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Holiday ham smothered in a sweet and tangy glaze is just what your holiday table needs! Try this recipe — it really is the best you’ll ever have.
With Easter just a few weeks away, we thought this would be a great time to share our family recipe for the Perfect Holiday Ham! (It’s a great ham recipe for Christmas dinner too!)
This recipe – one that my husband Jack has perfected over the years – results in an incredibly moist ham with an addictively delicious, almost candy-like coating. It’s all thanks to a perfectly-seasoned glaze that gets poured over the ham after it bakes.
Neither of us are fans of hams with whole cloves inserted into the skin (we think it overpowers the flavor of the ham). So instead, our glaze includes ground cloves, as well as cinnamon, ginger, sage, brown sugar, honey, Dijon mustard, and pineapple juice.
Jack prepared this glazed ham recipe countless times during his former food service career – sometimes preparing as many as 100 hams at a time! In fact, this perfect holiday ham was once served to General William Westmoreland during an event, and he commented to Jack, “Dang it Son..this is good!”
Why you’ll love this holiday ham recipe!
- The method described in our recipe is the same regardless of the cut or size you choose to prepare.
- It’s truly the star of any Easter dinner, and the ham pairs easily with all of your favorite side dishes.
- Since the meat is fully cooked and smoked when you buy it, all you are doing is getting it hot in the oven and creating a nice crust on the outside with the glaze.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Bone-in smoked ham – We prepared a butt end for our photos shown here — it has less bone and yields more meat — but this recipe works just as well on a shank-end ham. Each of these cuts is from the shoulder of the animal, and together they would make one whole bone-in ham (which would be perfect for a larger gathering).
- Wine and stock – These liquids add moisture and prevent the glazed ham from sticking to the bottom of the roasting pan. Choose a crisp white wine that you enjoy drinking by itself (we used Chardonnay), and combine it with store bought or homemade vegetable broth.
- Homemade glaze – Additional stock serves as the base, with pineapple juice adding a deliciously tart flavor. Brown sugar and honey sweeten the sauce, and Dijon mustard adds a layer of earthiness and heat. Season with ground ginger and cloves, dry sage, freshly ground pepper, and a cinnamon stick.
Special Supplies Needed
- A large roasting pan with handles – This makes it easy to transfer your holiday ham in and out of the oven.
- Medium saucepan – To cook the homemade glaze
- Basting Brush – To apply the glaze to the ham.
- Probe Thermometer – This allows you to monitor the temperature as the meat cooks, ensuring the most accurate reading.
How do I make a Glazed Holiday Ham?
- Prep the meat by slicing a criss-cross pattern into the skin across the top and sides. Place it in a large roasting pan and pour a blend of wine and stock around the meat, lifting so the liquid gets underneath.
- Cook the ham, tented with foil, until it reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees. It should take about 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending on the size.
- Make the glaze by combining the ingredients in a saucepan and bringing the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer until the consistency resembles maple syrup.
- Glaze the pork in 15-minute increments once it reaches 130 degrees F. First, remove it from the oven and increase the temperature to 425 degrees F. Take off the foil, brush on the glaze, and continue cooking the meat uncovered.
- Remove after the final glaze has created a nice crust. Tent with foil while it rests, then slice while still warm.
- Serve with your favorite sides (including our delicious pineapple raisin sauce) for the perfect Easter ham dinner.
- Name-brand hams are essential for getting the best results. Availability of brands will vary by your location and local supermarket offerings, but here’s a good article to help you choose. In general, you want to avoid any that list “water added” on the label.
- If you choose a shank-end cut, you can use the leftover bone to make some very delicious soups! Our Ham and Vegetable Soup is a reader favorite, as well as our Lentil Soup with Ham.
- Cooking times will vary based on the size of your ham, but generally, you want an internal temperature of 130 degrees F when you pull it from the oven to start glazing. As you continue through the glazing process, the internal temperature will increase to 140-145 degrees F which is perfectly done.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does glazing a ham do? A glaze not only adds flavor and moisture, but it creates a delicious crust on the outside for extra texture.
How do you keep holiday ham from drying out? Be sure to add liquid to the pan and tent with foil while baking. Once cooked, allow the meat to rest before slicing so the juices have time to redistribute.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time? While freshly roasted is best, we understand that oven space can be tight during the holidays! Simply bake your holiday ham the day before, slice it, and put it back in the pan with the juices to reheat.
What should I serve with Easter ham dinner? We love to serve this with our Pineapple Raisin Sauce and a variety of sides. Consider our Herbed Boiled Potatoes and our Asparagus with Lemon and Feta — both incredible recipes pair wonderfully with this easy holiday ham.
How long does cooked glazed ham last in the fridge? Leftover slices will keep for 3 to 4 days. Store tightly covered or in an airtight container to keep the meat from drying out. You can also freeze both the meat and bone to use in other dishes. Use within 2 months for best results.
Side Dishes to serve with our Perfect Holiday Ham:
- Pineapple Raisin Sauce
- Herbed Boiled Potatoes
- Asparagus with Lemon and Feta
- Carrots with Herbes de Provence
You may like these recipes made with Ham leftovers:
- Ham and Vegetable Soup
- Crustless Ham and Cheddar Quiche
- Zucchini, Ham and Rice Skillet
- Ham Salad
- Italian Ham and Potato Casserole
- Lentil Soup with Ham
This post originally appeared on A Family Feast in 2015.
- 1 bone-in smoked ham (ours was 7 1/2 pounds and was from the butt end) – Using a good quality, name-brand ham is essential for the best results
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock
For the Glaze
- 1 6–ounce can pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon ground dry ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon dry sage
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Place ham skin up on a cutting board and make half inch deep cuts in a criss-cross pattern across the top and sides. If using a cut ham, place cut side down into a roasting pan. Pour in wine and stock. Lift ham slightly so the liquid gets under the bottom cut so the ham doesn’t stick to the pan. Also the liquid will keep it moist while it cooks. Tent with foil and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on the size of your ham. Ours reached 130 degrees at about the 90 minute mark.
- While the ham is cooking, place all glaze ingredients into medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook to a thick syrup-like consistency. When hot, it should be thick like maple syrup. Set this aside.
- Once the ham is at 130 degrees, remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
- Remove foil but do not discard foil yet.
- If the glaze has cooled and thickened, heat back to a syrupy state and using about one third of the glaze, slather the ham and place uncovered back in the oven. Set time for 15 minutes.
- Remove and use one more third to slather all over the ham. Return to the oven and set timer for 15 more minutes.
- Finally slather the remaining glaze on the ham and place just in oven long enough to get desired crispy crust but not burned; maybe about five or ten minutes.
- Remove from the oven and tent with the reserved foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Your patience will be rewarded.
- Move ham to a cutting board and discard liquid left in pan.
- Carve and serve with pineapple raisin sauce, see here.
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