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Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham – A Classic Recipe Just In Time For Easter!

When it comes to cooking dinner for Easter or Christmas, one of the most popular recipes includes a ham coated in a brown sugar glaze with pineapple rings fastened to the outer surface.

It is not only made in many homes across America, but you will often see it as the centerpiece on the holiday table on almost every sitcom television show.

There is just something beautiful about the presentation when the ham arrives to the dinner table that is coated with a shiny glaze and topped with pineapple rings. Not to mention how delicious the ham is when cooked this way.

brown sugar pineapple ham
Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham baked and ready to slice and serve for Easter dinner.

So what is so special about this recipe? The combination of the brown sugar glaze and the pineapple rings not only gives the ham great flavor, but also great texture and color as well.

Once the sugar caramelizes on the surface, it creates a sweet, crunchy coating when baked. And the pineapple slices provide not only sweetness, but more importantly it tenderizes the meat itself.

However, sometimes too much of a good thing can result in a bad outcome. In this case, I am talking about the pineapple itself.

Helpful Tips When Cooking A Ham

1. Only Use Canned Pineapple

In an effort to eat more whole foods, I once tried to make this Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham using fresh cut pineapple. Unfortunately, fresh pineapple contains an enzyme that literally breaks down and feeds off protein.

Therefore, by the time that the ham was marinated and cooked, all that I was left with was a pile of ham mush. Although this was heart crushing at the time, it allowed me to learn a valuable lesson.

This is why you only use canned pineapple in this recipe. The canning process eliminates the enzyme that the pineapple contained and it is safe to place directly on the surface of the ham without the risk of it turning mushy.

So the next question is, what type of ham to buy?

 canned pineapple slices
Be sure to use canned pineapple and not fresh pineapple for this recipe. Although this recipe doesn’t require the cherries to be added, it adds a nice presentation and can be added if you desire.

2. What Type of Ham To Buy

Although I love the convenience of slicing and serving a spiral-cut ham, it is not the best choice when making this brown sugar pineapple ham recipe. There are a couple of reasons that I prefer a half or whole ham instead.

First, the USDA recommends eating spiral-sliced hams cold. That is because when you go to reheat the sliced ham, they are more than likely going to dry out during the process.

That is why you will find the instructions for this Honey Baked Ham requiring you to baste every 15 minutes. It is necessary to do when heating a spiral-sliced ham.

Instead, for this recipe I prefer to use a bone-in ham. Bone in hams are more flavorful and tender and have a great surface area for the pineapples to adhere to. In addition, they make a great presentation when served.

And be sure to save that residual meat and ham bone to make Ham and Bean Soup and Split Pea Soup. You will never make soups so flavor then when using the leftovers!

3. How Much Ham Per Person

You may be wondering how big of ham to get when you are serving dinner for your family. Use the following as a general guideline:

  • Bone-in Ham: 1/3-1/2 pound per person
  • Boneless Ham: 1/4-1/2 pound per person

However, I often caution people from following this measurement as an exact science to pick out how big of a ham you should purchase.

ham dinner
The amount of ham that you should plan for per person will depend on who will be joining you for dinner and how many side dishes that will be served.

First, know who you are feeding. 10 adults will eat more of your Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham than 4 adults and 6 children. Although keep in mind if those 6 children are teenage boys, you may need more ham than you previously thought.

Then there is always the consideration of how many side dishes and desserts that will be offered. I know in our home, many people like to pile their plates with a helping of all the side dishes shared at the table. And in that case, there may be a little more ham leftover than you anticipated.

Therefore, use the above pound per person statement as a guideline rather than a hard-and-fast rule. Now comes the last question before we get to the actual recipe. How long does a ham need to bake?

4. How Long To Bake A Ham

Again, the below figures are to be used as a guideline rather than a set-in-stone rule. All ovens cook at different rates. And the amount of time that it requires a ham to come to temperature will depend on the starting temperature of the meat itself.

So in order to give yourself enough leeway, calculate the cook time based on the higher minutes suggested. All times are based on the ham cooking in the oven at 325°F (165°C).

  • Bone-in Ham: 15-18 minutes per pound
  • Boneless Ham: 10-15 minutes per pound
diamond cut pork
Once the ham is cooked through, remove the pineapple rings and slice the ham to serve.

Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham Recipe

*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • Bone-in ham
  • Packed brown sugar
  • Ground cloves
  • Cans of Pineapple Rings in 100% juice

INSTRUCTIONS

The first step in making this recipe is to gather a large roasting rack and baking pan and place 6 – 8 pineapple rings on the bottom surface. Place the ham, cut side down on a large cutting board.

Using a sharp knife, score the ham about 1/4 inch in thickness in one direction, then again in the opposite direction. This will create a beautiful diamond cut pattern on the surface.

Next, place the ham in the roasting pan and set aside. In a small bowl mix the brown sugar and ground cloves together.

Then rub the mixture over the entire ham until it turns somewhat paste like. The moisture from the ham and the friction of rubbing the dry rub on the surface will create a thick marinade that will stick to the outer portion of the ham.

Once the ham has been coated, place it cut side down on top of the pineapple slices. Then pour the juice from 1 can of the pineapple rings into the bottom of the pan.

Be super careful not to pour the juice over the ham itself. Otherwise, the dry rub will rinse off.

Refrigerate the Ham Overnight

Then cover the ham with foil, securing it around the pan. Place the entire pan in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 8-12 hours.

sliced brown sugar pineapple ham
Although you could take the ham to the table to carve, I find it easier to slice the meat on a cutting board.

Remove the ham from the refrigerator and carefully remove the foil, but keep the cover intact. Spoon the juices in the bottom of the pan over top of the ham. It is okay if the residual brown sugar gets washed off.

Next, place pineapple rings across the surface of the ham. Secure each slice with two toothpicks, one for each side of the ring.

Baking Time

Cover the ham with the aluminum foil, again sealing the foil around the roasting pan. Bake at 325°F(165°C) for 15 to 18 minutes per pound of meat. It will take roughly 3 1/2 hours for a 12 pound ham and about 4 1/2 hours for a 15 pound ham.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the ham rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Then slice the ham using a sharp knife or electric carving knife.

Add each slice back into the liquid of the pan so that it can remain warm and absorb the juices before serving.

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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Brown Sugar Ham With Pineapple Rings

brown sugar pineapple ham

Brown sugar crusted ham with pineapple slices on top. A classic ham recipe that is perfect to serve for Easter or Christmas.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Additional Time 12 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 15 hours 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-15 pound) bone-in ham
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 5 (20-ounce) cans of pineapple rings in 100% juice

Instructions

  1. Gather a large roasting rack or baking pan and place 6 - 8 pineapple rings on the bottom surface.
  2. Place the ham, cut side down on a large cutting board. Using sharp knife, score the ham about 1/4 inch thick in one direction, then again in the opposite direction, creating a diamond cut pattern. Place the ham in the roasting pan and make the brown sugar rub.
  3. In a small bowl mix the brown sugar and ground cloves together. Rub the mixture over the entire ham until it turns somewhat paste like. Place the ham, cut side down on top of the pineapple slices.
  4. Pour the juice from 1 can of the pineapple rings into the bottom of the pan, being careful not to pour it over the ham itself.
  5. Cover the ham with aluminum foil, secure it around the pan, and let it rest in the fridge overnight, or for at least 12 hours.
  6. Remove the ham from the refrigerator and carefully remove the foil, but keep it intact. Spoon the juices that are in the bottom of the ham over top. Place pineapple rings across the surface of the ham and secure each slice with two toothpicks.
  7. Cover with ham with foil, again sealing the foil around the roasting pan. Bake at 325°F(165°C) for 15 to 18 minutes per pound of meat. (Roughly 3 1/2 hours for a 12 pound ham and about 4 1/2 hours for a 15 pound ham.)
  8. Let the ham rest, covered, for 15 minutes before slicing. When you slice, add each slice back into the liquid of the pan so that it can remain warm and absorb the juices.
  9. Slice and serve warm.

Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 156mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 0gSugar: 39gProtein: 3g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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