The Perfect Sweet and Sticky Ham Glaze Recipe with Brown Sugar

Spiral cut brown sugar glazed ham | Elena Veselova

Whether you’re hosting a holiday feast or simply looking to elevate a weeknight dinner, our delicious sweet and sticky ham glaze recipe with brown sugar is guaranteed to make your taste buds sing. Bursting with irresistible flavors and a perfect balance of sweet and tangy, this glaze is bound to become a family favorite.

Crafted with care and using only the finest ingredients, our ham glaze recipe will transform an ordinary ham into something extraordinary. The rich notes of brown sugar perfectly complement the succulent ham, creating a beautiful caramelized crust that caramel lovers will adore.

Not only does our glaze add incredible flavor, but it also gives the ham a gorgeous glossy finish. With just a few simple steps, you can achieve a stunning centerpiece that will impress your guests.

So, get ready to indulge in the mouthwatering combination of sweet and sticky perfection. Channel your inner chef and bring your ham to life with our delectable brown sugar glaze recipe. Your taste buds will thank you!

The Importance of a Good Ham Glaze

When it comes to preparing a delicious ham, a good glaze can make all the difference. A well-crafted glaze not only adds flavor but also enhances the visual appeal of the ham, making it the star of the show on your dining table. The perfect sweet and sticky ham glaze with brown sugar is a classic choice that will elevate the flavors of your ham to new heights.

The glaze acts as a protective coating for the ham, sealing in its juices and preventing it from drying out during cooking. It also adds a beautiful caramelized crust that gives the ham a delectable texture and appearance. With the right combination of ingredients, the glaze can transform an ordinary ham into a culinary masterpiece.

Benefits of Using Brown Sugar in Ham Glaze

One of the key ingredients in our sweet and sticky ham glaze recipe is brown sugar. This rich and flavorful ingredient brings a unique depth of sweetness to the glaze, complementing the savory notes of the ham perfectly. Here are some benefits of using brown sugar in your ham glaze:

  1. Caramelization: Brown sugar has a higher molasses content compared to white sugar, which gives it a distinct caramel flavor. When the glaze is applied to the ham and exposed to heat, the sugars in the brown sugar caramelize, creating a deliciously sticky and sweet coating.
  2. Moisture retention: Brown sugar helps to retain moisture in the ham, preventing it from drying out during the cooking process. The natural moisture in the brown sugar keeps the ham succulent and tender, ensuring a juicy and flavorful end result.
  3. Complexity of flavors: Brown sugar adds depth and complexity to the glaze, with its subtle hints of molasses and caramel. This complexity of flavors enhances the overall taste of the ham, making it more interesting and satisfying.


To create the perfect sweet and sticky ham glaze with brown sugar, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

These ingredients work together harmoniously to create a glaze that is sweet, tangy, and full of flavor. The brown sugar provides the base sweetness and caramelization, while the honey adds a natural sweetness and a hint of floral notes. The Dijon mustard adds a tangy kick, balancing out the sweetness, and the apple cider vinegar brings acidity and brightness to the glaze. The Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg add depth and complexity, elevating the overall flavor profile.


Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to make the sweet and sticky ham glaze with brown sugar. Follow these simple step-by-step instructions for a glaze that will take your ham to the next level:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg. Stir well to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent the glaze from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Allow the glaze to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it thickens slightly. The glaze should have a syrupy consistency that will adhere well to the ham.
  4. Once the glaze has reached the desired consistency, remove it from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
  5. While the glaze is cooling, prepare your ham by scoring the surface in a diamond pattern. This will allow the glaze to penetrate the meat and create a beautiful caramelized crust.
  6. Brush the glaze generously over the scored surface of the ham, making sure to coat it evenly.
  7. Preheat your oven to the recommended temperature for cooking the ham. Place the glazed ham in a roasting pan and cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
  8. Bake the ham according to the instructions provided with your specific cut and weight. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove the foil and baste the ham with additional glaze every 10 minutes.
  9. Once the ham is cooked to perfection, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before carving. The glaze will continue to thicken and set as the ham rests.
  10. Serve the glazed ham as the centerpiece of your meal, and watch as your guests marvel at its irresistible flavors and stunning presentation.

