How to Score a Ham

Scoring ham is a great way to add both flavor and aesthetic flair to your holiday dinner. We're sharing our best tips for scoring ham, plus an easy recipe for glazed ham and a simple ham glaze that will make your guests' mouths water.

The Basics of Scoring

Scoring a ham not only looks pretty, it also allows any glaze you brush onto the ham during baking to penetrate and flavor the interior of the meat. You can score any type of ham, although it's not necessary for spiral-cut hams.

Try our Mustard-Rosemary Ham recipe.

How to Score a Ham

Use a chef's knife to make diagonal cuts about 1 inch apart on the surface of the ham. Scoring is usually done in a diamond pattern to help make your ham more attractive.

Use Your Best Ham Glaze

If desired, after scoring you can insert whole cloves into the ham for a showy studded look and extra flavor. It's easiest to poke them in where the cuts intersect. However, before inserting cloves, make sure the flavor will be compatible with the ham glaze you use.

Try our Glazed Easter Ham recipe.

Choose a Great Glaze

Honey glaze for ham, maple-glazed ham, pineapple glaze for ham ... we have all those and more. If ham is going to be the star of your holiday meal, you'll want a delicious and simple glaze for ham to really make it shine. (And since you've scored your meat, the glaze can really infuse the meat with flavor.)

These recipes definitely deliver—be prepared for requests for your recipe!

Brown Sugar- and Whiskey-Glazed Ham

Garlic- and Pineapple-Glazed Ham

Spice-Rubbed Ham with Apple-Maple Sauce

Chutney-Honey Glazed Ham

Brown-Sugar-Glazed Ham

More Tips for the Best Ham Ever

It's not just about scoring and glazing (though both steps are crucial). Follow our tips and recipes below to help make your next holiday dinner absolutely unforgettable.

How to Glaze Ham

How to Cook Ham

Our Best Ham Recipes

Christmas Ham Dinners

How to Reheat Ham in a Slow Cooker


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