Raisin Sauce For Ham – The Secret To A Memorable Meal

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Raisin Sauce for Ham Recipe is a delightful blend that perfectly complements the savory notes of ham. If you’ve got a ham dish, you might want to pair it with this sauce. Made with juicy raisins and a hint of tanginess, it elevates the ham’s flavor. I recommend trying it for an enhanced dining experience. It’s one of the most commonly chosen sauces for ham, and it helps you appreciate the meal even more. If you want a richer taste, it’s better if you pair your ham with this raisin sauce.

Ham has always been a staple in many households and special occasions, but pairing it with the perfect sauce can be challenging.

During my travels to Middle Eastern and European countries, I often observed a recurring theme: the pairing of sweet and savory in dishes.

Raisin Sauce For Ham Recipe

I was in a quaint restaurant in Paris when I first encountered the magic of Raisin Sauce for Ham. The sauce perfectly complemented the savory ham with its rich, sweet notes from raisins. I was captivated. 

Returning home, I received a similar reaction when I served it during a friend’s visit; even my kids, who are usually picky eaters, requested seconds. You’ll want to introduce this to your ham dishes, too. 

No more dry ham slices or mismatched pairings! By adding Raisin Sauce to your culinary repertoire, you’ll not only satisfy your taste buds but also bring a touch of global gourmet to your table.

It’s a simple yet game-changing addition that has transformed many of my meals.

What Is Raisin Sauce for Ham?

Raisin Sauce for Ham is a sweet and tangy sauce commonly used to enhance the flavor profile of ham dishes. Made from plump raisins, sugar, and various spices, it contrasts the savory taste of ham. 

This sauce often incorporates elements like lemon or orange zest, vinegar, or mustard for that added zing. 

Serving during festive occasions or regular meals ensures the ham remains moist and flavorful. 

I recommend trying this sauce to elevate your ham dish to a whole new level. It’s truly a taste sensation that you’ll want to experience.

History Of Raisin Sauce for Ham

Raisin Sauce for Ham’s origins aren’t precisely documented, but it’s believed to have European roots. 

It’s commonly thought that the sauce resulted from European cooks wanting to enhance the flavor of their meats with available fruits and spices

Raisins, being a staple in European kitchens, were a natural choice. Over time, as trade routes expanded and culinary influences blended, the sauce saw adaptations in various regions. 

While we can’t pinpoint a single inventor, it’s generally accepted that the sauce evolved as a collaborative creation across European kitchens.

Today, it is a testament to the ingenuity of cooks looking to enrich their dishes with complementary flavors.

Interesting Facts About Raisin Sauce for Ham

Raisin sauce for ham is a classic accompaniment that adds a sweet and slightly tangy flavor to the savory taste of ham. Here are some interesting facts about raisin sauce and its relationship with ham:

Historical Pairing

The pairing of sweet fruit sauces with meats goes back centuries and can be traced to different cuisines across the world. In medieval European cookery, it was quite common to combine meats with sweet fruits like raisins, prunes, or dates to balance the flavors.

The Great Depression Influence

The popularity of raisin sauce for ham, particularly in the United States, surged during the Great Depression. Raisins were relatively inexpensive and widely available, making them a cost-effective way to add flavor and nutrition to meals.

Nutritional Benefits

Raisins are packed with energy and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. When added to a sauce for ham, they can contribute to the dish’s overall nutritional value, providing iron, potassium, and antioxidants.

Culinary Balance

The sweetness of the raisins in the sauce contrasts with the saltiness of the ham, creating a balanced flavor profile. This is a classic example of the culinary principle that opposing flavors can complement each other when combined correctly.

Variations in Recipes

While the base ingredients for raisin sauce include raisins, sugar, and a liquid (often water, wine, or sometimes vinegar), there are numerous variations. Some recipes include spices like cloves, cinnamon, or mustard to give the sauce additional depth and complexity.


Although it’s called raisin sauce for ham, this sauce can also complement other dishes. It can be served with pork, poultry, or even certain game meats, and it can be adjusted in sweetness or tartness to match the dish

History Of Raisin Sauce for Ham   

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

  • North America: Some versions include maple syrup or brown sugar, providing a more profound sweetness.
  • Europe: In some parts, the sauce gets a dash of brandy or wine, reflecting their rich tradition of alcoholic beverages.
  • Middle-East: Inspired by their love for fruits and nuts, some adaptations might add chopped almonds or figs.
  • Asia: Some Asian variants incorporate local spices, giving the sauce a hint of warmth and a unique aroma.
  • Latin America: It’s common to find raisin sauces with a hint of chili or citrus in this region.

