Copycat Honey Baked Ham

published Nov 27, 2023
Honey Baked Ham Recipe

Honey butter and a crunchy spiced sugar coating makes this the very best holiday-worthy ham.

Serves12 to 15

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook2 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes

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A sliced honey baked/glazed ham on an ornate platter on a warm color surface.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

If you’re hosting this holiday or feeding a large group for any occasion, I highly recommend serving a homemade honey baked ham. It’s hard to beat the simplicity of a ham that is already fully cooked and sliced for you. Plus, it is easy to make it your own with a honey butter rub and layers of spiced sugar that sizzle to create the crunchy savory-spicy coating. Here’s how to make a honey baked ham that tastes even better — and is less expensive — than the one you can buy at the shop.

What Is the Difference Between City Ham and Country Ham?

  • City ham: Cured with a brine and may be smoked. These hams are more moist and less salty than country hams. They are sold fully cooked, and you can choose between bone-in or boneless, and spiral-sliced or uncut hams. This is the type of ham that is often served on the holiday table, and the one that this recipe calls for.
  • Country ham: Cured with a dry rub, hung to dry and aged for at least six months. They have a drier texture and more salty flavor than city ham. Country hams are most readily available as slices, although you can buy whole, unsliced country hams as well. They are usually sold uncooked, so it must be cooked before serving. It’s a Southern specialty often eaten with buttermilk biscuits and used to make red-eye gravy

What to Look for When Buying Ham

When buying a city ham, look for a few key terms on the label. 

  • Bone-in or boneless: I always opt for a bone-in ham, because of the extra flavor it provides — plus I love using the bone to season split pea soup after the holidays have passed.
  • No extra ingredients: The ingredient list should be short, preferably just ham. Try to avoid ham with added water or juices, which dilute its flavor.
  • Whole or spiral-cut: A whole, uncut ham is less likely to dry out in the oven, but it can be difficult to slice evenly. Spiral-cut hams are conveniently pre-cut into slices that only need to be trimmed away from the bone.  
  • Shank end or butt end: Whole hams can weigh up to 15 pounds, so they are usually cut into two pieces and sold separately. This is why you see half hams on the market. Butt end hams are leaner, but the bones can be tricky to cut around when slicing. Shank end hams are slightly fattier, but they have just one straight bone to contend with. Both butt and shank end hams work with this recipe.  

How Much Ham to Buy?

  • Bone-in ham: Buy 1/3 to 1/2 pound per person.
  • Boneless ham: Buy 1/4 to 1/3 pound per person.

What Is the Best Temperature to Bake a Ham?

Bake ham at a low temperature of 275°F to keep it moist. 

How Long Does it Take to Bake a Ham?

Because city hams are already cooked, the serving temperature is a matter of preference. The ham is already cooked, but if serving warm, heat the ham until it reaches an internal temperature of 120°F to 140°F

  • 275°F oven: Bake about 20 minutes per pound (2 to 2 1/2 hours total).
  • 350°F oven: If you need to heat the ham more quickly, you can bake the ham at 350°F for about 10 minutes per pound (1 to 1 1/2 hours total).

You can also serve the ham at room temperature, as that famous ham shop recommends. To serve the ham at room temperature, remove the ham from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to take the chill off. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

Do You Glaze Ham Before or After Baking?

Apply the honey butter and spiced sugar coating once the ham has reached an internal temperature of 120°F if serving warm, or 30 minutes before serving if opting for room temperature.

Two Steps for the Perfect Crunchy Honey Baked Crust

  • Make honey butter. Combine equal parts softened unsalted butter and honey and sprinkle in a bit of salt. Spread the honey butter all over the outside of the ham. You can use a spatula, but a pair of clean hands is the most efficient way to spread the butter. The sweet butter will melt into the spiral-sliced ham, flavoring the meat and keeping it moist. 
  • Broil layers of spiced sugar. Stir together granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, paprika, ground ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, ground nutmeg, and kosher salt. Generously coat the ham with about 1/3 of the spiced sugar, pressing it into the honey butter. Broil until the sugar melts and bubbles. Repeat layering the spiced sugar and broiling two more times. The final broiling step may take slightly longer — between 1 1/2 to 2 minutes — to melt all of the sugar. Remove the ham from the oven and let the sugary coating cool and crisp before slicing.

