This recipe will impress even the most discerning palate, from the mouth-watering glaze to the tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat. Get ready to elevate your holiday feast or Sunday dinner to new heights with this delicious baked ham.
Table of Contents
A stunning holiday ham will wow your guests at any special gathering. I’ll show you how easy it is to bake a honey-glazed ham. Using simple techniques to heat the pork slowly ensures each slice stays juicy and flavorful.
This baked ham recipe can be prepared without any fancy sauce. However, like my Crock-Pot ham, I like adding a sweet, sticky, savory glaze. It only takes a few extra minutes to make. The coasting creates a delicious crust, making each piece more delicious.
- Ham: Select a bone-in fully cooked ham to yield the most flavorful pieces. If possible, avoid hams with water added printed on the label. A spiralized ham makes it easier to serve. It may be slightly less juicy than a whole uncut ham due to the pre-slicing. Using an uncut ham, score the surface so the fat can render as it cooks and create a nice crust. I used the shank cut with one straight bone and more fat than a sirloin cut. A plain or smoked ham can be cooked based on preference.
- Liquid: Add water to the roasting pan to prevent the ham from drying. This also prevents the drippings from burning. Add more water if needed throughout the roasting process.
- Glaze: The sauce combines butter, pineapple juice, dark brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This creates a caramel-like glaze when reduced.
See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).
Remove ham from the refrigerator
Step 1: If you can plan ahead, place the ham at room temperature in its packaging about 1 ½ to 2 hours before baking. When tested, the meat went up about 10 degrees to about 42 degrees in 2 hours.
It’s best not to put a completely cold ham in the oven at 32ºF (0ºC). It will add a significant amount of baking time (at least an hour) to increase the temperature and can cause a drier texture.
Make the glaze
Step 2: I recommend preparing the glaze during the last 30 minutes of the meat thawing, but it can be prepared 3 days in advance and reheated. Cook the mixture on the stovetop until it reduces to a caramel consistency. It will take about 6 to 8 minutes to yield 1 ½ cups of sauce. Note, it will thicken more as it cools and must be reheated between baking intervals.
To develop a flavorful crust on the surface of the ham, I make sweet and savory glaze. It combines unsalted butter, honey, brown sugar, pineapple juice, Dijon mustard for tanginess, and warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Step 3: Set the oven to 325 degrees, with the rack in the lower middle position.
Prepare the ham
Step 4: After the ham is no longer chilly, remove it from the plastic packaging. If there is a plastic ring around the bone, discard it. Place a roasting rack inside of a roasting pan. A flat wire cooking rack may be used to elevate the pork off the bottom of the pan.
Place the ham cut side down onto the rack. Add two cups of room-temperature water to the pan. If you add cold water, it will bring the oven temperature down. This gently creates steam to keep the ham moist during the long baking process and prevents the burning of the drippings.
Glaze the ham
Step 5: Brush about ½ cup of the brown sugar honey glaze over the surface of the ham. Loosely wrap foil starting at the top, around the entire ham, then cover most of the exposed slices of meat on the bottom. This ensures that it does not dry out in the oven over time. It also allows some of the drippings to release into the pan. The goal is to reheat the already pre-cooked pork.
Bake the ham
Step 6: Bake until the internal temperature reaches 100ºF (38ºC). This allows the remaining glaze to be applied two times without drying out the meat. I find that a 10-pound ham takes about 2 ½ hours. The initial ramping up of the temperature of the cool ham takes the longest, and then the last hour, the meat starts to heat through much quicker.
The cooking time will depend on the size and whether it’s a bone-in ham or boneless ham. Bones generally take longer to cook—factor 15 to 16 minutes per pound for bone-in ham.
Re-glaze the ham
Step 7: Once the ham reaches 100 degrees, rewarm the glaze, then brush ½ cup on the surface. Continue baking at 400ºF (204ºC) for 10 minutes to create a sticky crust. Brush on the remaining glaze and finish baking until the thickest part of the ham reaches about 120 degrees, about 10 minutes.
Cover and rest the ham for 15 minutes before slicing. The ham will rise about 5 to 10 degrees from carryover cooking. This will be the perfect temperature to serve juicy slices of honey-baked ham. If you’d like, brush it with the drippings or make ham gravy to serve on the side.
Now that you know how to bake a ham, you can customize the flavor in various ways. Try these tasty options:
- Sweetener: Instead of honey, try maple syrup, date syrup, or agave. Granulated sugar can give more pure sweetness if you don’t like the molasses taste of brown sugar.
- Juice: Instead of pineapple juice, use orange, apple, apple cider, cranberry, or pomegranate juice.
- Seasoning: Add savory alliums like garlic or onion powder to the glaze. Add a charred taste with smoked paprika. Add heat with cayenne, chipotle, or chili powder. And in cajun seasoning, or use it as a dry rub like I do for my cajun turkey.
- Spices: To the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, add ginger or cardamom for extra aromatics. Add whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, or star anise to the roasting pan to infuse into the water.
