Delicious Make Ahead Ham Recipe

Update 12.11.20

Delicious Make Ahead Ham Recipe

We have been making this recipe for over 20+ years. It started from a recipe I found in a magazine, but we have adjusted the recipe to perfection! Just about every time we bring this to a dinner, we come home with an empty pan.

You really can’t go wrong with this recipe. It is super easy and you can make it ahead of time.

Hubby is the ham guy. He’s the one that will take the time to cut it up, and cut all the fat off it.  He has incredible patience. Isn’t he awesome?!

Hubby cutting up ham

And Arwen stays pretty close. Hubby spoils her with ham treats.

Arwen getting treats

Most hams you buy are already pre-cooked, which is very nice! And it doesn’t really matter what section of ham you purchase. We’ve bought shank, butt, spiral and so on. Usually, I’m looking for the cheapest price.

We like to make this at least a day ahead, this really lets the flavors develop in the ham. You will need cinnamon, ground ginger, mustard, brown sugar, pancake/maple syrup or corn syrup and ground cloves. Then mix that all up. (The full recipe is at the end.)

Mixing up ham sauce

Then layer the ham and the sauce in a roasting pan. We’ve also used a crock pot before, but it really waters down the sauce. Hubby likes to cut the ham into easy serving size pieces.

After we’ve layered all the ham, we keep it in the refrigerator for about 24 hours.

Layer ham and sauce in roasting pan

Yum! Doesn’t that look delicious?? I admit it, I snagged a few nibbles before it hit the fridge.

Then when you’re ready to heat it up, just place it in the oven set for 350° for about 2 hours. We keep the lid on it for most of the cooking. I like to take it off near the end. (Sometimes, I just turn the lid sideways and cook it the entire time that way, you will need to determine the best way you like for your oven). If you happen to leave it on the whole time, it will just make the sauce pretty watery, but it will still taste amazing!!

I've also cooked this ham in the crockpot. It's just as easy, if not easier! I've found that leaving the lid partially off center has given me the best results.

Amazing Leeper Ham

Delicious Make Ahead Ham Recipe
1 ¾ c. brown sugar
¾ c. mustard
3 Tbl. maple syrup or corn syrup
1 Tbl. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves

Mix in a bowl and layer in a roasting pan, with a precooked, and cut up ham. Refrigerate for 24 hours for best flavor, but not necessary. Bake at 350° for approximately 2 hours, taking the lid off for the last 15 min.

You may prepare in a crockpot, but the recipe will just turn out more watery, if you leave the lid on. We've prepared the ham the night before, then pulled it out in the morning and put it in the crock pot. I put it on high for about 2-3 hours. 

For best results leave a spoon in the crockpot to keep the lid open. This keeps it from getting too watery. Then stir it every so often. This turned out perfect, not too watery.



  1. Is it ok to prep this with the glaze on it several days ahead?

    1. Absolutely!! I don't see why it wouldn't work. We usually prep ours a day or two in advance.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Deb! We usually get a pretty big ham, about 11-13 lbs. But you can use a smaller one. The more sauce the better!!

  3. how long would you cook an 8 to 10lbs ham in the crockpot?

    1. Most hams you buy are already pre-cooked. So, basically you want the ham to warm up and soak in all the yumminess. I'm also assuming you have cut up this ham. I wouldn't just put the ham in there whole. I would say a few hours just to heat it through. 2-4 hours.
      Merry Christmas!

  4. Do you carve a store bought ham before cooking, put slices in a sauce to cover ham, and heat in oven?

  5. Replies
    1. I don't know about that, but I do know how delicious this ham is!! :)

  6. is the mustard powdered or mustard prepared?

    1. Prepared mustard. Just regular ole yellow mustard, nothing fancy. :)

  7. Would the work with a spiral ham? The ham in your picture looks a lot thicker than spiral slices would be.


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