How to Glaze a Ham

When hosting, there's nothing as easy to make and impressive as a baked ham. Make it even better by following our tips for how to make a glaze for ham. We'll give you our recipe for brown sugar ham glaze, plus teach you how to honey glaze a ham for the holidays or special occasions. With the help of our tips, making any glaze for ham will be no problem for you!

Which Hams to Glaze

When shopping for ham, you have many choices. Regardless of which one you choose, adding a glaze contributes to the appearance and flavor. Most hams have been smoked and many are fully cooked, simply requiring heating. Spiral-cut hams are popular because they are presliced and easy to serve. Even if your spiral-cut ham comes with a glaze packet, you may want to create your own easy ham glaze recipe to wow the crowd.

Check out our How to Cook Ham page for more details on types of ham.

Get the recipe for our Glazed Easter Ham

How to Score a Ham

Scoring means to make shallow cuts, about 1 inch apart, through the skin of the ham so the glaze can penetrate and fully flavor the ham. Scoring is usually done in a diamond pattern to make the ham as attractive as possible. Many people also like to insert whole cloves into the ham where the cuts intersect for flavor and appearance. Make sure, however, that cloves will be compatible in flavor with your glaze. You can score any type of ham, although it is not necessary for spiral-cut hams.

Get more tips for how to score a ham

How to Bake a Ham

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place ham on the oven rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into center of ham, making sure it does not touch bone. Bake the ham uncovered. Be sure to follow your recipe to make sure you have the correct bake time for your type of ham.

*Hams that weight more than 8 pounds should be loosely covered with foil halfway through roasting.                                 

For more information and tips on preparing a ham, see How to Bake Ham

Get the recipe for our Garlic- and Pineapple-Glazed Ham


How to Make a Ham Glaze

There are endless ham glaze recipes, but most are made with fruits, preserves, or chutneys, such as oranges, cherries, cranberries, apricots, and mango. These sweet, fruity flavors pair deliciously with saltier ham. All glazes contain added sugar or sugar-containing ingredients, such as barbecue sauce or marmalade. As glazes heat in the oven, the sugar caramelizes, creating a rich, glossy coating. Many cooks like to add a little kick to their glaze with a couple of drained, chopped chipotle peppers. And don't forget mustard-based glaze, a classic flavor complement for ham. Regardless of which flavor you choose, most glazes take only minutes to fix using just a few ingredients.

How much glaze do you need for your ham?
You will need at least a cup of glaze for every 5- to 10-pound ham. Try some of our favorite ham recipes (each with multiple glaze options!):

  • Glazed Ham: Glaze options include Orange Glaze, Chutney Glaze, and Raspberry-Chipotle Glaze
  • Holiday Glazed Ham: Glaze options include Five-Spice Plum Glaze, Cranberry Glaze, and Maple-Pecan Glaze
  • Glazed Easter Ham: Glaze options include Apricot-Cherry Glaze, Peach-Pineapple Glaze, Lemon-Mustard Glaze, and Stout Glaze

Get the recipe for our Chutney-Honey Glazed Ham

How to Glaze the Ham

In most cases, you will want to glaze the ham during the last 20 minutes of baking. If you glaze it sooner, the sugar in the glaze could cause it to burn. To glaze the ham, take the roasting pan out of the oven and put it on a cooling rack; close oven door so the heat does not escape. Using a basting brush or spoon, cover the ham with the glaze; return to oven. Continue baking until the ham reaches desired temperature. If you like, serve additional glaze with the ham. You can follow these same glaze instructions for a spiral-cut ham if you want to use your own glaze.

Get the recipe for our Brown Sugar- and Whiskey-Glazed Ham

How to Make a Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham

Homemade ham glaze with brown sugar is a classic glaze for ham. Follow our recipe to learn how to glaze a ham with brown sugar, or use our tips to improve one of your favorite recipes!

You'll Need:

  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint (each sprig about 2 inches)

Step One:

In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, vinegar, and mint sprigs. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Remove from heat. Remove and discard mint. After baking the ham until a meat thermometer registers 125 degrees F, brush ham with some of the glaze.

Step Two:

Bake ham with glaze on for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer registers 135 degrees F, brushing three more times with additional glaze. Sprinkle with pepper. Let stand 15 minutes before carving (the meat's temperature will rise 5 degrees F during standing to the safe temperature of 140 degrees F.) Serve meat on a platter layered with green tops of uncooked leeks and green onions, if desired. Sprinkle with pepper, if desired. Bring any remaining glaze to boiling and serve with ham.

Get the recipe for Brown-Sugar-Glazed Ham


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