During the holidays, I love serving this Brown Sugar Glazed Ham. It’s a true showstopper! It’s beautiful, and the great thing is that it is actually very easy to make…believe it or not!
The great thing about this brown sugar glazed ham is that it doesn’t take much effort to make. That’s right! The key here is to use a fully cooked smoked ham. So, really, all you have to do is bake the ham to reheat it and brush it with a delicious brown sugar glaze.
Today I’m sharing all my tips and tricks to help you make the best glazed ham for the holidays. You’ll love how easy and simple it is!
I always get excited whenever it’s time to bake a ham. That means it’s a special event or holiday, which means lots of food and fun! This Easter, I’ll be serving this super easy and delicious brown sugar glazed ham.
The ham comes out so moist and tender, with a really nice brown sugar caramelization all around. It’s the perfect combination of savory and sweet.
There are 3 reasons why this brown sugar glazed ham recipe so easy to make:
- I use a fully cooked smoked ham. This way, there is no need to worry too much about strictly reaching a specific temperature for the ham.
- You just have to let the ham bake for about 1.5 hours, with no need to check on it often, and then glaze it after that. So, it’s a low maintenance ham recipe!
- The brown sugar glaze is very easy to make. Takes just 10 minutes to make the glaze, and you can adjust it to taste.
Let’s make it!
What Type of Ham to Use
First of all, make sure to use a fully-cooked smoked ham. Basically, you’ll be baking it to reheat it, so it needs to be fully cooked.
I’d recommend getting a half-ham, which weighs about 8-10 pounds. It will feed about 16 to 20 people. If you need to double it up, get two half-hams rather than a whole ham. Two half hams will take less time to bake and reheat than a whole ham.
Even better if it’s bone-in because this will keep the ham extra moist!
To make it even flavorful, I used an applewood smoked smoked ham. I love applewood smoked hams because it comes with so much amazing flavor. I usually get my ham at Costco and it already comes spiral-sliced, making it much easier to serve.
Method for Baking a Ham
The method for making this brown sugar glazed ham is very simple. And remember, it all starts with using a fully-cooked smoked ham!
There are basically three parts to making this brown sugar glazed ham:
- Baking the ham: Because the smoked ham is already fully cooked, you’re essentially “warming it up.” For a 8-10 pound ham, this will take about 1.5 hours or so. The important part here is keeping the ham moist, so you’ll need a pan with a roasting rack. Add water to the roasting pan (about ¾ to 1 inch of water), and then set the roasting rack on top. Place the ham on the roasting rack, flat side down. Then, wrap the pan with aluminum foil tightly, and bake at 325 degrees F for 1.5 hours or so. This will allow the water trapped inside to keep the ham moist and tender.
- Making the brown sugar glaze: about 20 minutes before the baking time is up, make the glaze by simmering all the ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Glazing the ham: Increase the temperature to 400 degrees F. Brush the ham with the glaze and return to the oven (uncovered). Repeat about 2-3 times every 8 minutes until caramelized.
The ham will be ready once it reaches 140 degrees F.
Having the right tools is very helpful to making this brown sugar glazed ham. Here’s what I’d recommend:
- Roasting pan with a roasting rack: Make sure you have a roasting pan with a roasting rack. This will allow you to add water at the bottom of the pan to keep the ham moist as it bakes.
- Aluminum foil: To wrap the roasting pan tightly, and ensure that the steam does not escape. You want to keep the moisture trapped inside for the ham.
- A silicone or pastry brush: For brushing the ham with the brown sugar glaze.
- A saucepan: to make the glaze.
Keeping the Ham Moist
This is how you keep the ham moist while it’s baking:
- Add water to the roasting pan to create steam while it bakes. Use a roasting rack to place the ham so it’s not touching the water.
- After everything is set up in the pan, cover it tightly with aluminum foil to ensure the moisture from the water doesn’t escape.
- Bake at a low temperature (325 degrees F). Slow and steady.
Safe Temperature for the Ham
I’d recommend baking (or “re-heating”) the ham until it reaches about 140 degrees F. Bake for about 10-12 minutes per pound.
