Holiday Ham (Christmas Ham)

Updated: Jan 16

A delicious and easy to make roasted ham with maple syrup brown sugar and an orange ginger sauce.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: varies from 2 to 4 hours

Yield: varies from 10 to 25 people

Dairy/Gluten/Soy free

"Delicious"... "Outstanding"... "Beautiful". These are some of the words used to described this delectable holiday table centerpiece. It is truly a no-fuss recipe that will leave everyone asking for more!

With the Holidays approaching, the last thing one needs is complicated recipes that required a lot of time and attention. This is one of those put in the oven, or slow cooker, and forget until it is ready recipes. A true time saver.

You won't need more than 6 ingredients to make this ham. Once it is done, you can present it anyway you wish: sliced or as shown in the picture above (I used Maraschino cherries, oranges, cranberries, and Rosemary for a traditional presentation). Unlike traditional glazed hams, I only roast the ham with a coat of mixed brown sugar and real Canadian Maple, and whole cloves. Then I prepare an orange maple and ginger sauce to serve the ham with. Simple yet delicious.

What is the flavor profile?

Savory with sweet notes.

What ingredients will I need to make this?

A store-bought fully cooked bone-in-ham, fresh orange juice, Canadian Maple Syrup, dark brown sugar, whole cloves, and ginger powder.

Can I make substitutions?

Yes. You can use any real maple syrup you can find. Do not use maple syrups that have been flavored.

You can also use store-bought orange juice.

What else will I need to make this?

A cutting board, a sharp knife, a roasting pan or large baking dish, measuring cups and spoons, a saucepan, and aluminum foil.

Are all store-bough precooked bone-in-hams gluten free?

No. You must read the labels. Gluten Free pre-cooked bone-in-hams will be labeled as so. Please read the labels.I cannot emphasize this more.

I used Smithfield Precooked Bone-in-ham, which I found at my local Walmart store and it is sold seasonally. I actually only paid about US$20.00 for a 11 lbs bone-in-ham.

Why use a precooked bone-in-ham?

To be honest, it is very difficult to find uncooked bone-in-ham in the United States... unless you have a butcher. Also, it saves time when it is already cured and precooked. All you have to do is score it, add your toppings, and heat it up.

What is Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in late winter and early spring. Maple trees are tapped by drilling holes into their trunks and collecting the sap, which is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup. Most trees can produce 20 to 60 litres (5 to 15 US gallons) of sap per season.

Maple syrup was first made and used by the indigenous peoples of North America, and the practice was adopted by European settlers, who gradually refined production methods. Technological improvements in the 1970s further refined syrup processing. The Canadian province of Quebec is by far the largest producer, responsible for 70 percent of the world's output; Canadian exports of maple syrup in 2016 were C$487 million (about US$360 million), with Quebec accounting for some 90 percent of this total.

Maple syrup is graded according to the Canada, United States, or Vermont scales based on its density and translucency. Sucrose is the most prevalent sugar in maple syrup. In Canada, syrups must be made exclusively from maple sap to qualify as maple syrup and must also be at least 66 percent sugar.In the United States, a syrup must be made almost entirely from maple sap to be labelled as "maple", though states such as Vermont and New York have more restrictive definitions.

Maple syrup is often used as a condiment for pancakes, waffles, French toast, oatmeal or porridge. It is also used as an ingredient in baking and as a sweetener or flavouring agent. Culinary experts have praised its unique flavour, although the chemistry responsible is not fully understood.

What is a Christmas Ham?

A Christmas ham or Yule ham is a ham often served for Christmas dinner in northern Europe and the Anglosphere. The style of preparation varies widely by place and time.

It is said that the tradition of eating ham evolved from the Pagan ritual of sacrificing a wild boar to the Norse god Freyr during harvest festivals. The Christian adoption of this tradition stems from St Stephen's Day.

What is Christmas?

Christmas (or the Feast of the Nativity) is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave.

Is Christmas a religious holiday only?

Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.

What are some of the known Christmas customs and traditions?

The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving; completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath; Christmas music and caroling; viewing a Nativity play; an exchange of Christmas cards; church services; a special meal; and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly.

In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.





  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.

  2. Place the ham on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, score the ham. Starting from one end close to the bottom, cut about 1/3 of an inch into the ham in a line. Repeat making lines 1″ apart on the ham. Turn the ham and repeat diagonally from one side to the other.Transfer the ham onto a deep baking pan or dish and insert the whole cloves in the desired pattern.

  3. Mix 1 cup of maple syrup and 1 cup of brown sugar together. You will have a very thick sticky mixture. Gently cover the top of the scored ham with the mixture, ensuring the it gets in the crevasses created when scoring the ham.

  4. Add 1 cup of water to bottom of the pan. Loosely cover the ham with aluminum foil and place in the oven.

  5. Cook the ham as follows: 10 minutes per pound. If your ham is 11 pounds then it will need to cook for 110 minutes.

  6. Once the time has elapsed, remove the ham from the oven, take the aluminum foil off, and sprinkle the ham with the remaining dark brown sugar.

  7. Set the oven on high broil, place the ham uncovered back in the oven and let the sugar caramelize under the broiler ( about 3 to 5 minutes tops). Remove from oven, loosely cover again with aluminum foil to keep warm. Set aside.

  8. Prepare the Orange Ginger sauce by combining 1.5 cups of orange juice, 1/2 cup of Maple Syrup, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and the ginger powder in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble up. remove from heat. Transfer sauce to a gravy boat or similar.

  9. Transfer the ham to a serving platter. Decorate as desired. Serve with sauce.


Printable Recipe (PDF) below:

Holiday Ham (Christmas Ham)
Download PDF • 18.17MB

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