This Sweet and Spicy Cajun-Spiced Ham Is the Ultimate Holiday Recipe


Try this Cajun-Spiced Ham recipe as the centerpiece of your next holiday meal or Sunday dinner.

Cajun-Spiced Ham
Photo: Jason Donnelly
Prep Time:
15 mins
Bake Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
45 mins

The sweet and spicy Cajun spice is a zesty swap for more traditional honey-glazed ham recipes. Whether you're making Thanksgiving dinner or simply want to serve a ham dinner for a crowd, this ham recipe includes a homemade rub made with brown sugar, garlic powder, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, and ground black pepper. This baked ham is delicious on its own but a drizzle of maple syrup before serving adds a little sweetness to balance out the spice of the rub.

How to Choose a Ham

When shopping for a ham, plan on purchasing a large enough ham for 4 to 6 ounces of meat per person.

Cajun Ham Ingredients

Here's a quick look at what you'll need to make this baked ham recipe.

Ham: You'll need a 6-8 pound pre-cooked ham for this recipe. We chose the rump half.

Rub: Our Cajun rub is the perfect combination of sweetness from brown sugar and spice from cayenne pepper, black pepper, and paprika. Add herby notes with thyme, oregano, and dried lemon peel. No dried lemon peel? Use 4 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel instead. Onion and garlic powder round out the flavors.

Syrup: Our recipe tasters enjoyed the finished ham with a drizzle of maple syrup to balance the heat in the rub. We don't recommend using pancake syrup.

How to Make Cajun Ham Steaks

This Cajun ham rub can also be used on ham steaks. Rub the spice mix onto ½-inch-thick ham slices and grill.

How to Store Ham

If you have leftover ham, the good news is that you can freeze it. Our complete guide to freezing ham will help walk you through the process. You can also add leftover ham to dishes like macaroni and cheese, au gratin potatoes, and frittatas. This ham recipe also makes a great salad topping or sandwich filling. Slice it thinly and layer it up on bread with your favorite sauce (we like a spread of mayo!) and veggies like lettuce, tomato, and onion.


  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 - 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried shredded lemon peel

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 (6-8 pound) cooked ham, rump half

  • Pure maple syrup (optional)


  1. spices in bowl

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    Preheat oven to 325°F. For the rub, in a small bowl, combine brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, lemon peel, and black pepper. Mix gently to combine.

    Test Kitchen Tip: Here's how to score your ham to get the flavor down deep. Using a sharp knife, cut the rind of the ham into a diamond pattern, making shallow diagonal cuts 1 inch apart and 1/4 inch deep. Score top and sides.

  2. ham rubbed with spices

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the ham; rub it in with your fingers. Try to cover as much of the ham as possible with the rub.

  3. ham in roasting pan with meat thermometer

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    Place the ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into the center of the ham. The thermometer should not touch the ham bone.

  4. pouring water into roasting pan

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    Place the roasting pan on an oven rack. Pour enough water into the bottom of the roasting pan to reach 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan.

  5. ham covered with foil

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

  6. baked ham in roasting pan

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    Remove the foil. Bake for 30 minutes to 1-1/4 hours more or until the meat thermometer registers 140°F.

  7. cajun spiced ham

    BHG / Abbey Littlejohn

    If desired, serve the Cajun ham with maple syrup for the perfect sweet-spicy finish.

Test Kitchen Tips: Don't have dried lemon peel? We have an easy substitute! Use 4 teaspoons of finely shredded lemon zest instead. Want a weeknight-ready ham recipe? Rub the spice mix onto ½-inch-thick ham slices and grill until heated through. Finish the dish with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

248 Calories
13g Fat
3g Carbs
31g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 20
Calories 248
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 84mg 28%
Sodium 1100mg 48%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 31g 62%
Vitamin C 0.6mg 1%
Calcium 20.2mg 2%
Iron 1.8mg 10%
Potassium 512mg 11%
Folate, total 4mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.7mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.7mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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