Juicy baked ham with an easy, sticky apricot glaze is the ultimate centerpiece for your Christmas table. Serve with festive sides for the perfect dinner.
Baked ham or Gammon as we call it in South Africa, is a must-have on every Christmas table. Christmas is just not the same without a big, glossy ham for everyone to swoon over. This version with its sweet, sticky apricot and soy glaze is a crowd pleaser of note. Plus it’s the kind of easy main dish you can throw in the oven and not pay too much attention to until it’s time to glaze. I like using deboned hams as they are so easy to carve but this recipe will work with a bone-in ham too.
How to bake a ham
- Start with a smoked ham. Place the ham (or gammon) in a large roasting dish. Add a quartered onion (no need to peel the vegetables), roughly chopped carrot, garlic cloves and water. Cover well with foil and place in the oven.
- Allow the ham to bake for 20 minutes per 500g/1lb. Make sure to add more water if needed throughout the cooking (especially if your ham is particularly large).
- Once baked, remove the ham from the oven and carefully slice the skin off using a sharp knife. Slice a diamond pattern into the fat (taking care not to cut through to the meat). Discard the vegetables and water from the roasting pan. Turn the oven up to 220ºC/430ºF.
- To make the baked ham glaze, combine apricot jam or preserves, soy sauce, lemon juice, chilli / red pepper flakes, water and salt and pepper in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until it is the consistency of maple syrup.
- Spoon two thirds of the glaze over the ham then place back in the oven and allow the glaze to caramelize. Spoon the glaze over the ham every 5-10 minutes until the ham is glossy and sticky with the glaze.
- Remove the ham from the oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes, up to 1 hour before slicing and serving with the rest of the glaze.
Freezing and making ahead
- Freezing: Baked ham leftovers can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw completely in the fridge before serving.
- Make ahead: Bake the ham (do not glaze) then cool completely. Cover well with foil then refrigerate for up to a day. Allow the ham to come to room temperature on the day of serving. Score the fat, pour over the glaze and bake until warmed through and caramelized.
Christmas ham recipes
Sticky apricot baked ham
- 2 kg (4lb) boneless ham / gammon
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 carrot roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp peppercorns
- 2 cups water
For the glaze
- ¾ cup apricot jam
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2-3 tbsp lemon juice (adjust to your taste preference)
- pinch of chilli / red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F.
- Place the ham in a roasting dish then add the onion, carrot, garlic, peppercorns and water. Cover tightly with foil then place in the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes per 500g/1lb.
- Make the glaze by simmering all the ingredients together in a saucepan until it has the consistency of maple syrup.
- Remove the ham from the oven then discard the water and aromatics.
- Turn the heat up to 220°C/430°F.
- Carefully slice the skin off the ham and discard.
- Score the fat with a sharp knife then pour over two thirds of the glaze.
- Place the ham back into the oven and allow to caramelize, spooning the glaze over every 5-10 minutes, until the ham is sticky and glossy.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes, but up to an hour, before slicing and serving with the rest of the glaze.