Coca-Cola Ham with Spicy Sweet Mustard Sauce

Ridiculously easy to make! A classic southern recipe from Nigella, perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter! Coca-Cola Ham

Coca-Cola Ham ingredients

Coca-Cola Ham preparationCoca-Cola Ham Slicing

Coca-Cola Ham is a holiday classic at our place. Which holiday? All of them! Usually Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, but this is the way we usually eat ham, any occasion will do!

I first learned about this recipe from Nigella Lawson on her TV series Nigella Bites, which is just a variation of an American way of making ham (with clever marketing). I admit I was skeptical at first, Coca-Cola Ham? How does that work? I assure you it doesn’t taste at all like Coke, but adds a subtle sweetness to the ham and keeps it nice and moist. Maybe it’s just the onion that throws you off the flavour of Coke, but whatever the reason, this recipe works perfectly.

Nigella uses a glaze with mustard powder and molasses, and it looks beautiful, but we never fussed with that part. We usually just crisp the skin in the oven and serve it with a delicious sauce my wife makes. Sometimes my wife makes a Bourbon Maple Glaze, but really you can baste it with anything if you like.

The hero of this dish is the Spicy Sweet Mustard Sauce. Take sweetened condensed milk and mix with Hot English mustard, creating a super sweet hot sauce with a mustard kick – the type that wasabi provides.

This sauce is perfect with ham, but don’t use regular American mustard, that wouldn’t work. It must be Hot English mustard, which works really well with ham. After all, this isn’t a hot dog, this is just a variation building on that taste tradition. We don’t miss a Christmas or even Easter without Coca-Cola Ham. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!

Coca-Cola Ham SlicingCoca-Cola Ham

Coca-Cola Ham with Spicy Sweet Mustard Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Ridiculously easy to make! A classic southern recipe from Nigella, perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter! Coca-Cola Ham
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola soft drink
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 kg bone-in ham (I usualy use a ham shoulder)
  • Sweet Mustard Ham Sauce
  • 1 400g/14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 teaspoons Hot English Mustard
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, place the ham, onion and pour the Coca-Cola over top of the ham.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for approx 1 hour per kilo (2 pounds) of ham. Cover loosely with a lid. I rotate the ham so it's even cooked in the cola.
  3. Optional step that I don't usually do, I just skip to step 4. Score the ham in a diagonial pattern, places whole cloves in each diamond. Glaze with 1 tablespoon molasses, then sprinkle 2 teaspoons English mustard powder and 2 tablespoons brown sugar overtop of the ham so it sticks to the molasses.
  4. I just bake the ham for 10 minutes at 175°C/350°F so the skin crisps up.
  5. Mix together the sweetened condensed milk and hot English mustard together, until the mustard is mixed evenly and not lumpy. Taste. If it's doesn't have enough mustard kick, add another teaspoon. I suggest by starting with 2 teaspoons of Hot English mustard, mixing with the sweetened condensed milk, and adjusting by your taste. Hot English mustard has the same nasally kick that wasabi provides to your nostrils, so be sure to taste! Enjoy!
Optional - Can add 2 Star Anise Seeds to the Coca Cola mixture for a different twist.


Ridiculously easy to make! A classic southern recipe from Nigella, perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter! Coca-Cola Ham


  1. The concept of Coke and cooking it with meat always bothered me. I do not drink coke or any fizzy drinks, so the sweetness always was a concern. I am intrigued now 🙂 This sounds brilliant. I love the sauce and have done the exact same one with a ham 🙂

    • Hi Lynne, I hear you! I wasn’t sure also at first. The fizziness goes away, and just think of the sugar like a glaze maybe. At the end of it, you’re left with a ham stock in Coke that almost seems a shame to throw away, as it’s not as sweet anymore. I think there are some soup recipes with the leftover stock, but none that caught my eye. We tried a black bean soup once, but never again. The sauce is definitely a favourite of my kids! 😊 I’m not a Coke fan, but this somehow works! 👍

  2. Can you do the whole thing in the oven rather than the stove top? I’ve heard about cooking a ham in cola but never tried. I make a ham every year for Easter and this sounds wonderful.

    • I’ve never tried only in the oven, but I suppose it could work, Would maybe need a deeper pan? The reason its mostly on the stovetop is to infuse the flavour into the ham, with the oven crisping up glaze. Thanks for the complement, it is awesome, I hope you try it! 🙂

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