Maple Glazed Ham – this is the ham glaze you use when you want to add a special touch to your festive baked ham, but still keep it easy! The most incredible sticky glaze with the subtle fragrance of maple and hint of holiday spices, this is THE Christmas Ham recipe I make to gift and take to gatherings year after year.
Maple glazed ham
There is no reason to be daunted by the thought of making a glazed ham! It’s quite straight forward if you have someone to show you how to do it.
Here’s why this Maple Glazed Ham is my go-to centrepiece for holiday menus:
- It makes the most wonderful, regal centrepiece – huge payoff for effort
- This maple ham glaze has a touch of special that people love – but it’s 100% dead easy
- It’s low risk and forgiving to make
- Prep ahead or make ahead (days and days ahead!)
- Economical – it’s sliced thinly, a bit goes a long way and leftovers last for ages and ages
What you need for Ham Glaze
Here’s what you need for the Maple Ham Glaze. So few ingredients, it’s magical how it transforms once baked! It’s the combination of the glaze, the caramelization of the fat on the surface of the ham and the salt in the ham itself (which is why I don’t use any salt in the glaze).
- Maple syrup is what gives this ham glaze a special little touch. No one can put their finger on it – they just know it’s got something magical about it! Sub with honey in a heartbeat! No maple or honey? Make this Brown Sugar Ham Glaze!
- Brown sugar adds to the caramelised flavour of the glaze;
- Dijon Mustard is a thickener for the ham glaze AND adds a touch of much needed tang to an otherwise sweet glaze;
- Cinnamon and all spice for a touch of festive spices;
- Oranges – for a bit of liquid in the pan that’s more interesting than just using water, plus a touch of extra natural sweetness. You can’t taste the oranges in the end result once cooked. Orange juice has more flavour than just using water which adds to the flavour of the glaze and also the sauce made using the pan drippings;
- Cloves – optional, for studding! I really can’t taste it so I do it for visual / traditional purposes only. Also, they are a bit impractical – you can’t freely baste as you have to dab around the cloves (otherwise you brush them off) and also you need to remove them before carving. No one wants to bite into a clove!
How to make Glazed Ham
Making Glazed Ham is a 3 step process:
- Remove rind (skin) from ham;
- Slather with maple glaze then bake for 2 hours, basting with more glaze every 20 to 30 minutes;
- Baste loads after removing from oven – the trick for a thick, golden glaze!
1. HOW TO REMOVE RIND FROM HAM
If this is the part you’re worried about – don’t be! The skin is thick, sturdy and WANTS to come off – so it peels off with little effort, mostly in one piece!
2. BASTE AND BAKE
This part couldn’t be easier – just brush or spoon the Maple Ham Glaze all over the ham, squeeze over the orange juice then pop it into the oven to bake, spooning over reserved glaze every 20 minutes or so!
3. BASTE, BASTE, BASTE BEFORE SERVING!!
Now here’s the trick for an incredible glaze on your ham – baste LOADS after it comes out of the oven using the syrupy sauce in the baking pan! As that syrupy sauce cools, it will thicken and darken slightly in colour, so as you brush or spoon it over the ham, it creates an incredible thick to-die-for glaze!
Sauce for Ham
While ham itself is seasoned well enough such that it can be eaten plain, nobody ever says no to sauce!
I used to serve ham with sauces like Cranberry Sauce, mustard, caramelised onion jam and even chutney. But then one day it dawned on me – everybody’s favourite part is the glaze. Why not just use the pan drippings which is just the excess glaze that drips down the ham into the pan? Combined with the ham juices and orange juice, it transforms into a fantastic sauce to drizzle over the ham!
How to serve ham
Here’s how I serve ham – in fact, how I served it on the weekend at a Christmas Party I catered for my mother! (The only “catering job” I do each year – because I can’t say no to her )
- Wrap parchment / baking paper around “handle”, and tie with ribbon (practical to hold onto for carving + looks nice);
- Cover serving platter / board with green fluffage of some kind. Whatever’s good value at the shops on the day;
- Place ham on the green fluff age and place quartered oranges around it (for colour). In the past, I’ve also used cherries – just depends what’s better value on the day (oranges are usually good value!);
- Once the glistening ham has been admired enough (yep, I’m really that immature ), I start carving!
There’s something so iconic, so sentimental about a shiny, glistening Maple Glazed Ham taking pride of place in the centre of a festive table. It’s completely incomparable to the ham slices slapped between sandwich bread that you get over deli counters. I even know people who hate deli ham who go nuts over Glazed Ham.
5 kg / 10 lb leg ham, bone in, skin on (Note 1)
30 Cloves (for studding the ham, optional – mainly for decorative purposes)
2 oranges , cut into quarters (Note 2)
1 cup (250ml) water
3/4 cup (185ml) maple syrup (sub honey)
3/4 cup (165g) brown sugar , packed
3 tbsp dijon mustard (can sub American or other plain mustard)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp All Spice (or nutmeg)
Take ham out of fridge 1 hour prior.
Preheat oven to 160°C / 320°F (140°C fan). Arrange shelf in lower third so the ham will be sitting in the centre of the oven (rather than in top half of oven).
Place the Glaze ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined – use whisk if needed.
REMOVE HAM RIND (SKIN)
Run small knife around bone handle, down each side of the ham, and under the rind on the cut face. (See video & photos in post)
Slide fingers under the rind on the cut face of the ham, and run them back and forth to loosen while pulling the rind back. Use knife if needed to slice off any residual rind.
