How to cook a moist bone-in ham with a well-balanced glaze

Heating and glazing a cured ham seems effortless, but many recipes yield leathery meat in an overly sweet glaze. America's Test Kitchen wanted to guarantee moist meat in a nuanced glaze.

Bone-in hams, labeled "with natural juices," have the best flavor, and spiral-sliced ones make carving a cinch, but too much time in the oven can ruin even the best ham on the market, so we focused on reducing the cooking time.

Soaking the ham in hot water shaved off a full hour, and using an oven bag further reduced the cooking time while also containing the ham's moisture. America's Test Kitchen heated a mixture of sweet and savory pantry staples for a tempting glaze. You may bypass the 1½-hour soaking time, but the ham will be less juicy and the heating time must increase to 18 to 20 minutes per pound.

We prefer a tapered shank ham but a rounded sirloin ham will work here. If there is a tear or hole in the ham's inner covering, wrap it in several layers of plastic wrap before the hot-water soak.

If you do not wish to use an oven bag, place the ham cut side down in the roasting pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil, adding 3 to 4 minutes per pound to the heating time.


Servings: 12 to 14

Start to finish: 1 hour and 55 minutes, plus 90 minutes for soaking

1 spiral-sliced bone-in half ham, 7 to 10 pounds

1 large plastic oven bag

Maple Orange Glaze:

¾ cup maple syrup

½ cup orange marmalade

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Leaving ham's inner plastic or foil covering intact, place ham in large container and cover with hot water; set aside for 45 minutes. Drain and cover again with hot water; set aside for another 45 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Unwrap ham; discard plastic disk covering bone. Place ham in oven bag. Gather top of bag tightly so bag fits snugly around ham, tie bag, and trim excess plastic. Set ham cut side down in large roasting pan and cut 4 slits in top of bag with knife.

Bake ham until center registers 100 degrees, 1 to 1½ hours (about 10 minutes per pound).

To make the glaze: Combine ingredients in small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, 5 to 10 minutes; set aside.

Remove ham from oven and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Cut open oven bag and roll back sides to expose ham. Brush ham with one-third of glaze and return to oven until glaze becomes sticky, about 10 minutes (if glaze is too thick to brush, return to heat to loosen).

Remove ham from oven, transfer to carving board, and brush entire ham with another third of glaze. Tent ham with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes. While ham rests, add 4 to 6 tablespoons of ham juices to remaining one-third of glaze and cook over medium heat until thick but fluid sauce forms. Carve and serve ham, passing sauce separately.


Nutrition information per serving: 390 calories; 157 calories from fat; 17 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 145 mg cholesterol; 1914 mg sodium; 7 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 52 g protein.


For more recipes, cooking tips and ingredient and product reviews, visit . Find more recipes like Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham in "Cook's Illustrated All-Time Best Holiday Entertaining."

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