Brown Sugar Ham Glaze

By 6 m read

Brown Sugar Ham Glaze (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

My brown sugar ham glaze has just the perfect amount of sweet and tart to satisfy everyone’s taste at the holiday table this year. The yummy combination of sweet brown sugar and honey, combined with brown mustard, fruit juices, and holiday spices are just what the home chef asked for! The combination of the salty ham and sweet glaze are a culinary match made in heaven.

 

A holiday ham is so unbelievably easy to make, but will look super impressive when you present it to your family and friends. They’ll know something good is coming, though, because the aromas coming from the kitchen are enough to make anyone’s stomach growl in anticipation of what’s to come.

 

This year, we purchased a pre-cooked spiral cut ham and were so pleased with the juicy, tender meat. And the brown sugar ham glaze that was brushed on top and dripped all over the slices was like the “icing on the cake.”

 

For my easy ham glaze recipe, I used ingredients that I found in the pantry. We always have butter in the house, and there was a bag of brown sugar in my baking cabinet. We still have some honey left over from when we kept bees a few years ago. Brown mustard was on the fridge door…mmm, just a hint of tangy mustard goes wonderfully with ham. While I didn’t have fresh pineapple juice, there was can of pineapple rings in the cabinet, so I used the juice from there.

 

Cinnamon is a must-have in my baking pantry, but I couldn’t find any ground cloves. There was a container of whole cloves, however, so I got out the mortar and pestle, and ground it myself.

 

Finally, while putting together the ingredients for my ham glaze, I was thirsty and decided to grab myself a glass of apple juice. Wait a minute! This would be a fantastic addition to the glaze…

 

How to cook a ham

Okay, this couldn’t be easier. Ready?

Brown Sugar Ham Glaze (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Unwrap the ham and place it in a large baking dish. I also decided to pour all the juices from the bag in the dish, to help keep it juicy. If you have a spiral-cut ham, there’s nothing else to do. Otherwise, make 1/4″ deep cuts in a diamond pattern all over the ham surface (this will allow the juices from the brown sugar ham glaze to drip down inside later). Place in the oven and bake.

 

How long to cook a ham

A pre-cooked ham will take about 1 to 1-1/2 hours to cook through. After 1 hour, check the temperature by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest part (being careful not to touch the bone). The ham is ready when the internal temperature has reached 130°F.

 

At about the 1-hour mark, start making the brown sugar ham glaze.

 

Ingredients

10-lb pre-cooked ham (approximate weight)

4 Tbsp butter

1 c brown sugar, packed

1/4 c honey

1 Tbsp brown mustard

1/2 c pineapple juice

1/4 c apple juice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

 

Brown Sugar Ham Glaze

Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add all the other ingredients and whisk together. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally, and cook for about 5 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Brown Sugar Ham Glaze (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Tips for making the best brown sugar ham glaze

  • You don’t want to cook the ham glaze for too long, or it may get too thick and caramelly
  • Using dark brown sugar in this recipe will result in a sweeter glaze than light brown sugar
  • Save the ham bone and trimmings afterward for delicious soup
  • Add a little cornstarch to the pan drippings to make a delicious thick gravy

 

How to glaze the ham

Check the internal temperature of your ham (the ham is finished cooking when it has reached 130°F). When it’s getting close to that point, but has about a half hour left, baste half of the brown sugar ham glaze onto the ham. Fifteen minutes later, brush on the remaining ham glaze and let the ham finish cooking until it has reached 130°F.

Brown Sugar Ham Glaze (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
(Photo by Erich Boenzli)

Serve and enjoy!

 

And don’t forget to save all those juices and glaze that dripped to the bottom of the pan. Oh wow, I already can’t wait for leftovers…

 

Ideas for side dishes with ham

  • Potatoes – Always a good choice. Whether they’re baked, mashed, scalloped, or in potato salad
  • Asparagus – We opted for fresh spring asparagus this year and were not disappointed
  • Roasted carrots – Continue that delicious roasted flavor with some sweet carrots
  • Green bean casserole – This veggie dish is yummy anytime, not just on Thanksgiving
  • Cornbread – A nice pat of butter on warm cornbread…yes please
Brown Sugar Ham Glaze (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

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Brown Sugar Ham Glaze (Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Brown Sugar Ham Glaze

My brown sugar ham glaze has just the perfect amount of sweet and tart to satisfy everyone's taste at the holiday table this year.
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 7 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 10 lb pre-cooked ham (approximate weight)
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1 Tbsp brown mustard
  • 1/2 c pineapple juice
  • 1/4 c apple juice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Unwrap the ham and place it in a large baking dish. I also decided to pour all the juices from the bag in the dish, to help keep it juicy.
  • If you have a spiral-cut ham, there’s nothing else to do. Otherwise, make 1/4″ deep cuts in a diamond pattern all over the ham surface (this will allow the juices from the brown sugar ham glaze to drip down inside later).
  • Place in the oven and bake.
  • A ham will take about 1 to 1-1/2 hours to cook through. After 1 hour, check the temperature by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest part (being careful not to touch the bone). The ham is ready when the internal temperature has reached 130°F.
  • At about the 1-hour mark, start making the brown sugar ham glaze.
  • Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. 
  • Once the butter has melted, add all the other ingredients and whisk together.
  • Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally, and cook for about 5 minutes. 
  • Immediately remove from heat and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Check the internal temperature of your ham (the ham is finished cooking when it has reached 130°F).
  • When it’s getting close to that point, but has about a half hour left, baste half of the brown sugar ham glaze onto the ham. 
  • Fifteen minutes later, brush on the remaining ham glaze and let the ham finish cooking until it has reached 130°F.
  • Serve and enjoy!

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