Ham It Up: 6 Fruits and Veggies To Add To Christmas Ham

Just because a dish is traditional doesn’t mean that your ingredients have to be. Utilizing fresh produce in your Christmas ham can seriously boost your flavor profile and presentation game, but more importantly, make your dish stand out in the ever competitive world of holiday LTOS. Create your own twist on a classic by using this guide as inspiration. Think of it as our little gift to you.


The O.G. Christmas ham topping, pineapple glazed ham is a dish that everyone should try at least once. Give your customers the chance by offering it on your menu, but don’t forget the maraschino cherries! The two fruits work together with pineapple juice to bring beautifully sweet, fresh flavors throughout the entire ham. Be sure to decorate the outside of the ham with both to maximize presentation!


Citrus serves two purposes when added to meat; it simultaneously lightens the overall flavor profile and tenderizes the meat. We like using as much of the orange as we possible can, so try including the juice and zest into your glaze and placing some fresh slices on the exterior of your ham.

  • Pro Tip: Give your dish a boozy finish by working with the time honored combination of oranges and bourbon!


Bring a little savory spice by roasting onions alongside your ham! If you’re looking for a simple side dish, this can be a good bet too; simply drizzle your chosen glaze on pearl onions and place them in the oven with the ham!


For a unique take on baked ham, try stuffing thin apple slices into the ham itself before baking. The winter fruit can offset the succulent smoothness of ham with a light crunch, creating an interesting interplay of texture that your customers won’t expect. On top of that, the flavor of your apples will permeate the ham with a crisp sweetness! We’d recommend using a baking apple like honeycrisp, granny smith, or golden delicious.


Another holiday heavyweight, cranberries can add an unexpected tartness and unique texture to the plate. Dripping cranberry sauce onto your ham is potentially the best way to include cranberries (and certainly the best use of excess sauce), but be sure to add it during the cooking process and top the ham with the sauce once it comes out of the oven for maximum flavor.


Staying warm on Christmas day has never been easier. If you’re looking to add a little heat to your ham, jalapeños are an ideal, albeit unexpected, option. Though you could add jalapeños to the ham itself, we prefer incorporating them into a thick, syrupy glaze and drizzling on towards the end of the cooking process.