This Best Spiral Ham Recipe with Brown Sugar Glaze recipe is so juicy with crispy edges from the brown sugar glaze! This easy-to-make baked ham makes the perfect centerpiece for Easter or Christmas.
Why you'll love spiral glazed ham:
- Juicy and Crispy: This spiral ham recipe cooks up a perfect balance of juiciness from the glaze and crispy edges, which makes it a delectable dish any special occasion.
- Easy to Make: This baked ham is truly no-fuss and can even be made by novice cooks. It has simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, so it should not be intimidating.
- Versatile: The glaze could be customized by adding extra herbs or even spices to change up the flavor to your taste.
- Perfect for Feeding a Crowd: This ham recipe is really great for a the holidays or a potluck as it's big enough to feed a crowd.
- Leftover Friendly: The leftovers are so nice for salads, sandwiches, and soups, which makes it great for meal planning.
This spiral ham recipe is made with brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, mustard and spices is just dripping with flavor and only takes a few minutes of hands-on prep! An elegant and easy to make main dish that is perfect for Easter, Christmas and any big friend or family gathering.
If it’s your first time baking a spiral ham, fear not! I explain how to make the ham with step-by-step directions in the recipe card below...it's truly very easy!
In my mind, there is nothing that is quite as tempting as a juicy and delicious spiral-cut ham on the holiday table. There better be leftovers for my kids so we always buy a bigger ham.
They have spiral cut hams available all year, so you could make it a special dinner any time of the year. We happened to enjoy this rosemary ham for an Easter dinner with friends. The easy to make glaze for spiral ham comes together in minutes!
Spiral cut hams are usually between 8 and 11 pounds (and some are smaller, around 5 pounds) and already come fully cooked (check the package out that it says pre-cooked). You're basically heating up the ham on a lower temperature to make sure the outside doesn't dry out.
Lamb is the meat that is enjoyed on Easter all over Italy. But a baked spiral ham is what my father preferred for Christmas and even Easter. My sister-in-law just reminded me that we better make our baked ham for Thanksgiving!
My dad would decorate his platter with fresh rosemary and slices of star fruit all fresh right from his garden. Dad would also add orange slices and it was a plate that looked very Sicilian. This rosemary ham is something he would totally love! When I baked this ham, it brought me so many memories of dad's special ham.
Let's get onto this amazing recipe!
What you need to know about which ham to buy for glazed ham
My brown sugar glazed ham, you will buy a spiral cut ham (fully-cooked, hase a fully cooked, bone-in, spiral cut ham.
- Fully Cooked: The hams in most grocery stores are soaked in brine and smoked, boiled, or baked before they're packaged to be sold. That means they are totally safe to eat even cold, right out of the wrapping. Keep an eye out for a label that specifies "fully cooked" and not, "cook before eating".
- Bone in: A bone-in ham is the best ham to buy to get the most succulent glazed ham. The leftover ham bone is wonderful to use for soups and stocks. Bone-in jam also have the best texture.
- Spiral Cut: Bone-in homes typically come spiral cut, which means it is already pre pre-sliced all the way around the bone. They have perfectly thin cut slices that make it so simple to serve. All you need to do is make the my delicious brown sugar glaze and heat up the ham!
What ingredients are in brown sugar ham glaze recipe?
This baked spiral ham requires very few ingredients to achieve lots of flavor! Here’s what I used in for the rosemary ham:
- Spiral Ham (pre-cooked): This is the main ingredient of the recipe and serves as the centerpiece for Easter or Christmas celebrations.
- Orange: Thinly sliced oranges are inserted between the slices of ham to add a burst of citrus flavor.
- Garlic Cloves: Slivered garlic cloves are added for a subtle yet savory undertone to the dish.
- Fresh Rosemary and Thyme: Cut up sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme add a fragrant and earthy flavor to the ham.
And to make the best spiral ham glaze recipe, I used the following:
- Brown Sugar: An important part of the glaze, the brown sugar caramelizes while it's baking.
- Balsamic Vinegar: This ingredient adds acidity to the glaze, balancing out the sweetness and adding a subtle tartness.
- Orange juice: You could use orange or lemon juice. It adds a touch of citrus to balance out the sweet and tart from the vinegar.
- Dijon Mustard: A key component of the glaze, Dijon mustard provides a tangy and spicy kick to balance out the sweetness.
- Mild Paprika: This spice adds a warm, smoky flavor to the glaze without overpowering it.
How to Bake a brown sugar spiral ham recipe
Here are the basic steps for cooking a spiral ham in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Whisk together the spiral ham glaze.
- Remove spiral ham from the package, but reserve the liquid.
- Place the spiral ham in a pan with a rack (you want the fat side UP).
- Gently pry apart the sliced ham and stuff insert the thinly sliced orange, garlic clove slivers, and sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme.
- Drizzle extra virgin olive oil around the bottom of the pan to avoid drying it out.
- Cover the spiral ham tightly with foil (this makes sure no steam escapes).
- Place the baking pan in the center of the oven and bake.
- For the last 20 minutes of the cooking, uncover the ham and spoon the brown sugar glaze on top.
Expert tips for spiral baked ham
- Make sure to remove any packaging or plastic disks from the ham before cooking.
- Use a shallow roasting pan lined with foil or a Silpat mat to prevent sticking and make clean-up easier.
- Preheat the oven to 250°F for optimal cooking temperature.
- Don't skip the step of adding thinly sliced oranges, garlic cloves, and fresh herbs between the slices of ham. This adds flavor and moisture to the meat.
- When inserting the orange slices and garlic cloves, make sure to spread them evenly throughout the ham for maximum flavor distribution.
