This tender, moist and perfectly sweet Honey Baked Ham recipe is cooked in its own juices and glazed with a mixture of honey, pineapple juice and brown sugar. This honey ham is sweet and salty, buttery and sticky, and the star of any holiday table!! PLUS I HAVE SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS TOO! Serve for the holidays with Deviled Eggs, Cornbread Dressing and Rolls!
The Most Irresistible Honey Baked Ham Recipe
I love Easter! Well, I love any holiday that calls for copious amounts of delicious food and almost too-many family members buzzing around to enjoy it. Since I was a little girl, Easter Sunday was always special. My mother made it a point to buy me new clothes (Sunday best of course) and comb my hair a bit harder than usual.
After church service, I enjoyed the usual egg hunts and outdoor play until lunch was ready. The location of our meal rotated each year but the contents of the table stayed the same. There were Big Mama’s dinner rolls, candied sweet potatoes, collard greens and best of all, Honey Baked Ham.
Today’s recipe is an ode to the Honey Baked Ham of my childhood. It’s sweet yet salty, always tender and sticky on the fingers. You might not be ready for this y’all!
WHAT IS A TRADITIONAL HONEY BAKED HAM
Each year, in the early Spring, Easter tables are set with pastel napkins and bunny-shaped shakers. Since the 1940’s, Honey Baked Hams have served as the star of Easter meals in the U.S. In the two weeks leading up to Easter, Americans buy an average of 8.5 million pounds of whole ham. Ham seems to go along with Easter festivities as much as baskets and egg hunts.
Honey Baked Ham is traditionally coated in a crispy, spiced sugar glaze then, slowly baked to perfection. The result is a tender, moist and sweet-salty ham served whole. After being sliced and served, this ham never lasts long!
HOW TO MAKE A HONEY HAM
Anytime a recipe calls for a large, whole cut of meat, there is an assumption that it will be difficult to make. Honey Baked Ham does not fit that description. There are three crucial components to this recipe: a fresh ham, a well-balanced glaze and an oven timer.
With few ingredients and a lot of patience, you can create a delicious centerpiece for this year’s Easter lunch.
Let’s break down what you’ll need:
The key to a classic Honey Baked Ham is a sweet, caramel-like glaze. Each bite should be coated in a sticky-sweet sauce made to balance out the saltiness of pork. Brown sugar is sweet, molasses-ey and when melted, exceptionally sticky. Perfect.
What’s a Honey Ham without honey? Honey is floral, fruity and sometimes, buttery. Not only is the added sweetness welcome but, just like brown sugar, its texture sticks to the skin of the ham.
Dijon Mustard is a milky mixture of onion, garlic, salt, white wine, mustard powder and a touch of honey. It is less vinegary than typical mustard and therefore, less harsh. The addition of this mustard adds heat and brightness in all the best ways.
Pineapple juice adds in the necessary acidity that cuts through all the sugar. Tartness pairs wonderfully with any sweet-salty recipe. Decorating with whole slices of pineapple will also make for a gorgeous ham.
WARNING: Pork is inherently a very salt-forward protein. Some store-bought hams will have also already been brined in salt water. As with any other recipe, salt and pepper your ham as needed. Use a light hand and be very careful!
SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS
As if this recipe couldn’t get any easier, Honey Baked Ham is a slow-cooker friendly recipe. Early Easter afternoon is a busy time; we’re all bustling around the kitchen with the oven cranked high and the apron tied tight. So, why not free up a little space in the oven and make use of your slow cooker? The low, slow heat of the slow cooker gently braises the ham which makes for the best melt-in-the-mouth pork you’ve ever had.
Here’s how to do it:
Use the Right Ham
You don’t wanna use a boneless ham in a slow-cooker. Instead, buy a spiral-cut ham that is fully cooked and has the bone in. Butt-end hams fit into slow-cooker a bit more easily.
Above all, take into consideration the size of your slow-cooker. A 10-pound ham is as big as you can fit into a 6-quart slow-cooker. Make sure you spray it completely with non stick spray.
Add the Glaze
Once the ham is cozy in the slow-cooker, pour the glaze over the ham and try to cover as much ground as possible. Don’t worry if there are uncovered portions.
Cook and Baste
The key here is LOW AND SLOW. Set a timer for about 8 hours (it might take 5 depending on size of ham) and cook on the low setting. Do your best to baste the ham with glaze every hour or so. I would also suggest flipping the ham halfway through cooking.
TIP: The glaze can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
Leftover ham is rare because man, does it go quickly. But, if you find yourself with a few extra slices, it’s important to store it properly. Store the ham (in its juices) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
BONUS: Honey Baked Ham makes for the best next-day ham sandwiches. Make sure you’ve got good bread and some extra mustard on hand. Dipping the sandwiches in the juices takes it to a new level.
WHAT DO I SERVE WITH A HONEY HAM?
Since this is a holiday recipe, I would suggest serving this ham alongside your favorite sides. From mashed potatoes to cornbread dressing, Honey Baked Ham goes with just about anything.
If you need a few ideas, here are a few of Grandbaby Cakes’ BEST side dishes:
- SOUTHERN COLLARD GREENS
- CANDIED SWEET POTATOES
- SOUTHERN CORNBREAD
- GARLIC MASHED POTATOES
- HONEY GLAZED CARROTS
Honey Baked Ham Recipe
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Cooking spray
- 8-10 lb Plain fully cooked spiral sliced bone in ham make sure it does not already have a glaze
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter then whisk in brown sugar, honey, mustard, pineapple juice, garlic powder and paprika until combined. Allow the mixture to cook for about 5-7 minutes or until it bubbles and somewhat thickens. Take off heat. It will continue to thicken as it stands.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a 9" x 13" pan with lots of foil going up the sides as well then thoroughly spray with cooking spray.
- Place the ham cut side down in the pan. Next score the ham if you desire. To score, simply make shallow cuts along the top of the thicker skin to get the glaze to seep through even more.
- Brush the ⅓ of the glaze over the top of the ham.
- Bake for 1 ½ hours then turn oven to 425 degrees F and brush ham again with half of the remaining glaze.
- Bake 15 additional minutes, then finally brush ham with remaining glaze you have. Place ham under broiler for 3-5 minutes to allow glaze to get sticky. The sugar should be super seeped in and delicious.
- Rest ham for 10 minutes and then serve.
- Thoroughly spray the inside of a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker with your cooking spray. Carefully place the ham inside.
- Prepare ham according to instructions.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.