Unconventional Ham Glazes That Are Delicious

Unconventional Ham Glazes That Are Delicious

A quick search online for traditional glazed ham offers a dizzying array of the combination of sweet and tangy. Most often, you will see results featuring brown sugar and mustard, or brown sugar and cloves, or brown sugar, pineapple, clove, and cherries. And while traditional glazes are no doubt comforting and popular during the holidays, branching out to explore new and adventurous flavors can often shake up the palette and soon become a new family tradition.

There are so many different spices, fruits, and flavors that surprisingly pair excellently with ham that are considered unconventional ham glazes yet pack a memorable and delicious taste.

Blueberry Chipotle

Do you love sweet, smokey, and spicy? Blueberry Chipotle glaze will satisfy that craving while surprising your guests and family. A burst of three flavors to be enjoyed at once, the tart candied blueberry melds perfectly into the almost slow-roasted smokiness of chipotles in adobo sauce and the hint of brown sugar will help create the perfect, deeply browned and caramelized crust for your ham.

It is as easy as using your favorite blueberry preserves, two or three tablespoons of chipotles in adobo, and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar.

Pomegranate Jalapeño

Akasha Richmond, at Ataska in L.A., created another sweet and fiery glaze for ham with a homemade pomegranate and jalapeño jelly. For many of us, we may not have time to create our jelly, luckily you can create the same taste using store-bought jalapeño jelly with pomegranate juice.


  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 20 whole cloves
  • 1 10-ounce jar jalapeño jelly
  • 1 cup sweetened pomegranate juice
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice, fresh if possible
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the jalapeño jelly pomegranate juice and lemon juice to a boil. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, around 10 minutes. Whisk in the cinnamon, ginger, mustard, and simmer until reduced to about 1 and 1/4th cups, about 5 minutes.
  2. Drizzle half of the glaze over the ham, cover with foil and roast, basting frequently until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the ham registers 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the foil and brush the ham with any remaining glaze, and roast for 30 minutes longer until the top of ham is caramelized.

Lemon and Pickled Pepper

Created by Grace Parisi, Grace recommends any pickled pepper you favor can work but that Grace’s favorites are hot Peppadew peppers for a cleaner, fruity flavor and a tart as well as sweet brine. If you decide to choose Peppadew peppers be mindful that the heat varies from pepper to pepper, so adding them gradually while making the glaze may be the best route.


  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • ¾ cup lemon-lime marinade
  • ¼ cup seeded, coarsely chopped pickled peppers
  • ¼ cup grainy mustard
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. bourbon
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water


  1. Add chicken broth to the roasting pan. Use a sharp knife to remove any rind and make deep scores in the fat. Scatter sliced onion as well as lemons around the ham.
  2. In a food processor, combine the lemon-line marinade with pickled peppers, mustard, lemon juice, and bourbon and process until it turns into a coarse puree. Brush top of ham with about 2 tablespoons of the glaze, cover with foil, and bake for roughly an hour. After 1 hour, brush the ham with a scant ½ cup of the glaze and bake another hour. Brush with another ½ cup of glaze until the ham is browned and cooked thoroughly.
  3. Skim fat from ham drippings and transfer to a mid-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil until liquid is reduced to 2 and ½ cups for about 5 minutes. Wisk the cornstarch slurry into the juices along with the remainder of the glaze, simmering until thickened. Serve the sauce with your ham.

Root Beer Barbeque

It is easy it is simple and quick to pull together. The perfect go-to when you want a glaze that is a little different yet does not take a lot of prep. We recommend using a creamy root beer with a good bite to it and your favorite BBQ sauce.


  • ¾ cup of favorite root beer
  • ½ cup of preferred BBQ sauce
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar


  1. In a small bowl, beat all ingredients with a whisk. Use to brush over the ham during the last 45 minutes of baking and enjoy!

Other unconventional ham glaze ideas

  • Bourbon, oranges, and mustard is a great introductory experiment on different flavors if you have never tried it.
  • Rosemary and balsamic vinegar is the perfect base for another brown sugar-based glaze, along with a touch of mustard.
  • Riesling and peaches combine to make a memorably delicious glaze. Riesling wine, fresh thyme, a shallot, peach preserves, light brown sugar, and mustard for that hint of tangy spice.
  • Honey and sriracha do not just belong to chicken wings. Sweetened spicy sauce that is also savory, and adding a pinch of garlic brings the complex flavor altogether.
  • Cherry, lime, and ginger is a combination with a pop of brightness as well as fresh spring or summer flavors no matter the season.
  • Here is an unusual yet surprisingly mouthwatering flavor combo, chopped pecans, salted butter, hot Hungarian paprika, pumpkin pie spice, and honey. Pumpkin pie spice has the same ingredients of spices mentioned frequently in ham glazes. Pumpkin pie spice is primarily made of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and ground cloves and works amazingly with ham.

When it comes to ham, there are many more flavor and spice combinations beyond the traditional sugar and clove to explore. Truly amazing, simple, and tasty unconventional glazes for your ham like these are out there to make your next meal simply amazing.