What Will Make You Love This Raisin Sauce for Ham?

  • Flavor Balance: The sauce offers a harmonious blend of sweet and tangy, brilliantly enhancing the taste of ham.
  • Texture: Its consistency is rich and smooth, with occasional bursts of juicy raisins.
  • Versatility: Beyond ham, pairing with other meats or vegetarian dishes is excellent.
  • Simplicity: Despite its complex taste, the sauce is easily prepared with commonly available ingredients.
  • Tradition and Innovation: While rooted in tradition, the sauce allows for personal tweaks, making it better if you add your own twist.
  • Health Benefits: Raisins are a source of antioxidants and iron, so the sauce is tasty and nutritious.
What Will Make You Love This Raisin Sauce for Ham?

Ingredients List

Brown sugar1/2 cup
Cornstarch2 tablespoons
Mustard powder1 teaspoon
White vinegar1 tablespoon
Raisins1 cup
Grated lemon zest1/4 teaspoon
Lemon juice1 tablespoon
Water1 1/2 cups

Ingredient Tips 

  • Brown Sugar: Opt for dark brown sugar if you want a more profound molasses flavor in your sauce.
  • Cornstarch: Ensure it’s lump-free. Sifting before use helps you achieve a smoother sauce.
  • Mustard Powder: Freshly purchased mustard powder generally has a more robust flavor, so adjust accordingly.
  • White Vinegar: You might substitute with apple cider vinegar for a slightly different tang.
  • Raisins: Plump them up by soaking them in warm water for 10 minutes before using.
  • Lemon Zest: Use a fine grater without the bitter white pith for a delicate zest.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed juice is recommended for a brighter flavor.
  • Water: Consider using half water and half broth for added depth.

What Are The Variations Of Raisin Sauce For Ham?

  • Spiced Variation: Incorporate spices like cloves, cinnamon, or nutmeg for a warm and aromatic sauce.
  • Tangy Twist: Use apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar instead of white vinegar for a unique tang.
  • Fruit Fusion: Mix in chopped dried fruits like apricots or figs alongside raisins for varied texture and flavor.
  • Liquor Laced: Add a splash of brandy, rum, or red wine for a sophisticated touch.
  • Tropical Take: Integrate orange zest and orange juice as an alternative to lemon, giving a sunnier profile.
  • Creamy Consistency: Add a dollop of cream or butter for a more prosperous and creamier texture.
  • Heat Hint: Sprinkle in some red pepper flakes or hot sauce for a slight kick.
Variations Of Raisin Sauce For Ham

Recipe Directions

Cooking Method

  • Combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and mustard powder in a medium-sized saucepan. Ensure there are no lumps and the mixture is well combined.
  • Slowly pour in the vinegar, stirring continuously to avoid clumping.
  • Add the raisins, grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and water to the saucepan.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir the mixture frequently to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking.
  • Continue cooking until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow the sauce to rest for about 5 minutes before serving. This will help the flavors meld together.
  • Serve warm over your desired ham dish, and enjoy!

A spoonful of raisin sauce adds a symphony of flavors to your holiday ham.

Scaling The Raisin Sauce For Ham

  • Doubling

If you’ve got a more extensive gathering or simply want extra sauce, doubling the recipe is straightforward. Just ensure you use a larger saucepan to accommodate the increased volume. This may adjust the cooking time slightly, so monitor closely to achieve the desired consistency.

  • Halving

For a smaller portion, reduce each ingredient by half. Cooking time may decrease slightly, so keep a close watch to avoid over-thickening. Use a smaller saucepan for better control.

Scaling The Raisin Sauce For Ham

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads? 

  • Marinade

It can be used as a marinade for meats, adding a sweet and tangy flavor profile. This sauce will impart a delightful sweetness balanced with tang for meats like chicken or pork.

Its rich texture and flavor make it an appealing dipping sauce. It pairs well with grilled meats, cheeses, or even bread.

