Honey Baked Ham
Updated Apr 03, 2023
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Who knew that a homemade honey baked ham was this easy? As long as you’ve got the temperature, time, and this insanely good spiced, honey glaze down – it’s a foolproof holiday centerpiece!
The Best Copycat Honey Baked Ham For The Holidays
I’ll admit, I’ve bought my fair share of The Honey Baked Ham when I needed a guaranteed stunning main for the holidays. But looking back on my Thanksgiving turkey, beef tenderloin, or prime rib recipes, I was long overdue for a homemade ham recipe. And to my surprise (as always), the process was much easier than I thought.
This copycat honey baked ham is cooked just right, perfectly sliced, and that sticky sweet glaze tastes like a “chef’s kiss” moment. So if you need to make a good impression during Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas – I’ll show you everything you need to know about how to cook a ham.
It’s All About The Honey Glaze!
Before we dive into the ham itself, let’s first talk about this honey glaze. Because let’s be honest, this is what’s really going to make or break your ham. But don’t worry – this concoction has just the right amount of sticky sweet, a beautiful blend of spices, and even a hint of citrus. Here’s what you’ll need.
- Honey: You’ll need a good amount of honey to evenly coat the ham. And if you’re thinking about swapping it for maple syrup, sure, you can do that. But then it wouldn’t be a honey baked ham now would it?
- Sugar: You can use coconut sugar or another granulated sugar here. I love coconut sugar as it’s unprocessed and imparts a slight caramel flavor (aka. it’s extra delicious).
- Orange Juice: The key here is to use freshly squeezed orange juice instead of the bottled version. This will help give the glaze a fresh citrus note!
- Dijon Mustard: A punch of Dijon mustard adds subtle spice (though it won’t taste mustardy) and complements the rest of the ingredients extremely well.
- Spices: I’ve got 4 here – cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground ginger. Spices that will make your kitchen smell amazing and holiday-esque!
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
Things To Look Out For When Buying Ham
Typically, you’ll buy your ham ready-to-go instead of frozen. But if you happened to buy it ahead of time – store it in the freezer! Then let it thaw overnight in the fridge for 1 to 2 days before you plan to cook it.
Here’s a few other phrases to look out for on the packaging labels (or to ask your butcher) when shopping for a ham.
- Fully Cooked (Ready-To-Eat) Cured Ham: When it comes to cooking, especially for the holidays, I’m all about efficiency. That’s why I’m using a pre-cooked ham. Plus, this is the kind you’ll most likely find in the grocery store anyways!
- Spiral Cut Ham: Piggy backing off of my previous note on efficiency, picking out a spiral cut ham is key. The fact that it’s pre-sliced makes it so much easier to pull away perfectly even slices when serving. And you can fan out the slices and brush the glaze in between to let the meat soak up all that sticky sweet goodness.
- Bone-In Ham: Similar to many other types of meats, bone-in hams tend to have a better overall texture and flavor. This is due to the collagen surrounding the bone that slowly seeps into the meat as it cooks in the oven. Plus – you can also save the bone to make stock!
So, How Much Ham Do I Need?
As you’re planning out your holiday menu – this is the first question that always comes to mind. And as I always say, it’s better to have too much than too little! But to give you a general idea, you’ll need about ½ pound of ham per person.
For this recipe, I’m using a bone-in ham that’s about 8 to 10 pounds. So this will comfortably make 12 servings, with a good amount of leftovers. And you know I love leftovers!
Equipment You’ll Need
To make a honey baked ham, you’ll need three things – a roasting tray, basting brush, and a thermometer.
- Roasting Tray: Any roasting tray works, from this expensive roasting tray, to a solid mid-priced roasting tray, or a simple disposable roasting tray. As long as you have enough room for your ham to fit and catch any juicy drippings. You’ll also need a tray to prop up the ham (so it doesn’t sit in the liquid). If you don’t have a tray, just slice an onion into quarters and place it on top!
