Country Ham with Cranberry, Mint and Brown Sugar Glaze

by Tatanisha Worthey | Nov 2, 2017

You can’t beat hickory-cured ham.

—Little House in the Big Woods

In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods, Pa and Uncle Henry butcher a wild pig. It’s fascinating to read how not one piece of the pig is wasted. Remember when Pa takes the pig’s bladder and blows it up like a balloon? It may sound gross to us today, but the girls have fun playing games with the bladder. They also eat every single piece of meat, knowing they will not have another pig until the following year. They make headcheese, skin the brown “cracklings” for flavor, sausage, and of course ham. Today, I’m sharing a simple Smoked Ham recipe with a Cranberry, Mint & Brown Sugar glaze.

Christmas Ham with Cranberry, Mint, and Brown Sugar Glaze Recipe

There are so many reasons to get into the holiday spirit with Thanksgiving family dinners and Christmas gatherings drawing near. Little House on the Prairie reminds us all that Christmas isn’t about the commercial aspects of shopping and receiving lots of gifts. Christmas has always been about two main things to me, family and food. One of my favorite events of the day is the Christmas dinner. And more often than not, the crown jewel of Christmas dinner was my grandmother’s ham.

Now that I am all grown up and with a family of my own, it has become my job to prepare our family’s Christmas ham. Inspired by Little House on the Prairie cooking traditions, here’s my recipe for a Christmas Ham with Cranberry, Mint & Brown Sugar Glaze.

Fresh ingredients for a cranberry, mint and brown sugar glazed country ham - YUM!

Ingredients needed for the Cranberry, Mint & Brown Sugar Glaze

  • Smoked Ham
  • 16 ounces brown sugar
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup mint sprigs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole cranberries

Directions to make a Christmas Ham with Cranberry, Mint & Brown Sugar Glaze

1. In a saucepan, muddle sprigs of mint to release the oil. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water to make a simple syrup. Combine ingredients over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. When the mixture starts to boil, stir for another two minutes and remove from heat.

Make the mint and brown sugar glaze for the ham

2. In a medium bowl, add brown sugar and cranberry sauce (see a homemade cranberry sauce recipe here) and mix well. Add the mint infused simple syrup and stir until ingredients are combined. Set aside.

Adding the mint infusion to the cranberry and brown sugar for a delicious, mouthwatering ham glaze!

3. Place ham in a large 12″ cast iron skillet skin side up. Using a very sharp knife, score the skin of the ham into a crosshatch pattern.

Country ham - ready for a Cranberry and brown sugar with mint glaze

4. Spoon Cranberry, Mint & Brown Sugar Glaze all over the ham making sure to work into every crack and crevasse. Cook the ham at 325 degrees for an hour and remove it from the oven. Add more Cranberry, Mint & Brown Sugar Glaze and continue cooking. After 45 minutes remove ham from oven, and add the whole cranberries by pressing them into the crack of the crosshatched skin.

Delicious country ham with Cranberry and Mint, brown-sugar glaze - skillet ham recipe. Delicious!

This glaze is one-of-a-kind with a sweet and savory taste. The whole family will be coming back for seconds and thirds. Eat it all up, because Christmas ham only comes around once a year!

Delicious country style skillet ham recipe with cranberry and mint and brown sugar glaze - Unreal!!

Do you prepare a Christmas Ham? What are some of your favorite ways to cook your ham and what type of glaze do you use? Leave me a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to the newsletter for more Little House on the Prairie-inspired recipes!

Tatanisha plays a Super-Fun Mom to three active & handsome boys. A Foodie at heart and Wife to an awesome Chef.
When she's not blogging about ways to save money or about autism, she loves to travel and try new food. You can find her creating new tablescapes over at A Worthey Read, as well as saving you money on A Mitten Full of Savings.


  1. This looks delicious, but I’m having a very difficult time finding fresh mint. I have dried mint, will that work?

  2. This looks delicious and i cant wait to try it tonight for Christmas dinner. A quick question on it, after the fresh cranberries are placed in the cross hatches, do you continue to cook? Thanks!

  3. I searched and searched but could not find the oven temperature for baking the ham. Could you please tell me? This sounds so good. What kind of ham do you buy? I grew up on a little farm in Virginia and they sugar cured their own hams. There is no ham on earth like what came out of our “meat house”.

    • Bake at 325 degrees. The recipe calls for a ham that’s smoked.

    • Cook the ham at 325 degrees for an hour and remove it from the oven. Add more Cranberry, Mint & Brown Sugar Glaze and continue cooking. After 45 minutes remove ham from oven, and add the whole cranberries by pressing them into the crack of the crosshatched skin

  4. Wow! This ham looks really delicious. Nice plating also. I’ll surely try this recipe and hoping it will turn out great just like the one in your picture.

  5. Darlin’ I am a good cook, but you are a great cook. Thank you for the wonderful ham glaze. It was delicious. We all learn to cook from our families.

  6. Looks good but you did not say how big the ham should be or how many it would serve. It would be n ice if you included serving sizes in all the recipes.

    • The recipe is flexible to work with whatever size ham you need for you and your family.

  7. My ham turned out great! It was FANTASTIC! Everyone LOVED it! They talked about it all day. My sister (who doesn’t eat ham because of tasting a salty ham when she was a child), even loved it. When I told her I was making it, she immediately sad she was going to taste it. It was also as picturesque as it was tasty. I used to inject my ham with a praline marinade, but no more! This is the only way to prepare ham as far as I’m concerned! I was a bit nervous about the mint, but the flavor was superb! I won’t be changing a thing! In fact, I was told by several family members, “don’t change a thing”! I’ve already been informed that this is to be on our Christmas menu from now on! We sometimes do ham for Easter, so this will be our Easter ham as well. Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    • That is AWESOME to hear Angela! I’m glad you all enjoyed it and it turned out beautiful for you and your family!

  8. I am going to try this for Christmas. Should I cover my ham with foil when cooking?

    • Good Evening Angela,

      No, you do not have to cover it with foil!

      Happy cooking and let me know how it turns out for you!

  9. Is there a printable version of this recipe?? I would like to keep it to try at a later date.

    • Yes absolutely! If you look at the top of each post there are several share button options. The fifth icon is a Printer icon and if you click it you’ll have a new window open up with a printer-friendly version of the recipe to print out. It allows you to click and remove the elements you don’t want to print while saving the parts you DO want to print to save on ink. Thanks for asking!

  10. I cook my ham by immersing the uncooked ham in water, bring to the boil and pour off the water. Fill the pan again using either carton apple juice/cider/ water or usually a mixture off the three. Include an onion (large) including skin. Five cloves, two bay leaves, five juniper berries and half teaspoon of whole pepper. Cook for a couple of hours, depending on the size of your joint. Drain the water. Carefully remove the rind with a sharp knife. Cut the fat with diagonal lines to make a diamon pattern. In each diamond place a clove. Cover the surface with English mustard, evenly. Then cover with Demerara sugar, pressing it into the mustard. Place the ham in a roasting tray, with some of the cooking liquid. Place in a hot oven for between 20-40 minutes until the sugar has caramelised. If you wish baste carefully with the cooking liquid being careful not to wash the sugar and mustard off. Let it cool.

    • I intend to try your recipe for a change.

      • Awesome, Mary!

        Happy cooking and let me know how it turns out for you!

    • Sounds wonderful, I will have to give this one a try! Thanks for sharing!


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