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Baked Ham in a Dutch Oven with Marsala Glaze (Spiral Ham)

Overhead view of Dutch oven baked ham with marsala glaze plated on an oval platter with orange slices and onions, with mustard, cranberry sauce, additional glaze and bread in the background.
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Making a Baked Ham in a Dutch Oven is so incredibly easy! It’s a popular entrée on holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as graduations and other family get-togethers, for good reason. It’s a crowd-pleaser with robust flavor that feeds many with minimum effort. An easy, hands-off recipe that is perfect for beginner cooks!

Baked ham in a dutch oven plated on an oval platter with orange slices and onions, with mustard, cranberry sauce and bread in the background.

If you’ve never baked a ham before, here is all the information that you’ll need to make a juicy spiral ham plus a delicious, Sicilian-inspired marsala glaze!

This Marsala-glazed ham is one of the easiest main dishes that you can make. Since it’s pre cooked, all you really need to do is heat, glaze and serve, making it a very foolproof recipe for cooks of all skill levels.

And, it pairs so well with your favorite side dishes like mashed or roasted potatoes, roasted vegetables and sautéed greens and desserts like this creamy Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake.

What is a Spiral Ham?

A spiral ham is a whole or half, fully-cooked ham that has been cut into thin, even slices with a special machine. It is almost always cured and often smoked and can be bone-in or boneless.

Spiral hams are part of the category of hams also known as city hams (as opposed to country hams). (Click here to read more about this.) All hams come from the upper portion (femur bone) of the back leg of a pig. And, while you can buy a whole ham, they are most often cut into two parts, each weighing about 7-10 pounds. The half closest to the pig’s leg is known as the shank half, while the half closest to the pig’s body is the butt half.

This recipe has been written for a bone-in spiral ham, which has more flavor and less tendency to dry out than a boneless, in my opinion. It’s so much easier to carve and serve than a bone-in whole ham that is not sliced.

The only caveat is that spiral hams tend to dry out if not cooked properly. Baking them in a Dutch oven with a bit of braising liquid, as I’ve done here, provides a moist environment to ensure that the ham remains juicy and tender as it cooks. A no brainer!

Glazed, baked ham in a Dutch oven shown with roasted asparagus, roasted rosemary potatoes and roasted rainbow carrots.

The Ham Glaze

Glazes are to ham what icing is to cake. They just make the whole thing better and sweeter! Plus, you get some crispy caramelized edges from the sugar in the glaze.

Often, spiral hams will come with a packet of glaze already enclosed. And, while you can use this with the instructions below, I hope you give my easy and unique, Sicily-inspired Marsala glaze a try–homemade is always better!

Marsala wine is simmered with orange juice, brown sugar, butter, soy sauce and Dijon mustard and then thickened slightly with a cornstarch slurry. It’s brushed on the ham a few times towards the end of the cooking process, adding just the right amount of sweetness to complement the salty, smoky ham. I love how some of it seaps into the layers of the ham as well!

Baked spiral ham plated on a white dinner plate with asparagus, potatoes, carrots and orange slices, with mustard, additional glaze and bread in background.

Baking a ham in a Dutch oven really is the perfect, hands-off entrée for holidays. It’s so easy to prepare, with virtually no prep time, is a real crowd-pleaser for both kids and adults, always promises delicious leftovers for sandwiches, quiches, soups, frittatas and more, and creates a magical aroma as it roasts. Let’s mangia!

Ingredients for Baked Ham in a Dutch Oven

⁠⁠ To make this Dutch oven spiral ham recipe, we’ll be using:

  • Ham: This recipe was written for a 7 to 10 pound, precooked, bone-in, spiral ham. Bone-in hams tend to be juicier, have more fat and more robust savory flavor. Having said this, you can apply this recipe to a boneless spiral ham as well, or even a non-spiral ham. The cooking times will be different, though.
  • Onions and Orange Juice: These ingredients and moisture and flavor as the braising liquid during the cooking process.
  • Glaze Ingredients: You’ll need marsala wine, brown sugar, orange juice, butter, soy sauce or tamari, Dijon mustard and a little cornstarch to make my unique, Sicilian-inspired sweet ham glaze. It’s a great complement to the smoky, salty ham!
Ingredients for baked ham in a dutch oven with marsala glaze.

How to Make Baked Ham in a Dutch Oven, Step-by-Step

In a nutshell, since the spiral ham is precooked, all you really need to do is reheat it properly, then make the glaze and brush it on the ham. Here are the main steps:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Rub the bottom of the Dutch oven with oil, then scatter the sliced onions over the oil.

  • Place the ham flat/cut side down over the onions, then pour in the orange juice (or other liquid). Then, place the cover on the Dutch oven. Or, cover tightly with aluminum foil if the ham is too tall to use the cover.
Slicing onions next to orange juice, spiral ham and Dutch oven.
Pouring orange juice in to Dutch oven with onions and ham.
  • While the smoked ham is baking, make the Marsala Glaze. Add Marsala wine, orange juice, butter, soy sauce or tamari and Dijon mustard to a sauce pan and place it over medium heat. Whisk all the ingredients together and, once the butter has melted, add the sugar and continue whisking.
    • PRO TIP: Use a large sauce pot to prevent it boiling over.
Making the marsala glaze: sauce pot with ingredients.
Adding brown sugar to the other glaze ingredients in the sauce pot.
Whisking the marsala glaze ingredients together in the sauce pot.
  • Lightly simmer glaze mixture for about 20 minutes and let it reduce. Whisk regularly.
    • PRO TIP: Sometimes, sugar mixtures boil up very high, so you need to keep an eye on this. Make sure you use a large enough sauce pot to avoid this from happening and do not boil the mixture. Rather, keep it at a light simmer.

  • After about 20 minutes, drizzle a cornstarch slurry into the glaze to thicken it. The glaze should thicken and lightly coat the back of a spoon. Then, turn off the heat and let the glaze sit warm at room temperature on or near the stove until ready to use.
Adding cornstarch slurry to pot of simmering glaze.
Checking the consistency of the marsala glaze on the back of a spoon.
  • After about 2 hours, uncover the ham and remove most of the braising liquid, leaving a little bit behind.

  • Increase the oven temperature to 375°F and brush some glaze generously all over the surface of the ham. Return ham to the oven, uncovered and continue basting it with glaze every 20 minutes until it reaches and internal temperature of 140°F.
    • PRO TIP: Actually cooking time will vary based on your oven, but a bone-in spiral ham usually needs to bake about 12-18 minutes per pound.

Removing some liquid from the Dutch oven.
Brushing the spiral ham with marsala glaze.
  • Remove the ham from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Serve any remaining glaze on the side. That’s it!
Slicing ham on cutting board next to Dutch oven.
Carving baked ham on cutting board.

How to Carve a Dutch Oven Baked Spiral Ham

Spiral hams are so great because they come already sliced into thin, even, perfect slices. As they are precut in a spiral, all you have to do is make a couple cuts parallel to the bone to get the perfect slices to remove and serve.

To do this, carefully cut all the way around the bone to loosen the meat around it with a sharp carving, boning or chef’s knife. You can hold the ham in place with a carving fork. (If you’re nervous about doing this, consider wearing a cut-resistant glove covered by a latex glove.) This will cause some of the top slices to fall off. Transfer these slices to a platter and then you’ll be able to go back in and cut further down on the bone.

Then, slice along the natural breaks/fat lines in the meat to cut the meat into sections. If you need to cut more connective tissue to release the slices from each other, consider using kitchen shears.

Don’t forget to save the bone to make some split pea soup or ham broth!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to score the ham?

As this recipe calls for a pre-sliced spiral ham, no scoring is necessary or possible.
 
If you are baking a whole or half non-spiral ham (i.e., one that has not been sliced), scoring is a great idea so that the glaze and flavorings can permeate the ham. To do this, place the ham on a kitchen towel or stable cutting board (with non-slip mat underneath) to keep it still. Then, starting from the end closest to the bottom, cut about 1/3” into the ham in a straight line with a sharp knife. Repeat making lines about 1” apart from each other. Then, turn the ham and repeat this diagionally from one side to the other. Be careful and take your time so as to avoid any injury.

Can I use a different glaze?

Definitely. Many hams are actually sold with a glaze already included in the package, which you can use. Or, you can use a different glaze recipe altogether.

How do I know when the ham is done?

According to the USDA, the ham is ready once it has reached an internal temperature of 140°F in its middle part. Take the temperature with a stem thermometer.

How much baked spiral ham should I make per person?

Ham is generally served like a Thanksgiving turkey–with lots of sides! And, you will need to buy a bigger bone-n ham to yield the same amount of meat as a boneless ham. So, figure about ½ pound ham per person for a bone-in ham and a1/3 pound per person for a boneless ham.

Finished glazed, baked ham in a Dutch oven.
How do I prevent the ham from drying out?

Since spiral hams are pre-sliced, they have a tendency to dry out quickly. Cooking it covered at a relatively low temperature with some braising liquid helps to prevent this and keep it moist. Frequent basting with the glaze and checking the internal temperature for the ham’s progress will also help prevent dried ham.
 
The great thing about cooking a ham in a Dutch oven is that the Dutch oven, when covered (with the lid or tightly with foil) creates a moist heat environment when roasting. So, it really is a great vessel for baking a ham.
 

Since the ham is precooked, do I even need to heat it up?

Technically, no. According to the USDA, “both whole or half, cooked, vacuum-packaged hams packaged in federally inspected plants and canned hams can be eaten cold, right out of the package.”

Can I add other ingredients to the Dutch oven to cook along with the ham?

If there is room–sure! Scattering large chunks of onions, carrots, parsnips and/or potatoes around the ham during the last 45 minutes or so of cooking is a great idea for a one pot meal. If there is al ot of liquid in the bottom of the pot, just pour some off before adding the veggies.

Serving Suggestions

Baked Ham in a Dutch Oven goes well with so many side dishes! Some of my favorites are roasted garlic mashed potatoes, pesto roasted potatoes, creamed spinach, sautéed broccoli rabe and green beans with potatoes.

I also love to serve some cranberry sauce with orange and grainy mustard on the side.

Baked spiral ham plated on a white dinner plate with asparagus, potatoes and carrots, surrounded by wooden spoon on yellow towel and mustard.

Have you tried this easy version of Italian Easter Meat and Ricotta Pie yet? It’s so good! Typical in Italian households, it signifies the end of Lent and that Easter has arrived! 

How to Store, Freeze and Reheat Baked Ham Leftovers

Leftover baked ham and all ham bones can be stored in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. But, if you are not going to use them up within this time frame, definitely freeze your baked ham leftovers!

I love using the leftover ham meat in simple baguette sandwiches with brie, grilled cheese sandwiches and frittatas. You can also use the leftover ham in my Pasta with Peas and Pasta with Potatoes recipes.

Chances are that there will be a significant amount of ham meat leftover, not to mention a delicious meaty ham bone which has loads of flavor! This ham bone can be used for soups and stews, such as Split Pea Soup with Ham and Potatoes. Do not throw it away!

Just wrap the meat and bones, separately, tightly in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight freezer bag. They will hold in the freezer for several months but are best up to 2 months.

I suggest portioning the leftover ham meat into 1 or 2 cup packages (either in slices or diced) for use in future sandwiches or recipes. See my post on “Can You Refreeze Ham After Baking It?” for more about this.

To reheat ham leftovers without drying them out, place them in a small pan with a little water. Cover and heat on medium lo until heated through.

Overhead view of Dutch oven baked ham with marsala glaze plated on an oval platter with orange slices and onions, with mustard, cranberry sauce, additional glaze and bread in the background.

TOP TIPS FOR THE BEST DUTCH OVEN BAKED HAM

  • Ham Selection: Be sure to choose a precooked/fully cooked ham and one that will fit in your Dutch oven.
  • Marsala Glaze: To get ahead of things, make the Marsala glaze in advance and hold it, covered, in the refrigerator. You can make it 4 to 5 days in advance. Be sure to bring it to room temperature before using. Or, carefully heat it on low to warm it before using.
  • Dutch Oven Size: A 7-quart Dutch oven should be large enough to hold up to a 10 pound ham. You may need to use aluminum foil to cover it as it will likely be too tall for the cover. Don’t have a Dutch oven? Use a large, deep roasting pan, baking dish or a heavyweight disposable roasting pan.
  • Serve extra glaze alongside the ham for guests to drizzle over their individual plates.
  • Packaging: Be sure to remove all packaging from the ham before cooking, including a plastic button or disc that is often included on the bottom of the ham.
  • Braising Liquid: I used orange juice for the braising liquid (since it is an ingredient already in the Marsala glaze) along with the residual liquid form the onions. You can also use vegetable broth, chicken broth, Marsala wine or water.
  • Cooking Time is approximate and depends on the size of the ham and your oven. The USDA website has detailed information on ham cooking times.
  • Save the Ham Bone to use in soup or broth.
  • See my Top Tips for freezing ham leftovers here, including storage information.

Baked ham in a dutch oven plated on an oval platter with additional marsala glaze being drizzled over it.

More Great Recipes to Try

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Overhead view of Dutch oven baked ham with marsala glaze plated on an oval platter with orange slices and onions, with mustard, cranberry sauce, additional glaze and bread in the background.

Baked Ham in a Dutch Oven with Marsala Glaze

Michele
Making a Baked Ham in a Dutch Oven is so incredibly easy! It’s a popular entrée on holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as graduations and other family get-togethers, for good reason. It’s a crowd-pleaser with robust flavor that feeds many with minimum effort. An easy, hands-off recipe that is perfect for beginner cooks!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, American
Servings 14 servings

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (7-10 pound) precooked, bone-in spiral ham (See NOTES.)
  • Avocado or pure olive oil or any cooking oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp orange juice (can use water or Marsala wine)
  • 1 recipe Marsala Glaze (See blow.)

For the Marsala Glaze: (makes about 2¼ cups)

  • 1 cup Marsala wine (can be dry or sweet)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari (low sodium if possible)
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1⅓ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

Instructions
 

  • Prep and gather all ingredients according to specifications above. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325℉. Remove and discard all packaging and any other non-edible materials (such as a plastic button/disc on the bottom) from the ham.
    (Please see the section above in the blog post for Step-By-Step instructions with photos.)
    1 (7-10 pound) precooked, bone-in spiral ham
  • Rub the bottom of the Dutch oven with oil, then scatter the sliced onions over the oil.
    Avocado or pure olive oil, 1 large yellow onion,
  • Place the ham flat/cut side down over the onions, then pour in the orange juice (or other liquid).
    4 Tbsp orange juice
  • Place the cover on the Dutch oven. Or, cover tightly with aluminum foil if the ham is too tall to use the cover.
  • Bake about 12-18 minutes per pound. The exact length of cooking time will vary based on the size of the ham and your oven, but it is roughly 12 to 18 minutes per pound. I suggest taking the internal temperature of the ham after 90 minutes with a stem thermometer to monitor the progress. As the spiral ham is fully cooked, it is just being baked to reheat slowly and be glazed properly. The ham should reach an internal temperature of 140℉.
  • While the ham is baking, make the Marsala Glaze. Use a large saucepot to prevent it boiling over. Add the marsala wine, orange juice, butter, soy sauce or tamari and Dijon mustard to a sauce pan and place it over medium heat. Whisk all the ingredients together and, once the butter has melted, add the sugar and continue whisking.
    1 cup Marsala wine, 1 cup orange juice, 5 Tbsp butter, 3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari, 2 Tbsp Dijon, 1⅓ cups brown sugar,
  • Adjust the heat so that the mixture is at a light simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes and let it reduce. Whisk regularly and do not walk too far away from the stove during this process. Sometimes, sugar mixtures boil up very high, so you need to keep an eye on this. Make sure you use a large enough sauce pot to avoid this from happening and do not boil the mixture. Rather, keep it at a light simmer.
  • After about 20 minutes, mix the water and cornstarch together to make a slurry, then drizzle it into the glaze while whisking continuously for 1 to 2 minutes. The glaze should thicken and lightly coat the back of a spoon. (See photo above.) Then, turn off the heat and let the glaze sit warm at room temperature on or near the stove until ready to use. If the glaze does not thicken enough, add additional slurry a little at a time (2 tsp water/1 tsp slurry).
    2 Tbsp water, 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • After about 2 hours, uncover the ham and remove most of the braising liquid by either carefully tilting the pan over in the sink or using a baster to plunge it up. (You can also save this flavorful liquid to use in Split Pea and Ham Soup!) Leave a little bit of the liquid behind. Then, increase the oven temperature to 375℉.
  • Brush some glaze generously all over the surface of the ham, allowing it to seap into the layers. Return the ham to the oven, uncovered. Continue basting with/brushing glaze on the ham every 20 minutes until the 140℉ internal temperature has been reached. The glaze will caramelize and seep into some of the layers of the ham.
    1 recipe Marsala Glaze
  • Remove the ham from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Serve any remaining glaze o the side. Buon Appetito!

Notes

  • This recipe was written for a 7-10 pound pre-cooked and pre-sliced spiral ham. The cooking time will vary based on the size of the ham and your oven. My 9.77 pound spiral ham took a total of 3 hours in my electric oven to reach the required 140°F internal temperature. I baked it for two hours covered at 325°F and one hour uncovered at 375°F, while brushing it with glaze every 20 minutes for the last hour.
  • A 7-quart Dutch oven should be large enough to hold up to a 10 pound ham. You may need to use aluminum foil to cover it as it will likely be too tall for its cover. (Use heavy-duty aluminum foil if possible as it holds up better than thinner aluminum foil, keeps the ham moister and can even decrease the cooking time.)
  • Since spiral hams are pre-sliced, they have a tendency to dry out quickly. Cooking it covered at a relatively low temperature with some braising liquid helps to prevent this. I used orange juice for the braising liquid (since it is an ingredient already in the marsala glaze) along with the residual liquid form the onions. You can also use vegetable broth, chicken broth, marsala wine or water.
  • The marsala glaze recipe makes about 2¼ cups glaze, which will likely leave some extra for serving alongside the ham.
  • The glaze can be made in advance and held in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days prior to using. Bring it to room temperature or warm it lightly on the stove prior to glazing ham.
  • See my Top Tips for freezing and handling ham leftovers here.
 
Recipe by Mangia With Michele. Please visit my site for more great cooking inspiration!
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3 thoughts on “Baked Ham in a Dutch Oven with Marsala Glaze (Spiral Ham)

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing glaze! Will never do the pineapple clove recipe again! My family loved it and it made such a beautiful caramelization! 😋😋❤️❤️

  2. 5 stars
    Baking my ham this way this year made a huge difference. Not dry and really delicious. But the star, the real star, was that marsala glaze. I made it the day before and it’s so good, I could drink it. The recipes here are easy to follow because Michele lists ingredients after every step so no need to keep swiping up. Make the glaze with your next ham. No regrets. Easy.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe–appreciate all the detail and my family loved the glaze! We had extra so will use it for chicken wings in a few days. This was the first time that I was baking a ham myself and was nervous, but now feel super comfortable with the process. Thanks, Michele!

5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)
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