This ham glaze is a combination of butter, brown sugar, pineapple juice and spices, all simmered together until thickened and delicious. Coat a ham in this glaze, then bake the ham to golden brown perfection and watch the rave reviews come in.

When the holidays roll around, I always make family favorite side dishes including crockpot mashed potatoes, candied yams, and this brown sugar glaze served over a spiral cut ham, for an epic Easter or Christmas dinner.

A ham covered in homemade ham glaze, garnished with fruit.

A homemade ham glaze turns an ordinary store bought ham into a flavorful and festive dinner option for your guests. This recipe has just a handful of ingredients and is ready in 10 minutes. Skip the store bought glaze packets and make your own – you’ll be happy you did! This glaze pairs well with so many different ham recipes like Easter ham, baked ham and spiral ham.

This ham is one of my favorite Christmas recipes along with peanut brittle, molasses cookies and sweet potato casserole. If you have any ham leftovers check out some easy leftover ham recipes like ham bone soup, scalloped potatoes and ham or ham salad!

Ham Glaze Ingredients

To make a sweet and thick ham glaze you will need butter, brown sugar, pineapple juice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves.

Bowls of ingredients including butter, sugar and seasonings.

How Do You Make Ham Glaze?

To make this ham glaze recipe, place butter, brown sugar, pineapple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a pan or saucepan. Bring the pan to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Boil the glaze for 5-7 minutes or until it has started to thicken and become syrupy. Cool the glaze slightly, then brush or pour it over a ham in a roasting pan. Bake the ham covered in foil. When the ham is just about done, uncover it and pour the rest of the glaze on the ham. Place the ham back in the oven a few minutes until the glaze caramelizes. Remove the ham from the oven, slice it and enjoy!

Process shots of glaze being made and poured over ham.

Tips For The Perfect Glaze

  • This recipe works with both dark brown sugar and light brown sugar. The light brown sugar produces a more neutral flavor, while dark brown sugar has a stronger molasses flavor.
  • You can use fresh, frozen concentrate or canned pineapple juice. They all work well in this recipe.
  • You can store the glaze at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it goes on the ham or while you wait for your ham to bake.
  • If your glaze cools and becomes overly thick, you can microwave it for about 30 seconds to loosen it back up again.
  • Use freshly ground nutmeg if you can, the flavor is way superior to ground bottled nutmeg. You can buy whole nutmegs and grate them yourself on a microplane grater.
  • Homemade ham glaze will work with both bone-in ham and boneless ham. If you’re using boneless ham, you’ll want to score it using a sharp knife in a diamond pattern first.
  • Leftover ham will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Quick Tip

This glaze is best made right before use. It doesn’t store well because it will harden if chilled.

Pork coated and in a baking pan.

Recipe FAQs

Do you have to glaze a ham?

You do not have to glaze a ham, but I highly recommend it. A glaze adds a lot of flavor and helps to keep a ham from drying out as it bakes. It also gives your ham that glossy sheen which makes it look so attractive. An alternative to a glaze would be a dry rub, such as my homemade BBQ rub.

How do you glaze a cooked ham?

I like to pour half of the glaze over the ham, then cover the ham and bake it until it’s warmed through. I then uncover the ham, add the rest of the brown sugar mixture, and finish baking the ham at a higher temperature so that the ham gets browned and caramelized from the glaze.

How do you cook a ham?

The simplest way to cook a ham is to bake it in the oven. The ham should bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes per pound. Be sure to cover your ham so that it doesn’t dry out. Ham is ready to serve when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees F.

Why glaze a ham?

Glazing a ham adds flavor and sweetness to the ham. If you caramelize the glaze on the ham it gives it a texture and shiny look that is always appealing. It elevates the meat to a holiday favorite that is perfect to serve on Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or whenever.

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A spoon pouring ham glaze over a ham.

Flavor Variations

This is a basic recipe to get you started, there are so many different ingredients you can add to customize it to your tastes.

  • Juice: Try using apple cider, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice or orange juice instead of pineapple juice.
  • Spices: Mix up the spices by using ground ginger, allspice or cardamom. You can also stick some whole cloves into the ham if you like.
  • Sweetener: You can substitute up to half of the brown sugar with a different sweetener such as honey or maple syrup.
  • Pineapple: You can use toothpicks to place pineapple rings on your ham. Simply pour your glaze over the ham and pineapple rings.
  • Flavorings: Feel free to add other flavorings to your glaze. Add up to 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard for a savory kick, or 2 minced canned chipotle peppers for some heat. You can also add up to 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple to add texture to the glaze. Stir in a splash of apple cider vinegar for a sweet and sour option.

I serve this recipe for every holiday and it always gets rave reviews! The pineapple and brown sugar pair beautifully with the flavor of a baked ham, and people always ask for seconds.

More Holiday Recipes

Ham Glaze Video

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Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

5 from 45 votes

Ham Glaze Recipe

AuthorSara Welch
A ham covered in homemade ham glaze, garnished with fruit.
This ham glaze is a combination of butter, brown sugar, pineapple juice and spices, all simmered together until thickened. Coat a ham in this glaze, then bake the ham to golden brown perfection and watch the rave reviews come in.
Time
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Serves 12

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves

Instructions 

  • Add the butter, brown sugar, pineapple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to a pan. Place the pan over medium heat.
  • Bring the pot to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes or until glaze is syrupy.
  • Pour half the glaze over your ham. Cover the ham with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes per pound.
  • Uncover the ham and pour the remaining glaze over the top. Increase the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until ham is caramelized and browned.

Notes

  1. This recipe works with both dark brown sugar and light brown sugar. The light brown sugar produces a more neutral flavor, while dark brown sugar has a stronger molasses flavor.
  2. This glaze is best made right before use. It doesn’t store well because it will harden if chilled.
  3. If your glaze cools and becomes overly thick, you can microwave it for about 30 seconds to loosen it back up again.

Nutrition

Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was absolultely perfect. I did a test run of it in preparation for Easter, and we have a winner! Thanks for a great recipe, can’t wait to share it with my extended family in a few weeks at easter dinner!

  2. 5 stars
    This ham looks absolutely stunning! The glaze is so shiny that I think it can be used as a mirror… way to make any table a great event!

  3. 5 stars
    That is one gorgeous ham! The glaze looks absolutely incredible. I can definitely see why you serve this at every holiday.