements the ham’s flavor and texture without adversely affecting it.
Tools Used in This Recipe
Pineapple Glaze for Spiral Ham (and How to Cook a Spiral Ham)
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Pineapple Ham Glaze
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup pineapple preserves or apricot pineapple preserves
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, ground coriander, dried basil, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves, paprika, pepper
Sugar Coating (Optional)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Remove ham from refrigerator and let rest on the counter for 2-3 hours to come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Line a roasting pan with foil for easy cleanup. Pour 2 of cups water into bottom of roasting pan. (Skip the water if you don’t have a roasting rack.)
- Add all of the Pineapple Glaze ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium until butter melts, then bring to a simmer, stirring often, until the glaze thickens to the consistency of syrup, about 7 minutes (you don’t want it too thick).
- Roll out 2 large pieces of foil to wrap your ham in, making sure they overlap in the center. Lay ham on its side in the center of the foil and brush ham all over with approximately half of the Glaze, including in between slices (reserve remaining Glaze for later). 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. 10-13 minutes per pound). Remove ham from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
- Rewarm the Glaze in the saucepan or in the microwave until it thins again to the consistency of syrup (it will have thickened upon standing). Carefully unwrap ham from foil and discard foil. Baste the ham with juices in the bottom of the pan, then brush ham all over and in between slices with the remaining Glaze.
- Leave ham uncovered to caramelize surface and bake until the ham reaches an internal temperature of around 130 degrees F, approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Continue with step below or remove ham from oven and loosely cover with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve plain or husband loves it with a side of Dijon. See tons of side serving options above the recipe. Enjoy!
Sugar Coating: optional for sweeter, more caramelized exterior
- Whisk together ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup brown sugar in a small bowl. When cool enough to handle, pat sugar all over exterior of ham. Return ham to oven and let broil, uncovered for 4-6 minutes, watching closely so the ham doesn't burn. You may need to place foil on the top of the ham. Remove ham when the sugar is bubbly and caramelized.
- Loosely cover ham with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve plain or husband loves it with a side of Dijon. See tons of side serving options above the recipe. Enjoy!
Cooking Tips for Success
- Pineapple preserves: Add concentrated pineapple flavor to the glaze without hours of simmering. Some grocery stores carry them, so do not, so I would call around before heading out just for this ingredients. If you can’t locate pineapple preserves, you can order them on Amazon here. Otherwise, I have seen pineapple apricot preserves at almost every grocery store which would make a great substitute. As a last resort, you can use apricot preserves which are readily available.
- Don’t overcook ham: Remember, we are not cooking the ham, we are reheating the ham, so we don’t want to overcook it or it will be dry. It is better to under “warm” your ham than to overcook it.
- To check the ham temperature: 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.
- My favorite thermometer: For perfectly cooked spiral ham that you don’t have to babysit, I suggest this digital probe thermometer- it retrieves temperature precisely to within ±1.8°f (±1°c )! The thermometer allows you to set the desired temperature and an alarm will set as soon as it reaches the set temperature. Of course, this isn’t necessary, you can also use an instant read thermometer.
- To decorate ham: For an EASY, gorgeous presentation, purchase a bouquet of flowers or use flowers from your garden and place them around your ham on platter.
- Sides dish recipes: See post for tons of side dish ideas or see all my Easter recipe here and my Christmas recipes here.
HOW to store and reheat
- Leftovers: See post for tons of leftover ham ideas!
- To store: 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.
- To freeze: 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.
- To reheat: Reheat the pineapple ham in a 325-degree F oven for no more than 10 minutes per pound, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees F. If reheating just a few slices of ham, wrap the slices in foil and check after 5 minutes.
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