Glazed ham is party food, full stop. It requires minimal prep time, makes your home smell incredible while it cooks, and comes straight to the table from the oven in all of its crackling, glistening, showstopping glory. A holiday host couldn’t ask for anything more of a main dish, whether it’s for Christmas dinner, Easter, New Year’s, or just an old-fashioned good time.

This easy recipe plays on the classic combination of smoked ham and brown sugar and introduces a fragrant blend of spices that help form the crackly, flavorful crust. To make it, you’ll rub down the ham with a coarse spice mix of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, paprika, and black pepper, which will toast in the rendering fat and imbue the meat with their flavor. About halfway through cooking, you’ll then generously baste the roast with our easy ham glaze recipe, letting it drip into the score marks and fuse with the spices to create a caramelized sheen that stuns from every angle. A wire rack set in a shallow baking sheet helps achieve the coveted crust more than a deep roasting pan would, since the ham receives more direct heat exposure.

If this is your first time cooking a ham (or your fiftieth), remember to look for a bone-in half ham when shopping (not a spiral-cut ham or much larger whole ham). It’ll feed a manageable 8–10 people, and the cut side of the ham will make for easy balancing on your platter once it’s ready to be admired, sliced, and enjoyed. Plus, carving parallel (instead of perpendicular) to the ham bone means you can get cleaner, more controlled slices. And while, yes, most hams come from the grocery store pre-cooked and technically “ready to eat,” for the very best ham, you’ll want to bake it until a meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of 135° (steer clear of the bone).

Didn’t finish it all? This baked ham recipe makes for wonderful leftovers. Freeze the sliced ham in portions to turn into stew, stir into baked pasta, or use in any of our other favorite leftover ham recipes. Or keep a stack in the fridge, right next to the Dijon mustard, to build a week’s worth of ham sandwiches however often you see fit.

Looking to cook a ham with a different flavor profile? Check out our whiskey-spiked honey-glazed ham recipe, a sweet-and-spicy (bone-in or boneless) Easter ham with pineapple juice and hot sauce, or a tangy-and-spicy tamarind-baked ham that’s infused with Scotch bonnet chiles.

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