Introduced in 1886 by Dr. John Pemberton at the Jacobs' Pharmacy in downtown Atlanta, Coca-Cola was originally invented as a temperance drink and over-the-counter medicine for customers with upset stomachs. Originally containing Coca leaves (cocaine) and Kola nuts for caffeine, Coca-Cola gained large popularity in the early 1900s and furthermore in the 1950s when it was bottled and sold across the United States as a ready-to-drink carbonated beverage. It was also in the 50s that cooks began adding the sweet soda to a variety of different recipes including Coca-Cola Cake and Coca-Cola glazed spiral ham.

What is Coca-Cola Ham?

ham dinner with coke
Lyndsay Cordell

While no one knows for sure then the recipe for Coca-Cola Ham was created, it can be theorized that using Coca-Cola for a glazed ham recipe probably came about in the 1950s-1960s when cake mixes and ingredient mixes were in their prime. If you're lucky, you can still find the recipe floating around in Southern church cookbooks.

Perfect for Christmas, Easter, or as the main course for Sunday supper, this Coca-Cola glazed ham has got to be the best ham I've ever tried. Sweet, sticky, with a little bit of a kick from the cola, you'll be lucky if there are leftovers of this holiday ham.

How Long to Bake a Ham

Coke ham glaze
Lyndsay Cordell

It all starts at the grocery store. I personally prefer purchasing spiral-cut hams because they are easier to serve and have a nice, fresh flavor. Look for one that comes with a glaze packet included (rather than pre-glazed). If you have to go pre-glazed, go for a brown sugar glaze and remove the brown sugar from the recipe.

How To Cook Ham Without a Roasting Pan

Coca Cola Ham
Lyndsay Cordell

Once ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350F and prepare a roasting pan. I do not have a roasting pan but thankfully there is a niffy little trick you can use with aluminum foil to mimic one.

Tear off two sheets of aluminum foil and roll both into tight cylinders. Place them in a 13x9-inch pan and place the ham on top. The foil will allow airflow under the ham as well as let the ham drain.

To the ham, pour on one can of Coca-Cola (not diet coke) and top with brown sugar. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 90 minutes, removing the foil and basting the ham every 30 minutes. You can do this either with a baster or a pastry brush.

After 90 minutes remove the foil and let bake until bubbly, crispy, and brown on the top of the ham. Remove if the internal temperature is above 160F.

Let the ham cool for five minutes then transfer the remaining liquid in the pan into a saucepan. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Whisk the slurry into the liquid and bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Pour the Coca-Cola ham glaze over the ham and serve. I like to serve mine with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots.

READ MORE: Do You Know the Difference Between Coke and Pepsi?

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Coca-Cola Glazed Ham  

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 2 hours

servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 10 lb spiral cut ham
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 8 ozbottle Coca-Cola
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

On a roasting rack or on two cylinders of aluminum foil, place the ham.

Pour on one bottle of Coca-Cola over the ham and top with brown sugar. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 90 minutes, removing the foil and basting the ham every 30 minutes. You can do this either with a baster or a pastry brush.

After 90 minutes remove the foil and let bake until bubbly, crispy, and brown on the top of the ham. Remove if the internal temperature is above 160F.

Let the ham cool for five minutes than transfer the remaining liquid in the pan into a saucepan. Meanwhile in a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Whisk the slurry into the liquid and bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Pour the Coca-Cola ham glaze over the ham and serve.