This baked ham is coated in a homemade brown sugar glaze, then cooked until golden brown and caramelized. A super easy holiday ham recipe that is a show stopping main course fit for any special occasion.
There’s nothing better than a baked ham smothered in sweet glaze to kick off the holidays. Pair your ham with a variety of delicious side dishes, such as mashed potato casserole and candied carrots, for the perfect meal.
Baked ham is a must-have for a celebratory dinner, and this version is the best I’ve ever had. The ham is baked until tender and juicy, then coated in a brown sugar glaze with hints of orange and spice. Best of all, it’s simple to make with minimal prep time.
How do you make baked ham?
This recipe starts with a homemade glaze that consists of butter, brown sugar, orange juice and spices. Pour half the glaze over your ham, then cover the ham with foil. Bake the ham until it’s completely warmed through. Remove the foil, then brush the rest of the glaze over the ham. Increase the oven temperature, then bake the ham uncovered until it has caramelized. Slice and serve immediately.
Tips for the perfect baked ham
- I prefer to make this recipe with a bone-in spiral cut ham. You can also use a bone-in half shank, and score the top with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern to let the glaze soak in. Another option is a boneless ham, but this cut is more likely to dry out which is why I typically choose bone-in varieties.
- It is best to use freshly squeezed orange juice for the glaze, as it has a lot more flavor than commercial orange juice.
- I recommend preparing the glaze just before you plan to use it. The glaze will harden in the fridge if you try to make it in advance. If your glaze thickens up more than you’d like, you can microwave it for about 30 seconds to loosen it back up again.
HOW LONG DO YOU BAKE A HAM?
A ham needs to cook for about 15 minutes per pound in the oven at 350 degrees F. This is for a standard bone-in half ham around 7-8 pounds in size. A boneless ham will typically cook at the rate of 10 minutes per pound.
HOW MUCH HAM DO YOU NEED PER PERSON?
You can plan on serving about 3/4 pound of ham per person for a bone-in ham, or 1/2 pound of ham for a boneless ham. If you’d like a lot of leftovers at the end of your meal, you can increase this amount to 1 pound of ham per person you plan to serve.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN HAM IS COOKED?
The majority of hams are pre-cooked, all you’re actually doing is warming your ham through to the proper temperature for food safety purposes. A ham is ready to eat when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the ham reads at least 145 degrees F. Be sure that the thermometer does not touch the bone, as this will lead to a less accurate reading.
BAKED HAM VARIATIONS
I typically make this recipe as written, but sometimes I use other ingredients depending on what I have on hand.
- Liquid: Instead of orange juice, try using 1/2 cup of apple cider, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, honey or maple syrup.
- Spices: Skip the cinnamon and nutmeg, and try pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon with a pinch of ginger, or even a bit of ground cardamom.
- Flavorings: Try adding other flavors to the mix such as cayenne pepper, Dijon mustard, fresh minced rosemary or a bit of garlic powder.
What to serve with ham
I recommend serving a variety of side dishes, including at least one starch and vegetable. Here are some of my favorite options.
- Roasted Green Beans
- Honey Cornbread
- Cranberry Jello Salad
- Garlic Butter Mushrooms
- Roasted Root Vegetables
This baked ham is the absolute best for feeding a large crowd, and the sweet and savory flavors just can’t be beat!
Baked Ham Video
Baked Ham with Brown Sugar
- 8 lb bone in spiral cut ham
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice fresh squeezed
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- cooking spray
- fresh herbs and fruit for garnish optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a large baking pan with cooking spray.
- Add the butter, brown sugar, orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg to a pan. Place the pan over medium heat.
- Bring the pan to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes or until glaze is syrupy.
- Place the ham in the pan and pour half of the glaze over the top. Cover the ham tightly with foil. Reserve the other half of the glaze for later use.
- Bake the ham for 2 hours. Uncover the ham.
- Brush the remaining glaze over the ham. If the glaze has started to harden, you can microwave it for 30-45 seconds to loosen it back up.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
- Place the ham, uncovered, in the oven. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until glaze is caramelized and browned.
- Transfer the ham to a serving platter and garnish with fresh herbs and fruit. Spoon pan drippings over the ham. Slice the ham, then serve.