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Christmas / Dinner Ideas / Gluten Free / Holidays / Pork / Special Diets

Christmas Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze

It’s a Christmas classic! Scored in a diamond pattern, studded with cloves and covered in a honey-dijon glaze, this Christmas Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze is really a showstopper on the table! Best of all? It’s a total piece of cake to make.

A Glazed Christmas Ham with Four Slices Cut Off

My Favorite Christmas Ham Recipe

For me, Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without a classic turkey, and on Christmas it’s time to break out the classic Christmas ham recipe. I just love making this festive main course, because it’s so delicious and special. Plus, it’s very easy to put together, which is extra important for busy families during the holidays.

Topping the Cooked Christmas Ham with the Rest of the Glaze

Ingredients

For the Ham

  • Ham: I use a fully-cooked, bone-in ham. About 8-10 pounds is perfect.
  • Cloves: To decorate and flavor the ham. You’ll need about two tablespoons of whole cloves for this recipe. 

For the Brown Sugar Glaze

  • Brown Sugar: You’ll need a cup of brown sugar, packed. Light or dark brown sugar is fine. Dark brown sugar will give a slightly stronger, more caramelized taste.
  • Honey: Use half a cup of your favorite honey.
  • Dijon Mustard: I use 3 tablespoons of good Dijon mustard, but you can use more or less, to taste.
  • Allspice: Again, you can omit this if you need to! But it definitely adds a special holiday flavor and goes really well with ham, so I do recommend using it if possible!
Brown Sugar Glaze Being Poured Over a Fresh-From-the-Oven Ham

What Is the Best Type of Ham to Use?

  • The two main “cuts” of ham are the shank and the butt. Together, these are a whole ham. Apart, they’re each a half ham. This recipe is for a half ham, whether shank or butt. Which one you choose is totally up to you!
  • The shank half has only one bone and is easier to carve, but the butt usually has a bit more meat and less fat. My grandmother always bought the butt, but I often buy a shank.
A Cooked Christmas Ham on a Cutting Board

How to Make Christmas Ham

  • Set Things Up: First, preheat the oven to 325°F. Pour a cup of water into the base of your roasting pan, and set a roasting rack on top. Then, place the ham, cut-side down, on the roasting rack.
  • Score the Ham: Scoring means cutting into the ham, but not deeply. Score about ¾ of an inch deep, into the fat, creating a square or diamond pattern all over the ham. Stud each diamond or intersection with a clove, if you’re using them.
The Close-Up View of a Ham with Cloves Stuck Into It
A Christmas Ham on a Roasting Pan with Four Orange Slices
  • Bake & Make the Glaze: Tent the ham with foil so it can steam. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. While the ham is cooking, make the glaze by boiling the brown sugar, honey, dijon mustard and ground allspice in a small saucepan for a couple of minutes.
A Pan Filled with Homemade Brown Sugar Glaze Beside a Bowl of Fruit
  • Alternate Glazing & Baking Until Heated Through: Once the 20 minutes of cooking is up, remove the foil and baste or brush the ham with some of the glaze. Return the foil tent, and continue to bake for 20 minutes per pound of ham, basting and re-covering every 20 minutes.
Pouring and Brushing Brown Sugar Glaze Over the Ham
  • Broil the Ham: Once the internal temperature of the ham has reached 130 degrees, remove the foil and baste with the glaze once more. Turn the oven from BAKE to BROIL, and broil the ham for 3-5 minutes, or until the glaze has caramelized.
A Christmas Ham Covered in a Sweet Homemade Glaze
  • Let Rest, Slice & Serve: Remove the ham from the oven and cover again with the foil. Allow the ham to rest for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
A Christmas Ham on a Wooden Surface with Fruits Surrounding It

