One-Pot Wonders

Super-Simple Glazed Ham

February  4, 2022
16 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

I almost hate to submit this recipe, but after years of trying to do way too much with ham, I finally figured out that simpler is better. It can be done without the glaze for serving, but I think that really adds to it. —Kayb

Test Kitchen Notes

No doubt about it, turkey is the star of Thanksgiving. Whether it’s roasted, smoked, or fried, we dedicate hours and hours (and hours!) to making a picture-perfect bird. But we don’t always have to talk turkey. There’s another protein powerhouse that’s just as tasty. Raise your hand if you’re also looking forward to a spiral of sweet, juicy ham. Whether you're making it for Thanksgiving or another dinner party, this ham recipe does not disappoint. It's a relatively hands-off entrée that you'll find yourself making for the fall, spring, or any special occasion.

One of the challenges of holiday (or any day!) hams is that we’ve come to expect a dish sweet enough for the dessert table. And while a thick brown-sugar crust is addictive, this season, we’d like to keep things simple. Specifically, super-simple with Kayb’s glazed ham.

Instead of whacking you over the head with sugar, Kayb balances the sweetness of dark brown sugar with grainy and ground mustards—plus a healthy splash of bourbon. Feel free to adjust to your tastes: less sugar, more spice, different kinds of spice, different alcohol (rum is delicious). It’s a seriously flexible formula!

The key to ham-tastic greatness is basting. To keep the meat moist, brush the drippings over the entire surface of ham. Make sure that you carefully remove the dish from the oven and then close the door while you're basting. You’ll lose heat and increase the cooking time if you try to base with the oven door open. –Katie Macdonald —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Super-Simple Glazed Ham
  • Ham:
  • 1 (5- to 8-pound) half ham, butt portion, sliced or not
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups ham drippings and/or ham stock
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 pinch finely grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  1. Cook the Ham: Heat the oven to 300°F. Score the ham in a diamond pattern to ¼ inch deep (if not sliced). Place the ham on a rack in a large roasting pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the mustard, honey, nutmeg, and cloves.
  3. Using your hands, smear the mustard mixture all over the surface of the ham. Using your hands again, pack the brown sugar all over the exterior of the ham, pressing to adhere.
  4. Using a spray bottle, lightly mist the brown sugar with the bourbon just to barely moisten (you may not use it all).
  5. Bake the ham, uncovered and basting occasionally, for 20 minutes per pound.
  6. Make the Glaze: Strain the ham drippings, skim as much fat as you wish, and add enough ham stock to make 1½ cups. Transfer to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the brown sugar, mustard, nutmeg, and cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened. (You can also add a little pineapple juice to this, if you wish.) Serve the glaze at the table over the ham.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • BarbaraTheCook
  • helen
  • Deanna Harvey Bredt
    Deanna Harvey Bredt
  • Savanah Belanger
    Savanah Belanger
  • Lisa
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!

43 Reviews

tosacem March 15, 2024
I will be making this receipe for the first time this Easter. My butcher offers to slice and tie ham but I'm not sure if I should have that done. I'm concerned it might turn out dry. Any opinion?
BarbaraTheCook March 15, 2024
I was worried about that as well, since the grocery stores only sell presliced ham. I've only used the sliced and have had no problem, no dryness. I do really coat well with the coating/sugar/rum (I use Kraken rum rather than bourbon) so maybe that protects well from drying. This recipe is OUTSTANDING. I am not a ham girl, but I love this recipe and the results, and I go in for seconds on the ham. Who knew?!
tosacem March 16, 2024
Thanks for your response, having presliced will make it easier for serving and sending home leftovers! I will go with the presliced.
BarbaraTheCook December 25, 2023
Second time I made this. Applying the brown sugar is a mess, but a worthwhile mess. Use Kraken rum and drip onto the sugar covering. We usually get an 8-9 pound ham and this is just the best recipe. I changed the pan/rack situation which allowed me more drippings and more successful ham sauce this time (since I forgot to make Eric's cherry sauce).
Anyway- I HIGHLY recommend this recipe and watching the video which is very helpful in understanding the recipe.
humblecook April 10, 2023
I never leave reviews, ever. It is a measure of this ham’s greatness that I am here, raving. Simple, unimprovable. Used a Snake River Farms boneless cooked ham. Did as directed here. Flawless. Thank you!
helen April 9, 2023
Although I cook all kinds of food, I’d never made a ham before, and was pretty intimidated when asked to make a Christmas ham last year for my mother-in -law. I used this recipe, replacing the bourbon with Jack Daniel’s honey whiskey and omitting the cloves. It was such a hit that I’ve been asked to make it again today for Easter. Looks like the one Jewish person in the family is now the expert on ham. Thanks.
BarbaraTheCook December 24, 2023
I LOVE this post~ Hysterical!
BarbaraTheCook December 26, 2022
Loved this recipe. Fantastic bark. I'm not a ham fan but everyone, myself included, was swooning over the ham. This is the only way I'll make it from now on.
FRANCINE December 7, 2022
I have never cooked a ham before. Do I buy a fully cooked one and then follow the instructions?
Deanna H. December 8, 2022
Yes, you'll purchase a smoked ham, already cooked. Made it again for Thanksgiving, amazing! Remember - key is basting!
FRANCINE December 14, 2022
It was amazing, Amanda! Love it! Especially diced and scrambled with eggs and cheddar the next day!

