This Brown Sugar Ham Glaze Recipe Will Instantly Upgrade Dinner

Don't spend extra money on a glazed ham. Make your own with a store-bought ham and this easy ham glaze recipe.

When it comes to holiday celebrations, it’s hard to beat a brown sugar glazed ham. Hams are big enough to feed the whole family, and still have leftovers. And since it’s already cooked, all you need to do is gently reheat it in the oven.

If you’re looking for a picture-perfect centerpiece, you’ll want to a ham glaze recipe to steal the show. The glaze not only flavors the ham with brown sugar, savory mustard and tangy vinegar, but the sugars also caramelize, giving your ham a lightly crispy edge and an appealing finish.

Once you know how easy it is to make a brown sugar glaze with ingredients you have on hand, you’ll never buy an expensive glazed ham again!

When to use this ham glaze

The glaze goes on for the final 15 to 30 minutes of cook time, so you definitely don’t want to glaze the ham in advance. It’s best to wait until the ham is heated to an internal temperature of 130°F before hitting it with this easy ham glaze. That way, the sugars will caramelize instead of burn.

Key Ingredients in a Ham Glaze

With so few ingredients, you know they’ll all be working extra hard to flavor and tenderize your ham.

  • Brown Sugar: You can’t have a brown sugar glaze without the ingredient that gives it its name! Unlike white sugar, brown sugar has molasses in it, creating a distinctly caramelizing quality and an ever-so-light smoky hint.
  • Dijon Mustard: To balance the sweetness coming from the brown sugar, Dijon mustard offers a spicier, less acidic flavor than regular yellow mustard. Less acidity is exactly what we’re looking for since that will be added through the vinegar.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is a powerhouse ingredient to keep in your pantry. While it has many uses, the most basic is its ability to tenderize meat. Because of the apple base, it will add sweeter flavor to your ham than regular white vinegar would.

How to Make a Ham Glaze

This recipe yields about 14 servings.


  • 1 fully cooked bone-in ham (5 to 7 pounds)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Editor’s Tip: We always opt for bone-in ham so we can use the bone to make split pea and ham soup.


Step 1: Prepare the ham

To cook the ham, preheat the oven to 325° and grab a shallow roasting pan or a large casserole dish. (Be sure to choose the best ham.) Place the ham on a rack and score the surface of the ham with 1/4-inch deep cuts in a diamond pattern. This opens up the outer layer of the ham, allowing the glaze to soak into the meat. For a traditional look, insert whole cloves into each diamond point of the ham.

Cover the ham with a piece of foil and bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until a thermometer reaches 130°.

Editor’s Tip: If you don’t have a rack for your roasting pan, you can use an oven-safe cooling rack. Better yet, elevate the ham by lining the bottom of the pan with onions, carrots or potatoes. The vegetables will taste great as they cook in the ham drippings!

Step 2: Ready the glaze

While the ham is baking, combine the brown sugar and mustard in a small bowl. Add enough vinegar to create a thick paste. You may not need all the vinegar.

Step 3: Glaze away

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Remove the ham from the oven and discard the piece of foil. Spread the glaze over the ham using a high-heat resistant spatula. The glaze will be thick, but the heat of the ham will help you spread it evenly. Bake the ham, uncovered, for an additional 15 to 30 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 140°.

Tips for Making Ham Glaze

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How can you make this ham glaze recipe your own?

Our brown sugar glaze recipe is very basic, but it has incredible flavor. Feel free to have some fun with it! You can remove the vinegar and replace it with orange or pineapple juice, or you can increase the mustard to 2 tablespoons and add 1/4 cup of honey to make a honey mustard glaze.

Is glazing a ham necessary?

It isn’t necessary to glaze a ham. However, it does enhance the flavor of the ham and elevates the ham with a beautiful glazed look worthy of its place as the center of your holiday feast.

Do you put ham glaze on before or after cooking?

This glaze should be applied to your ham about fifteen minutes before the ham is finished cooking. Applying the glaze when the ham is almost done helps keep it thoroughly coated upon serving and prevents the glaze from drying out from over-cooking.

What else can you glaze?

Don’t feel like you have to use this ham glaze recipe just for special occasions. Brush it on ham steaks before cooking them, or use it to glaze other quick-cooking meats like salmon. You can also use it to glaze vegetables. After cooking the veggies, toss them in the glaze with a little melted butter.

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Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay is a Taste of Home food writer with a passion for sustainability. Although she left restaurant life behind, she still cooks professionally for pop-up events. Drawing on her professional chef background, Lindsay develops recipes that masterfully blend flavors from various cultures to create delicious dishes. Her expertise lies in guiding cooks and food enthusiasts to embrace seasonal ingredients and craft meals that celebrate their region’s unique offerings.