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Super Easy Brown Sugar Baked Ham

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Super Easy Brown Sugar Baked Ham

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This super easy brown sugar baked ham is the best and easiest ham ever. A boneless half ham and short baking time are key for this recipe.

I almost didn’t post this recipe. It’s so easy, it’s almost a non-recipe recipe. But considering it is some of the yummiest ham ever, I figured I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you about it.

Ham slices on white platter.

What Kind of Ham to Buy

This recipe calls for a boneless half ham. I usually grab the master carver half hams from Costco. But this type of ham is widely available at other stores under other brands/names.

The key is to buy ham that is:

Whether or not it’s a “half ham” (vs a whole ham) isn’t as important as the other two criteria.

Master carver half ham wrapped in plastic.

Steps for Easy Brown Sugar Baked Ham

Prepping and baking this ham couldn’t be easier.

  1. Cut the ham into even slices. I prefer the ham sliced thick – about 1/4-inch slices. However, you can slice it thinner or thicker based on your preferences OR leave the ham whole and proceed with the recipe (slicing after it has been baked).
  2. Place the ham slices in a baking dish and rub evenly with brown sugar.
  3. Pour pineapple juice over the ham.
  4. Drizzle pure maple syrup over the ham.
  5. Cover tightly with foil and bake.

The Key to Juicy Perfect Ham

The key to the best, juiciest ham is to not over cook it. The ham only needs to bake until heated through and warm.

Because most ham sold here in the US is already cooked (meaning it has been cured, smoked or baked), you don’t need to worry about cooking the ham to a certain internal temperature for food safety reasons.

This ham bakes for 30 minutes, give or take a bit.

Two baked ham slices on white platter.

This brown sugar baked ham is incredibly juicy, deliciously flavorful, and, have I mentioned, SO EASY.

You can serve the ham straight from the dish it was baked in or move it a serving platter. Either way, make sure to spoon some of the cooking liquid in the bottom of the pan over the ham before serving.

My friend, Deb, brought the most incredible ham for our Thanksgiving feast last year, and this recipe is based on that ham. Deb bakes her ham whole in a cast iron pot and slices it after it bakes. It’s delicious that way, too!

I prefer slicing it before baking so it 1) bakes faster and 2) the sweet, tangy flavors of the sugar, maple syrup and pineapple juice permeate each piece more fully.

P.S. The leftover ham is incredible in this ham fried rice recipe.

Piece of ham speared on fork with other ham slices on white plate.

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Several thick ham slices on white platter.

Super Easy Brown Sugar Baked Ham

  • 4 pound boneless, half ham (see note)
  • ½ cup light or dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (6 ounce can) pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup

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  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Cut the ham into even slices. I prefer the ham sliced thick – about 1/4-inch slices. However, you can slice it thinner or thicker based on your preferences OR leave the ham whole and proceed with the recipe, slicing after it has been baked. If leaving whole, you may need a slightly longer baking time.

  • Place the ham slices in a 9X13-inch dish. If the ham you are using is bigger or smaller, adjust the size of the pan accordingly. The ham slices can be layered.

  • Sprinkle the brown sugar across the ham and rub the sugar into the ham slices, flipping the pieces so the sugar gets on both sides.

  • Pour the pineapple juice evenly over the ham. Drizzle the maple syrup evenly over the ham.

  • Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes until heated through and warm. Don’t over cook the ham.

  • Spoon cooking liquid in bottom of the baking pan over the ham before serving.

Ham: I usually use the master carver half ham from Costco (Kirkland brand) – different stores/brands may package or brand it differently, but you are looking for a boneless half ham that is not pre-sliced. A ham weighing anywhere between 3 and 5 pounds will work in this recipe without adjustments. 
Dish: rather than a 9X13-inch dish, the ham can also be baked in an oven-safe cast iron pot with a lid. This works especially well if not slicing the ham before baking.

Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 421kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 94mg, Sodium: 1798mg, Fiber: 0.03g, Sugar: 13g

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (adapted slightly from my friend, Deb’s, amazing ham she brought for Thanksgiving)

Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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