- Brush: I love to use this silicone basting brush to brush the honey glaze onto the ham. Plus, it’s easy to clean!
- Thermometer: You’ve got a few options here. I often use this instant read thermometer, but a basic meat thermometer will work as well!
Let’s Make The Best Honey Baked Ham
Good news – the ham is already cooked, so all you really need to do is warm it through with the honey glaze brushed on top. But in order for the ham to soak in the flavor of the glaze while caramelizing on the edges, there’s just a few extra steps added to the process.
First – let’s get your ham thawed if it’s frozen. You’ll want to thaw it in the fridge overnight for 1 to 2 days. Then let it come to room temperature on the counter 2 hours before cooking.
- Prep the roasting pan. Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C) and adjust the oven rack to lowest position. Then pour 2 cups of water into the roasting pan for added moisture as it cooks.
- Mix the honey glaze. Stir together the sugar, honey, orange juice, mustard, and spices.
- Brush on the glaze and bake the ham. Place the ham on the baking tray, brush ¼ of the honey glaze on top, then cover the ham with aluminum foil and bake for 10 to 12 minutes per pound. During this 1 ½ hours you’ll re-glaze every 30 minutes.
- Caramelize the glaze. After that time is done, increase the oven temperature to 425°F (220°C), remove the aluminum foil, and brush the remaining glaze all over the ham. Then let it bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly caramelized.
- Slice the ham. Let the ham rest for a few minutes, then carefully pull away the slices with a knife to serve. The beauty of a spiral ham!
Pro tip: make sure your ham is fully warmed through by using your thermometer to see if the internal temperature reads 130°F (50°C).
Ways To Store and Use Leftover Ham
Leftover turkey is great, but leftover ham is even better. You can store the slices in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Otherwise, you can freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Once you’re ready to eat, here’s a few delicious ways to re-imagine ham in these meals!
- Make a meaty breakfast. Dice it up into small bits and toss them into a Western omelette, egg scramble, or even a breakfast hash!
- Toss into a salad. Instead of shredded chicken, add in dice ham chunks into your next salad. This works great with salads like a cobb salad or make this ultimate ham salad!
- Make a simple stir fry. Never forget to use leftover meat for stir fries! A combination of diced, ham, kale, onions, and peas makes for an easy yet surprisingly flavorful dinner. But you can swap in any kinds of veggies.
- Add into a soup. Save the bone to make this delicious split pea soup! But you could also add diced ham into cabbage soup or lentil soup.
Honey Baked Ham Recipe Video
Let me show you just how easy this holiday ham comes together! Watch the video below.
Savory Sides To Serve With Ham
Now that you’ve got the main centerpiece down – lets think about all the sides you’re going to serve with it.
See how easy this honey baked ham was to make? Give it a try for your next holiday dinner and let me know how it turned out in a comment below!
Honey Baked Ham
- Thaw the ham. If the ham is frozen, allow it to thaw in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. Then, remove the ham from the fridge and let it rest on the counter for 2 hours before cooking, to come to room temperature.
- Prep the roasting pan. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Pour 2 cups of water into bottom of roasting pan.
- Mix the honey glaze. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, honey, orange juice, mustard, and spices.
- Brush on the glaze and bake the ham. Place the ham on the baking tray, brush ¼ of the honey glaze on top, then cover the ham with aluminum foil and bake for 10 to 12 minutes per pound (for a 9 pound ham, that's about 1 ½ hours). During this 1 ½ hours you'll re-glaze every 30 minutes.
- Caramelize the glaze. After 1 ½ hours, increase the oven temperature to 425°F (220°C), discard the aluminum foil, and brush the remaining ¼ of the glaze all over the ham. Return the ham to the oven and bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until shiny, glazed, and slightly caramelized.
- Slice the ham. Let the ham rest for a few minutes before serving, then slice it up by removing the spiral slices from the flat, wider end first.
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