Brown Sugar Spiral Ham

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Brown Sugar Spiral Ham is a holiday favorite that’s glazed with brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard, apple cider and warm spices. It’s perfect for special occasions like Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas…or any day in between!

spiral ham sliced on a wooden board.
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Recipe Highlights

Do you have a beloved dish that’s a holiday tradition? In our family, it’s Brown Sugar Spiral Ham. If hams could talk, they’d scold us for the many times we stole a bite before dinner was served!

Brown Sugar Spiral Ham is easy to make, and will be the star centerpiece at your family gathering. Serve it with sides such as Lemon Butter Asparagus and Homestyle Mac and Cheese for a delicious meal.

The brown sugar glaze just screams ‘holiday.’ It’s made with ingredients that cause your house to smell like a Christmas village! Warm cinnamon and cloves hang out with apple cider, brown sugar, oranges and maple syrup to create a glaze you’ll want to eat by the spoonful.

sliced ham on a cutting board.

Ingredients

Spiral hams are delicious with or without glaze, but if you’re going to serve one, why not make the best you’ve ever tasted? This recipe is loaded with amazing flavor that enhances the taste of your holiday ham.

  • spiral ham – choose bone in or boneless that is fully cooked
  • brown sugar – the base for this delicious glaze
  • maple syrup – adds flavor and thickness
  • stone ground mustard – provides the savory component
  • apple cider – goes well with maple syrup and brown sugar
  • juice from an orange – adds a twist of citrus
  • zest from an orange – enhances the glaze
  • ground cinnamon – gives this recipe its depth
  • ground cloves – warms everything up
  • minced garlic – balances out the sweetness
  • cornstarch and water – thickens the glaze to the right consistency

See quantities in recipe card.

ingredients needed for brown sugar ham glaze.

How to Cook a Spiral Ham

A spiral ham is usually fully cooked, which means it’s ready to serve without doing another thing. Baking a spiral ham dries it out and causes it to lose flavor. Resist the urge to crank up the oven!

Honey Baked Ham Company recommends you let the ham sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Afterwards, slather it with glaze which provides all the warmth it needs. It’s juicy, savory and delicious!

If you prefer to warm it up, set the oven to 200 degrees. Wrap ham in aluminum foil and place it in a large baking dish.

Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes per pound. That’s 1 hour for a 6 pound ham, which feeds 8 to 12 people. Apply glaze after it comes out of the oven.

brown sugar glaze in a skillet.

How to Make Brown Sugar Glaze

This brown sugar glaze is the best part of the recipe! It’s both sweet and savory, which compliments the saltiness of ham perfectly.

Add brown sugar and maple syrup to a skillet or pot on the stove. Blend in the apple cider, orange juice, zest, mustard, garlic, cinnamon and cloves. Stir constantly for 3 minutes over medium heat until brown sugar is melted.

Mix cornstarch and water together, then add to the glaze to thicken it further. Cook for 1 more minute, then let glaze cool slightly before applying to ham with a brush or drizzle on top.

Serving Suggestions

Want to dress up your store bought ham for a special occasion? Use apples, lemons, limes and oranges to make your ham ‘pop’! Tuck in some greenery and place everything on a wooden cutting board for a natural look.

It only takes a few minutes to make a beautiful centerpiece with food. Colorful fruit is your best friend when decorating. Plus…it’s totally edible!

ham surrounded by lemons, oranges, apples and limes.

Recipe FAQs

When should I glaze the ham?

It’s best to glaze the ham after it sits at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Use a brush to apply warm glaze to the top and inside of the ham, then provide extra glaze for serving.

Can I substitute pineapple juice for apple cider?

Sure! Orange or pineapple juice is a good substitution. I like using apple cider because it goes well with maple syrup and brown sugar.

What if I don’t have coarse ground mustard?

You can always use yellow or dijon mustard instead of stone ground. However, you won’t see the coarse mustard on the surface if you switch types.

ham with fruit on a wooden board.

Storing Tips

  • If desired, make the glaze up to three days in advance and store in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stove when it’s time to glaze the ham.
  • If you’re lucky, you’ll have leftovers which is a great thing! Be sure to chop up a little and make my Ham & Egg Brunch Bake the next day. It’s perfect for breakfast or brunch.
  • Leftover ham can be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 6 weeks. To thaw, leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Every good ham needs great side dishes to make a complete meal. These recipes are tried and true and will make the perfect holiday dinner for your family.

Recipe Card

spiral ham glazed with brown sugar and mustard on a cutting board with fruit.

Brown Sugar Spiral Ham

Brown Sugar Spiral Ham is a holiday favorite that's glazed with brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard, apple cider and warm spices.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 462kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 6 pound spiral ham feeds 8 to 12 people
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coarse ground mustard
  • 1 cup apple cider or water
  • 2 Tablespoons juice from an orange
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest from rind
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons of water

Instructions

SPIRAL HAM

  • Remove ham from packaging and place on a serving dish or platter.
  • Let ham rest for 30 minutes, then brush with warm glaze (below).
  • If you prefer to warm it up, wrap ham in aluminum foil and place in a 200 degree oven.
  • Warm ham for 10 minutes per pound. Brush with glaze after removing from oven.

BROWN SUGAR GLAZE

  • Add brown sugar and maple syrup to a skillet or pot on the stove. 
  • Stir in ground mustard, apple cider, orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves and minced garlic.
  • Cook for 3 minutes over medium heat until brown sugar melts. 
  • Mix cornstarch with water and add to mixture. Cook 1 more minute until glaze thickens. 
  • Brush warm glaze over the top and insides of ham.
  • Serve the rest of the glaze on the side in a small bowl. 

Notes

  • If desired, make the glaze up to three days in advance and store in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stove when it's time to glaze the ham.
  • Leftover ham can be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 6 weeks. To thaw, leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Nutrition

Calories: 462kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 2686mg | Potassium: 728mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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8 Comments

  1. This recipe lets the flavor of the ham come through. Most are too thick and cover up flavors but this is perfect!!!!

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