Best Roasted Christmas Ham Recipes
Making the perfect Christmas Ham takes a good recipe and some patience, but it’s not a difficult task. Follow these recipes below to impress any friends or family, and don’t forget to save some for sandwiches afterwards!
If you’re new to roasting glazed hams, here’s a really helpful guide from DeliaOnline, on the basics – including step-by-step instructions with photos. Delia Smith knows what she’s talking about, she is also the author of this fantastic Christmas Cookbook – which entirely worth checking out for other basic tips and amazing recipes.
Our first Christmas Ham recipe is actually a double-feature from one of my favourite chefs, Jamie Oliver. He offers both a traditional Marmalade Ham as well as an unconventional spicy Jerk Ham.
Roasted Marmalade Ham
“Cooking a ham the traditional way is so satisfying and perfect for a special Sunday lunch ” - Jamie Oliver
- 3-4 kg middle cut higher-welfare gammon , with knuckle left on
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 16 black peppercorns
- 1 bouquet garni , (1 piece of leek, 1 stick of celery, 1 fresh bay leaf, 1 sprig of fresh thyme)
- 2 oranges
- 1 jar of quality thin-rind marmalade
- ½ a a bunch of fresh rosemary
Place the gammon in a large, snug-fitting pot and cover with water. Roughly chop and throw in the carrots and celery, with the bay leaves, peppercorns and bouquet garni. Peel the zest from the oranges and add to the water, then squeeze the juice.
Place the pot over a high heat, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes with a lid on, skimming away any scum that rises to the surface, as and when needed.
When the time's up, remove from the heat and allow to cool for half an hour in the broth – this will allow the flavours to really penetrate the meat.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3.
Carefully remove the meat to a board and, using a knife, take off the skin. Depending on the breed and quality of the pig, you should have a nice layer of fat. Remove some of the fat as well, to leave you with about 1cm. The extra fat can be kept in the freezer for roasting with potatoes another time.
Score the fat left on the meat in a criss-cross fashion, and season generously with 3 tablespoons of black pepper.
Place the ham in a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes, or until the fat renders and becomes slightly crispy.
Remove from the oven, stir the marmalade to loosen, then rub it all over the meat, and strip over the rosemary.
Return to the oven for about 1 hour and baste frequently until beautifully golden and crisp. Serve as you would a roast dinner or as part of a picnic.
Glazed Jerk Ham
“Beautifully juicy meat, hit up with a load of jerk spices and a lovely sweet glaze ” - Jamie Oliver
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 red onions
- 5 Scotch bonnet chillies
- 1 a bunch of fresh chives
- 2 good splashes of golden rum
- 125 ml malt vinegar
- 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- ½ a bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 x 5kg Woolworths cooked leg of ham
- 125 ml golden rum
- 5 tablespoons marmalade
- 3 oranges , (juice of)
Peel the garlic and red onions, and halve and deseed the Scotch bonnets, then place in a food processor – wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Add the chives, sugar, rum, vinegar, all the spices and the salt. Pull off and discard the bay stalks, then add the leaves to the processor. Strip in the thyme leaves and blitz until very finely chopped.
Place the ham on a board and trim off the outer layer of skin, leaving a 1cm layer of fat behind. Score the fat all over in a criss-cross pattern, making sure you don’t cut down into the meat itself. Transfer the ham to a roasting tray and pour over the marinade. Rub it all over the meat, getting into all the nooks and crannies, then cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and leave the ham to come up to room temperature. Cover the tray with tin foil and reheat according to pack instructions. Around 40 minutes before the time’s up, remove the foil and pour over the rum. Add the marmalade and orange juice to the tray and mix together with the pan juices. Brush the glaze all over the ham and return to the oven for the remaining time, brushing and spooning the juices and rub over the top every 5 to 10 minutes until dark, stick and gnarly.
Once glazed to perfection, remove to a board to rest for 30 minutes before carving into nice thick slices. Pour the cooking juices into a jug, skimming away the fat – it’ll make an epic spicy gravy to drizzle over at the end, if you like. Serve with a fresh, crunchy salad and some Spiced peach chutney.
JAMIE'S TIP: Using a herb brush to baste the ham will infuse it with lovely flavour. Tie a bunch of woody herbs together at the stalk-end to create a brush, then bruise the leafy end by lightly bashing it with the bottom of a pan – this will release the oils and help amplify the flavour.
For more amazing Jamie Oliver Holiday recipes, definitely check out his book:
Now we head back into a more Traditional Christmas Ham, with Nigella Lawson. Her flavourful ham takes a long time but is worth the wait – have a look.
Slow Cooked Black Treacle Ham
This recipe is from the cookbook “Simply Nigella”
- 3½ kilograms joint boneless gammon (rind on)
- 150 grams black treacle
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 4 tablespoons black treacle
- 4 tablespoons demerara sugar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 250°C/gas mark 9/450ºF, and let your gammon come to room temperature.
Line a large roasting tin with a layer of foil, and then sit a wire rack on top of this foil. Tear off a large piece of foil (big enough to wrap around the ham) and place this over the rack on the roasting tin. Tear off a second, large piece of foil and place on top, but in the opposite way to the first, so you have 4 corners of foil ready to wrap your ham in. Sit the gammon on the foil and then pour the black treacle over it, straight onto the rind, letting it run down both sides. Don’t worry too much about spreading it over the ham, as once it’s in the heat of the oven, it will coat the ham well enough.
Now lift up the sides and ends of the first layer of foil and make a seal at the top, leaving some room around the gammon, then seal the ends. Then take up the other piece of foil and do the same: you are trying to create a good seal around the gammon, so pinch together any open gaps that remain. Finally, tear off another piece of foil and put over the top of the whole parcel, making sure it’s well sealed.
Put carefully into the oven and let it cook for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 100°C/gas mark ¼/200°F and leave for a further 12–24 hours.
The following day, take the gammon out of the oven and open up the foil seal. It will have made some liquid, which you can reserve to moisten the carved meat later. Carefully lift the gammon out onto a board, snip and remove the string, and peel off the rind to leave a good layer of fat.
Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF. Using a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern in the fat layer, drawing lines one way and then the opposite way, about 2cm/¾-inch apart.
Stud the centre of each diamond with a clove, then mix together the black treacle, demerara sugar and Dijon mustard in a bowl and spread over the fat on the ham. It will dribble off a bit, so just spoon it back over the gammon before putting back in the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the glaze will be burnished and blistered in the heat. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a board. Let it rest for 10–20minutes before carving into thin slices.
NOTE FOR THE US: Fully cooked hams are more common in the US and if you use one of these, then try to choose one with the rind still on and not spiral cut. Smear the rind of the ham with 2 tablespoons of molasses then wrap it in a baggy aluminum foil package with tightly sealed edges. Sit it in a roasting pan and reheat following the producer’s instructions for oven temperature and time. When the ham has heated through uncover it and reserve juices and use sparingly to moisten ham once sliced. Carefully remove the rind, leaving a good layer of fat, then follow the instructions for glazing the ham.
One more noteworthy Brit recipe to add to our recipes for Christmas Ham, the incomparable Gordon Ramsay. Not someone that you’d traditional think of during the sweet and festive holiday season, but rest assured, the fowl-mouthed chef has a softer side, he even has his own Christmas Cookbook! The following, traditional, Honey Glazed Christmas Ham recipe comes from this book.
Honey Glazed Ham
- 3 kg unsmoked boneless gammon joint
- 4 medium carrots , peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 leek , cleaned and roughly chopped
- 1 onion , peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp black peppercorns , lightly crushed
- 1 tsp coriander seeds , lightly crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick , broken in half
- 3 bay leaves handful of cloves
- 100 g demerara sugar
- 50 ml Madeira
- 25 ml sherry vinegar
- 125 g honey
Put the gammon into a large saucepan and pour on enough cold water to cover. Add the carrots, leek, onion, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, topping up with more boiling water if necessary. Skim off the froth and any impurities that rise to the surface from time to time. If cooking in advance, leave the ham to cool in the stock overnight. Otherwise, allow it to cool a little, then remove from the pan. Strain the stock (and save for soups, sauces, etc.).
To make the glaze, put the sugar, Madeira, sherry vinegar and honey into a pan and stir over a low heat. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3–4 minutes, until you have a glossy dark syrup. Do not leave unattended, as it can easily boil over.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Lift the ham onto a board. Snip and remove the string and then cut away the skin from the ham, leaving behind an even layer of fat. Lightly score the fat all over in a criss-cross, diamond pattern, taking care not to cut into the meat. Stud the centre of each diamond with a clove.
Put the ham into a roasting tin and pour half of the glaze over the surface. Roast for 15 minutes.
Pour on the rest of the glaze and return to the oven for another 25–35 minutes until the ham is golden brown, basting with the pan juices frequently. It also helps to turn the pan as you baste to ensure that the joint colours evenly.
Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving with the accompaniments.
While celebrity chefs across the pond certainly know what they’re doing, nothing is going to quite fit the bill in America as a nice traditional Vermont christmas ham. Martha Stewart offers her take with a twist on the traditional in the next recipe:
Maple Glazed Smoked Vermont Ham
"Dijon mustard counters the sweet maple syrup and apricot jam, giving this ham a more nuanced flavor." Martha Stewart
- 1 smoked bone-in ham (10 to 12 pounds), room temperature
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- Fresh bay leaves , for garnish (optional)
- Kumquats , for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ham on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, 4 hours.
Meanwhile, make glaze: In a small saucepan, heat jam until liquefied. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Stir in mustard, maple syrup, rum, and garlic.
After 4 hours, remove ham from the oven, and brush with glaze. Continue baking the ham, glazing every 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the ham (avoiding bone) registers 140 degrees, about 1 hour more. Remove from oven, and transfer to a carving board or platter. Garnish ham with bay leaves and kumquats, if desired. Slice thinly around the bone, and serve hot or at room temperature.
One to two hours before baking, remove the ham from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
Find even more Martha Stewart Holiday Recipes in her Christmas and Holiday books:
Which is your favourite method for enjoying your family’s Christmas Ham, do you go for something traditional or perhaps a little more modern?