Maple Pomegranate Ham Glaze

published Nov 12, 2021
Ham Glaze Recipe

Give your holiday ham a makeover with this sweet and tangy glaze.

Makesabout 3/4 cup

Prep5 minutes

Cook1 hour

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a roasted and glazed ham, whole and sliced on a white plate
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

A holiday ham is perfect when you’re looking for a big impact with minimal effort. Since hams are already cooked, all you’re really doing is reheating it. The magic comes with the glaze. A sugary-sweet crust is the perfect contrast to the salty, succulent meat. 

Many recipes lean heavily on brown sugar, pairing it with tangy mustard before packing it onto the roast. And while it’s a classic combo, I wanted to stir together a glaze that felt distinctly festive. Ham may be seasonless, but I wanted a flavor profile that reflected the season we are in, without studding it with cloves and canned fruit.

So I boiled down pomegranate juice with tons of aromatics, including smoky maple syrup, savory shallots, spicy fresh ginger, and mulling spices. I finished it off with the classic mustard, both smooth and grainy, and a hit of fresh citrus. 

How to Make Pomegranate Syrup

Boiling down juice to make a syrup is not hard, but it does require a watchful eye. In total it takes about 30 minutes, but you don’t need to pay too much attention to it until the last 10 minutes or so. At that point, use a spatula to stir every few minutes, paying attention to the consistency. Bubbles will start to cover the entire surface of the juice mixture and won’t be able to be stirred away. You’ve reached the right consistency when you stir the mixture and can see the bottom of the pot before it fills back in. 

Do I Put Ham Glaze on Before Cooking?

In most cases, no. Ham glaze is just what it sounds like: a sweet coating added to the outside of the ham after it’s cooked. Ham is typically reheated wrapped in foil at low temperatures for a couple of hours to ensure it’s hot throughout without drying out. This is especially important for spiral-cut hams. The glaze is added at the end once the ham is heated through and then crisped in a much hotter oven.

How to Make Glazed Ham

  1. Reheat the wrapped ham at a low temperature until warmed through.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 450ºF.
  3. Pour off any accumulated juices and unwrap the ham.
  4. Brush glaze all over the ham.
  5. Bake until shiny and caramelized in places, brushing on more glaze as indicated.
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

Can I Make Ham Glaze Ahead of Time?

It’s easy enough to make the glaze while the ham reheats. But in the not-all-that-unlikely case that you’ve got too much going on in your kitchen while prepping other components of a holiday meal, you can make the glaze up to three days ahead of time. Just store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Give it a stir before brushing it onto your ham, and proceed as written.

Ham Glaze Recipe

Give your holiday ham a makeover with this sweet and tangy glaze.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 1 hour

Makes about 3/4 cup

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    large shallot

  • 1 clove


  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece


  • 2 cups

    unsweetened pomegranate juice

  • 1/2 cup

    maple syrup, preferably Grade A dark amber

  • 5 sprigs

    fresh thyme

  • 10

    whole black peppercorns

  • 3

    whole cloves

  • 1/2

    star anise pod

  • 1

    medium navel orange

  • 2 tablespoons

    Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons

    whole grain mustard


  1. While the ham reheats, coarsely chop 1 large shallot. Smash 1 clove garlic and a 1/2-inch ginger. Place everything in a medium saucepan.

  2. Add 2 cups pomegranate juice, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 5 fresh thyme sprigs, 10 whole black peppercorns, 5 whole cloves, and 1/2 star anise pod in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until the mixture starts to get syrupy, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate the zest from 1 medium orange until you have 2 teaspoons; halve and juice the orange until you have 1 tablespoon.

  3. Pour the glaze through a fine-mesh strainer fitted over a heatproof bowl or measuring cup. You should have just about 1/2 cup of syrup (if you have more, pour back into the saucepan and keep cooking; if you have less, add enough water to make up the difference). Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool.

  4. Once the ham is ready to be glazed, adjust the oven temperature to 450ºF. Add the orange zest, orange juice, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, and 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard to the syrup and whisk to combine.

  5. Brush the glaze all over the warm ham. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush another layer of glaze over the ham. Rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove the ham and brush with a third layer of glaze. Return to the oven until the glaze is caramelized in spots, 5 to 8 minutes more. Brush with one final layer of glaze, and serve the ham with the extra glaze on the side if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Glaze can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days ahead of baking the ham.