Sugar-Glazed Ham Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 5 min. Bake: 1-3/4 hours
Whip up a gorgeous holiday centerpiece with this easy glazed ham recipe. Our Test Kitchen experts share their best tips and tricks for how to cook a ham for special occasions.

Updated: Feb. 09, 2024

Looking for a picture-perfect glazed ham recipe for a special occasion or holiday dinner? Good idea! This juicy ham pairs well with all our favorite Easter dinner sides and Christmas side dish recipes. Moreover, ham is less stressful to prepare than other roasted meats. Most hams are sold already cooked, so cooking a ham is as easy as reheating it in the oven. Finish it off with a tasty brown sugar glaze during the final 15 to 30 minutes, and the ham will be so good, you’ll be lucky to have any leftovers.

How to Cook a Ham

plate of carved ham on a wood countertop near a stack of plates in a kitchenTMB Studio

Before you even step foot in the kitchen, you’ll need to choose the right ham for your celebration. For the holidays, our Test Kitchen recommends ordering the ham from a local butcher shop. The flavor and texture of a ham you’ll find there will be more robust compared to any mass-produced ham at a grocery store. Check out our guide on how to choose the best ham for more about the different types of ham.

Once you’ve selected your ham, the rest is easy. Simply grab a roasting pan, score the exterior with a sharp knife and bake until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 140°F. Scoring isn’t strictly necessary, but it opens up the outer layer, allowing the flavorful ham glaze to really soak into the meat.

If you’re just learning how to cook a ham, here’s the most important part: Avoid overcooking it. Remember, the ham is already cooked, so all you need to do is gently reheat it in the oven. If you don’t already have an instant-read meat thermometer (or a probe thermometer like the Thermoworks Smoke X), now is a great time to pick one up.

How Long to Cook a Ham

A 5- to 7-pound bone-in ham should take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes in a 325° oven. If you swap in a larger ham, it will take longer to cook. Plan on 16 to 20 minutes per pound for a 7- to 10-pound bone-in ham, and 15 to 18 minutes per pound for a 10- to 14-pound bone-in ham.

The best way to know when your ham is finished cooking is to use a thermometer. Ham only needs to reach an internal temperature of 140°. So play it safe, and set your timer for the lower amount of time first. When the timer goes off, check the temperature. You can always add more time if necessary.

Glazed Ham Ingredients

  • Fully cooked bone-in ham: Bone-in roasts make the best holiday hams. The bone prevents the ham from drying out and adds flavor. If you’re new to cooking a ham, our Test Kitchen recommends the shank cut of ham because it’s simpler to carve. The other option—the butt—is a bit more tender. But it’s also trickier to navigate with a carving knife.
  • Ham glaze: Our three-ingredient ham glaze recipe features brown sugar, savory mustard and tangy vinegar. The sugar caramelizes in the oven, giving the ham a slightly crispy edge and an appealing finish.


Step 1: Score the ham

score the hamTBM Studio

Preheat the oven to 325°. Place the ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Using a sharp knife, score the surface of the ham with 1/4-inch-deep cuts in a diamond pattern.

Step 2: Bake the ham

Cover the ham. Bake until a thermometer reads 130°, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Step 3: Prepare the glaze

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and enough vinegar to make a thick paste.

Step 4: Glaze the ham

glaze the hamTMB Studio

Remove the ham from the oven. Spread the glaze over the ham. Bake, uncovered, until a thermometer reads 140°, 15 to 30 minutes longer.

Editor’s Tip: You might be wondering why the ham is glazed so late in the cooking process. It’s to prevent the sugar in the glaze from burning and ruining the ham’s flavor. These final 15 to 30 minutes are all you need to let the flavor permeate the meat and form a nice crust on top.

How to Carve a Ham

How To Carve A Ham - start with a boneless sectionTMB Studio

Carving a ham can seem like tricky business, but you got this! Ham only has one large bone to work around, so you’ll find it’s a much simpler process than slicing a Thanksgiving turkey (or even that roast chicken you make for Sunday dinners). Follow our guide on how to carve a ham for best results. Then break out your favorite serving tray for a perfect presentation.

Once you’ve carved the meat, don’t toss the bone! Add it to split pea soup, use it to make ham broth or add it to a pot of beans.

Recipe Variations

  • Customize the glaze: This brown sugar glaze is traditional (and tasty), but it’s not the only option out there. Increase the mustard and add honey to make a honey-mustard glaze. Or replace the vinegar with orange or pineapple juice. You can also swap in another ham glaze recipe from our bourbon-glazed ham, honey-baked ham or maple-glazed ham.
  • Use the slow cooker: If you’d rather learn how to cook a ham with a more hands-off approach, try making slow-cooker ham. You can focus on prepping the other items for your gathering, and the ham will turn out just as juicy as an oven-baked ham.
  • Make ham in the air fryer: Yes, you can absolutely make an air-fryer ham! Just make sure to measure the roast to ensure it’ll fit inside the basket.

How to Store Glazed Ham

Store leftover glazed ham in an airtight container in the fridge for three to four days. You can reheat the ham in the oven or microwave. Better yet: Repurpose the extras to make these stellar leftover ham recipes.

Can you freeze glazed ham?

You can freeze ham in a freezer-safe container for up to two months. Let the ham cool completely in the refrigerator before transferring it to the freezer. You could freeze the whole ham on the bone, but the meat is easier to use if it’s frozen in smaller portions. Before freezing, slice or dice the ham. Then freeze it in individual portions.

Glazed Ham Tips

Easter Ham set on the tableTMB Studio

Do you glaze ham before or after cooking?

It’s best to glaze ham only during the final 15 to 30 minutes of cooking. If you glaze ham too early, the sugar in the glaze could scorch, leaving a sticky mess. It’s easy to whip up your own ham glaze, so give it a try!

Do you need to put water in the pan when cooking a ham?

For this glazed ham recipe, you don’t need to add water to the pan. Some recipes add an inch of water to the bottom of the roasting pan. This is especially important for spiral ham recipes, as those pre-sliced hams tend to dry out more quickly. Adding liquid and covering the pan tightly with foil creates steam and moisture. When in doubt, follow the directions in the recipe.

How do you moisten a dry ham?

Glazing can help moisten a dry ham. You can also pour broth or water over a dry ham, then cover it tightly and simmer, basting occasionally with the cooking liquids. This is also a great way to moisten and enjoy leftover ham.

How do you pick the right size ham?

Some quick math will help you know what size ham to purchase. For a bone-in ham, plan on 1/2 pound per person. For a boneless ham, you’ll need 1/3 pound per person. So, if you’re cooking for eight, pick up a 4-pound bone-in ham or a 3-pound boneless ham. If you want leftovers, get a larger size.

Watch how to Make Sugar-Glazed Ham

Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze

Prep Time 5 min
Yield 14 servings.


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


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Using a sharp knife, score surface of ham with 1/4-in.-deep cuts in a diamond pattern. Cover and bake until a thermometer reads 130°, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and enough vinegar to make a thick paste. Remove ham from oven. Spread sugar mixture over ham. Bake, uncovered, until a thermometer reads 140°, 15-30 minutes longer.

Nutrition Facts

4 ounces ham: 284 calories, 16g fat (6g saturated fat), 57mg cholesterol, 1110mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (15g sugars, 0 fiber), 20g protein.

This old-fashioned ham glaze gives a pretty golden brown coating—just like Grandma used to make. The mustard and vinegar complement the brown sugar which adds a tangy flavor to this glazed ham recipe. Be prepared to serve seconds! —Carol Strong Battle, Heathville, Virginia