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December 22, 2021 | Cooking

How to Cook a Honey Baked Ham

honey baked ham on a dining table

Honey baked ham is a classic dish to serve friends and family around this time of year. There is just something about that ham that makes people come back year after year after year. Just one look at their lines and you can tell they are doing something right. 

There is just one thing – they are expensive. Who wants to stand in line for what seems like forever just to pay an exorbitant amount on a ham? Alright, well many people evidently. But what if you could do it yourself? 

As the holidays continue to make their way into our lives, we need to find a way to make them extra special and memorable. You could very well do the same old turkey you have done a thousand times over. Or, maybe that simple ham with the pineapple and cherry on top. Or, you could do something a little different – something that will refresh the taste buds of everyone in attendance at your feast. You could recreate one of the best honey-baked hams. 

Let’s do it!

Check the Oven

When you are making something as wonderful as a honey-baked ham, you are going to need to make sure that your oven is working properly. You can cook many sides on top of the range, but you can’t cook that ham. At least, not in this special method. 

So, before the holiday arrives, be sure to take the time to check your oven and make sure all is working well. 

Buying the Ham

In order to make a really good ham, you need to buy a really good ham. You can’t just buy any kind. To get the best results, invest in a spiral ham. Yes, it should already come cooked. Remove it from its packaging, dry it off, and allow it to sit out for just a bit on a towel or paper towels to drip off any excess moisture. You want your ham moist, but you want it moist with your own mixture – not the packager’s water. 

Massage the Ham

The first step in preparing your honey-baked ham is to gather up the honey and the butter and massage the ham. Yes, you read that right – you have to massage the ham. That’s not a typo. You aren’t to message the ham or send it a telegram. Nope, we’re afraid this is going to involve some lathering and getting your hands dirty. 

You are going to use 3 Tbsp of melted butter and 3 Tbsp of honey. Mix it well together and then massage it into your ham. You can just stick to the top and you can pull the slices back and rub it all down in there, too.

Warm it Up

Turn on your oven at a decent but low temperature – say, 275-300-degrees – and warm your ham. You aren’t cooking it as it should already be cooked. Rather, you are trying to get it warm for consumption – that is, of course, unless you prefer eating it cold. If that’s the case, then you can completely skip this step. To protect the ham while baking, it is a good idea to cover the ham in foil, loosely. 

Most hams come with warming instructions listed on the packaging. If yours does, then go ahead and follow that. Otherwise, just know that it roughly takes about 12 minutes per pound to heat a ham thoroughly. 

And, hey! If you don’t feel like having a hot ham, but you just want one that is honey-glazed, then take it out of the refrigerator for an hour or so ahead of time and let it warm up. It shouldn’t take too long to start to warm up. Combined with the broiling, reaching room temperature should be easy to do.  

A Sugary Coat

While your ham is heating, it is time to gather your sugary coat. This is what will turn out to be that crispy sweet layer on the outside of your honey-baked ham. For this, you will need a combination of sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves, allspice, seasoned salt, onion powder, and paprika. You can find the exact measurements here. You will want to mix all of these together. 

When your ham is done cooking, remove it from the oven. Then, turn on your broiler and let it heat up. After patting down half of this mixture on top of your ham and place it in the oven. Broil for a few minutes – until the layer is bubbly and has a caramelized look. 

Remove it from the oven. 

Create Your Glaze

With the remainder of the sugar mixture, you are going to add it to a saucepan with about 3 Tbsp of water. If you are feeling a bit deviant, you may even want to use some bourbon in this mixture for a nice kick. Let it all come to a boil as you stir it regularly. Boil for a minute or so, then remove from the heat. 

Brush this glaze evenly over the top of the ham. Then, place it back in the oven under broil for about another 8 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it as nobody wants to eat a burnt ham. 

Let it set for a few minutes before serving. 

The Aftermath

Once you and your loved ones have consumed the deliciousness of this ham, you are sure to have leftovers. Store it properly. Keep it in a container (preferably air-tight for freshness) in the refrigerator. You may even want to freeze them if you have a lot. 

But perhaps the best part of a honey-baked ham is having the leftovers to make new creations! There are so many recipes online that can lead you to discover a new love for soups, casseroles, side dishes, and more. 

Honey-baked ham is a delicious main course for holiday dining. Whether you are trying to save money this year, just want to see if you can create your own, or you are trying it for the first time to see what the hype is all about – you are sure to love it.