Glazed Hams are super easy to make. No basting, no turning, just slather the glaze on and bake until warmed through and the exterior is golden and sticky. It can be made ahead and served at room temperature or warmed. I love that it’s so easy to make yet looks so regal and impressive, taking pride of place on the table!
*** This recipe is part of a Christmas Special where I show you how to make 3 mains and 4 side dishes that take 1.5 hrs to prepare and can be largely made ahead. So this Christmas, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family! 🙂 ***
I used to be scared of making Christmas ham. There’s a celebrity chef in Australia (to remain unnamed!!) who created a “cheats” glazed ham because she had a disaster one year making glazed ham the traditional way at her “real life” Christmas lunch. I therefore assumed that it was really technical or tricky to make, so I didn’t want to risk making it for a special event. Nor did I want to do a practice run with a 4 kg / 8 lb ham. 🙂
Then one Christmas I watched a friend make it. Peel off the skin, cut diamond shapes into the fat, rub on a glaze and bake for around 1 hour until sticky and warmed through. No basting, no turning, no special ham cuts required.
The next year I gave it a go. It really was easy! I can say without any hesitation that ham is the easiest dish I have ever made for Christmas. Not only because it’s easy to make (which it really is), but also because there’s a lot of flexibility for making ahead. You can make it the day before, or in the morning, serve it hot or at room temperature, or even cold if you want (but the glaze is not as sticky which I think is one of the highlights of ham).
So now I make hams regularly for festive occasions. I’m starting to experiment with glazes and techniques, but today I’m sharing my favourite classic way of making it. It was originally based on a recipe by Nigella but has evolved over the years. 🙂
Hams are cost effective and easy to make and are a fabulous centrepiece for festive occasions! – Nagi
Easy, Stress Free Seven Course Christmas Menu (1.5 hr prep)
You can read about this menu here, including a step by step of the order in which I prepared, baked, reheated and plated up each dish. I made all these dishes (with the exception of the cabbage salad) for a Christmas Party with my friends and these are photos of the actual dishes that I took to the party. I’m sharing this in the hope that it might inspire your Christmas menu!
- This Easy Maple Sticky Glazed Ham (15 min prep, 1 – 1 1/2 hrs inactive baking, can be made ahead)
- Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast (5 min prep, then set and forget, reheats well but best slow cooked overnight on the night before serving)
- Festive Duck with Apple Cider Drizzle (5 min prep, 1 1/2 hr inactive baking, reheats very well)
- Pork Apple Stuffing in Pancetta Cups (20 min prep and worth every second. Reheats extremely well)
- Julia Child’s Potato Dauphinoise Gratin (15 min prep, 45 min baking, reheats very well)
- Red, Green and White Christmas Salad (10 minutes prep)
- Warm Red Cabbage and Spinach with Garlic Herb Butter (10 minutes prep)
- 1 leg ham (4.5kg - 6kg), cooked (or smoked) bone in and skin on (Notes 1 & 2)
- Cloves (for studding the ham) (optional - mainly for decorative purposes)
- 2 oranges, cut into quarters
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup maple syrup (or substitute with honey)
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp dijon mustard
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg (or substitute with all spice)
- If making just prior to serving, preheat the oven to 300F/150C. If making the day before, preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Place the glaze ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.
- Remove the skin of the ham, ensuring you leave the fat on (Note 3 for step by step, plus refer photo below)
- Score diamond shapes across the surface of the ham.
- Place the ham in a large baking dish.
- 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.
- Rub a little bit of glaze on the underside of the ham. Then slather about ⅔ of the glaze on the top and sides of the ham.
- Insert a clove in the middle of each diamond (optional).
- Pour the water in the baking dish, then place in the oven.
- If baking the day before at 180C/350F, it will take 45 minutes to 1 hour, just for the surface to become golden and sticky. Baste with remaining glaze at about 30 minutes.
- If baking on the day at 150C/300F, it will take 1 hr to 1½ hrs for the surface to become golden and for the inside to warm all the way through.
- Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- If making ahead, scrape/pour all the juices in the pan into a small bowl and save it. Use it to touch up the ham the next day before reheating with extra glaze. (See Note 4)
Also, make sure you get a cooked ham, not a raw one (also referred to as "gammon").
2. Any larger than 6 kg/12 lb ham, I recommend increasing the glaze quantity by 50%.
3. Removing the skin of the ham (refer step by step photo as well):
- Using a small knife, cut through the skin around the top of the ham handle.
- Cut along each side of the ham.
- On the cut surface of the ham (i.e. the side that the pink ham is showing), run the knife between the skin and the fat, then insert your fingers and run your fingers around the ham to separate it even more.
- Starting in one corner, peel back the skin. As you pull back more, insert your fingers between the fat and the skin to assist.
- Repeat with the skin on the underside of the ham.
4. If making this ahead, store in the fridge then bring to room temperature. Dab on reserved glaze / juices. If serving at room temperature, pop it into a 180C/350F oven for 10 minutes just to reheat the surface and make it glossy again. If serving warm, reheat for around 40 minutes in a 180C/350F oven. I do not recommend microwaving it to speed up the process as it will make the fat "pop" and you will lose some of the diamonds on the surface (which I think looks nice), but you can if you don't mind about the appearance.
Nutritional analysis assumes a 4.5kg bone in ham serves 30 people (150g ham per person) as part of a multi-course meal.