Orange and Brown Sugar-Glazed Ham

CATEGORIES: Christmas, Easter, Kate, Oven Baked, Pork

orange brown sugar ham-7squareI have an obligatory relationship with turkey. Even though our turkey recipe is one of the most popular recipes on our site, it’s not my favorite recipe on the site. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the turkey’s fault. It’s not him, it’s me. Not only are they a ton of work (and not just the turkey, but the accompanying stuffing and the obligatory gravy, which leads to mashed potatoes, all of which lead to avalanches of dishes). Plus, I think I’ve developed a mild turkey allergy as I’ve gotten older (my brother was severely allergic until…well…it’s a long and complicated and way-too-medical-for-a-food-blog story) and I always feel icky afterwards.

Due to my brother’s aforementioned poultry allergy, we always had turkey and ham at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So for me, having a ham isn’t such a big deal, but my husband thinks I’m an abomination.

For Thanksgiving this year, it was just our little family, so we had this orange and brown sugar-glazed ham instead of of turkey. And since lots and lots of people do ham for Christmas, I wanted to share it now because it is You know that glaze packet that comes with your ham? Just toss it. It will never compare. Your ham-eating experiences will never be the same.

The ham part is super easy. Actually, the whole thing is easy, which appeals to me in so many ways. Preheat oven to 325. Line a heavy-duty roasting pan (if you don’t have one, this is the one we’ve consistently recommended. It is clearly not the one I have, but it is the one I wish I had.) with aluminum foil

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and place the rack inside of the foil.

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Place the ham, fatty side up, on the rack (but also make sure the slices are vertical and the flat end isn’t face-down–you want that fat to melt and run between the slices to keep things moist. Sorry. I had to use the m-word.)

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Insert a roasting thermometer (this is the best one I’ve ever used!) into the thickest part of the ham that has not been sliced.

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Place the ham in the heated oven and roast for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the thermometer reaches 140-145.

While the ham is roasting, combine the brown sugar, cloves, juice, zest, mustard, and vinegar. I also add some of our bacon olive oil, which really kind of takes it over the top of Amazingness Mountain, but you could always use regular bacon drippings if you have some lying around.

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Whisk it all together. When the ham has about 30 minutes to go, remove the ham and brush the glaze on the outside of the ham, all the way down into the slices. Place the ham back in the oven and cook until done.

While the ham is finishing off, whisk together the BEST part of ham at my house growing up. It’s a simple sauce made from mayonnaise, mustard, and a little apple cider vinegar, but it was seriously my favorite part of ham as a kid–we couldn’t have ham without it. You can use regular yellow mustard, but I love the deeper flavor of the ground mustard.

When done, remove from the oven and serve with ham dipping stuff (yep, that’s what it’s called. My favorite part of ham dinners as a kid.)

Orange Brown Sugar Spiral-Sliced Ham from Our Best Bites

And there you have it–the BEST ham and the EASIEST holiday dinner in all the land. Promise. This will make a lot–6 pounds will serve in the 20 people range. You can also freeze the leftovers for 3-4 months.

If you’re looking for side dishes, I went old-school OBB and served them with these Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes (although Funeral Potatoes are always an excellent choice), Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans, and this Sweet Cornbread.

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Orange and Brown Sugar-Glazed Ham

  • Author: Our Best Bites
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Category: Meat
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Holiday


The perfect holiday ham with the most incredible glaze!


1  5-7-pound spiral-cut ham (fully cooked; discard the glaze packet)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons orange juice
grated zest of 1 small or medium orange
1 tablespoon mild ground mustard or Creole mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s is the best!)
1 tablespoon bacon drippings

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mild ground mustard or Creole mustard
12 teaspoons apple cider vinegar


Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and place the rack inside of the foil. Place the ham, fatty side up, on the rack. Insert a roasting thermometer into the thickest part of the ham that has not been sliced. Place the ham in the heated oven and roast for 1  1/2-2 hours or until the thermometer reaches 140-145.

While the ham is roasting, whisk together the brown sugar, cloves, juice, zest, mustard, vinegar, and oil or bacon drippings. When the ham has about 30 minutes to go, remove the ham and brush the glaze on the outside of the ham, all the way down into the slices. Place the ham back in the oven and cook until done.

When done, remove from the oven and serve with dipping sauce.

Keywords: Ham, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas


  1. This sounds delicious. Is it weird that I think the best thing about ham is using the leftovers to make soups? I enjoy the ham itself, but I really love a good soup with bits of ham in it.

  2. I’m glad we aren’t the only weirdos who only do ham at Thanksgiving. I grew up doing both, but my husband would much much much rather have ham and I’m not so dedicated to turkey that I mind (since we’ve just done Thanksgiving with our family the past few years). I always thought I was supposed to lay the flat side down, so I’m most excited to try cooking it so the glaze actually gets ON the ham, instead of only the outside.

  3. I love the crust this makes on your ham. Definitely now making it for Christmas. Two questions- 1) is it easy to find spiral cut hams? Is that something I can get at a normal grocery store? And 2) Is ground mustard the powdered form of mustard or a liquid mustard?

    1. Super easy to find–I would say most hams at the grocery store are probably spiral cut. And the mustard is liquid; some coarse ground mustard is VERY strong, but Creole mustard is mild and flavorful. Walmart actually has a really great, mild coarse ground mustard; it’s just Great Value Coarse Mustard. Or see if you can find Creole mustard; Zatarain’s is a national brand. If you can’t find it at a grocery store, try World Market. Hope that helps!

  4. praise the lord! my hubby’s work gives us a ham every year at Christmas time and I HATE those sauce packets…gag just thinking about them. Definitely going to give this one a try!

  5. We always have a glazed ham for Christmas. This recipe looks amazing – but I’m wondering if my kids will let me get away with it. We always just use the packet that comes with the ham. My kids are kinda anti mustard, apple, and mayo, but I may force this on them anyways, because it looks so good.

  6. My fam does ham and turkey for both Thanksgiving and Christmas so I’m excited to see this recipe. I look forward to trying it out.
    Also, I have those little mason shot glasses. Love them!

  7. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! I’ve been wanting an amazing ham glaze recipe for my ham. We are ham people. Well, I make my husband be one. And I always just use the packet but knew there had to be a better way. Finding one was on my list for this Christmas, and of course, OBB comes through for me like always.

  8. I am 100% on Team Ham! Significantly easier than turkey, plus any time I can avoid sticking my hand into a “cavity” (ahem), I’m happy!

  9. Thank you for a ham recipe! I really want to make one for Christmas. I have a question- what sides do you serve this with? We have never had ham before at a family dinner so I’m unsure. THanks!!

    1. IGNORE me i’m so sorry apparently I was too excited about the recipe and didn’t bother reading the last paragraph where you clearly explained side dishes!Thanks again!

  10. Oh this looks yummy! We are having turkey on Christmas with my husband’s family, but my mom and I want to do something different for our family Christmas (whenever that happens, looking at Jan 4!) I want ham but I may lose that battle to the prime rib loving men!

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