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How to Bake A Ham For Christmas

How to bake a great ham Christmas
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ham
Servings: 10 servings


  • 4 pounds spiral ham boneless
  • 2 whole cloves ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • pinch salt
  • 1 orange juiced
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • cup brown sugar packed
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder I like Coleman's brand


  • Score the ham in a diamond pattern, and stud the center of each diamond with a clove.
    (If you are using a spiral ham, you may skip this step).
  • Arrange a rack in the bottom ⅓ of the oven, and preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Place the ham on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan.
  • Insert a probe thermometer or regular meat thermometer into the meat, and roast until the internal temperature is 130° F.
  • Meanwhile, combine all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan. Leave out the ground cloves if you've studded your ham with whole cloves.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Keep stirring, and let the glaze boil for about two minutes.
  • When the ham reaches 125°F, remove from the oven and brush with a thick layer of glaze. Continue roasting until the internal temperature is 135°F.
  • Brush on some more glaze and place the ham under the broiler for a few minutes, until the glaze is nice and bubbly. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn.
  • Remove the ham from the oven and let rest for about fifteen minutes before serving.
    If there is glaze left over, drizzle it over slices before serving, or pass it at the table. In fact, you might want to double the glaze recipe to make sure you have enough!

Baked Ham Variation

  • Here's something you might not know about Honey Baked Hams: the glaze is really a rub that is "glazified" with a blow torch. Honest.
    While you might not have a blow torch lying around, you can make this glaze into a paste by omitting all but 1 tablespoon of orange juice and all the cornstarch.
  • Substitute 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard for the mustard powder.
  • Mix all the ingredients to a thick paste.
    This is not an exact science, so you might have to increase your brown sugar or the orange juice to get a good consistency. Then, spread the paste onto the ham and continue as per the recipe.
    Any leftover paste can be made into a glaze for drizzling ham slices for serving by whisking some cornstarch into cold orange juice and adding it to the rub.
  • Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, allowing the cornstarch to thicken the glaze. Alternately, just make a batch of the original glaze strictly for passing at the table.

Tips for Success

  • Don't omit the corn starch. You want the glaze thick so it clings to the meat.
  • Using a meat thermometer or a probe thermometer will ensure that the meat reaches the desired temperature without having to frequently open the oven door.
  • The sweet-spicy flavor of cloves goes beautifully with ham. Don't leave them out. Make sure to remove whole cloves before serving.
  • If you think your ham is getting too brown before it has reached temperature, loosely tent it with foil.

Slicing and Serving

  • To slice a spiral cut ham, I generally make a horizontal cut, touching the top of the bone. This allows slices to fall off in nice half-round pieces.


If you have cooked a ham that is not pre-sliced, make the same horizontal cut as with a spiral-cut ham. Use a sharp slicer for this, and be careful.
Make sure the ham is on a non-slip surface, such as a cutting board with rubber feet, and that you are securely holding the meat with the fork from your carving set.
Once you've made the initial cut, you can slice down through the ham to the bone in whatever thickness you want.
You will end up with the same half-round pieces, it's just a little more work than it is with a spiral-cut ham.