Modern Pineapple Ham with Balsamic Honey Glaze
This Modern Honey Pineapple Ham is served in a fresh new way but every bit as delicious as your grandma's traditional ham. It's stuffed with pineapple slices and coated in a balsamic honey glaze then roasted to perfection. It's the perfect Thanksgiving (or Christmas or Easter) main dish recipe.
When I was young, my grandma would make these GIANT spreads for holiday meals. For Christmas, she'd make a turkey, homemade pierogies and sausages, every side dish you can think of, and always a pineapple ham.
I love you, grandma. Seriously big-time love for the woman who could cook a multi-course meal for a small army and make it look like a breeze. So much admiration here.
But times have changed, and that pineapple ham recipe needs to catch up.
You know the recipe I'm talking about, right? The one with the canned pineapple rings stuck to the side of the ham with toothpicks, unnaturally red maraschino cherries in their centers if you were really fancy. Ya, that recipe.
I'm not going to lie, I loved it when I was a kid. I thought it looked so pretty. He he he. Fast forward 30 years and it now looks like it belongs amongst those funny vintage food pics we've all laughed at when we're killing time on Facebook.
BUT … I still remember digging into it and liking it. So I thought we should revisit the traditional pineapple ham recipe and give it a bit of a modern makeover.
I've done two things with this pineapple ham makeover.
1. The presentation has been updated. There's no more 1950s housewife ham going on here. There are no tin-y flavored canned pineapples. We're using the real deal here. Decades ago, ‘fancy' fruit like pineapples weren't readily available like they are now, which is why (I'm sure) people used canned.
You and I are going to buy a pineapple and slice it thin. Those slices are getting nestled into cuts we've made in the ham. This will help infuse the ham with pineapple flavor, and let us actually see (gasp!) the ham.
And we've obviously done away with those little red balls of sugar cause no one ever needs to eat another of those things ever again.
2. We've brought the glaze into this century. Normally, pineapple ham is glazed with an insane amount of brown sugar. Now I'm not going to sit here and dis a brown sugar glaze. We all know it's delicious. But there are (I think) better ways of doing things nowadays.
I used honey in place of the brown sugar and it works perfectly to add that delicious sweetness that's a hallmark of pineapple ham.
There's also a little balsamic vinegar snuck in there. While balsamic has a lot of natural sweetness, it also has the acidity needed to balance the glaze. And it gets bonus points for making the glaze dark and extra delicious looking.
More delicious Thanksgiving recipes:
- Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Herb and Garlic Smashed Sweet Potatoes
- Herb Roasted Rack of Lamb
- Healthy Vegan Green Been Casserole
- Chocolate Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Maple Bourbon Sweet Potato Ribbon Casserole
Modern Pineapple Ham with Balsamic Honey Glaze
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
- 3 ½ lb smoked ham, see notes!
- ½ medium pineapple
- ⅓ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- A pinch of cayenne
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking dish large enough to fit the ham with parchment paper. (To make cleanup easier.)
- Slice your ham ½ inch thick slices, cutting halfway through.3 ½ lb smoked ham
- Cut the bottom and top of your pineapple then cut it in half lengthwise. Cut the skin off one half then cut it in half lengthwise again. Cut the tough core out of the two quarters then lay them flat and slice them into thin (⅛ inch thick) strips. Tuck these strips into the cuts you made in the ham, 2 pineapple slices per cut.½ medium pineapple
- In a small bowl, mix the honey, balsamic vinegar, dijon, and cayenne. Brush a small amount over the ham.⅓ cup honey, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, A pinch of cayenne
- Bake the ham 1 ½ hours then remove it from the oven. Pour the remaining glaze over the top, making sure it seeps into the pineapple filled cuts. Return the ham to the oven for another half hour. Let the ham rest on your counter for 15 minutes before serving.
This should come with a warning! I ruined a 7.5 lbs ham. The pineapple broke down the meat to mush😪
Also got very mushy. Wife still liked it. Very. Good taste. No glaze packet used. Maybe shorter cook time would help.
I’m sorry to leave a poor review but I am doing so in hopes it saves someone else from the problem I encountered. I really wanted to love this ham recipe, as I remembered my mother’s holiday hams with pineapple rings on top, but it failed for me. It was so pretty as it entered the oven, but I suppose the pineapple and long cooking time caused it to be so tender that it was basically mush. No one would eat more than their first bite. What a disappointment for Christmas dinner! I likely did something wrong as I never did learn to cook well or like cooking, and admittedly I did also add in the glaze packet which came with the ham, as I tend to be a hoarder and rarely throw anything away. Therefore, I froze it afterwards and hopefully it will eventually make a good split pea ham soup. I just saw the other comments, and they are mostly positive, so again, I probably caused my own failure.
I’m sorry that it didn’t turn out for you. Without knowing what was in the glaze packet it’s hard to say if that may have caused it to overcook. I hope you have success turning it into soup!
HI! I would love to make this recipe for our large Xmas Eve gathering of 20 people. I already purchased a 14lb bone in ham, not smoked. How would I size up your recipe to accommodate the ham I bought?
Thank you for coming up with a recipe that doesn’t rely on sugar!
I haven’t tried the recipe with a large, bone in ham before. I would slice the pineapple a little thicker to accommodate the longer cooking time. 🙂
This was a great recipe, my only reservation would be that parts of the ham nearest where the pineapple sat turned to mush and I’m thinking it’s because of the enzymes in the pineapple. Has this happened to you? Or did it just happen to be an extremely juicy pineapple that caused it?
It hasn’t happened to me before but I suspect that you are right about it being the enzymes from the pineapple that broke down the meat.
I was craving ham the other day and thought I would try your recipe, It was a hit with everyone. Thank you!
I’m so happy to hear it was a hit!
Hello! Just wanted to let you know that I made this the other night – super delicious – the family just LOVED it and devoured it all!! Thanks!
That’s so wonderful to hear!! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!