Tips for the Best Ham Glaze

  • Sugar Substitutes: If you prefer, you can substitute raw sugar, turbinado sugar, maple syrup, or other sweeteners for the brown sugar. Keep in mind that the consistency of the glaze may change, and that some sweeteners are more intense – so adjust the amounts, as needed.
  • Mustard Substitutes: Dijon is so great in this glaze, but other mustards can be delicious as well! You can try honey mustard, grainy deli mustard, and more. Again, you can play with the amounts to taste.
  • Omit Spices: If you don’t care to use cloves and/or allspice, that is totally fine. This ham will taste delicious with or without the holiday spices. You might like to make a Christmas ham with them, and an Easter ham without them!
Brushing the Glaze Onto the Ham with a Pastry Brush

Serving Suggestions

Slices of Christmas Ham on a Circular Wooden Surface with Assorted Fruits

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • To refrigerate: Wrap leftovers tightly and store in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
  • To reheat: You can microwave slices in 15-second increments, fry or sauté gently with a little cooking spray or butter, or place in the oven at about 350°F until heated through.
  • You can also serve the leftovers cold in sandwiches and salads.
The View of a Christmas Ham From Above

Can You Freeze Extra Ham?

  • Yes! Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and then place in freezer bags, pushing out as much air as possible before sealing.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
  • Enjoy within 6 months for the best flavor.
A Glazed Christmas Ham with Four Slices Cut Off
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Christmas Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze

It’s a Christmas classic! Scored in a diamond pattern, studded with cloves and covered in a honey-dijon glaze, this Christmas Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze is really a showstopper on the table!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas dinner ideas, christmas ham, christmas ham recipes, ham glaze recipe, holiday ham, how to cook a ham, how to cook a ham in the oven, traditional christmas dinner
Servings: 16
Calories: 425kcal

Equipment

  • Oven

Ingredients

For the Ham:

  • 8 to 10 pound bone-in fully cooked ham
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves, optional, but recommended

For the Glaze:

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Pour 1 cup of water into the base of a roasting pan. Set roasting rack on top.
  • Place ham, cut-side down, on the roasting rack.
  • Score the fat creating a square or diamond pattern, cutting only 3/4-inch deep.
    Stud each diamond or intersection with a clove.
  • Tent the ham with foil so that it can steam, and bake for 20 minutes.
  • While the ham is cooking, make your glaze by combining the brown sugar, honey, dijon mustard, and ground all spice in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
  • Once the 20 minutes of cooking is up, remove the foil and baste or brush the ham with some of the glaze.
  • Return the foil tent and continue to bake for 20 minutes per pound of ham.
  • Every 20 minutes, baste the ham with more of the glaze and return the foil-tent each time.
  • Once the internal temperature of the ham has registered 130 degrees on your Instant Read Food Thermometer, remove the foil and baste with the glaze once again and the proceed to broil the ham for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the glaze has caramelized.
  • Remove the ham from the oven and return the foil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 2657mg | Potassium: 669mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg

Other Easy Pork Recipes

12 Comments

  • Beth
    Dec 9, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    5 stars
    This looks so delicious and tasty! I can’t wait to make this soon! My family is going to love this recipe!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      Dec 10, 2020 at 5:22 pm

      Thank YOU! I hope you and your family enjoy it! 🙂

      Reply
  • Amanda
    Dec 9, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    We will be making it this year, thank you!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      Dec 10, 2020 at 5:22 pm

      I hope you enjoy them! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Vikki
    Dec 10, 2020 at 5:29 am

    5 stars
    This glaze is incredibly easy and I love the flavor, definitely making again for Christmas!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      Dec 10, 2020 at 5:19 pm

      I am very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Catalina
    Dec 10, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness! I am drooling over this ham!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      Dec 11, 2020 at 8:12 pm

      Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

      Reply
  • Sara Welch
    Dec 10, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    5 stars
    Definitely making this for our Christmas Even dinner this year! Almost looks too beautiful to eat! Yum!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      Dec 11, 2020 at 8:12 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Cathy
    Dec 14, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    I’m all about ham for Christmas! This is such a yummy recipe!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      Dec 14, 2020 at 7:03 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! 🙂 Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply

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