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

An image of a large sliced ham on a white platter with orange slices.


Table of Contents
  1. How Much Ham Should I Buy?
  2. How Long Do You Cook a Ham?
  3. How To Cook a Precooked Ham
  4. Brown Sugar Glaze ingredients
  5. How to make this Ham Glaze Recipe
  6. What to cook with ham: How to serve this Brown Sugar Glazed Ham Recipe
  7. Brown Sugar Ham Glaze Recipe storage
  8. Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham
  9. More Glazed Ham Recipes
  10. More Easter Dinner Ideas
  11. Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham Recipe

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.

When planning a holiday dinner, you start with the main dish, right? Some of our other favorite holiday ideas are Garlic Herb Butter Beef Tenderloin Roast, Beef Wellington, Juicy Roast Turkey with a Butter Herb Rub or Garlic & Herb Roast Boneless Leg of Lamb.

A spiral cut ham with sliced oranges and asparagus on a white platter.

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 ¾ pound per person for a bone-in ham. So for 10-12 people, you would want a ham that is 8-9 ½ 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!

A spiral-cut glazed ham on a white serving platter with orange slices and asparagus.

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.

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 ⅓ 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 ⅓ 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 ⅓ 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.
Asparagus and orange slices around a spiral sliced ham on a platter.

Brown Sugar Glaze ingredients

  • Bone-in, fully cooked spiral cut ham - Even though this ham is fully cooked, you still need to set some time aside to heat it up.
  • Dark Brown Sugar - this will help the glaze caramelize on the ham.
  • Orange juice - this adds a little bit of tangy-ness to the glaze.
  • Spicy whole grain mustard - I sometimes use half Dijon, half spicy mustard
  • Dark Molasses
  • Horseradish - I love the kick the horseradish gives but you can leave it out if you are not a fan. It’s a minimal amount so it really doesn't overpower the glaze.
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground allspice
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Garlic powder
An overhead image of ingredients for making brown sugar glazed ham.

How to prep ham for the brown sugar glaze

What I love about this recipe is that it really is super simple and doesn't require a lot of prep. Make sure your ham is at room temperature to help the ham cook evenly. Then, I usually glaze the ham right at the start and continue glazing at various times of the cooking process, about every thirty minutes.

How to make this Ham Glaze Recipe

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 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.

What to cook with ham: How to serve this Brown Sugar Glazed Ham Recipe

Brown Sugar Ham Glaze Recipe storage

If you’re lucky, you will have leftovers to enjoy the next day. To store the ham, keep it in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to five days. If you’re wanting to freeze the ham, wrap in plastic wrap or a freezer bag and then tightly cover with foil. To maintain the best flavor and quality, store in freezer for 1-2 months.

A large Easter ham on a platter with asparagus.

What can you make with leftover Brown Sugar Glazed 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.

Slices of cooked ham folded over to show the inside of the rest of the ham.

Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham

Why should I glaze a ham?

Once you have eaten a glazed ham you will never go back! Glazing will add so much flavor, color, and texture to the ham. It is a simple process and the glaze is usually made with basic ingredients you probably already have. So, why not glaze a ham?!

How do I know when my ham is done?

You will want to cook the ham until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. 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.

Can I use a different cut of ham for this ham glaze recipe?

Yes! You can! My tip would be to find a ham with the rind on. The rind is the skin and has a nice layer of fat underneath it that becomes sticky and golden once basted with ham glaze. If the ham does not have the rind, there is no fat layer so you can’t get a sticky glaze. Also, bone in ham is usually far juicier than boneless ham.

Can brown sugar glaze be made ahead of time?

To save time, you can definitely whip up the glaze beforehand. You can make it up to 5 days before. Just store in an airtight container in the fridge and bring the glaze back to room temperature before using. If it is a little thick, just add a little bit of liquid to the glaze and whisk it together.

More Glazed Ham Recipes

More Easter Dinner Ideas

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Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham

5 from 4 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
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.

Ingredients
  

  • 8-10 pounds bone-in, fully cooked spiral-cut ham
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup spicy whole-grained mustard
  • ½ cup dark molasses
  • 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions
 

  • 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°F.  
    8-10 pounds bone-in, fully cooked spiral-cut ham
  • Make the brown sugar glaze by whisking together the brown sugar, orange juice, whole-grained mustard, molasses, horseradish, cayenne pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and garlic powder in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes until the brown sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
    1 cup brown sugar, ¾ cup fresh orange juice, ½ cup spicy whole-grained mustard, ½ cup dark molasses, 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish,, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon ground allspice, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 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.
  • Bake covered for 45 minutes, then uncover and baste the ham with the juices from the pan and brush with ⅓ of the brown sugar glaze.
  • Cover the ham with foil again and bake another 30 minutes. Remove the foil and baste the ham with it's own juices and glaze again with another ⅓ of the brown sugar glaze.
  • Uncover ham and bake 20-30 minutes more, until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 140°F. Remove ham from oven and baste and brush with the remaining ⅓ of the brown sugar glaze.
  • 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

Calories: 573kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 221mg | Sodium: 3520mg | Potassium: 1144mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 126IU | Vitamin C: 88mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Karen @ The Food Charlatan says:

    This is a gorgeous ham Amy! I think you and I have very similar ham preferences--sweet, smokey, citrusy is the way to go. Love it!

    1. Amy says:

      Thank you!

  2. Gina says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is bringing back memories of my childhood! During the holidays I ALWAYS went for the glazed ham vs the turkey! Looks so good!