How to cook spiral ham that's juicy, tender, and never dry. Instructions include an easy orange glaze for this scrumptious holiday ham recipe.
What is spiral ham?
Spiral ham is a boneless or bone-in ham that's fully cooked, sliced, and packaged for ultra convenience. It's called spiral ham because it's placed upright on a spiral slicer that rotates and slices the entire ham in one continuous cut from end to end in a spiral motion. This keeps the ham intact even after it's removed from the packaging.
Why you'll love this holiday ham recipe
- It's an essential holiday dinner entree
- Easy to make for any cooking level
- Tender, juicy, and never dry
Orange glazed ham is the perfect holiday ham for Christmas, Easter, and other special occasions. It's savory, sweet, citrusy, family-loved, and goes with every side dish imaginable.
Busy cooks and beginners will especially love this ham recipe because it's easy and mostly hands-off. In fact, you simply wrap and bake the ham in foil, brush on a quick and simple glaze, and bake the ham a little longer.
If you need to know how to cook spiral ham without drying it out, this method works every time! Since this ham is fully cooked, you only need to reheat it for serving. But, it is dense, so I've included the necessary steps, timing, and temperature to help you achieve tender, juicy ham from surface to center.
Get ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card below.
- spiral ham - These are sold fully cooked and pre-sliced. Boneless spiral ham usually weighs between 2 to 8 pounds and bone-in spiral ham weighs anywhere from 7 to 18 pounds.
- brown sugar - Use dark or light brown sugar for this recipe.
- navel orange - If you don't have a fresh orange, orange juice works great!
- Dijon mustard - Or other mustard of choice.
- apple cider vinegar - Any neutral-flavored vinegar will work.
- paprika and garlic powder - These seasonings are the perfect flavors for ham glaze with orange juice.
- sea salt - This brings all of the flavors together.
How to cook a spiral ham step-by-step
As I mentioned earlier, this type of ham is fully cooked, so you're simply reheating it, but you want to prevent drying it out. Enjoy these step-by-step instructions for the juiciest, tender ham. Or skip down to the printable recipe card below.
Step 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and position the oven rack low enough so the ham doesn't touch the oven components.
Remove all packaging and place ham face down on a foil-lined roasting pan. Cover and seal the pan with aluminum foil. Bake boneless ham 10-12 minutes per pound or bone-in ham about 15 minutes per pound.
Step 2. While the ham is baking, make the orange glaze by simmering brown sugar, orange juice and zest, mustard, vinegar, paprika, garlic powder, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking as needed. The glaze will thicken as it cools, and can be used warm or at room temperature.
Step 3. Carefully remove ham from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully uncover the ham and drain excess liquid from the roasting pan. Brush glaze over the ham surface until well-coated.
Step 4. Bake the glazed ham uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 140 degrees Fahrenheit on a quick-read thermometer.
Step 5. Transfer ham to a serving dish, garnish with orange slices and fresh parsley, and rest it for about 10 minutes before serving.
How to cut spiral ham
Since this ham is pre-sliced, it's very easy to cut when serving. With the ham on its side, use a serrated, meat carving knife to cut the meat into desired portions. If it's a bone-in ham, simply cut alongside the bone as close as you can get.
Of course, any ham left on the bone will come in handy when you use it make THE BEST ham and bean soup you'll ever eat.
There are countless side dishes that go with holiday ham. Mashed potatoes are the perfect comfort food for this savory entree. Mac and cheese will always be one of the most popular side dishes next to scalloped potatoes.
Baked asparagus or Brussels sprouts are signature healthy sides, while green bean casserole takes us right back to childhood. Oh and get ready for the best ham sandwich with the best homemade French bread!
Storage and reheat
Cooked ham can be reheated via stove, oven, microwave, or air fryer using gentle-heat settings in short intervals. Covering the ham during reheat can also help prevent drying out.
Can I freeze this recipe?
Yes! Allow the ham to cool completely in chunks or slices. Place ham in freezer-safe storage containers and freeze up to 3 months, or longer if vacuum sealed. Thaw ham in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
It's best to cook spiral ham covered to prevent it from drying out since it will be in the oven for an extended period of time. However, once the ham is glazed, it can be uncovered during the final baking step which helps set the glaze.
Cook bone-in spiral ham 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook boneless spiral ham 10-12 minutes per pound at the same temperature.
Industry standard serving sizes for caterers, which also works for home cooks, is ½-pound of meat per person. This assumes that the protein is being served with side dishes.
How to Cook A Spiral Ham
- 7 pound Unglazed Spiral Ham, bone-in or boneless, any size
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 large Naval Orange, zested and juiced (about ¼ cup juice)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust oven racks to fit the ham.
- Remove all packaging, including the plastic disc on the flat side of the ham. Place HAM in a foil-lined roasting pan, flat side facing down.*see recipe notes about roasting rack and adding liquid to the pan
- Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake 10-12 minutes per pound for boneless ham or 15 minutes per pound for bone-in ham.
- While ham is baking, make the ham glaze by heating BROWN SUGAR, ORANGE JUICE, ORANGE ZEST, DIJON, APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, PAPRIKA, GARLIC POWDER, and SALT in saucepan over medium heat, whisking as needed.Note: The glaze thickens as it cools, and can be used warm or at room temperature.
- Remove ham from the oven and adjust oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Uncover the ham. Carefully ladle the ham juices out of the pan – it should be about 2 cups of juices.
- Brush glaze over ham surface to coat.
- Bake the glazed ham uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 140 degrees Fahrenheit on a quick-read thermometer.
- Transfer ham to a serving dish, garnish with orange slices and fresh parsley, and let it rest about 10 minutes before serving.
Traci's Recipe Notes
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.