Ham Glaze adds the most beautifully delicious sticky exterior! Nothing creates a more festive table for a special gathering of family and friends than a steaming platter of copycat honey baked ham, glistening with a gorgeous, caramelized glaze. If ham roast is on your dinner menu, you’ll definitely need to know how to make a quick ham glaze.
This easy ham glaze produces a perfectly heavenly sweet-salty flavor combination that will make for an unforgettable dinner. Besides being a delicious complement to the meat, brown sugar glaze for ham also functions to lock in moisture, ensuring every plate holds a juicy slice of meat.
A Quick Ham Glaze
Making a glaze for ham is quick and effortless, requiring just a whisk, and a few ingredients. This recipe calls for orange juice, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and some warm spices. The combination produces a tanginess and depth of flavor that will enhance your entire meal. If you don’t have orange juice you can substitute pineapple juice with great results!
To get the most out of your orange or pineapple glaze for ham, prepare the ham for roasting beforehand. If the ham has a layer of fat or thin skin on top, it can be scored so the glaze can get into the meat (read how to score a ham here). The glaze will seep into these cracks, providing even more caramelized flavor as it bakes. A spiral cut ham does not need to be scored, as the glaze will seep between the slices a little bit.
Usually grocery store hams nowadays come with the rind removed. If your ham has a rind that is very thick and leathery (sold as a rind-on ham) this should be removed as it will be tough, even after cooking. Under this tough skin will be a fat layer that can be scored. You will know if the ham has this layer as it looks very thick and leather-like (the ham in these images does not have a rind).
Traditionally, the center of each diamond is studded with a whole clove. Clove is a strong spice, and can easily overpower, so a tiny pinch added to the glaze is enough for us! For a flavor boost, you can apply a layer of pineapple rounds to the surface. Roasted pineapple is delicious with ham, and also holds the glaze well.
How To Make A Glaze For Ham
A ham glaze needs a few different parts:
- Sweet: The caramelization of the sugars is what adds the sticky exterior we love so much. This can be in the form of brown sugar, honey, jam etc.
- Tangy: Orange juice, pineapple juice, cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar all add great flavor!
- Spices: Garlic, cloves/cinnamon, mustard, rosemary
Simply stir the ingredients together. While some recipes have you boil/thicken the glaze, I don’t find it necessary. You certainly can do that if you’d like a thicker glaze but I find adding a couple of coats of glaze adds just enough without being too thick or sweet.
When Do You Glaze a Ham? About 20-30 minutes before the ham is done (any sooner and you can risk burning the sugars in the glaze). Generously apply the glaze to the outside of the ham with a brush (you can repeat a few times if you’d like more glaze).
The next time you’re making a ham roast, but sure you make it extra special by making this brown sugar glaze for ham.
Our Favorite Ham Recipes
- Copycat Honey Baked Ham (with Video)
- How to Cook a Spiral Ham
- Crock Pot Ham (Video)
- Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze
- Ham Bone Soup (Slow Cooker)
The Best Ham Glaze (Easy)
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup orange juice or pineapple juice
- 2-3 tablespoons dijon mustard or grainy mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch ground cloves
- Whisk all ingredients together.
- Brush over a spiral cut or scored ham about 20-30 minutes before the ham is done.
- If desired, brush extra overtop and broil to make the glaze golden.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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So feeling a little dense here, did I miss something…first time cooking a ham , and for soon to be in-lawn no less (yeah what was I thinking) and want to get it right. You said most stores remove the skin/rind, then you say if not to take it off, then you say to score it….is there a skin and a rind?
Apologies for the confusion Tina; most hams do have the thick leathery rind removed. If the outer layer is thin, it likely doesn’t need to be removed, just scored. A spiral ham does not need to be scored. I hope that helps.
This was the juiciest ham I’ve ever made; thank you! I subbed apple juice, like another commenter, because it’s what we had, and used a little less sugar. Omitted the cloves. Added chipotle garlic seasoning and black pepper for some heat. Baked in the Foodi for 15 minutes (1.6 lb), stopped halfway to brush again. <3
I absolutely hate mustard. Is there any way I could omit it or replace it with something else? Thanks!
Hi Lily, I have only made this recipe as written but you could try substituting for horseradish or possibly Worcestershire. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!
Love the glaze, so easy to put together, especially when you have a crowd coming. It’s well be my go to recipe from now on.
I am so glad you enjoyed this glaze recipe Hazel!
Great recipe but why does everyone feel the need to tell the entire history of everything before just getting to the recipe. Do your monolog at the end if you have to, stop holding people prisoner to your life story.
There’s no life story included with this recipe Jack, just stuff about the recipe itself. That being said, you can use the “JUMP TO RECIPE” button I’ve included at the top of every page to get right to the recipe.
I rather enjoy reading the origins and heritage stories. Albeit, I’m a bit of a nerd, so learning about other cultures intrigued me. Thanks for the recipe, and cooking is about the love Sir. I find it very relaxing, my wheelhouse…
You are looking for a recipe of other people because you can’t possibly make your own, yet here you are instead of appreciating it is being ungrateful. Your entitlement does not work anywhere. Better yet make your own recipe.
Wow Jack, how rude are you? Just a nasty thing to say. Someone is sharing a nice recipe with you, how did you get to that?
Jack, maybe you are responding to the wrong recipe?? There wasn’t any entire-history of a food written here, just a few descriptive and instructive paragraphs (that you don’t even have to read if you don’t want to), so no worries. And, just like all recipes online these days, this recipe has a “Jump to recipe” button at the very top of the page that you can click on that, well, jumps to the recipe if you don’t have time to quickly read the information before it. They’re pretty nifty actually in times of need. For whatever recipe blog you were actually referring to to, maybe give the “jump to recipe” option a try. It takes 1 second and then you’re on your way. Happy trails friend, and bon appetit!
I thought this was super easy and very good…I actually substituted apple juice instead of the other juices because that’s what I had on hand.
Thanks for sharing your tip! So glad you loved it.
Thanks for the recipe. I needed one on the fly. You gave the exact recipe, where others where frustrating. because they included the whole ham preparation jumbled together. So a very good, clear easy to make choice. Thanks
Glad to be able to help Scott! Thank you for the feedback!
Made this glaze on-the-fly for a ham steak. Used pineapple juice, agave syrup, stadium mustard, a shake of garlic powder and and corn starch for thickening . Poured over the hot ham steak in the frypan and let it thicken. It was great.
I tried this brown sugar glaze recipe of yours and I used Balsamic Vinegar, It is delicious!
made this for the first time on Thanksgiving. My 15 year old daughter is very picky. She loves the glazed ham and asks for it all the time.
Ham is a favorite in my family too Linda! So glad your family enjoyed it.
How long do you cook a Ham ?
You can find our baked ham recipe here. A bone-in fully cooked ham cooks for about 12-14 minutes per pound.
My husband likes cold ham and doesn’t like the way baked ham changes texture. Can I purchase a fully cooked ham and glaze it and either cook it at a really high temperature or broil it only? Any suggestion?
Hi Candy, if the package says that you can eat the ham without cooking it, I see no reason why you couldn’t do that! The outside would start to warm. If you broil it, please watch it very carefully. It can burn quickly.