A juicy Brown Sugar Glazed Ham is the perfect centerpiece for Easter or Christmas dinner!  This incredibly flavorful baked ham is always a crowdpleaser and has the most beautiful color and caramelized edges thanks to the BEST brown sugar glaze ever.

A juicy Brown Sugar Glazed Ham is the perfect centerpiece for Easter or Christmas dinner!  This incredibly flavorful baked ham is always a crowdpleaser and has the most beautiful color and caramelized edges thanks to the BEST brown sugar glaze ever.

When it comes to the best ham glaze recipe, I find that a sweet, spiced, and slightly citrusy approach is the perfect balance with the smoky, salty flavor of ham.  This brown sugar glazed ham recipe takes only a few minutes to prepare and combines brown sugar, fresh orange juice, molasses, spicy mustard, horseradish, and warm spices like allspice and cinnamon for the most amazing ham ever.  

Every juicy, succulent slice of meat gets treated with this delicious glaze that soaks in and caramelizes around the edges as the ham heats in the oven.  It’s easy, elegant entertaining for a large group with very little effort since the ham is already cooked and you really just need to reheat and glaze in the oven.  

Making a ham is so, so simple since hams are sold fully cooked.  All you really have to do is glaze it and warm it up.  Many spiral-sliced hams are sold with a glaze packet included, but I find that they just can’t measure up to this brown sugar glaze recipe so I always toss the packet and make my own.    

An image of an Easter Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze on a white platter with asparagus and orange slices.

How Much Ham Should I Buy?

I always buy a fully-cooked bone-in ham, usually spiral cut, as the meat stays more moist and juicy with the bone-in.  Having the spiral cut makes for easier and prettier presentation and serving, and has the added benefit of letting the incredible brown sugar glaze seep down between every slice of ham, adding flavor to every bite.

When deciding how much ham to buy, plan on around 3/4 pound per person for a bone-in ham.  So for 10-12 people, you would want a ham that is 8-9 1/2 pounds.  I always err by buying a ham that is a bit bigger than I need so that there is plenty for leftovers the next day!

  An image of a whole spiral-cut ham roast with brown sugar glaze served on a platter for Christmas dinner.

What Can You Make with Leftover Ham?

My favorite thing to do with leftover ham is also the most basic:  ham sandwiches!  Seriously, there is nothing as good as a leftover ham sandwich on leftover dinner rolls from the night before!

But we also love using some of the ham to make Monte Cristo sandwiches (SO GOOD!).  And of course the ham bone is perfect for a big pot of split pea soup.

Dice some of the ham and add it to breakfast burritos, frittatas, or omelettes.

And of course you can just eat your ham as leftovers with reheated scalloped potatoes from the day before.

How Long Do You Cook a Ham?

Since most hams are already precooked for you, all you really need to do is heat it up.  But since it’s a big piece of meat with a bone in the center, it still takes a while to do this.

We cook our brown sugar glazed ham at 350 degrees F until it reaches an internal temperature of 40 degrees F.  For an 8-10 pound ham, this usually takes about 10-14 minutes per pound, so you can plan on around 2 hours of total cooking time for this recipe.    

Mostly you just don’t want to overcook the ham or it will dry out.

An image of a brown sugar glazed ham with orange juice, molasses, and horseradish. An image of a bone-in spiral-cut ham with an easy spiced glaze recipe.  

How to Make Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham

There are so many fabulous ways to glaze a ham.  The best ham glaze recipes take into account the salty nature of a ham and balance it our by providing sweet, tangy, and spicy elements. 

Popular choices for adding sweetness are honey, brown sugar, and maple syrup.  Mustard, vinegar, or a citrus juice like orange or pineapple are often used for tangy element.  And warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice are all good choices for creating depth of flavor in your ham glaze.

I do include a little horseradish in my brown sugar glaze for ham because I absolutely love the kick it gives, but you can make the recipe without it if you aren’t a fan of horseradish.  The amount isn’t large compared to the overall size of the ham though, so you really don’t need to worry about the horseradish overpowering the other flavors.  

The brown sugar glaze comes together in a matter of minutes by just whisking together the brown sugar, orange juice, spicy mustard (I sometimes use half Dijon, half spicy mustard), molasses, and horseradish in a saucepan along with cayenne pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and garlic powder.  Then just heat it up over medium heat until it comes to a simmer for a minute or so to dissolve the brown sugar.  

Use the glaze to brush over the ham as it bakes, basting ever 20-30 minutes or so.  If the glaze thickens up, just reheat for a few seconds until it’s thin enough to brush on the ham.

How To Cook a Precooked Ham

  1. Remove ham from refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours in advance.  This helps the ham heat up more evenly without drying out and is a common approach to cooking larger pieces of meat.  I do the same thing with tri tip.  
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  
  3. Make the brown sugar glaze while the oven preheats.  Just whisk all the ingredients together in a pan and bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes until the brown sugar is dissolved, then set aside.
  4. Brush ham with brown sugar glaze.  A pastry brush works great.  I only brush the outside, not between the slices.  
  5. Place the ham flat side down (face down) in a large pan or roasting rack and cover completely with foil.   
  6. Bake covered for 45 minutes, then uncover and baste the ham with the juices from the pan and brush with 1/3 of the brown sugar glaze. 
  7. Recover and bake another 30 minutes, then baste the ham with it’s own juices and glaze again with another 1/3 of the brown sugar glaze.  
  8. Uncover ham and bake 20-30 minutes more, until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.  
  9. Remove ham from oven and baste and brush with the remaining 1/3 of the brown sugar glaze.
  10. Loosely cover with foil and let rest for 15-30 minutes for the juices to redistribute throughout the ham.

An image of a platter with asparagus, orange slices, and a sliced glazed ham for Easter dinner.

What Do You Serve With Brown Sugar Glazed Ham?

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Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
Yield: 12 servings

Brown Sugar Glazed Ham

A juicy Brown Sugar Glazed Ham is the perfect centerpiece for Easter or Christmas dinner!  This incredibly flavorful baked ham is always a crowdpleaser and has the most beautiful color and caramelized edges thanks to the BEST brown sugar glaze ever.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-10) pound bone-in, fully cooked spiral-cut ham
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup spicy, whole-grained mustard
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Remove ham from refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours in advance.  This helps the ham heat up more evenly without drying out and is a common approach to cooking larger pieces of meat.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  
  2. Make the brown sugar glaze by whisking all the ingredients together in a pan and bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes until the brown sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.
  3. Brush ham with brown sugar glaze using a pastry brush.  Place the ham flat side down (face down) in a large pan or roasting rack and cover completely with foil.
  4. Bake covered for 45 minutes, then uncover and baste the ham with the juices from the pan and brush with 1/3 of the brown sugar glaze.
  5. Recover and bake another 30 minutes, then baste the ham with it's own juices and glaze again with another 1/3 of the brown sugar glaze.
  6. Uncover ham and bake 20-30 minutes more, until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.  Remove ham from oven and baste and brush with the remaining 1/3 of the brown sugar glaze.
  7. Loosely cover with foil and let rest for 15-30 minutes for the juices to redistribute throughout the ham.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 862 Saturated Fat: 18g Cholesterol: 187mg Sodium: 3733mg Carbohydrates: 31g Sugar: 29g Protein: 65g

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