Great for any holiday dinner, this tender bone-in ham is coated in a delicious praline glaze made of butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and chopped pecans.

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Top down view of a baked praline glazed ham still in the baking dish, snowing off the deep color of the ham and the soft baked sweet potatoes surrounding it.

About Praline Glazed Ham

Enjoy a southern tradition this holiday season by baking a classic spiral-cut bone-in ham with a sweetly delicious praline glaze.

What is praline glaze?

Popular in the southern United States, praline glaze is a simple mix of brown sugar, butter, syrup, and crushed pecans. It gets its inspiration from baked goods like praline cookies, which is another southern classic that combines many of the same ingredients for a sweet, crunchy flavor.

What’s in praline glazed ham?

To whip up this southern-style glazed ham, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Spiral cut bone-in ham – Popular during the holidays, this style of ham is already pre-cooked and only needs a bit of flavor and a slow reheating.
  • Salted butter and light brown sugar – Two of the base ingredients for creating the sweet glaze.
  • Maple syrup – For a touch of fall sweetness. You can also substitute this for an equal portion of pancake syrup, light corn syrup, or dark corn syrup.
  • Chopped pecans – For a delicate crunch and more holiday flavor.
  • Sweet potatoes – Baked with the ham as a simple side dish, as the sweet potatoes will ultimately share in the praline glaze and the flavors complement each other very well. You could also substitute this for a similar amount of chopped carrots or butternut squash.
Close up side view of a baked praline glazed ham still in the baking dish, showing off the chopped pecans in the glaze.

Sweet potatoes vs yams

Although sometimes used interchangeably, there are quite a few differences between sweet potatoes and true yams that can impact your cooking. And notice I said “true yams”, as many American grocery stores add to the confusion by labeling some sweet potatoes “yams” despite the fact that true yams are nothing like sweet potatoes at all.

Confused? You and me both!

In short, this is the Cliff Notes version of what’s going on with these potatoes and how to tell them apart:

  • True yams – These are more like a russet sweet potato. They have white flesh with brown scaly skin and a dry, starchy taste. They’re typically grown outside of the United States, making them difficult to find in American grocery stores.
  • Sweet potatoes – A firm sweet potato with golden skin and light or purple flesh. This is the type of sweet potato that was originally grown in the United States.
  • Sweet potatoes that grocery stores call yams – A soft sweet potato with copper skin and golden flesh. Odds are, this is the type of sweet potato you see most often, simply because the soft texture works so well with many of the sweet potato dishes Americans traditionally make. And as for why they’re called yams, it comes down to marketing. The softer sweet potato was the second type of potato grown in the United States, and grocery stores wanted to differentiate this somehow to their customers… and instead of simply calling them firm or soft, they decided to call them yams – a vegetable they are nothing like, but since the “true” form is not commonly sold in the US, the name was seen as “available.”

There are other differences (nutritional value, various names, etc) but the above three points are the ones you need to consider when making substitutions in your cooking.

Given the above, many of the vibrant and sweet-flavored sweet potato dishes you know and love will require just that: a sweet potato (or a vegetable that looks like a sweet potato but has been labeled a yam). A true yam would not have the same bold presentation or flavor that compliments ingredients like brown sugar or maple syrup.

So, in conclusion: always use a sweet potato (or vegetable that looks like a sweet potato but was labeled a yam) when you can, especially if it’s a sweeter dish with ingredients like brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, etc (like this praline baked ham).

What type of ham should you use?

When it comes to picking a ham, you’ll want to purchase a spiral-cut pre-cooked ham. You can also purchase a pre-cooked ham that hasn’t already been cut, but you will need to score the top of the ham before baking so that the glaze can still penetrate the meat. From there, you’ll typically find there are two options:

  1. Bone-in hams are more flavorful, but may pose more of a challenge to carve (especially the closer you get to the bone). But for many, the extra work is more than worth it since you’ll also have the ham bone at the end, which is great to have for making soups or broths.
  2. Boneless hams have the bone completely removed, which will have some impact on flavor and weight. In many cases, the shape of the ham is reformed to fit a conventional “ham” shape. The biggest benefits of boneless hams are that they have less waste (no bones to throw away) and they’re much easier to cut and serve.

If you’d like to read more about different cuts of hams and the differences in preparing them, check out this Better Homes and Gardens article.

How much ham per person?

