Raisin Sauce for Baked Ham

Raisin sauce drizzled over slices of baked ham on a dinner plate

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
111 Calories
0g Fat
29g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 111
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 23g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 168mg 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. The sweet and sour supporting ingredients of brown sugar, vinegar, and lemon juice complement the raisins and make for a delicious sauce that is perfect spooned over a slice of baked ham.

But there's no need to wait until the holidays; you can serve the sauce with ham steak, leftover ham, sliced pork roast, or pork chops for a tasty everyday meal. It's ready in 15 minutes, and can be made right when the ham is about to come out of the oven or while the ham rests before carving. Or prepare the sauce up to one day in advance—just cool off, refrigerate, and reheat until hot and bubbly when needed.

“If you’re looking for sauces for your holiday Ham then look no further than right here. This sauce is easy to throw together and packed with flavor.” —Noah Velush-Rogers

Classic Raisin Sauce for Ham/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or wine vinegar

  • 1 cup raisins

  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 1/2 cups water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for raisin sauce recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and dry mustard. Whisk to blend.

    Brown sugar, cornstarch, and dried mustard combined in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Place the pan over medium heat. Slowly add the vinegar, raisins, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add the water to the mixture, stirring constantly until well combined.

    Raisins and liquid ingredients stirred into mixture in the saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Keep stirring until everything is thoroughly blended.

    Sauce being stirred with a metal wire whisk on the burner

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Continue cooking the raisin sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick, clear, and bubbly, at least 10 minutes. Serve the raisin sauce warm, with sliced ham or other pork dishes.

    Bubbly thickened raisin sauce in the saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Tips for Juicing a Lemon

  • A cold lemon can be difficult to juice. Take it out of the refrigerator ahead of time to come to room temperature. If you need it right away, put the lemon in the microwave and cook on 100 percent power for about 20 seconds.
  • Roll the lemon back and forth on the counter while applying slight pressure with the palm of your hand.
  • Use a citrus juicer to get the most juice (and no seeds) out of the lemon.

Spice Up Your Raisin Sauce

To add some new flavors and texture to your sauce, follow one of our suggestions:

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

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