Glazed Baked Ham

published Dec 1, 2023
thanksgiving
Baked Ham Recipe

Make the perfect baked holiday ham with shatteringly crisp glazed bark.

Serves12 to 16

Prep25 minutes

Cook3 hours 10 minutes to 3 hours 45 minutes

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A half-carved baked ham on a serving platter with a carving fork and knife resting next to the platter.
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

While I didn’t grow up with baked ham on the holiday dinner table, I had a tradition of going over to a friend’s house a day or two after Christmas. Once there, we’d enjoy leftover ham with Hawaiian rolls. I still love to eat it the same way, but these days I add a generous swipe of mustard and some pickles.

But what I love most about a baked ham is that it’s already cooked through. A city ham, which is the type of ham this recipe calls for, is sold cured, smoked, and cooked through. You could technically eat it right out of the package if you wanted, although I highly recommend slathering it in a spice mixture and a brown sugar maple glaze before baking it in the oven — a process that transforms it into something magical. The outside gets shatteringly crispy as the fat and juices render, creating the most flavorful sauce to serve alongside. The best part: You’ll have more than enough ham left over for sandwiches.

What to Look for When Buying a City Ham

  • Bone-in or boneless. I always opt for a bone-in ham because of the extra flavor it provides. Plus, you can save the bone to season a pot of beans or split pea soup. You’ll need a 1/3 to 1/2 pound of bone-in ham per person. 
  • No extra ingredients. You’ll want to get a ham with no added ingredients — including added water or juices that can dilute its flavor.
  • Whole or spiral-cut. A whole, uncut ham is less likely to dry out in the oven, but just know that it won’t yield the same perfect slices as a pre-cut spiral sliced ham (but that’s OK!). 
  • Shank end or butt end. Whole hams can weigh upwards of 20 pounds, so they are often cut into two pieces and sold separately. Leaner butt end hams have a T-shaped bone that can be tricky to slice around. Shank end hams, on the other hand, are a little fattier and have that classic ham profile. Plus, they have just one straight bone down the center. Both hams will work for this recipe, as well as smaller whole hams.
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

How Long to Bake a Ham

For a bone-in ham, you should plan to bake it for about 15 minutes per pound of the total weight, or until it registers an internal temperature of at least 120ºF. Because the ham is already cooked, you don’t have to worry about serving raw ham, just heating it through.

Ingredients in Baked Ham

  • Ham. Opt for a bone-in, not spiraled, city ham. It can be half or whole depending on availability and number of guests.
  • Fennel seeds. Crushed fennel seeds add pops of freshness to the rich ham.
  • Black peppercorns. Start with whole peppercorns so you can get a coarser grind for the ham rub.
  • Brown sugar. Its deep molasses flavor will develop into a delicious crunchy bark on the exterior of the ham.
  • Maple syrup. Boosts the flavor of the glaze.
  • Apple cider. Use it to loosen the glaze without diluting its flavor.
  • Dijon mustard. Adds a savory bite that tempers the sweet glaze.
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

How to Bake a Ham

  • Score and season the ham. Scoring the surface of the ham helps the fat render and crisp more evenly. Use a knife to create a cross-hatched pattern on the ham, then rub with a coarse mixture of kosher salt, pepper, and fennel seeds.
  • Wrap the ham. Wrap the ham completely in foil so it doesn’t dry out during the long bake time. Place the wrapped ham in a roasting pan to catch all of the delicious pan drippings.
  • Bake the ham. Bake the ham at 325ºF until warmed through, about 15 minutes per pound.
  • Glaze the ham. Unwrap the ham and brush with a mixture of brown sugar, maple syrup, apple cider, and Dijon mustard. Then return to the oven at 425ºF, brushing with more glaze every 15 minutes, until the bark is crispy, shiny, and delicious.

How to Enjoy Leftover Ham

Baked Ham Recipe

Make the perfect baked holiday ham with shatteringly crisp glazed bark.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 3 hours 10 minutes to 3 hours 45 minutes

Serves 12 to 16

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    (10- to 13-pound) not spiraled bone-in ham (half or whole)

  • 1/4 cup

    fennel seeds

  • 2 tablespoons

    black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup

    apple cider or unfiltered apple juice

  • 2 tablespoons

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 cup

    water, plus more as needed

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven, remove any racks above it, and heat the oven to 325ºF. Meanwhile, line a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with 2 pieces of aluminum foil long enough to wrap up and around the ham to completely enclose it. Prepare the ham.

  2. Unwrap 1 bone-in ham and place on the foil cut-side down. Use a sharp knife to make parallel cuts 1/2-inch deep and about 1/2-inch apart across the surface of the ham. Repeat in the opposite direction to create a crosshatch pattern.

  3. Using a blender, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle, grind 1/4 cup fennel seeds and 2 tablespoons black peppercorns until coarsely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt.

  4. Place 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup apple cider, and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard in a second small bowl and stir to combine to make the glaze. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the glaze to the spice mixture and stir until a paste forms. Rub the paste all over the ham, working it into the cuts as best you can (the cuts will still be pretty tight).

  5. Fold the foil up and around the ham to completely wrap and help keep the ham from drying out.

  6. Bake until the ham is heated through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the ham not touching bone registers at least 120°F, 2 hours and 40 minutes to 3 hours and 15 minutes total (about 15 minutes per pound). Check the temperature after 1 1/2 hours.

  7. Remove the foil and return the ham to the roasting pan. Brush generously with half of the remaining glaze (about 1/3 cup). Add 1/2 cup water to the pan.

  8. Increase the oven temperature to 425ºF. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Brush with the remaining glaze. Roast until the skin is deeply browned and caramelized, about 15 minutes more. If needed, keep roasting in 15-minute increments, basting with pan juices before each, until the desired color is achieved. If the pan gets too dry, add another 1/4 cup water.

  9. Let cool slightly before slicing, about 10 minutes. The pan drippings can be served alongside for spooning over ham.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The spice blend and glaze can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in separate airtight containers. Store the spice blend at room temperature and refrigerate the glaze.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.