Succulent and savory, a perfectly cooked spiral ham is the centerpiece of many holiday tables and celebratory feasts. But the path to achieving that ideal balance of juicy tenderness and rich, caramelized glaze can be as winding as the cut of the ham itself. Whether it’s your first foray into preparing this classic dish or you’re looking to perfect your method, this recipe will guide you through the essential steps to cook a spiral ham that is both delicious and visually stunning. We’ll unwrap the secrets to mastering this festive favorite, ensuring your spiral ham is the talk of the table.

Spiral ham in a baking dish.

Master the art of spiral ham with a fusion of rich flavors, complemented by your choice of luscious glazes.

Glaze Options

Each glaze brings a distinct flavor profile to your spiral ham:

  • Orange Balsamic Glaze: A harmonious blend of tangy and sweet, the orange juice provides a citrusy punch, while balsamic vinegar offers a depth of flavor.
  • Brown Sugar Dijon Glaze: This glaze is a delightful balance of sweetness from the brown sugar and a slight piquant touch from the dijon. The apple juice rounds it off with a gentle fruity note.

Food Safety Tip From the Chef

When cooking your spiral ham, ensure the internal temperature reaches 140°F, especially if it’s precooked. Using a meat thermometer can provide an accurate reading. This ensures that the ham is both delicious and safe to eat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a spiral ham different from a regular ham?

A spiral ham is pre-sliced in a spiral fashion, allowing for even cooking and easy serving.

Can I use the glaze that comes with my purchased ham?

Absolutely! Many hams come with their glaze packets, which are tailored for that specific product. Feel free to use it or opt for one of our homemade glazes.

Is it necessary to use a glaze when cooking spiral ham?

While not strictly necessary, a glaze enhances the flavor profile of the ham, giving it that signature caramelized outer layer.

Can I make this in a slow cooker?

You absolutely can!

Making this in the slow cooker requires some liquid, so you’ll need to start by adding 1/2 cup of apple juice into the bottom of your slow cooker. Then, add your ham, cut side face-down. Pour half of the glaze over the ham, and make sure to get some of that glaze in between the layers. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

See our full guide on cooking ham in a slow cooker!

Sliced spiral ham on a white serving platter.


  • Brown Sugar: honey can be a suitable substitute for brown sugar.
  • Dijon Mustard: If you don’t like dijon, you can use a milder mustard or simply omit it.


  • Overcooking: One of the most common mistakes. If the ham turns out dry, consider serving with a sauce or gravy to add moisture.
  • Uneven Glazing: To avoid this, ensure the glaze is spread evenly, and baste regularly.
  • Not Thawing Properly: This can lead to uneven cooking. Always thaw your ham in the refrigerator well ahead of cooking.

Storage, Freezing & Reheating Instructions

Leftovers? No problem. Store your ham in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For longer storage, consider freezing portions in freezer bags, ensuring all air is removed. When reheating, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Warm it in the oven at a lower temperature, around 275 degrees Fahrenheit, until warmed through.

Remember, the key is to retain the ham’s moisture, so consider covering it with foil during reheating.

Don’t let your leftovers go to waste!