Citrus-Glazed Holiday Ham

Location: Home in New York 
My Day So Far: Picked up gift bags for spiced walnuts, 45 minutes at playground with daughter, 20 minutes grocery shopping
Naptime Goals: 2 batches of Spiced Walnuts for Christmas gifts, prepare ham for dinner
Tonight's Meal: Ham, Carrot Souffle (refrigerator staple), green salad
Preparation: Picked up ham and oranges in the morning, honey already in the pantry.

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving on Martha's Vineyard, but I am glad it is over. Combining a huge family holiday with a certain toddler's birthday is never an easy event line-up. Instead of settling on the sofa after Thanksgiving dinner, I revved up the KitchenAid to make a chocolate buttermilk birthday cake with pink frosting and lots of sprinkles (documented below). It was a wonderful weekend of celebration, but when we returned on home on Saturday night I was exhausted. The following morning, while I was writing up my menu for this week, I decided to bid farewell to November and kick-off the Christmas season with my Citrus-Glazed Holiday Ham. After spending a whole month thinking about turkey it felt like the right time to switch gears, and get excited for a whole new month of festivities.

I bake ham year round, but for some reason this particular recipe has always been relegated to my holiday food file. I think the reason is because around this time friends usually send us a shipment of fresh oranges from Florida as an early holiday gift. When those golden beauties arrive I add orange juice and zest to just about everything I make, not stopping until the crate is all used up. 

Preparing this ham is a dream come true for any parent who cooks. I am not kidding when I say all I do is drizzle everything over the ham in layers. There is little to no measuring required and, like all my favorite recipes, this is flexible when it comes to the glaze. I most often use orange juice when making this, but I've also used the juices of clementines, tangerines and even apricots. Paired with the honey or maple syrup, any of them will create just the right balance of natural sweetness to contrast the salty ham.

Over time I've found that the time I choose to bake the ham is flexible, too. Both my husband and I like to eat ham cold just as much as we enjoy it hot, so I typically bake it during my daughter's afternoon naptime. This way I have dinner fully cooked by 4pm in the afternoon - a convenience that makes my life remarkably easier come evening. If we decide we'd want our slices warm I warm them on a platter in the oven, or give them a quick run through the microwave. It is the best of both worlds, allowing us to choose how we'd like to enjoy our food.

As you can see, the instructions below barely amount to a recipe. Adding this glaze is really all about putting the finishing touches on an already delicious piece of meat. If you have a large ham and are feeding a crowd simply double or triple the quantities below. I have done this before and it makes for an excellent meal to serve on a buffet, or at a more formal dinner. This is also a remarkably kid-friendly dish, my daughter likes to eat the ham sliced thin on toast with a little bit of cheese. In fact, I like to eat it that way, too. When I made it this week we all devoured several slices, along with a serving of carrot souffle. It was just the meal to put us in a festive mood that will last all month long.

Citrus-Glazed Holiday Ham
2 1/2 lb. ham, fully-cooked (not pre-flavored or pre-glazed)
1/4 c. fresh orange juice (or any similar citrus like clementine, tangerine, etc)
2 t. olive oil
1 T.  honey

1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Place ham in a baking dish. Drizzle on the olive oil and rub it to coat the ham. Then, pour the orange juice over the olive oil. Finally, drizzle the honey over the ham and spread it around so it fully coats the meat.
3. Bake ham for 1hr 20minutes. Slice and serve warm. Or, allow to cool to room temperature and serve cold.

Naptime Notes:
Naptime Recipe Props: It is hard to screw up this recipe, the main components are ham, citrus and honey. Like I said - fiddle with it! Try different citrus juices, or maybe even zest, to see what flavors you can come up with.
Naptime Stopwatch: Layering on the glaze takes about 1 minute. Then bake!
Naptime Reviews: Any ham with a sweet glaze is a hit with most people. And, like I said, kids like this, too!


  1. Love oranges and ham! Carrot souffle-i would love to see you make that

  2. You know we buy ham for sandwichs but almost never cook it ourselves - I'll have to try this!

    I love your little rundown up top of what you've been up to :)

    I'm impressed you found the energy on Turkey day to bake a cake AFTER eating - I was totally worthless the rest of the night!!

  3. Hi Kelsey,
    I grew up with Christmas ham--great recipe and loved the peppermint sauce recipe too! (great for teachers gifts) I posted a recipe today--hope you have a chance to visit. Cheers!

  4. Mmm, ham. We love it yet I never make it. Now I NEED some.

  5. I have never made a whole ham, but I will definitely bookmark this recipe! Looks delicious!

  6. Great ideas, I love having ham around for the week, so many wonderful ways to use it.

  7. This looks wonderful. I too am ready to move forward and bid turkey farewell for the season.

    The birthday cooks looks wonderful!


  8. The citrus glaze for the ham sounds amazing!

  9. I just saw hams at the store yesterday. I will have to pick one up and give this glaze a try... It sounds amazing!

  10. Such a classic and delicious combination! I love ham but my husband won't eat it. My son and I, however, could preserve ourselves with it, eating it in such high quantity that we can barely speak from dehydration. It's one of those foods that I can't get away from, ever. I can do without beef for the most part, but I crave ham a lot. A LOT!

  11. I adore ham! Growing up in the South, ham and eggs with grits was always so special. Off to take a look at the spiced nuts!
    A dear friend makes these to give.

  12. It is a holiday tradition of ours to make Ham on Christmas day!