Mustard and Brown Sugar-Rubbed Ham With Balsamic-Roasted Onions

Ham leans more savory than sweet thanks to a mustard, brown sugar and balsamic rub. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Growing up, ham wasn't my favorite thing. It was usually dry, with a cloying glaze I just didn't understand. As an adult, I decided to make some changes and fix those problems. This ham, with a bright, sharp glaze, comes served with onions roasted right in the meaty pan drippings.

Why this recipe works:

  • A sharp glaze with just a mild sweetness helps cut through the rich smokiness of the ham.
  • We use the pan drippings to roast cipollini onions. The drippings keep them moist while adding flavor at the same time.
  • Basting the ham every 20 minutes as it bakes helps it pick up color faster while still cooking through at a gently pace.

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.

Mustard and Brown Sugar-Rubbed Ham With Balsamic-Roasted Onions

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 10 to 12
Active time:15 minutes
Total time:2 1/2 hours
Special equipment:Roasting pan
This recipe appears in: Mustard and Brown Sugar-Rubbed Ham With Balsamic-Roasted Onions


  • 1 (10 to 12-pound) smoked cured city ham
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup backed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound cipollini onions, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. 1

    Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Remove ham from packaging and drain thoroughly. Place cut side down in roasting pan. Using a paring knife, score the ham to create a diamond pattern, taking care to only cut through the first inch or so.

  2. 2

    In a small bowl, combine mustard, brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Rub mixture on ham, taking care to get it into the cracks.

  3. 3

    Combine onions, remaining 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and honey in a medium mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss well to coat. Transfer to the baking pan, and arrange onions around the ham.

  4. 4

    Place ham in the oven and cook, basting every 2o to 30 minutes with pan juices, until ham is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the deepest part registars 130 to 140°F, about 2 hours. Tent with foil if ham starts to brown too rapidly.

  5. 5

    Remove ham from oven and let rest, tented with foil, for 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon out onions with a slotted spoon and pour pan drippings into a measuring cup. Carefully skim fat off of pan drippings. Slice ham and serve immediately with onions and drippings.

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: