Honey Baked Ham Recipe (Copycat)
I am totally obsessed with this Copycat Honey Baked Ham Recipe! It is so simple and yet the results are absolutely insane. No wonder people pay $75 for these! Instead of glazing and roasting, we are rubbing it with dry sugar and hitting it with a kitchen torch. The crispy edges of this ham are like candy!
Eric was watching this documentary the other day and I wasn’t really paying much attention. It was about video games and how the first companies got started (as usual, someone dropped out of college and made it big, what else is new. I don’t know why everyone wants to go to college these days, seems like all the geniuses are dropping out! I’m joking don’t worry. Charlotte, if you read this, I’M JOKING, COLLEGE IS IMPORTANT.
Anyway, the guys who came up with Pac-Man was being interviewed and my head snapped up when he mentioned pizza. (Are you surprised?) He said that they came up with the Pac-Man shape when they were eating a pizza one day. A whole pizza with a couple slices missing = Pac-Man. How fun is that?
And get this, originally Pac-Man was a typical kill-em-dead type video game. Guys loved it. But they wanted to get women to play. “So we changed it. Eating instead of killing.” Isn’t that so funny? They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but I think we’re seriously underestimating the insatiability of women here! Ha!
Speaking of eating all the things. Are you guys ready for Thanksgiving in just a few days?? I am so here for it! I have just a couple more recipes I want to share with you this week in case you are a last minute planner like me. First up, the best freaking ham I’ve ever had:
Cooking a Honey Baked Ham
Have you had the famous Honey Baked Ham? Full disclosure, I’ve never tried it. But it is famous for a reason! I get why, now that I’ve made it at home. This ham is seriously unlike anything I have ever had before. I AM OBSESSED.
I did a whole bunch of research to find out why people pay an arm and a leg for Honey Baked Hams.
Do you want to know the secret? Dry sugar and a kitchen torch. They sprinkle the ham in dry sugar and spices and then torch it. JUST LIKE A FREAKING CRÈME BRÛLÉE.
Oh my gosh you guys, it is unreal. The edges of the salty ham are covered in spiced sugar and caramelized. The sugar melts, then hardens into this gorgeous shell, just like on top of your crème brulée. It absolutely CRACKLES. These photos don’t even come close to doing it justice.
I made an 8 pound ham, and I think Eric and I single handedly ate all of the edge pieces of the ham over the course of a day. Okay maybe not all of it, but pretty dang close. The crispy sugared edges are not QUITE as phenomenal after you refrigerate it, so we just kept saying, well, we better eat it now while the sugar is still crackly and shatters in your mouth. No regrets. Let’s make it!
What kind of ham should I buy for a Honey Baked Ham?
First start off by choosing a really high quality ham. I love to use a bone-in ham; the bone provides tons of flavor that a boneless ham just can’t compete with. You want a ham that is fully cooked and labeled as smoked (it’s actually really tough to find a fresh ham (uncured, unsmoked) in American markets, so rest assured most of the hams you see are fully cooked.
If you see a really cheap ham, keep walking. Take a look at the label and you will find that there is (probably) water added to it. It’s cheaper because you’re paying for water weight. These hams are mushier and not as high quality. (Hams labeled “with natural juices” are a step up.) But honestly just buy what you can afford and no one will notice if the ham isn’t the perfect texture because they will be so distracted by your perfect, crackly, caramelized edges.
I like to buy spiral hams. They are pre-sliced and just make serving so darn easy. Plus, since they are already sliced, you don’t have to deal with scoring the ham. The honey mixture we’re using just seeps right into the sliced edges and gets good and deep.
Plan for 1/2 or 1 pound of ham per person. Choose 1 pound per person if you want leftovers. A half ham is usually about 7 or 8 pounds and serves 8-12 people.
How to Make a Honey Baked Ham
Unwrap your beautiful ham and remove all the netting and shrink wrap. Often they have a little ham glaze packet sealed inside. Toss it in the trash with gusto! Sometimes there is a little plastic cap over the bone, take it off.
Place your ham flat-side down on the a roasting rack in your roasting pan. If you don’t have a roasting pan, set a metal cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet. You don’t want your ham getting all soggy sitting in those juices.
In a small bowl, melt a couple tablespoons of butter. Squirt in a bit of Dijon. Add in a bunch of honey. Stir it together until it’s deliciously syrupy.
Use your hands to massage the honey mixture into the ham all over, top to bottom, side to side. Work it in between the spiral cuts. It’s okay if some of the mixture drips into the bottom of your pan. Scoop it up and slap it back on the ham.
Add about a cup of water to the bottom of your roasting pan. Cover your ham with foil.
Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes per pound of ham. (You can also slow cook it! See recipe for details.)
Let your ham cool about 15-20 minutes. Now comes the fun part.
In a bowl, combine granulated sugar and the spices. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, paprika, etc. Set aside half of it, you need it later for the glaze. (The original Honey baked Ham recipe doesn’t even have a glaze, as far as I know. But who can say no to a little glaze?)
You can use your hands to coat the ham in sugar if you like, but I think it’s way easier to spread the sugar in a rimmed pan, then roll the ham in the sugar.
Any way you do it, get your ham completely coated in sugar. Now it’s time to torch! Nothing makes you feel more like a 12 year old boy with some firecrackers than a kitchen torch. Just call me Sid.
Keep the torch moving continually. The flame should not stay in the same spot for any period of time. Move in small circles until the area you’re working on has transformed from little grains of sugar into a melty bubbly shiny caramely bit of lava. Once it’s bubbly, move on to the next area. Within a minute or two, the liquid will harden into a shiny crackly shell, like this:
Now I know what you’re going to ask next.
Can you broil the ham instead of torching?
The short answer: yes but not really. How’s that for being clear? You can rub the sugar mixture and broil it, but because of the natural shape of the ham, it will cook unevenly, leaving you with an almost guaranteed burned edge (I know because I tried it.) And don’t get me wrong, we still ate that ham and it was delicious. Just not really the same effect. Plus it’s hard to turn a ham to get all parts under the broiler.
A kitchen torch really is the tool you need to recreate the honey baked ham effect. Buy a kitchen torch today and then you have an excuse to make this Crème Brulée Cheesecake, or this Crème Brulée Pumpkin Pie. Torch all the things!!
After you’ve finished torching your ham and have snuck a thousand tiny bites of the edge, make your glaze. Take that leftover sugar mixture and put it in a small pan with some of the ham drippings (or you can use water). Be sure to skim the fat.
Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for a minute or two until thickened. Pass the glaze at the table! It is a sticky and sweet glaze and the perfect compliment to a salty ham.
This really is my new favorite ham! We could not stop eating it! I will have to buy a real Honey Baked Ham someday and let you know how they compare (but I don’t know how it could get better than this!) Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
How to Serve and Ideas for Using Leftover Baked Ham
- Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Frittata << love this last minute meal. A great low carb post Thanksgiving dinner!
- Cheesy Ham and Egg Breakfast Casserole << your overnight guests will love you.
- Cheesy Overnight Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole << One of the top recipes on my blog!
- Ham Mac and Cheese Soup << this soup is so cheesy and delicious. Done in just a few minutes!
- Split Pea Soup with Smoked Gouda << this is my favorite soup to make with a ham bone.
- Easy Ham Salad from 365 Days of Baking
- Instant Pot Ham Bean Soup from Noshtastic
More main dish ham recipes to try out!
- Oven Roasted Cranberry Dijon Glazed Ham << this one is so great for the holidays!
- Raspberry Chipotle Glazed Ham << I love this one. The little kick from the chipotle is so good!
- Easy Sriracha Ham (Slow Cooker) << set it and forget it!
- Riesling Peach Glazed Ham from Real Housemoms
Honey Baked Ham (Copycat)
- 1 half spiral cut ham, (7-8 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup honey
For dry rub
- 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- First start off by choosing a really high quality ham. I love to use a bone-in spiral ham; the bone provides tons of flavor that a boneless ham just can’t compete with. You want a ham that is fully cooked and labeled as smoked.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and place the oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven.
- Unwrap your beautiful ham and remove all the netting and shrink wrap. Often they have a little ham glaze packet sealed inside. Toss it in the trash with gusto, we have bigger plans for this ham. Sometimes there is a little plastic cap over the bone, take it off.
- Place your ham flat-side down on the a roasting rack in your roasting pan. (If you don’t have a roasting pan, set a metal cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.) You don’t want your ham getting all soggy sitting in those juices.
- Make the honey glaze. In a small bowl, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add 1 tablespoon dijon mustard. Add in 1/3 cup honey. Stir it together until it’s deliciously syrupy.
- Use your hands to massage the honey mixture into the ham all over, top to bottom, side to side. Work it in between the spiral cuts. It’s okay if some of the mixture drips into the bottom of your pan. Scoop it up and slap it back on the ham as best you can.
- Add about a cup of water to the bottom of your roasting pan. Cover your ham and the pan completely with foil.
- Bake at 325 for about 2 hours and 20 minutes, or about 20 minutes per pound of ham. (You can also slow cook it! See recipe notes for details.) The internal temperature should be about 140 degrees F. Remember, your ham is already cooked, so this measurement is just to make sure it’s heated all the way through.
- Let your ham cool outside of the oven for about 15-20 minutes.
- Make the dry rub. In a bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar and the spices: 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon allspice.
- Pour half of the sugar mixture (about 3/4 cup) into a rimmed baking sheet.
- Add the other half to a small saucepan and set aside.
- Uncover your ham. If the edges of the ham are not very moist, brush with pan juices. Use hot pads to transfer the ham to the pan with the sugar. Roll the ham (not the flat side) in the sugar, using your hands to pat on more sugar as necessary. Continue rolling and coating the ham until the sugar has created a crunchy exterior all over the ham.
- Torch. Now it’s time to light up the kitchen torch! Place the flame about an inch away from the ham. Keep the torch moving continually. The flame should not stay in the same spot for any period of time. Move in small circles until the area you’re working on has transformed from little grains of sugar into bubbly bits of lava. Once it’s bubbly, move on to the next area. Within a minute or two, the liquid will harden into a shiny crackly shell. Continue until the entire ham has a beautiful hardened sugar coating.
- You can serve the ham right away or place it back in the oven on the “keep warm setting” (about 170 degrees F) until you are ready to serve. Cover with foil so it doesn’t dry out if it’s going to be more than a couple minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar mixture to a small saucepan. If there are enough drippings in the pan, add it to a fat separator. Once the fat has risen to the top, pour about 1/3 cup ham drippings into the saucepan. (You can use 1/3 cup water if you don’t have enough drippings or don’t want to deal with separating fat.)
- Stir together and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let the mixture boil for about 2-5 minutes, until it has thickened into a gaze consistency. Remove from heat. Serve with the ham. This mixture will eventually start to harden and caramelize; just stick it in the microwave or heat the pot on low until it has melted again.
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