- Herbs: Add fresh or dried thyme, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, marjoram, or tarragon. Add sprigs to the bottom of the pan to add fragrance.
- Liquid: Instead of water, use a stock or broth like vegetable or chicken. This will make for more flavorful pan drippings.
- Homemade mashed potatoes
- Sweet potato casserole
- Green bean casserole
- Sweet cornbread
- Homemade biscuits
Frequently asked questions
Buy ½ a pound for boneless and ¾ pound for bone-in per person. For example, to serve 12 to 14 people, purchase a 6 to 7-pound boneless ham or 9 to 10.5-pound bone-in ham.
The shank contains more fat and is easier to cut because it has one straight bone. It tapers more at one end, and the bone sticks out more. The sirloin (butt end) is rounder in shape and contains more meat. There are more bones, making it trickier to carve. Purchasing a spiral-cut ham from either of these cuts will make serving easier.
Uncut hams tend to lose less moisture because they are presliced. However, if cooked properly, spiral-cut hams will still be juicy and are much easier to cut and serve.
A fully cooked ham requires reheating to an appropriate serving temperature. Target 120ºF (29ºC), then allow the ham to rest covered for 15 minutes before serving. The carryover cooking will increase the temperature to about 5 to 10 degrees, or 125 to 130ºF (52 to 54ºC). If you heat it too long, the pieces will get dried out, especially on the cut end. Cooking time is about 15 to 16 minutes per pound.
Yes! The ham can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months.
Place slices on a baking dish or sheet pan. Cover completely with foil and bake at 325ºF(163ºC) until warm. Cook on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warm on each side, adding water if needed for extra moisture. Alternatively, microwave it covered with plastic wrap in 15- to 30-second intervals until warm.
Avoid hams with too much water added
The grocery store has various options. For baked ham, avoid labels that say “water added.” These hams inject extra brine into the meat, adding more weight to the product, at most 10% water by weight. This dilutes its characteristic flavor and gives it a spongier texture. Look for just ham with no water added or ham with natural juices, which has 8% water added at most for the most moist and meaty texture.
Baked Honey Glazed Ham
- 10 pound fully cooked bone-in spiral-cut ham
- 2 cups room temperature water
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Remove Ham from Refrigerator – Take the ham out of the refrigerator 1 ½ to 2 hours before cooking. Leave the packaging intact and place it on the counter on top of a sheet pan.
- Make the Glaze – In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the pineapple juice, brown sugar, honey, mustard, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and whisk to combine. Increase heat to medium-high; the mixture should be bubbling. Frequently whisk until the glaze reduces to 1 ½ cups, about 6 to 8 minutes. The consistency should be similar to caramel sauce. Remove from the heat. It will thicken more as it cools.
- Heat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the lowest position. Heat the oven to 325ºF (163ºC). Place the roasting rack or flat wire rack inside the roasting pan and set aside. If desired, cover the bottom of the pan with foil for easy cleanup.
- Prepare the Ham – Remove the packaging from the ham. If there is a plastic disc covering the bone, discard it. Place the ham cut side down on the roasting rack. Add the water to the pan and set aside.
- Apply the Glaze – Brush about ⅓ of the glaze over the surface of the ham.
- Bake the Ham – Loosely wrap the top and bottom edges of the cut side of the ham with foil. Bake until it reaches 100ºF (38ºC) on a meat thermometer, about 2 ½ hours, or 15 to 16 minutes per pound. If the liquid is quickly evaporating from the pan, add ½ cup of room temperature water at a time.
- Re-Glaze Two Times – Remove the ham from the oven. Increase the heat to 400ºF (204ºC). Reheat the glaze, as it will be thick when cooled. As the oven heats up, brush ⅓ of the glaze on the ham. If needed, add ½ cup of room temperature water to the pan if the liquid has evaporated. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes.Remove the ham from the oven and brush on the remaining glaze. Bake uncovered until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches about 120ºF (49ºC), about 10 minutes. Loosely cover with foil if it gets too brown on the surface and still needs more time to cook.
- To Serve – Tent the ham with foil and rest for 15 minutes then serve. Brush on some of the pan drippings if desired, or use it to make gravy.
- Flavor: A plain or smoked ham can be used. Discard the glaze packet if it comes with the ham.
- Baking Uncut Whole Ham: Score the fat on the surface, making 1/4-inch deep slashes, about 1/2-inch apart is a cross-hatch pattern.
- Cold Ham: The ham can be baked straight from the refrigerator but will require at least 1 hour longer cook time.
- Ham Size: Adjust the cooking time based on 15 to 16 minutes per pound.
- No Glaze: Cook as directed without adding the glaze at 325ºF (163ºC) until the internal temperature reaches 120ºF (49ºC).
- Storing: Store slices in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months. The glaze can be stored for up to 3 days and reheated if made ahead.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
Tried this recipe?
Tag me on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!