Honey Baked Ham Recipe

Honey butter and a crunchy spiced sugar coating makes this the very best holiday-worthy ham.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 2 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes

Serves 12 to 15

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    (8- to 10-pound) bone-in, spiral-cut ham, with no added water or juices

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg


  • Roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet

  • Aluminum foil

  • Instant-read thermometer

  • Small bowl

  • Rubber spatula

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Cutting board

  • Long, thin knife


Option 1: To serve the ham warm:

  1. Heat the oven and prepare the baking pan. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, and heat the oven to 275°F. Line a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with 2 pieces of aluminum foil long enough to wrap up and around the ham.

  2. Wrap the ham in foil. Take the ham out of its wrappings and place it in the pan cut-side down. Fold the foil up and around the ham and seal well. This foil pouch will help keep the ham from drying out in the oven.

  3. Bake until heated through. Bake the ham until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the ham not touching bone registers at least 120°F, 15 to 20 minutes per pound, 2 to 2 1/2 hours total. Check the temperature after 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Check the temperature of the ham. After about 1 1/2 hours, check the temperature of the ham in the thickest part of the meat, avoiding the bone. The ham is fully cooked already, so you are just checking to see if the inner part of the ham is warm yet. If the ham has reached an internal temperature of at least 120°F, move on to the next step. If not, seal it back up in the foil and put it back into the oven.

Option 2: To serve the ham at room temperature:

  1. Remove the ham from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Remove the ham from the refrigerator to take the chill off and apply the crunchy coating.

Make the crunchy coating:

  1. Make the honey butter while the ham is heating up or sitting at room temperature. Cut 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter into 4 pieces, place in a small bowl, and let sit at room temperature until softened. Add 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and stir to combine.

  2. Make the spiced sugar. Place 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon paprika, 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a second small bowl and stir to combine.

  3. Set the oven to broil. Remove the ham from the oven once the ham reaches 120°F if serving warm. Set the oven to broil. Arrange an oven rack as needed to make sure the top of the ham will be 3 to 4 inches from the broiling element, and remove any racks above it.

  4. Coat the ham with the honey butter and spiced sugar. Unwrap the ham and discard any juices; lay the foil flat in the pan. Turn the ham so it’s sitting on its side. Spread the honey-butter mixture all over the outside of the ham. Coat the ham with 1/3 of the spiced sugar mixture (about 6 tablespoons), making sure to press the sugar into the butter so that it adheres, focusing on the spiral cut areas of the ham.

  5. Broil the ham. Broil the ham until the sugar melts and bubbles, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Make sure to watch the ham closely so that it doesn’t burn.

  6. Repeat coating and broiling the ham two more times. Repeat coating the ham with sugar and broiling two more times. You can use the foil to tilt the ham so that you can add the sugar all over the spiral-cut slices. The sugar will be very hot at first, so make sure not to burn yourself. Applying the additional coatings while the sugar is still hot will help it adhere to the ham. The final broiling time may take 1 1/2 to 2 minutes for all of the sugar to melt completely. Rotate the baking sheet every 30 seconds or as needed to ensure even exposure to the heat.

  7. Rest until the coating cools and crisps. Remove the ham from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. The sugary coating will cool and crisp up into a crunchy sweet and spiced coating.

  8. Slice the ham and serve. Use a long, thin knife to cut around the ham bone, then cut along the natural fat lines in the ham to separate the spiral-cut slices.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The honey butter and spiced sugar can be made up to 1 week in advance. Store the honey butter in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before preparing this recipe. Store the spiced sugar in an airtight container at room temperature.

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