- Cover the ham tightly with foil during cooking to prevent it from drying out.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the ham reaches an internal temperature of 140°F before removing it from the oven. This will make sure it is fully cooked and safe to eat.
- Baste the ham with the glaze during the last 20 minutes of cooking for a beautiful, glossy finish.
Variations and substitutions
- For a twist on the traditional brown sugar glaze, try using honey or maple syrup as the main sweetener. You can also add in some spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for a more complex flavor.
- Don't have balsamic vinegar? No problem! You can substitute with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar for a similar tangy kick.
- Want to make this recipe vegetarian? Swap out the ham for a meatless alternative like tofu or tempeh and brush on the glaze as directed. You can also use this glaze on roasted vegetables or tofu steaks for a delicious plant-based meal.
- Don't have fresh herbs on hand? You can use dried herbs instead, just reduce the amount by half as they are more potent than fresh.
- Want to add some heat to the glaze? Add in a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce for a spicy kick.
- If you're not a fan of oranges, you can substitute with other fruits like pineapple or apricots. Just make sure they are thinly sliced so that they can easily be inserted into the ham slices.
- Want to make this glaze gluten-free? Use a gluten-free soy sauce or tamari instead of regular soy sauce. You can also substitute the flour with cornstarch or arrowroot powder for thickening.
- To make this recipe more kid-friendly, you can omit the balsamic vinegar and use ketchup instead for a sweeter glaze. You can also add in some brown sugar or honey for extra sweetness.
- If you want to make this recipe ahead of time, you can prepare the glaze and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to use, simply reheat the glaze on low heat until warm and brush onto the ham before baking.
- Don't have a roasting pan? No problem! You can use a baking dish or even a large oven-safe skillet to cook the glazed ham. Just make sure it is deep enough to hold the juices and glaze.
- If you'd like a thicker glaze, simply reduce the amount of broth and cornstarch in the recipe. You could also let it simmer for longer until desired consistency is reached.
What to serve with spiral ham
This spiral ham recipe pairs nicely with almost any side dish! A few of our favorite sides to enjoy alongside this glazed spiral ham include:
Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad >> Fresh and light, you will love this easy to make Sicilian salad.
Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts>>My absolute favorite ways to enjoy Brussels sprouts. You'll love this glaze!
Best Ever Italian Sausage Stuffing>>This stuffing is incredible! Very easy to make and perfect for the holidays!
Sweet Corn Spoonbread>>This corn spoonbread is so simple to put together and every bite is velvety smooth!
How to store baked ham?
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze any extra ham slices with the glaze on top for up to 2 months. Just thaw and reheat in the oven before serving.
Spiral hams are cut from one end to the other, which makes it very easy to carve and serve. Spiral hams are wonderful served the next day warm or even cold.
You have a few options when it comes to reheating this glazed spiral ham. You can either cover the ham with foil and bake it at 325ºF for 10 minutes per pound OR you can reheat individual slices in the microwave or in a skillet. Your choice!
The way to calculate how many servings you'll get is it's about 6 ounces per person, so you could figure an 8-pound ham will give you about 20 servings. Impossible to eat just one slice, so maybe get a larger ham if you're dreaming of those leftovers the next day! This spiral ham recipe also makes the best sandwiches!
For this Brown Sugar Glazed Spiral Ham, we used fresh rosemary, thyme, garlic and orange slices in our ham. You could use just rosemary or just thyme. We like the combo of the fresh rosemary and thyme. When you are serving the ham, you could remove the garlic slivers, fresh herbs, and orange slices
Your spiral ham’s cooking time will depend on its size. However, a good rule of thumb is to bake your spiral ham for 13-16 minutes per pound at 250°F uncovered. Use a meat thermometer and check that the glazed spiral ham registers 140°F before serving it.
Keep the ham covered with foil to keep it warm until you're ready to serve it. If you check the ham and remove it at around 135°F it shouldn't be dry.
This easy to make glaze comes together by just mixing the ingredients together in a small bowl. It gets added onto the ham during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
If you're searching for the best glaze for a baked ham, for the sweet part it should either have maple syrup, or brown sugar and for the tangy party either vinegar, mustard, or some sort of a citrus juice.
– Simmer or Reduce: Simmering is a slow process, and the glaze will start to thicken. Keep stirring so it won't stick or burn.
– Add Cornstarch: Stirring together a small amount of cornstarch with water makes a slurry. Slowly whisk the slurry into the glaze as it is simmering. Cook for a few minutes, whisking to prevent any lumps from forming.
Originally published March 2022 and republished October 2023 for content.
Some other recipes to enjoy:
- Sauteed Chicken Breast with Lemon Sauce
- Easy Italian Garlic Rosemary Steak
- Tangerine Garlic Chicken
- Baked Ziti
Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below:)
Rosemary Brown Sugar Glazed Spiral Ham
- 1 spiral ham (8-10 lbs)
- ½ orange , thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves , slivered
- 6 sprigs fresh rosemary and thyme , cut up
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon mild paprika
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients and stir together well; set aside.
- Remove packaging and if your ham has a small plastic disk on the underside of the bone, remove and discard the disk.
- Place ham in a shallow roasting pan lined with foil (or a Silpat mat), cut side down.
- Between the slices all around the ham insert the thinly sliced orange, garlic clove slivers, and sprigs of fresh rosemary and/or thyme. Cover tightly with foil paper.
- Bake for 13-16 minutes per pound until ham reaches 140°F. The ham doesn't need any attention or checking until at least 1 1/2 hours have passed.
- For the last 20 minutes of the cooking, uncover and spoon the glaze over the ham.
- Transfer to a platter using two large, wide spatulas. Remove the ham from the oven and rest at least 15 minutes before cutting. Spoon any glaze from the pan over the ham before serving if desired.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.