Classic Raisin Sauce for Baked Ham

ham slice with raisin sauce
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
242 Calories
0g Fat
63g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 242
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 32mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Protein 1g
Calcium 51mg 4%
*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.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Raisin sauce with baked ham is a tradition in many families, and you might have fond memories of the sauce with an Easter or Christmas dinner. You don't have to wait for a holiday to enjoy it—serve the sauce with ham steak or leftover ham, or serve it with sliced pork roast or pork chops for a tasty everyday meal.

The sauce is surprisingly fast and easy to prepare and cook. Just throw the ingredients together about 10 minutes before your ham comes out of the oven. Keep the sauce warm until it's time to serve.

The sweet and sour combination of brown sugar, vinegar, and lemon juice is classic. Use apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or wine vinegar in the sauce. See the recipe variations for more ideas.


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest (finely grated)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    gather the ingredients
    Diana Rattray
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and dry mustard; stir to blend the dry mixture thoroughly.

    Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and mustard.
    Diana Rattray
  3. Place the pan over medium heat and gradually add the vinegar, raisins, lemon zest, lemon juice, stirring constantly. Add the water.

    Add the wet ingredients including water.
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  4. Stir the ingredients until thoroughly blended.

    Stir the mixture over medium heat.
    Diana Rattray
  5. Continue cooking the raisin sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick, clear, and bubbly.

    Cook the raisin sauce until it is clear and bubbling.
    Diana Rattray
  6. Serve the raisin sauce with sliced ham or pork.

  7. Enjoy!


  • This raisin sauce can be made up to 1 day in advance. Prepare the sauce as directed and transfer it to a bowl. Cover it and refrigerate it until about 10 to 15 minutes before serving time. Reheat the sauce in a saucepan until hot and bubbly.
  • A lemon taken straight out of the fridge can be difficult to juice. Before zesting and juicing the lemon, put it in the microwave and cook on 100% power for about 20 seconds. Zest the softened lemon and then extract the juice. Here's another way to soften a lemon: place the whole lemon on the countertop and roll it back and forth while pressing with your hand.

Recipe Variations

  • For extra flavor and some shine, add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter to the sauce as soon as it is removed from the heat. Stir until the butter has melted.
  • Replace 1/2 cup of the water with orange juice or apple juice.
  • Apple Raisin Sauce: Saute 1/2 to 1 cup of diced apple in a small amount of butter until just tender. Replace about half of the water with apple juice or cider. Add the diced apple to the sauce along with the raisins and cook as directed.
  • Spiced Raisin Sauce: Add about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, and a dash of cloves.
  • Pineapple Raisin Sauce: Reduce the water to 1 cup and add one 8-ounce can (undrained) of crushed pineapple along with the raisins.
  • Rum Raisin Sauce: Stir in 1 teaspoon of rum extract as soon as the sauce is removed from the heat.

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