Question: I purchased a ham with the bone in and it was very hard to cut. Yours doesn't look like it has a bone in. Mine was also very fatty. Is it best to remove the fat prior to roasting?
Deanna H. November 19, 2022
This is by far, the BEST tasting ham our family has ever ever EVER had. Basting is a little putzy, but it's really the only way..... Bake this ham, you will not regret it! I'll never use another recipe again.
Savanah B. December 27, 2021
Amazing! This was my first year making Christmas dinner and this ham was a hit! I got caught up making everything else and forgot to make the sauce but we did not miss it.
Lisa April 5, 2021
Amazing recipe! This will be the only home recipe I use .. I had a whole boneless Snake River ham. I too had to much going on to remember the basting, next time will try. I did save some of the sauce and will apply when reheating.
Thank you for the recipe and the great video Amanda.
luvcookbooks April 5, 2021
Great Easter dinner ham. For the vegetarians, I made Vegetarian Cassoulet, features sorrel, artichokes, and leeks!
Kay April 1, 2021
I have made this before with success, but have a question as I review the article. The editor's note refers to basting, but the recipe directions do not. I know this is common with heating ham, but I don't recall doing it for this recipe which turned out with a nice crusty glaze. Recommendations?
Kay April 1, 2021
My question was answered by watching the video demo, thanks!
Juliebell January 16, 2021
I fixed this ham for Christmas and it’s a keeper. I’ll fix it forever! I had too much going on to focus on basting/spraying so I mixed everything including the bourbon, painted it on and then checked periodically brushing more on. I used a Berkshire ham and it was the best ham I’ve ever fixed. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe.
Ayla512 December 19, 2020
Hi, in my part of the world, pork butt isn't really available. The only option we have for hams that size is a pork leg. Would the recipe work with that?
Anna January 6, 2019
Not a fan of cooking ham but this recipe is a keeper. Will do it many more times. Thank you.
daria December 19, 2018
If I take uncooked ham, how long should I bake it? Will it taste as good as yours?
Liz C. December 19, 2018
Do you mean a "fresh ham", as in totally unsmoked? If so, I recommend this method:
daria December 19, 2018
Thank you, Liz!
Kayb December 19, 2018
As long as you're using a good quality cured and smoked ham, it should. I'd probably go up to to 30, maybe 35 minutes per pound. Check the internal temp; I would want 155 or so.
Daniel S. November 19, 2018
Made this recipe today as a dry run for our thanksgiving dinner later this week. This was definitely a step up from the traditional super sweet glaze that we use to make. Followed the recipe, except for two changes as we were cooking two of everything in different ways. This recipe was used in the crock pot on low for @ 6 1/2 hours and I did not have a sprayer, I basted it with 1/2 the bourbon and let the other half in the pot to use later with the glaze. Perfect and juicy, plenty of juice for the glaze, worked out very well..👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
Liz C. October 8, 2018
And does it need to "rest"?
Liz C. October 8, 2018
Do you put the ham on the rack cut side down?
Kayb October 8, 2018
I generally do, just because it's more stable. And I let it rest about 20 minutes.
Meg C. December 30, 2017
Amazing ham! Served for holiday celebration and it was a hit. Only thing is I bought a bottle of whiskey for 1/4 cup in recipe. Probably should have gotten some from a neighbor. Or we could make this ham a regular.
Leslie December 1, 2017
Simply CAN'T use bourbon. My old alcohol of choice was vodka. So, since my taste buds can't help, what would anyone suggest as a substitute? If the booze is a cooking agent, I could just use vodka. If, instead, it's a flavoring agent, I would like to use something which complements the ham similar to hickory smoking. (I'm old enough to be a purist, no applewood or other new flavorings for me.) I've got great local butchers/meat cutters in the area so I WILL try this recipe. Thanks for Boubon substitute recommendations!
Kayb December 1, 2017
You want some sort of a sweet-tangy taste, and really all you're doing is moistening the brown sugar a little so it'll make a better crust. I think I might try mixing some Coca Cola with a little balsamic vinegar. Or you might try a combo of orange and lemon juice. Truthfully, I don't taste the bourbon at all.