Lightly cut 2.5cm / 1″ diamonds across the fat surface of the ham, about 75% of the way into the fat. Avoid cutting into the meat.
Insert a clove in the intersection of the cross of each diamond on the surface (optional).
GLAZE AND BAKING
Place the ham in a large baking dish. Prop handle up on edge of pan + scrunched up foil so surface of the ham is level (for more even caramelisation).
Squeeze the juice of 1 orange (4 quarters) over the ham. Then place them along with the remaining orange into the baking dish around the ham.
Brush / spoon half the glaze all over the surface and cut face of the ham (don’t worry about underside, glaze drips down into pan)
Pour the water in the baking dish, then place in the oven.
Bake for 1.5 – 2 hrs, basting very generously every 30 minutes with remainig glaze + juices in pan, or until sticky and golden.
Use foil patches to protect bits that brown faster than others – press on lightly, caramelisation won’t peel off with the foil.
Allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving. Baste, baste, baste before serving – as the glaze in the pan cools, it thickens which means it “paints” the ham even better – but be sure to save pan juices for drizzling.
SERVING AND PRESENTATION TIPS
My favourite sauce: Use pan juices as the sauce – it’s loaded with flavour! Pour into a jug and warm so it’s pourable. Thin slightly with water if required. Drizzle sparingly as the glaze flavour is intense!
Other condiments: Dijon mustard, wholegrain mustard, onion jam, tomato chutney, cranberry sauce.
Presentation: Wrap handle with baking paper and ribbon if desired. Remove cloves. Cover serving platter with lots of green fluffage, then place ham on. Surround with more quartered oranges, for colour. Let people admire before carving!
Serving: Personal preference whether to serve at room temp or warm, I like either. I also like to drizzle with pan juices – it looks messier but tastes fabulous. Slice thinly! I start slicing at the table, then finish it in the kitchen (towards end when it gets messy!)
Leftovers: See list in post for recipe using leftover ham and ham bone!
Storing: Will keep for at least a week in the fridge if properly stored using a water-vinegar soaked ham bag or pillowcase. Otherwise freeze – don’t forget the bone! See How to Store Glazed Ham for directions.
- Skin (rind) on ham – Make sure you get the ham with the skin on (rind – thick rubbery skin). Between the skin and the ham is a layer of fat which is what makes this ham gorgeously sticky. There are some hams which come with the skin and fat removed. Though you can use this recipe for those hams too, you won’t get the sticky exterior you see in the photo.
- Half or whole – this recipe can be used for half or whole hams.
- Larger hams – For larger hams, scale the glaze by using the recipe slider (click on the Servings)
- Ham quality – Buy the best ham you can afford. The more you pay, the better the quality. However, for an economical option, I can recommend the Woolworths Smoked Ham Leg for $9/kg (I used a half leg). I was very impressed with how great it was for such good value – I’ve used it for several years now. There is an even cheaper one for $6/kg – I bypassed this because it wasn’t smoked and looked a bit pale.
- Cooked ham – Make sure you get a cooked ready-to-eat ham, not a raw one (also referred to as “gammon”). All ham sold in Australia in supermarkets is ready-to-eat but if you get your ham from the butcher, double check that it’s not raw. If you have a raw ham (gammon), this recipe is not suitable.
2. Oranges – you can’t taste it in the end result, it just adds more flavour into the pan drippings and the glaze the ham. If you really can’t use or stand oranges, use 1/2 cup apple or other fruit juice instead (store bought bottle is fine) and skip putting oranges in baking pan.
3. Make Ahead – Glazed Ham is excellent made ahead, it’s how I do it most of the time!
a) PREPARE THEN BAKE FRESH (100% perfect): Remove skin, cut fat, insert cloves, make glaze and store separately. Then refrigerate until required, then glaze etc and bake on the day of per recipe.
b) COOK AHEAD (99.9% perfect): Make entirely per recipe, cool. Transfer to non reactive container (do not leave in metal tray), cover sticky surface with baking paper (parchment paper) then the whole ham with foil. Scrape every bit of juice in the pan into a container. Refrigerate both for up to 5 days (longer probably ok, I’ve done 5 days).
To reheat, remove from fridge and bring to room temperature, pour sauce into pan and place ham in pan. Reheat covered loosely with foil in a 160°C/320°F oven for 40 minutes or until a metal skewer inserted into the middle comes out warm. When the inside is warm, remove foil and baste with pan juices, then bake until the surface is sticky and golden – it shouldn’t take much longer than 10 minutes.
The juices thicken into a jelly when cool so it needs to be reheated (microwave is fine).
DO NOT MICROWAVE!!! It can make the fat diamonds “pop” and you might lose the best part – the golden, sticky surface!
4. How much ham per person – remember, ham is salty, people don’t typically eat giant slabs like steak and you slice it thinly so less goes further.
- With other main dishes – 6 to 8 people per 1 kg / 2 lb ham (bone in weight). So a 5 kg / 10 lb ham = 30 – 40 people, about 100 – 130g / 3.4 – 4 oz per person.
- As the only main protein – 5 people per 1 kg / 2 lb ham (bone in weight). So a 5 kg / 10lb ham would serve 25 people, about 150g/5oz meat per person..
Note: Ham bone with residual meat weighs anywhere 750g – 1.25 kg (1.5 – 2.5 lb). Assumed 1 kg/2lb for purpose of above.
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 30 servings and all sauce is consumed (which in reality it won’t be).