If you’re looking for wine pairings with ham, you’ve come to the right place!
You might be wondering whether you should pair red or white wine with ham. The answer? It depends on the type of ham you’re having.
Ham can be prepared in many ways. You can smoke it, age it, cure it, glaze it, honey bake it…I could go on, but you get the point.
When choosing the best wine to pair with your ham, you want to make sure it works with the style of the ham. Read on to find out which wines go best with all the different types of ham.
Want a great ham recipe? I’ve got that for you too. Keep scrolling for this brown sugar and honey-glazed ham that’s perfect for a holiday meal like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinner. Or if you love ham as much as I do, you can make it for a regular old Sunday ham dinner!
BTW, if you haven’t yet, make sure to grab my free Wine Tasting Planner. It has 20+ wine night theme ideas, including the exact ones I’ve used for my wine tastings. Plus, a timeline, food pairings, games, free printables, worksheets, and more. Get your copy here.
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Glazed Ham Wine Pairing
For you sweet and salty fans looking for glazed or honey-baked ham wine pairings, you’ll want something fruit-forward and even a little sweet.
Sweet flavor in food makes wine taste less fruity and more bitter. So that’s why a sweet wine, or one that’s at least sweeter than the food, is a good choice.
You could for sure go with an off-dry Riesling here. But another great option is Gewurztraminer. It may be a mouthful to say, but your mouth will thank you once you taste it. Grab a bottle from Alsace and inhale aromas of lychees, roses, and baking spices.
If your heart is set on red wine, I’d go with an Australian Shiraz. The warm climate makes these wines incredibly fruit-forward. Look for one from Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale.
Smoked Ham Wine Pairing
If you’re looking for black forest ham or baked ham wine pairings, a fruity red wine is the best bet here. It will compliment the juicy, smoky flavors.
There are tons of great wine options to choose from. How about a jammy red Zinfandel wine from California in the United States? Or a Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain?
You could also opt for rosé wines from a place like Tavel, France. This full-bodied wine has enough flavor intensity and complexity to hold its own with the smoky, salty ham.
And when it comes to the holidays, you gotta love those leftover ham sandwiches. Looking for a wine pairing with a ham and cheese sandwich? A Beaujolais, made from the Gamay grape, would be a good pairing. You’ll find light, perfumed versions with fruity flavors from the villages of Fleurie or Brouilly.
Cured Ham Wine Pairing
What holiday would be complete without some charcuterie or antipasto? I love a good spread of dry-cured ham like prosciutto (aka parma ham), serrano ham, or Iberico ham with all the fixings.
These salty, fatty meats are a perfect match with Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine. It’s produced using the same method as Champagne, so you’ll get some of those bready flavors but less of the nutty ones. A white or rosé version would be a great choice to pair with the saltiness of the ham.
If you’re feeling adventurous, how about a Fino Sherry? This fortified dry wine also hails from Spain and has aromas of citrus, almonds, and herbs. Add some manchego cheese and you’re good to go!
Looking for more wine and cheese pairing ideas? Check out my recommendations for burrata wine pairing and Cambozola wine pairing.
Wine Pairings with Ham and Turkey
If you’re like my big Irish family who goes all out for the holidays, you may need a Thanksgiving wine pairing with ham and turkey. Plus, you have to think about what will work with all those tasty sides.
A Chateauneuf-du-Pape from France’s Southern Rhone would be an excellent choice. This is also known as a GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre). Ones that are predominantly Grenache are soft and fruity.
But if in doubt, go with any kind of bubbly. The carbonation will act as a palate cleanser to reset your taste buds after each bite.
One Wine to Rule Them All
Well, “rule” might be a bit extreme (this is what happens when you binge-watch The Rings of Power all weekend).
But, if I had to pick just one wine that works with pretty much any style of ham, it would be Riesling. The high acidity and versatility of this aromatic white make it one of the most food-friendly wines. And it’s a perfect pairing with pretty much any salty, spicy, or sweet ham.
Dry Rieslings from Germany (look for “Trocken” on the bottle) or Alsace, go great with smoked or cured ham. Off-dry versions (“Halbtrocken” or “Feinherb” in German) pair well with a sweet glaze, a fruit glaze, or the heat from a spicy ham.
Oh, and if you forgot to put your wine in the fridge, check out the secret of how to chill wine fast.
Brown Sugar & Honey-Glazed Ham Recipe Equipment
For this recipe, you’ll need the following equipment:
- Sharp chef’s knife – I use this one for everything
- Roasting pan – love Le Creuset’s but anything like this would work
- Meat thermometer – I like the Meater so you can leave it in and monitor from your phone
- Small saucepan – Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro is my go-to set
- Carving set – mine is this set from Wusthof
- Large cutting board
- Serving platter
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Brown Sugar & Honey-Glazed Ham
- 8-10 pound fully cooked ham, bone-in (shank or leg)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsps Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- Remove packaging from the ham. Let rest at room temperature for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Move rack to bottom of oven.
- If desired, remove outer rind from ham. This will make a crispier crust. Slide knife under the rind to loosen and peel back. Make sure to leave the white fat on the ham. Make 1/4 inch deep slices in a diamond pattern across the ham, with lines about 1 inch apart.
- Line a roasting pan or baking tray with aluminum foil. Place ham in pan and pour water in bottom of pan. Cover with foil and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
- To make the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir frequently until golden brown. Add the brown sugar, honey, mustard, cinnamon, and cloves and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Once ham has baked for 30 minutes, remove from oven and increase temperature to 425°F.
- Brush 1/3 of the glaze all over the ham, making sure to get it in the cuts. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Repeat this 2 more times, brushing another 1/3 of the glaze on the ham each time. Baste the ham with the juices from the pan. Remove the ham once it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F.
- Let the ham rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
What wine will you be enjoying with your ham?
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