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The Best Fresh Ham Roast Recipe (Easy)

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5 from 6 reviews

The Best Fresh Ham Roast Recipe (Easy). Perfectly seasoned with herbs, spices, and a hint of brown sugar this makes for the juiciest ham roast with a delightfully crispy outer layer. This is a wonderful holiday ham recipe (Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter). Serve it for any special occasion, or make it a family dinner night favorite! Serve with roasted potatoes and a beautiful salad.

  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 1 10-pound fresh ham bone-in or bone less (not precooked or cured)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 34 oranges, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup white wine


  1. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Leave the fat layer on the ham. Score ham in a diamond pattern (crisis cross) of ½-inch-deep cuts about 1½ inches apart.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, brown sugar, pepper, and thyme, pinching the thyme until it becomes fragrant. Pat mixture all over the ham and into scores on the ham roast.
  3. Place orange slices on the bottom of a roasting rack that is in a large roasting pan. Place ham fat-side up on the bed of orange slices on the rack. Pour water and white wine into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Roast for ½ an hour at 425 degrees F.
  5. Turn the heat down to 300 degrees F. We want to cook it low and slowly to tenderize the meat. Add water to the pan, if needed, to keep pan juices from burning.
  6. Bake until a meat thermometer is pressed into the thickest part of the ham and the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees, about 3- 3 1/2 hours (see notes). The top will be nice and golden brown, and the interior will be tender.
  7. Tent the fresh ham roast with aluminum foil and let the roast rest for 30-45 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife. Save pan drippings to make pan gravy, or spoon over the meat. 


*For food safety, ensure your ham reaches at least 150-160 degrees F. If you cook a bigger ham roast, you may need to increase the cooking time. Get a Good Meat Thermometer here.

How do I know my ham roast is done cooking?

For fresh, unsmoked ham, a bone-in whole leg cooks for 22-26 minutes per pound. A boneless whole leg cooks for 24-28 minutes per pound. Half the bone-in cut cooks for 35-40 minutes per pound.

A general rule for cooking fresh ham is to remember that the ham roast will have carryover cooking. This means the meat continues to rise in temperature as the roast rests (about 10º). This means that you will take it out when it is about 10º below your desired doneness based on this chart.
The Final Temperature (after resting) for Medium Done ham is: 150º F
– This means you take it out at around 140º F
– After letting it rest for about 30 minutes, it will reach 150º F

The BEST way to check for doneness is to use an instant-read thermometer. This will ensure that it is cooked perfectly, no matter the size of your fresh ham roast.

Pan Gravy

If you wish to make pan gravy, degrease the pan juices, thicken with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour and add a bit of stock.


  • Spices – if you want to add more traditional American flavors to this fresh ham roast, try adding cloves, to the spice rub.
  • Sweet – you can add more brown sugar to make it sweeter or even a bit of maple syrup to make it a maple spice glaze. Alternatively, you can use honey to make a honey glaze. Even a little soy sauce to the honey glaze would add a nice touch. I love this fresh ham more savory than sweet, but you can customize it as you please.
  • Cooking Liquid – for the cooking liquid you can use beer, cider, stock, or all water.


If you have leftovers store the sliced ham in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Enjoy the leftover ham in sandwiches with our focaccia bread, or make Baked Ham and Cheese Pasta (with White Sauce).


  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: about 3 hours (depending on size of roast)
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian