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Ham with Spiced Brown Sugar Pineapple Glaze sliced on a bed of green leaves surrounded by pineapple rings

Ham with Spiced Brown Sugar Pineapple Glaze

Course: dinner
Cuisine: North American
Keyword: brown sugar, glaze, ham, pineapple
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 768kcal
Author: Marta Rivera
Choose a refrigerated, fully-cooked smoked ham for this recipe. The Spiced Brown Sugar Pineapple Glaze can be made a couple of days ahead.
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  • roasting pan with rack
  • internal meat thermometer


Spiced Brown Sugar

  • 1 cup (220 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (6 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (3 grams) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) cayenne pepper optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground allspice optional
  • 2 tablespoons (45 grams) dijon mustard

For the Ham

  • 10-12 pound (4-5 kilos) fully cooked ham preferably bone-in (also called gammon, butt, shank, or whole ham)
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 milliliters) pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional


  • Lower the middle oven rack to the lower third section of the oven. This will keep the ham from being too close to the heating element.
    Preheat the oven to 325°F (162°C) and spray your roasting pan's rack with non-stick cooking spray. This will make cleanup easier.

Mix the Spiced Brown Sugar

  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar, cinnamon, kosher salt, cloves, ginger, garlic, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and allspice until thoroughly combined. Add 1/2 cup of the brown sugar mixture to a bowl with the dijon mustard. Set aside the remaining spiced brown sugar.
    Stir the mustard and sugar until it resembles a thick paste. If it's crumbly, stir in a small amount of the pineapple juice. The paste will be the consistency of thick mustard.

Baste, Then Heat the Ham

  • Unwrap and pat the exterior of the ham dry with paper towels.
    Set the ham on its cushion on the prepared rack that's been set inside of a roasting pan. Pour 3/4 cup of the pineapple juice into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Use a spatula to coat the exterior of the ham with the mustard-brown sugar paste. Make sure you spread this mixture over the entire ham.
    Once you spread the paste on the ham, cover the pan tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  • Place the covered ham in the oven and cook it according to the chart below in the notes section or for 15-20 minutes per pound.

Prepare the Spiced Brown Sugar Pineapple Glaze

  • Fifteen minutes before the end of the ham's cooking time, begin the glaze.
    In a saucepot, whisk together the remaining spiced brown sugar and pineapple juice, as well as the vanilla extract.
  • Turn the stove to medium and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
    Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the temperature to low and allow the glaze to simmer for 10 minutes, reducing the liquid in the pot by half.
  • Once the glaze has reduced by half, turn the stove off and allow the glaze to cool down on the stovetop.

Caramelize the Ham

  • Once the heating time is finished, remove the ham from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F (218°C).
    Remove the foil covering, but don't throw the foil away.
  • If you can, carefully flip the ham so the cut side is facing down.
    Use a basting brush to brush 1/3-1/2 of the pineapple glaze onto the surface of the ham. Return the ham to the oven and allow the glaze to caramelize for 15 minutes.
  • After 25 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and brush it with another 1/3-1/2 of the glaze, then return it to the oven for another 15 minutes.
    If you did the 1/3 glaze, brush a third time, return it to the oven, then, once the ham is properly caramelized and glazed, remove the pan from the oven.
  • The internal temperature of the ham should be between 145°F (62°F)- 165°F (73°C). The ham should have a blush-pink color when sliced.
    But before cutting into it, grab the foil you saved and make a tent over the ham with it. Allow the meat to rest for no less than 20 minutes under this foil tent.
  • After the meat has rested, transfer the ham to a cutting board. Situate the meat so that the flattest part of it is on the bottom. This gives you a sturdy base on which to work.
    Position the blade of your carving knife so that you're cutting parallel to the bone and cut into the meat along the bone. 
  • Remove the blade from the ham and position it so that you're cutting perpendicular to (or down towards) the bone. Once you hit the cut you made earlier, you can remove the chunk of meat. 
    Remove the other half of the meat that's still attached to the bone. Put the ham bone into a freezer bag and freeze for later (up to a year). 
  • Use the carving knife to thinly slice the ham.
    Serve it straight from the cutting board or transfer it to a platter. 


Tips for Success:
  • Make sure your ham's label says "fully cooked". A fresh ham is not recommended for this recipe. 
  • Avoid flavored or spiral cut hams. Flavoring (other than smoke flavor) will compete with our made-from-scratch glaze. Spiral hams will dry out during the cooking process. 
  • Plan to have enough ham to serve 1/2-pound per person:
    Half-hams usually range in size from 7-12 pounds. Any ham that is 14 pounds or heavier is a whole ham. A 10-pound ham is perfect for a family of four to have enough leftover ham for a couple of other meals/recipes. 
  • Fashion a roasting rack out of aluminum foil if you don't have one: form a tube of heavy-duty foil into an oval shape and place it in the bottom of the pan. Set the ham on top of this foil.
    If you don't want use a rack, just set the ham into the bottom of a roasting pan.

Swaps and Subs:

  • Substitute the light brown sugar with dark brown
  • Instead of using dijon mustard, use coarse grain mustard, honey mustard, prepared yellow mustard, or spicy brown mustard
  • Replace the pineapple juice with peach nectar, apple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, or beer.
    Don't replace the pineapple juice with water.

Heat the ham 15-20 minutes per pound:

  • 10-pounds: 2 1/2-3 hours
  • 12-pounds: 3-4 hours
  • 14-pounds: 3 1/2-4 1/2 hours
  • 15-pounds: 3 3/4-5 hours
You can heat the ham for up to 20 minutes per pound, but because the ham will cook longer after the glaze is added, I recommend only cooking it for 15 minutes per pound.  

Storage and Freezer Instructions:

  1. Transfer any leftover ham to a food storage container and store them in the fridge for 3-4 days.
    Reheat just the amount you want to serve in the microwave or in a shallow skillet with a little bit of water. You can also sear it quickly in a non-stick pan to reheat it.
  2. If you have tons of leftover meat, cool it completely, then pack it into freezer storage bags. Freeze the meat for 2-3 months.
    Thaw the frozen ham under refrigeration, then reheat it as needed and serve. 


Calories: 768kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 62g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 176mg | Sodium: 3631mg | Potassium: 890mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg