Brown Sugar Crusted Ham

With Thanksgiving behind us, we can turn our attention to fast-approaching Christmas parties and feasts. Some people serve goose for their Christmas dinners, but we were always far more likely to have ham on our Christmas dinner table.

While a delicious ham is a lot easier than a properly roasted turkey, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how to make your holiday ham. Most people get a cured ham, meaning they will be pretty salty. You will want to balance the saltiness with sweet as well as savory. You will also want to decide if you want a spiral sliced or regular ham.

I have been making this recipe for a few years now and am on perennial ham duty when visiting with my friend, Jenna, for Thanksgiving. Once you have finished your holiday dinner, the bone and leftover ham can be added to season a pot of slow-cooked beans.


  • Large casserole or roasting pan
  • Medium mixing bowl

IngredientsHam Ingredients

  • 1 ham, ready for roasting
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked hot paprika (you can use chili powder or cayenne pepper instead)
  • 1 cup green apple soda (you can also another soda)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Place ham in roasting pan or casserole dish. Remove excess fat from the outside of the ham. If you are using a non spiral-sliced ham, score the outside of the meat with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern.
  3. In medium sized mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Make sure they are well mixed, as you don’t want to get a big bite of a single flavor.Preparing Rub
  4. Using your hands, press the sugar mixture to the outside of the ham. If your mixture has trouble sticking, sprinkle a little bit of the soda on the area to help.Ham Coated
  5. Gently pour  green apple soda over the outside of the ham.Soda on Ham
  6. Place in preheated oven and cook for an average of 15 minutes per pound, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°.
  7. Check the ham throughout roasting. If it starts to dry out, simply baste with juices, or poor a bit more soda over it. The exterior will brown a lot due to all the sugar on the outside of the ham.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before carving.Ham and sides

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