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Whether you’re serving ham as part of a weekday supper or are preparing a holiday ham for the family, you’re probably thinking about adding a glaze. And for good reason! A sweet glaze mingles with the ham’s saltiness, creating a balance of flavors that the whole family can enjoy.

However, knowing all the specifics around making and adding a glaze can be difficult. Should you use maple syrup or brown sugar? Orange juice or vinegar? Should you use the glaze packet that often comes with the ham? And when do you add this glaze to your ham for optimal results?

We’re going to provide some ham glaze recipes as well as a few tips on how to glaze your ham so it shines.

Components of a Great Ham Glaze

While there are all types of ham glazes out there, they typically share a few characteristics.

First, there’s the sweetness. Whether you opt for honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, or another sweetener, adding some type of sugar is a key part of making any ham glaze.

Next, there’s the brightness. Orange juice is often used to add a touch of acidity as well as sweetness, but you can also turn to apple cider vinegar, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, or other tangy ingredients.

Finally, there are layers of flavors that come from spices. Some common ham glaze herbs and spices include cinnamon, mustard seed, black pepper, thyme, and rosemary. However, no rules are telling you which flavors you can and cannot use. So if you think a certain spice would complement your ham in your glaze, go for it!

Close up photo of sliced ham

How to Make Ham Glaze

Since there’s no such thing as the perfect ham glaze, we’re going to share a few recipes to help elevate your ham. Read through them and then pick the one that strikes you.

Brown Sugar Ham Glaze Recipe

This glaze contains five simple ingredients that take a few minutes to prepare. Despite its ease, this recipe adds a boost of flavor to any ham.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a small to medium saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Lower to a simmer, and cook until the glaze has reduced to a syrup-like consistency.

Pineapple, Honey, Ginger Ham Glaze Recipe

If you want to bring a taste of the tropics to your dinner table, try this island-inspired glaze. The pineapple and honey add sweetness while the ginger adds a subtle zing.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup honey
  • ⅔ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Stir to form a consistent mixture and simmer for five minutes to allow the spices to infuse throughout the glaze.

Sliced ham with orange and pineapple slices

When to Add a Ham Glaze

Starting with a great ham glaze recipe is just one part of the process. You also need to know when to apply the glaze to your ham!

No matter which glaze you use, it will be high in sugars that are susceptible to burning. Therefore, you should avoid applying a glaze when you first place your ham in the oven.

While you want to avoid a burnt and blackened ham exterior, you also want your glaze to caramelize into an irresistible golden coating. For this to happen, you need to add your glaze so it heats up enough to caramelize.

So when’s the best time to glaze your ham? A good rule of thumb is to add the glaze about half an hour before the ham is done cooking. This will provide enough time for the glaze to meld with the ham’s surface and caramelize into a picture-perfect golden coating without causing the sugars to burn.

What About Pre-Made Ham Glazes?

If you don’t want to make your own glaze, yet still want your ham to be coated in a shiny, sweet coating, you can opt for a premade glaze.

Coleman Natural’s uncured bone-in spiral ham comes with a premade glaze that’s ready to apply. Whether you heat your spiral ham in the slow cooker or oven, all you have to do is open the glaze packet and apply it 30 minutes before your ham is finished cooking. By the time it’s ready to serve, you’ll have a satiny-glazed ham without any of the time or effort it takes to make a ham glaze.

No Matter the Glaze, Start with High-Quality Ham

Even if you whip up the perfect glaze, you still need to start with a flavorful and delicious ham that is high-quality and humanely raised in the United States. For those attributes, look no further than Coleman Natural!

Coleman Natural’s ham products are uncured, meaning they don’t contain any added nitrates or nitrites. However, they are still filled with plenty of that savory, salty ham flavor you love.

Along with striving to produce tasty hams, Coleman Natural also believes in delivering a product that you feel good about purchasing. Coleman Natural farmers raise their animals with integrity and commitment to quality—they never provide their animals with added hormones or antibiotics, and they raise their animals crate-free.

So no matter which glaze you choose, you can’t go wrong starting with a Coleman Natural ham.

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