Glazing School (You old Ham!)

Glazing School (You old Ham!)

Why do we glaze ham? Done right, glazing takes ham from ordinary sandwich filler to a show-stopping centrepiece on the Christmas table, adding layers of flavour along the way.

Follow our instructions for amazing results that you will talk about for years. PLUS, you will be the go to, if you take some of these ideas and put them together in your own way to create something that is unique to you! As a rough guide, you'll need about 1½ cups of base glaze to coat an average-sized ham.


  • Sweet: brown, rapadura and muscovado sugars, maple syrup, apricot jam, marmalade, cola, dessert wine, Marsala, honey, kecap manis, peach nectar etc
  • Spice: Cloves, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, fennel seeds, allspice, cardamom, peppercorn, smoked paprika
  • Acid: Apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, verjuice, pineapple, lime, orange or apple juice, rice wine vinegar
  • Other additions: Citrus peel, beer, soy sauce, sake, fish sauce, mustard, whisky, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, thyme or other herbs

A sweet ingredient is the key flavour profile in a glaze. A little acid is often used to balance the sweetness and thin the glaze. When pairing a sweet flavour with an acidic flavour, try to keep the ingredients complementary. For example, for an Asian-style glaze, combine kecap manis with rice vinegar. A classic option might be brown sugar and pineapple juice or apple cider vinegar, or marmalade and orange juice.

Certain spices – cloves, cinnamon, allspice – will add classic Christmas aroma and flavour to the base glaze. Use cloves for studding over the scored ham, or as a flavour accent in the glaze itself. A layer of savoury flavour can also be a nice addition, via ingredients such as mustard or soy sauce. Add small amounts to your base glaze to begin with, one teaspoon at a time, building gradually until you achieve
the desired depth of flavour. Personally I LOVE mustard with ham anyway, so this is a natural addition for me! But you may not like it, so what do you serve with ham normally?? Add a little bit in...look at you! All cheffy and clever!

Most glazes are cooked before use to dissolve any solid sugars and meld the flavours. Bring the glaze to a simmer in your Thermomix for around 8-10 min/100°C/speed 1 or until the mixture is a thin syrupy consistency. Because you're building it up on your ham as it cooks, it will eventually create a lovely caramelised finish. Taste the glaze – the sweetness should be balanced by the acid and, as it reduces with each basting, it will become sweeter. If your ingredients are punchy and in liquid form to begin with, you may not need to heat the mixture first – just stir to combine in a bowl. A fruit juice will benefit from a little reduction on the stove first, whereas a smaller amount of vinegar can just be splashed in.

If you're happy with the flavour of your glaze, then glaze away – remove the skin from your ham and score the fat – this is decorative, but it also helps to build nice taste pockets at the corners of each score mark. Heat the ham at about 200°C and brush at regular intervals for about 30 minutes. The hotter the ham gets as it cooks, the better the glaze will start to build and caramelise.

Below are a few flavour combos to try. Which glaze speaks to you this Christmas?

Cherry and allspice glaze

Combine 350g pitted cherries with 120g maple syrup, 2 tbsp water, 2 tbsp Sherry vinegar, and a pinch each of ground cloves and cardamom in a saucepan and simmer until cherries release juice, and liquid thickens slightly (20-25 minutes). Place ham in a roasting pan and cook, basting occasionally, until glazed.

Ginger beer and hot English mustard glaze

Combine 750g ginger beer, 2 tbsp hot English mustard, 55g brown sugar, 1 tsp finely crushed green peppercorns and a pinch of ground ginger in a saucepan over medium heat and reduce until thickened slightly (20-30 minutes). Place ham in a roasting pan, pour ginger beer mixture over it and cook, basting occasionally, until golden and warmed through.

Char siu-style glaze

Combine 160g hoisin sauce, 120g honey, 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine, 1 tbsp fermented soybean paste (available from Asian grocers) and ½ tsp five-spice in a bowl. Place ham in a roasting pan and baste with glaze as it roasts.

Persian apricot glaze

Finely chop rind of 1 preserved lemon and combine in a bowl with 300g smooth apricot jam, 120g mild-flavoured honey, juice of 1 orange and 1 tsp ras el hanout spice blend (available from select delicatessens and Middle Eastern grocers). Whisk until smooth, then brush over ham and baste occasionally as it cooks.

Brown sugar spice glaze

Combine 150g brown sugar, 60g apple cider vinegar, 60g Dijon mustard, 1 tsp ground allspice, and ¼ tsp each ground cardamom and cinnamon in a bowl, rub all over scored ham, place in a roasting pan and cook, basting occasionally, until golden.

Chipotle, lime and pineapple glaze

Place chopped flesh of ½ pineapple with the juice of 2 limes, 180g coconut sugar and 2 jarred chipotle chillies in the Thermomix and blend until combined. Add 1 cup coriander and sea salt to pineapple mixture and blend to taste. Baste ham as it roasts.

Spiced marmalade glaze

Blend 250ml freshly squeezed orange juice, 120g marmalade, 100g golden rum, 2 tbsp coarsely chopped thyme, 1 golden shallot, 1 garlic clove, 1 fresh bay leaf and 1 habanero chilli in Thermomix bowl until very smooth, then season to taste. Place ham in a roasting pan and baste with glaze every 20 minutes.

Kecap manis and chilli glaze

Combine 250ml kecap manis with 60ml black vinegar (available from Asian grocers), 1 tsp each dried chilli flakes and ground star anise, 3 crushed garlic cloves, and 2 tbsp fish sauce in a bowl, then baste ham as it roasts.

Tamarind glaze

Combine 200ml coconut nectar (available from health-food shops), 1 long red chilli split lengthways, finely grated rind of 2 limes and 60ml water in a saucepan over medium heat. Reduce until slightly thickened (10-15 minutes), then add juice of 1 lime and 1 tsp tamarind concentrate (available from Asian grocers), and season to taste. Place ham in a roasting pan, pour glaze over it and roast, basting occasionally.

How to glaze a ham

  • 1. Preheat oven to 200C. Follow the instructions to make your choice of glaze and set aside.
  • 2. Peel back skin from the ham, being careful not to tear the fat. Use a sharp knife to score around the shank, then detach the skin and reserve (use it to cover leftover ham to help prevent it from drying out).
  • 3. Score the fat (not the flesh) evenly with a small sharp knife, maintaining an even depth all over. You can either score in a crisscross pattern to form diamonds or in parallel lines.
  • 4. Place ham in a large roasting pan with a cup of water, then brush at regular intervals for about 30 minutes, and bake until sticky, golden and warmed through (1-1½ hours). Rest for 30 minutes before carving.

You know you want to!

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Photo of Tenina Holder
Tenina Holder

Tenina Holder is a wife, mother of five and grandmother of six, who started cooking in the olden days before Thermomix was even a thing.

Tenina has become the premium go to source for all Thermomix expertise and of course fresh and easy recipes that work. Her cooking classes and foodie trips are sold out in literally hours, her cookbooks appear on the Australian best seller lists and her social reach is in the millions. Her Insider Club is the most fun you can have with a Thermomix and you really should join her! She believes chocolate, butter and salt are health foods. Her food positivity mantra is, eat everything, just not all at once!

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