Tips for Achieving the Perfect Glaze Consistency and Flavor

Creating the perfect glaze consistency and flavor can sometimes be a bit tricky. Here are some tips to help you achieve glaze perfection:

  1. Adjust the sweetness: If you prefer a sweeter glaze, you can increase the amount of brown sugar. Conversely, if you prefer a less sweet glaze, you can reduce the amount of brown sugar and add a bit more Dijon mustard to balance out the flavors.
  2. Adjust the tanginess: If you want a more tangy glaze, you can increase the amount of Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar. For a milder tang, reduce the amount of these ingredients.
  3. Thicken or thin the glaze: If your glaze is too thin, you can cook it for a few more minutes to reduce and thicken it. On the other hand, if your glaze is too thick, you can add a small amount of water or pineapple juice to thin it out.
  4. Experiment with spices: While ground cloves add a classic flavor to the glaze, feel free to experiment with other spices and herbs to customize the flavor profile. Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or even a pinch of cayenne pepper can add an interesting twist to the glaze.
  5. Basting frequency: The more often you baste the ham with the glaze, the more intense the flavors will be. If you prefer a milder glaze, baste less frequently. If you want a more robust flavor, baste more often.

By following these tips and making adjustments based on your personal preferences, you’ll be able to fine-tune the glaze to your liking and achieve the perfect balance of flavors and consistency.

Variations and Additions to the Basic Ham Glaze Recipe

While our basic sweet and sticky ham glaze recipe with brown sugar is absolutely delicious on its own, there’s always room for experimentation and customization. Here are a few variations and additions you can try to take your ham glaze to the next level:

  1. Honey-Glazed Ham: Add a tablespoon or two of honey to the glaze mixture for a touch of natural sweetness and a glossy finish.
  2. Spiced Glaze: Incorporate additional spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or ground ginger to create a warm and aromatic glaze that will add depth and complexity to your ham.
  3. Citrus Twist: Squeeze fresh orange or lemon juice into the glaze for a burst of citrusy freshness that will brighten up the flavors.
  4. Maple Syrup Infusion: Replace a portion of the brown sugar with maple syrup for a unique twist on the glaze. The maple syrup adds a rich and smoky sweetness that pairs beautifully with ham.
  5. Savory Herb Glaze: Add fresh or dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage, or oregano to the glaze for a savory and aromatic twist. This variation works particularly well if you prefer a less sweet glaze.

Feel free to get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations to create a glaze that suits your taste preferences. The beauty of making your own glaze is that you have complete control over the flavors, allowing you to tailor it to your liking.

Serving Suggestions and Pairing Options for the Glazed Ham

Once you’ve perfected your sweet and sticky ham glazed with brown sugar, it’s time to think about how to serve and pair this delicious dish. Here are some serving suggestions and pairing options that will complement the flavors of the glazed ham:

  1. Side Dishes: Serve the glazed ham with classic side dishes such as creamy mashed potatoes, buttery roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad. The rich flavors of the ham glaze will pair beautifully with these simple and comforting sides.
  2. Pineapple Salsa: For a refreshing and tropical twist, serve the glazed ham with a side of pineapple salsa. The sweetness and tanginess of the salsa will complement the flavors of the ham perfectly.
  3. Mustard Sauce: Prepare a tangy mustard sauce to serve alongside the glazed ham. The zesty flavors of the mustard will cut through the sweetness of the glaze, creating a well-balanced combination.
  4. Biscuits or Rolls: Serve the glazed ham on warm, flaky biscuits or soft dinner rolls for a delightful sandwich experience. Add some tangy mustard or a slice of cheese for extra flavor.
  5. Wine Pairings: Pair the glazed ham with a light to medium-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir or a slightly sweet white wine such as Riesling. The fruity and crisp notes of these wines will complement the flavors of the ham glaze.

Remember to consider the preferences and dietary restrictions of your guests when planning your side dishes and pairings. The goal is to create a well-rounded meal that satisfies everyone’s taste buds.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ham Glaze

  1. Can I use a different type of sugar in the glaze?

While brown sugar is the recommended choice for its rich flavor and caramelization properties, you can experiment with other sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, or even granulated sugar. Keep in mind that using different sweeteners may alter the flavor and consistency of the glaze.

  1. Can I make the glaze ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the glaze ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Simply reheat the glaze before using it to glaze the ham.

  1. What if I don’t have pineapple juice?

If you don’t have pineapple juice, you can substitute it with orange juice or apple juice. The goal is to add a touch of sweetness and acidity to balance out the flavors.

  1. Can I use this glaze on other meats?

While this glaze is specifically designed for ham, you can certainly experiment with using it on other meats such as pork tenderloin or even chicken. Adjust the cooking time and temperature accordingly to ensure the meat is cooked through.

  1. How do I store leftover glazed ham?

Store leftover glazed ham in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat the ham before serving to ensure it is warm and flavorful.

Remember to always follow proper food safety guidelines when storing and reheating leftovers.


Our sweet and sticky ham glaze recipe with brown sugar is a game-changer when it comes to elevating the flavors of your ham. The combination of brown sugar, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and other ingredients creates a glaze that is both sweet and tangy, with a beautiful caramelized crust that adds depth and complexity to the ham.