Best Brown Sugar Ham Glaze Recipe (Simple!)

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Best Brown Sugar Ham Glaze Recipe (Simple!)– Made with brown sugar, orange juice, honey or maple syrup, and spices, this recipe is the BEST holiday ham addition! It takes 15 minutes to make! I tested 15 variations of this recipe, and this one is THE KEEPER! I know you will use it year after year for special occasions.

If you are making my fresh ham roast or baked ham for Christmas dinner or Easter you will love this delicious sauce. Serve it with Brussels sprouts or creamed spinach.

How to make baked ham with brown sugar glaze step-by-step: thickened glaze on a spoon ready to glaze the ham.
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Best Brown Sugar Glaze EVER

I tried many variations of ham glazes to create one that hit all the marks of flavor and paired well with any ham. This recipe works with boneless ham, bone-in ham, ham steaks, and spiral-cut ham. Perfect for the holiday season.

I can attest that this is the best ham glaze recipe. The simple brown sugar honey glaze makes the delicious and flavorful honey-baked ham. Once you try this recipe, you can’t return to another! You will love this sweet glaze:

  • Irresistible Sweetness: The combination of brown sugar and honey creates a sweet, sticky glaze that caramelizes beautifully on the ham, imparting a mouthwatering sweetness to every bite.
  • Balanced Flavor Profile: Adding Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, cloves, and cinnamon ensures a well-balanced flavor profile. The mustard adds a subtle tang, while the spices bring warmth and depth to the glaze.
  • Ease of Preparation: The recipe is simple, making it accessible for both novice and experienced cooks. With minimal effort, you can achieve a delicious and impressive ham glaze that will be a hit at any gathering.
  • Moist and Flavorful Ham: Basting the ham with the glaze during the cooking process ensures that the flavors penetrate the meat, resulting in a moist and flavorful ham that will be a highlight of your meal.

Simple Ingredients

This recipe is perfect for a baked ham about 5-8 pounds. You can easily double the recipe if needed. There is no need to use that packet of glaze that comes with a smoked ham. This homemade glaze is SO much better.

ingredient shot for the glaze

Simple Ham Glaze

  • Butter: Serves as a base to help the flavors caramelize and come together.
  • Brown sugar: Adds sweetness and caramelization to the glaze.
  • Honey or Maple syrup: Imparts a rich and distinct flavor to the glaze.
  • Fresh orange juice adds a citrusy and tangy element to the glaze. If desired, add a bit of orange zest.
  • Dijon mustard: Gives the glaze a unique taste.
  • Thyme: A hint of herby freshness.
  • Paprika: A little bit of sweet and spicy kick.

See recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham

While the ham roasts in the oven, the house will smell amazing. It’s so easy to make, and the whole family will love this glaze.

How to make baked ham with brown sugar glaze step-by-step: adding the ingredients for the glaze in a pot.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, honey, orange juice, mustard, ginger, thyme, and paprika or other spices (if using).

How to make baked ham with brown sugar glaze step-by-step: cooking the glaze.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes until it is slightly thickened and the sugar is dissolved; stir occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes to thicken even more.

How to make baked ham with brown sugar glaze step-by-step: letting the glaze thicken in a bowl.

Substitutions

  • Brown Sugar: Substitute white sugar or coconut sugar for a different sweetness profile. You can use dark brown sugar for a deeper molasses flavor.
  • Dijon Mustard: Use yellow mustard or whole-grain mustard for different flavor profiles. Mix dry mustard powder with a bit of water to form a paste as a substitute.

Variations

You can experiment with different flavors and ingredients to create variations of ham glaze. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pineapple Brown Sugar Glaze: Mix in pineapple juice and crushed pineapple with the brown sugar for a tropical and fruity glaze.
  • Spicy Bourbon Glaze: Spike the glaze with a splash of bourbon and a pinch of cayenne pepper for a sweet and spicy kick.
  • Ginger Soy Glaze: Incorporate grated ginger and soy sauce for an Asian-inspired glaze with a savory and umami flavor.
  • Apricot Dijon Glaze: Combine apricot preserves with Dijon mustard to balance sweet and savory notes.
  • Raspberry Balsamic Glaze: Introduce raspberry preserves and balsamic vinegar for a rich and tangy glaze.
  • Warm Spices: add a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves or whole cloves, or allspice to the sauce.
How to make baked ham with brown sugar glaze step-by-step: thickened glaze on a spoon.

How to Store and Reheat Ham Glaze

STORE. To store any remaining glaze, allow it to cool to room temperature and transfer it to a clean, airtight container. Refrigerate the container to maintain freshness. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks

REHEAT. Before using the glaze, gently reheat it on the stovetop or microwave, stirring well to restore its original consistency.

Leftovers

Baked ham is even better the next day! Use leftover ham for baked pasta, sandwiches, ham and eggs, or if you have a bone-in one you can make ham soup. It’s a recipe that keeps on giving for days!

Top tips for best results

  • Score the Ham: Before applying the glaze, score the surface of the ham in a crisscross pattern. This not only enhances the presentation but also allows the glaze to penetrate and flavor the meat more effectively.
  • Baste Regularly: During the last 30 minutes of the baking process, baste the ham regularly with the glaze. Basting every 10-15 minutes helps to build up a flavorful crust and ensures the ham stays moist.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Invest in a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the ham accurately. This ensures that the ham is cooked to the proper doneness without overcooking.
  • Allow for Resting Time: Allow the ham to rest for a few minutes before slicing. This redistributes the juices, keeping the ham moist and flavorful.
  • Reheat Glaze Before Applying: If the glaze thickens or solidifies, gently reheat it before applying it to the ham. This ensures a smooth and even glaze application.
Perfectly baked ham with brown sugar glaze in a large baking dish.

FAQs

When do you add ham glaze to the ham?

Starting 30 minutes before the ham is done, you will remove the aluminum foil and begin basting the top of the ham with the glaze. For my ham recipe, you cut a diamond pattern in the ham, creating juicy meat.

Can I add pineapple juice?

Yes! This recipes tastes fantastic with a pineapple flavor and you can swap it for the orange juice.

How do you make glazed ham steaks?

To make glazed ham steaks, score the steaks, make the glaze, brush it over the steaks, and bake at 375°F (190°C) for about 15-20 minutes, basting with glaze. Ensure the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C) with a meat thermometer. Let it rest briefly before serving.

Do you put the glaze on the ham before or after cooking?

For the best results, apply the glaze on the ham during and after cooking. This allows the glaze to caramelize and adhere to the ham, creating a flavorful crust. Baste the entire ham with additional glaze during the cooking process to enhance the flavor and appearance.

slices of baked ham on a serving platter with brown sugar glaze on the side.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

What to Serve with Glazed Ham Recipe

These are my favorite dishes to serve with the best glazed ham.

Make sure to leave a ⭐️star rating on the recipe card and comment below if you make the recipe. I love to connect with you through my recipes.

I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @cucinabyelena so I can see your delicious Italian recipes. To get more ideas, follow me on Pinterest.

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Best Brown Sugar Ham Glaze Recipe (Simple!)

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  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: enough for 69 pound ham 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey (or real maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed is preferred (pineapple juice will also work)
  • 12 tablespoons Dijon mustard (or whole-grain mustard)
  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 sprig thyme, stem removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional)

Optional spices:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, honey, orange juice, mustard, ginger, thyme, and paprika or other spices (if using). Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes until it is slightly thickened and the sugar is dissolved; stir occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes to thicken even more. Enjoy with Fresh Ham Roast or Smoked Ham
  • Author: Elena
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: American
  • Cuisine: American

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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