How to Glaze a Ham

Glazing a ham gives it an attractive brown color, enhances the flavor, and keeps it from drying out during baking. Recipes for ham glazes can be found in cookbooks, online or even in the packaging along with the ham. However, many cooks choose to mix glazes from ingredients at hand or to invent their own unique recipes.


  1. Image titled Glaze a Ham Step 1
    Bake the ham. The cooking time will vary depending the ham's size and whether there is a bone. If the ham is already fully cooked it only needs to be warmed through.
  2. Image titled Glaze a Ham Step 2
    Mix the glaze. If the glaze requires cooking to thicken it, mix and cook it well before you must remove the ham from the oven.
    • Sweet glazes are best with hams that have been wet cured and are not salty. Sweet glazes can be made from brown sugar, pineapple chunks, fruit juices, honey, maple syrup and even carbonated beverages or dark liquors like bourbon.
    • Tangy glazes should be used on salty hams. These glazes include sweet ingredients, but also include savory ingredients such as mustard, pepper, hoisin sauce or vinegar.
  3. Image titled Glaze a Ham Step 3
    Remove the ham from the oven 30 minutes before it's finished baking. If you are cooking a raw ham, ensure that it's fully cooked before removing it. A ham is fully cooked when the internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 Celsius).
  4. Image titled Glaze a Ham Step 4
    Score the ham. Scoring not only looks attractive, but allows the glaze to penetrate the rind (skin) and flavor the meat. Some cooks choose to remove the rind and score the layer of fat beneath.
    • Make a series of diagonal cuts 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart across the entire top surface. Turn the ham and make diagonal cuts in the other direction, forming a grid of diamond shapes.
    • If you wish, press a whole clove into the ham in the centers of the diamonds or at the places where the lines intersect.
  5. Image titled Glaze a Ham Step 5
    Apply glaze to the ham. Use a basting brush, or a spoon if your glaze contains chunks of fruit. Make sure you put enough glaze on for it to soak into the scoring and flavor the meat.
  6. Image titled Glaze a Ham Step 6
    Return the ham to the oven and continue baking it until the glaze begins to turn brown and shiny. This indicates that the glaze has caramelized and the flavor has taken on a nutty, caramel flavor.
    • Watch the ham while it is in the oven to ensure the glaze doesn't burn.
  7. Image titled Glaze a Ham Intro


  • Prepare extra glaze and serve it alongside the ham so diners can drizzle it onto their ham slices.


  • Don't use pan drippings to glaze a ham. They are normally too salty to use, and aren't suitable to add to glaze if you plan to serve it alongside the ham.

Things You'll Need

  • Ham
  • Chef's knife
  • Cloves
  • Basting brush or spoon

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