Start a new Christmas Tradition: How to glaze a leg ham

A sponsored post for Woolworths

You know how there’s certain things that you think are things that grown ups should do? Like pay rates. Or make voluntary super contributions. How about getting your skin checked every 6 months. Well, I have news: we are now those grown ups. I know, as much as I might try to ignore it, as another year zooms past I have to embrace my love of a cool change, home grown roses, a crisp Chablis and well cooked food. It’s just where I am at.  And I am OK with it. Really!

One of the things that comes up especially at Christmas time, when families are starting to delegate food and catering for the big day, is the stuff that you think “Mums” should do. And one of those things for me is a glazed ham. It’s a grown up person’s job, don’t you think? Delicious and grown up. And up until recently I have left that job for the grown ups until I came to realise I am indeed one of those.

I asked a couple of girlfriends about it and lots of them were the same “oh Mum does that” and I was like “you guys, we are the Mums now”. I know that a ham can seem a little overwhelming. I mean do you have to cook it? How do you get the skin off? What do I glaze it with? HOW DO WE DO IT?! And I am here to show you how easy it is. Truly. It’s our time to step up and glaze that ham. Be the grown up. CARVE THAT PORKY GOODNESS AT THE CHRISTMAS TABLE. If anyone can give it to you straight, you know I CAN.

So first of all let me clear a couple of things up:

1. You do not have to “cook” the ham. You guys, the ham is already cooked. You are merely glazing it, giving it a crispy edge of extra taste and infusion of flavour and warming it through

2. The leftover ham can be whacked into a pillowcase in the fridge for all your post Christmas needs. Think ham on toast, corn fritters with fried ham, eggs and ham – you get the picture. Take it out, carve it, put it back into the pillowcase or ham bag until you cannot look at another piece of ham again (usually around the 7th January). Until of course mid December next year when you think “Ooooh HAM!”

3. You can buy pre-made glazes from Woolworths for $4 per pack so you don’t even have to think about what a glaze is or what on earth on you do with it. Just grab your leg ham from Woolworths and glaze it and you are good to go.

There are a few easy steps to this grown up business. Follow them and you will have Christmas ham success. It’s not sorcery, or rocket science, I promise. All you will need is a half or full leg ham (depending on how many people you are feeding), some cloves and a glaze (I chose the Spiced Apple glaze for just $4), you can even grab a ham bag you are good to go! Some festive ribbon will also have you looking like Mary Berry on the big day.

1. Cut the skin ready to remove it

The ham comes with a thick layer of skin on it. You have to remove this to reveal the fat for scoring and the porky goodness underneath. You have to get your hands dirty and use a little knife skills. You’ve got this.

Cut at the base of the ham (the handle if you will) leaving the skin on the handle but cutting across it.

You then want to cut the top off, so follow the line of the skin on the top of the ham with your knife cutting down through the fat but not far enough as to cut the meat. All the way from your straight base, cut and around both sides of the top of the ham.

2. Remove the skin

Now that the skin is cut you want to take it off. But! You want to make sure that you leave a good layer of fat (because we all love a good layer of fat) plus that’s what you score and decorate and what all the glaze will stick to. And that’s where you are going to get your beautiful golden colour from.

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty as it’s the easiest way to get the skin off. Peel the skin back and get your hand in there to separate it, sliding your hand down as it peels off.

3. Score the fat on the top of the ham

Scoring the fat gives you something for your glaze to stick to and get into the meat to flavour it. It gives you a good pattern that you can decorate and it gives you that signature “Mum” ham look.

Take your knife and cut through the fat (but not all the way through to the meat) in one direction about 2 – 3cm apart on the diagonal.

And then turn the ham and cut it on the opposite diagonal so you have a criss-cross pattern.

4. Decorate the scoring

I have used cloves as they have a great star pattern that is perfect for Christmas as well as a good flavour infusion. You can use orange slices…google for endless ways to do this. Place the cloves in every second cross of the scored fat and then in the next line one place up in the grid.

5. Apply the glaze

Open your glaze (I used the Woolworths Spiced Apple one) and brush it on liberally getting lots on all over the fat layer as well as the front flat part of the meat.

6. Bake the ham

Place the glazed ham into an oven tray (you can use disposable trays like this one so you can just throw it all away at the end) and place into a 170 degree oven for 60-90 mins. Half way you will re-baste the ham with more glaze for more flavour and colour

7. Re-baste the ham half way through

Half way through the cook (30-45 mins) you will need to take the ham out and brush on some more glaze. Be generous and then return it to the oven for another 30-45 mins or until you are happy with the golden colour.

8. Serve to your guests

I like to tie some ribbon around that leg (the handle). I use some baking paper folded and then some ribbon around that and place on a serving platter or board and take to the table. Be prepared for lots of oohs and ahhhhs and of course be SMUG and say “what this? No biggie” whilst uploading to Insta immediately.

Check out this video for a step by step guide which I find helps when I am tackling something new.

So that’s my guide on how to take on a Christmas classic for the first time. Practice makes perfect and a few more years of this you will have people asking you how to do it and if you can bring “one of your hams” to their Christmas soiree.

You can check out the full range of pre-made Christmas ham glazes here. The new Woolworths ham glazes are available in Golden Maple, Spiced Apple and Sweet cherry for $4.00 each. They are the perfect shortcut if you are strapped for time this festive season.

Is it even Christmas without a glazed ham or leftover ham on toast for breakfast?
Are you scared of the glazed ham?
Or are you the BRINGER and MAKER of the ham in your family?
Happy cooking this Christmas friends!


  1. Hubby has been wanting to glaze a ham for years and we’ve just never gotten around to it. You’ve made it look so easy so I’m going out today to buy it all and we will give it a crack on the weekend… Thanks for the inspiration!! ❤️

  2. Thanks so much for this Beth. Step-by-step is just what I needed. This is the first Christmas I’m hosting since my mum died last year. I asked my Dad how they used to do the ham and he was miffed. Said he and mum used to just slice it up and heat it up on the bbq in foil. However, i think I’ll use your recipe 😆 Can’t wait. Merry Christmas to you & your lovely family.

  3. My kids don’t like hot ham. Sob. I haven’t had a glazed ham in years and years. I used to smear a jar of marmalade over it back in the day. Yum

  4. Thank you so much for this Beth!
    I needed these step by step instructions… I wasn’t sure if the ham was cooked or not!!
    On a side note, I have been trying to check out your gorgeous spotty dress in the video… are you able to share where you got it?!!

  5. Yummo, I love a glazed ham. You are basically Maggie Beer with your own cooking show Beth – love it!!!

  6. thanks beth!
    it looks ab/fab darls!
    i love your videos … you should be on television you are most entertaining!
    i love that one about the chook! you are hillarious!
    much love mxx

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