When planning your dinner, use these measurements as a general guide for how much ham you’ll need:

  • Bone-in ham: About 1/2 pound per person
  • Boneless: About 1/3 pound per person

How long is glazed ham good for?

Once prepared, ham leftovers should last anywhere from three to five days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze this ham?

Yes, you totally can!

To freeze, store the ham in an airtight container or freezer bag. Once frozen, glazed ham will remain good for up to one to two months. If possible, save any juices from baking the ham; these will help add moisture when it comes time to reheat the ham.

Close up side view of a plate covered in a few slices of praline glazed ham and sweet potatoes.

How to reheat ham

If still frozen, allow the ham thaw in the refrigerator for one to two days. NOTE: Never thaw a ham on the counter; the outer layer of the ham will be at room temperature for too long, posing a food safety risk.

Once thawed, place the ham in a roasting pan and loosely cover it with aluminum foil. NOTE: If you saved the original juices from cooking, you can remove the roasting pan’s grate, place the ham directly inside the pan, and add the juices around the ham.

Reheat the ham at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes per every one pound of ham.

What to serve with glazed ham

Notes & tips for praline glazed ham

  • I used a brand of ham I like (Hickory Farms) which comes with glaze and a baking bag, but for this particular recipe, I did not use them. If you’d still like to use the baking bag, just follow the baking instructions included with the packaging and use the below pineapple glaze instead.
  • This ham can be baked in any type of pan, but I highly recommend a roasting pan. It’s amazing how much you’ll use it once you have one!
  • If you don’t have or want a roasting pan, a 9×13 baking dish will work as well.

More great holiday dinner recipes

How to make praline glazed ham

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Kick things off by removing the ham from the packaging and discarding any liquid, flavor packets, or baking bags. Set the ham in a roasting pan and surround it with cubed sweet potatoes.

Step 2 – Microwave some of the butter until melted, then add some of the maple syrup to the bowl. Mix it well, then drizzle it over the ham and the sweet potatoes.

Step 3 – Bake!

Step 4 – When there are 30 minutes left on the cooking timer, remove the ham from the oven. Mix together the brown sugar and chopped pecans, then cover the ham and sweet potatoes in the mixture.

Step 5 – Bake again!

Step 6 – Just before the ham is done, prepare the final glaze by cooking the remaining butter and maple syrup in a saucepan until hot and bubbly.

Step 7 – Once the ham is done, pour the maple-butter glaze over everything in an even layer.

Step 8 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Top down view of a baked praline glazed ham still in the baking dish, snowing off the deep color of the ham and the soft baked sweet potatoes surrounding it.
5 from 1 vote

Praline Glazed Ham

15 mins prep + 2 hrs cook
799 kcal
Yields: 18 servings
Great for any holiday dinner, this tender bone-in ham is coated in a delicious praline glaze made of butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and chopped pecans.

Ingredients 

  • 9 pounds spiral cut bone-in ham, or up to 12 pounds
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, divided
  • 1 cup maple syrup, divided
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Unpackage ham and discard any liquid, flavor packets, or baking bags. Place ham in a roasting pan cut side down, so that spirals are visible along top. If desired, use a knife to score along the top of the ham to help glaze penetrate. Arrange sweet potatoes in the pan around the ham. Set roasting pan aside for now.
    9 pounds spiral cut bone-in ham, 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, heat 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave until melted. Add 1/2 cup maple syrup, then mix well.
    1/2 cup salted butter, 1 cup maple syrup
  • Pour maple-butter mixture over ham and sweet potatoes, coating evenly.
  • Bake ham, uncovered, for 1.5-2 hours, depending on weight (roughly 10-15 minutes per pound.)
  • When ham has 30 minutes left to cook, remove from oven. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and crushed pecans, then use a spoon to sprinkle and gently press the pecan mixture into the ham and sweet potatoes.
    1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Return ham to oven and bake for remaining 30 minutes. For best results, use an oven-safe thermometer to ensure internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
  • While ham finishes, add remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup maple syrup to a small saucepan over medium heat. Begin to cook, whisking constantly, until glaze begins to boil. Cook for 2-3 additional minutes, then remove from heat. If desired, transfer to another bowl for easier handling.
    1/2 cup salted butter, 1 cup maple syrup
  • Once ham has finished, remove from oven and spoon on maple-butter glaze, making sure to press glaze between slices of ham.
  • Cut and serve ham immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 799kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 173mg | Sodium: 3093mg | Potassium: 895mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 4187IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 3mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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