My sweet chili glazed ham with pineapple is made so easy with a spiral cut ham ~ don’t be surprised if the family demands this gorgeous ham for every occasion!
I grew up eating ham on Easter, and my mom always did hers with pineapples and cloves studded all over the meat. It was very…clove-ish. I do mine a little differently. I keep the pineapple, but instead of all those cloves I glaze my spiral cut ham with a Thai sweet chili sauce that is to die for. That sweet/tangy sauce seeps into all those spiral slices…best ham ever!
Serving ham with pineapples goes back to the early 1900s, with recipes appearing in cookbooks and magazines for “Hawaiian Ham” or “Hawaiian-style Ham”, which meant ham glazed with a mixture of brown sugar, pineapple juice, and mustard, and then decorated with pineapple rings and cherries. Today’s sweet chili glazed ham is a modern nod to that inspired combo!
what you’ll need for sweet chili glazed ham
- 8-12 lb cooked bone-in spiral sliced ham
- you’re going to discard any sauce or glaze packet that comes with your ham.
- fresh pineapple
- fresh is best, but yes, you can use canned pineapple if you need to. Look for unsweetened pineapple slices.
- pineapple juice
- helps keep everything moist during baking because a cooked ham does not release much in the way of juices.
- sweet chili sauce
- I make my own homemade sweet chili sauce, it has a nice kick to it. This sauce is very easy to make ~ just throw everything into a saucepan and boil it up. It’s so much better than commercial sweet chili sauces available here in the US. If you need to use a commercial sweet chili sauce, try to find one from Thailand: May Ploy is one good example.
what kind of ham for this glazed ham recipe?
Definitely read the labels. You are looking for a cooked (smoked) spiral cut ham, with the bone in. Everything should be on the label, or ask your butcher. Spiral cut hams usually come anywhere from 7-12 pounds. They were invented by the Honey Baked Ham Company in the mid 20th century and I, for one, am so thankful. Spiral slicing makes ham so much easier to cook and serve, plus I love the thin slices (no thick slabs of ham for me, please.) The best part is how your glaze finds its way into all those readymade crevices!
how much ham will you need?
Generally allow 1/2 pound of meat per person, depending on the appetites of your guests. And remember that spiral cut hams aren’t 100% meat: there is a heavy bone and some waste built in. As a rough estimate, you can expect to get around 60-70% usable meat from a spiral-cut ham. This means that from a 10 lb spiral-cut ham, you can expect to get around 6 to 7 pounds of usable meat. Again, this is just an estimate and the actual amount of usable meat may vary depending on the specifics of the ham. I always buy way more ham than I need so I can enjoy those leftovers!
what’s that little plastic disk stuck in my ham?
The plastic disk that you may find stuck in your spiral ham is a protective covering for the bone. The disk is typically made of food-grade plastic and is designed to prevent the bone from puncturing the packaging during shipping and handling. The disk also helps to keep the bone from drying out during cooking and storage, which can affect the quality of the meat. It’s important to remove and discard it before cooking the ham.
now for the sweet chili sauce and pineapple
A spiral sliced smoked ham is delicious all by itself, but it’s so easy to take it to the next level with a simple glaze and some fresh pineapple slices. This combination is a fusion of Thai and Hawaiian flavors and while it is not spicy hot, it has a gentle kick to it.
what happens when you baste ham with a sweet glaze?
A glaze adds flavor and moisture to meat. The sweet/tangy/spicy flavors of this sweet chili glaze provide a nice contrast to the savory flavors of the meat. Glazes can also help to form a caramelized crust on the outside of the meat, which can add texture and flavor. Last but not least, a glaze adds a gorgeous glossy finish to your ham.
fresh or canned pineapple for sweet chili glazed ham?
I like to use fresh pineapple for the best flavor. If you taste a fresh pineapple you’ll see that not only is it fresher and firmer than canned, but it has a bright tangy flavor that canned pineapple lacks. That bright acidity is what plays so well off the rich ham.
Don’t be intimidated by a fresh pineapple, it’s not difficult to slice, and it’s so worth it. For details check out my How to Cut a Pineapple post. For this recipe you can do rings, half circles, or chunks.
baste, baste, baste!
The nice thing about this ham is that once you’ve mixed up your glaze, which you can do a day or so ahead of time, your work is basically done. The ham will slowly heat up in the oven, and towards the very end you’ll baste it with your sauce. Easy peasy. Once you’ve got your ham on your serving platter, give it a last brush before serving.
how to know when your ham is done
Your ham is pre-cooked, so you are really just reheating it in the oven. This does take time, though, because your refrigerated ham is large, and it will take a while for the heat to penetrate to the center (plan on 10-12 minutes per pound, so up to 2 hours for a 10 pound ham.) Check with a thermometer: the interior should be at least 140F.
how to properly take your ham’s temperature
When cooking a ham, it’s important to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat in the thickest part of the ham. Insert the thermometer into the center of the meat, away from the bone, and ensure that it’s not touching the bone or the bottom of the pan, as this can give a false reading.
what goes well with glazed ham
While this ham has a Thai/Hawaiian flair, you don’t have to follow that theme with your sides. Here are some classic sides that go well with ham:
Sweet Chili Glazed Ham
- large roasting pan
- 1 cup sweet chili sauce,
- 1 pineapple, peeled and sliced into rings
- 6 ounces pineapple juice
- 10 lb smoked bone-in spiral cut ham
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your roasting pan completely with foil.
- Unwrap your ham and discard any glaze packets that came along with it. Remove the plastic 'plug', if there is one.
- Place your ham cut or flat side down, on the rack. Cover with foil.
- Bake the ham for one hour. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the foil. Add the pineapple rings around the base of the ham. Pour the pineapple juice over the ham and pineapples. Bake, uncovered, for one more hour.
- At this point you can raise the oven temperature to 425F and brush a thick layer of glaze over the whole surface of the ham. Let some of the glaze drip down over the pineapples. Put back into the oven and continue to cook for another 15 -20 minutes or so. Baste with another layer of glaze during this baking time. Your ham should have an internal temperature of 140F.
- Transfer the ham and pineapples to a platter. Shift the ham so it is sitting back on its side so you can easily remove the slices. I glaze the ham with any leftover glaze before serving.