My ham was 9 pounds, so it took about 1.5 hours in the oven, and then another 20-30 minutes for the glazing part.
A fully cooked ham can actually be eaten cold, but reheating it in the oven makes it yummier. 140 degrees F is what most people recommend for the internal temperature of the reheated ham, but if it’s a bit lower than that, it should be fine too.
The Brown Sugar Glaze
The brown sugar glaze for them ham is very simple, with only a few ingredients needed:
- Packed light brown sugar: For sweetness and body.
- Maple syrup: For sweetness and body. The maple syrup will help the glaze thicken better as well.
- Apple cider vinegar: For a bit of acidity to balance the sweetness.
- Dijon mustard: For flavor and acidity.
- Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, ground cinnamon
- A rosemary sprig: Totally optional, but highly recommended for flavor.
- Salt: just a pinch
Making the glaze is also super simple: simply combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir the combine as it simmers, and then just simmer steadily for like 6 to 8 minutes, or until thickened.
You can also adjust the flavor profile of the glaze to taste. For example, if you want it to be sweeter, just add more sugar. If you want more acidity, add some more apple cider vinegar. For more flavor, add more spices.
I usually make the glaze about 20 minutes before it’s time to glaze it because it will harden a bit as it cools down. If this happens, simply reheat it until it loosens up.
Brown sugar glazed ham is always a great option for entertaining or for the holidays. A half ham is usually about 8 to 10 pounds, so it’s a great option if you’re feeding about 16 to 20 people.
Here are some of my favorite side dishes to serve this brown sugar glazed ham with:
- Spring Salad
- Parmesan Roasted Asparagus with Panko
- Cream of Broccoli
- Cream of Asparagus
- Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
- White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
- Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
Tips for Success
- Make sure you use a fully-cooked smoked ham.
- In order to keep ham moist, bake it covered with aluminum foil. You’ll need to add water in the bottom of the pan for it to create steam as it bakes to keep the ham moist.
- Use a roasting pan with a rack. You’ll need to add water to the pan and place a roasting rack on top so that the ham does not touch the water.
- To feed about 16 to 20 people, use a 8-10 pound half-ham. If you want to double it, don’t use a whole ham. I’d recommend using two half-hams instead so that it doesn’t take too long to bake or reheat.
Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
- 8 to 10 pound fully-cooked, bone-in ham (make sure it’s a fully cooked ham)
- Water for the pan
Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A pinch of salt
- 1 small spring fresh rosemary (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Remove the ham from its packaging. Let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
- Add enough water to cover about ¾ to 1 inch of a large pan with a roasting rack. Place the roasting rack on top and place the ham on top of the roasting rack, flat side down. Seal the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or 10-12 minutes per pound.
- Make the glaze (do this 20 minutes before ready to glaze): in a saucepan over medium heat, combine all the brown sugar glaze ingredients, and stir to combine as it melts. Adjust the flavors as needed (for example, add more vinegar for more acidity, or more spices for more flavor). Reduce to a simmer, and simmer for 6-8 minutes until it’s a bit thickened, stirring often. Set aside.
- Remove the ham from the oven and carefully remove the foil. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
- Brush the ham with glaze, and then return to the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes, uncovered. Repeat this step 2 more times until caramelized.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes before serving. Slice and serve. You can use the remaining brown sugar glaze for serving. Enjoy!
- Special equipment: a roasting pan with a roasting rack, a brush.
- What type of ham to use: Make sure you use a fully-cooked smoked ham. This recipe only works for fully-cooked hams. Even better if it’s bone-in and naturally flavored. I used an applewood smoked fully-cooked bone-in ham, and it was spiral sliced already.
- Use a roasting pan with a roasting rack. This is because you need to pour water in the pan to keep the ham moist, but the ham shouldn’t touch the water, so placing it on a roasting rack will do the trick.
- Remember to cover the pan with aluminum foil so that the moisture from the water stays trapped inside. This will keep the ham moist and tender.