  • Salad Dressing

While unconventional, if you want to try something different, you might use it as a salad dressing. It would be great to drizzle over salads with hearty ingredients like roasted vegetables, nuts, or cheese.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Raisin Sauce For Ham?

The Raisin Sauce for Ham is versatile and complements various dishes:

Roasted Vegetables

The sauce’s sweetness offsets the charred taste of roasted carrots, potatoes, or Brussels sprouts.

Mashed Potatoes

A classic side where the sauce can be a delightful gravy substitute.

Rice Pilaf

The lightness of pilaf balances the sauce’s richness.

Steamed Green Beans

Their crisp texture matches the sauce’s creamy consistency.

Grilled Pineapple

Enhances the tropical notes, creating a sweet-savory symphony.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

The natural sweetness gets a tangy boost with the sauce.

Creamed Spinach

A creamy counterpart to the tangy sauce.


The slight sweetness of cornbread complements the sauce’s flavors.

Best Dishes To Accompany Raisin Sauce For Ham

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Raisin Sauce For Ham? 

Raisin Sauce for Ham has been a star in several classic dishes:

  • Easter Ham: A festive favorite, where the ham’s saltiness marries well with the sauce’s sweetness.
  • Thanksgiving Turkey: An alternative to cranberry sauce, it brings a sweet twist to roasted turkey.
  • Roast Pork: The succulent flavors of pork are heightened with this tangy accompaniment.
  • Glazed Meatballs: Drizzled with raisin sauce, they become a sweet and savory treat.
  • Ham Loaf: A mixture of ham and pork, this loaf becomes juicier with the sauce.
  • Chicken Breasts: When baked or grilled with the sauce, the chicken gets a delightful flavor uplift.
  • Cold Cut Sandwiches: A spread of this sauce can transform ordinary sandwiches into gourmet delights.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Raisin Sauce For Ham Offers?

Raisin Sauce for Ham offers a multi-layered flavor experience:

  • Sweetness: Derived primarily from raisins and brown sugar, it forms the sauce’s backbone.
  • Tanginess: Including white vinegar and lemon brings a zesty punch.
  • Earthy Depth: Mustard powder contributes a subtle spiciness and earthy depth.
  • Fruitiness: Raisins, being the star, provide a fruity richness and chewy texture.
  • Bright Citrus: Lemon zest and juice introduce a refreshing and aromatic note.
  • Savory Undertone: When paired with ham or other meats, the sauce’s sweetness is balanced by the savory flavors, creating harmony.
  • Slight Bitterness: The lemon zest can occasionally introduce a mildly bitter note, accentuating the sauce’s complexity.
Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Raisin Sauce For Ham Offers

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life? 


  • Refrigeration: Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator once cooled.
  • Freezing: For more extended storage, you can freeze the sauce in a freezer-safe container, leaving some headspace for expansion.

Shelf Life

  • Refrigerated: The sauce will generally stay fresh for up to 7-10 days.
  • Frozen: If frozen, it can last up to 3 months.

What Are The Substitutes For Raisin Sauce For Ham?

If you’re seeking alternatives to Raisin Sauce for Ham, several substitutes offer delightful flavors:

  • Cranberry Sauce: A classic, its tartness can resemble the tanginess of raisin sauce.
  • Apple Chutney: With spices and sweetness, it’s a close match in texture and flavor.
  • Fig Jam: Its sweetness and fruitiness can stand in significantly if thinned down a bit.
  • Orange Glaze: A mix of orange juice, zest, and sugar provides a citrusy sweetness.
  • Date Syrup: With a natural sweetness and smooth texture, it can be a base for a thicker sauce.
  • Maple and Mustard Glaze: Combining maple syrup with mustard gives both sweetness and depth.
  • Pineapple Sauce: Its tropical sweetness complements ham wonderfully.
  • Prune Sauce: Prunes offer a similar texture and fruitiness as raisins.
Substitutes For Raisin Sauce For Ham

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce?

  • Thicken: If the sauce is too runny, you can make a slurry by mixing additional cornstarch with a small amount of cold water. Slowly add this to the simmering sauce while stirring.
  • Thin: If the sauce is too thick, gradually add water or broth until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Reheat: Cooking the sauce for a more extended period can help reduce and thicken it.
  • Cooling: Letting the sauce cool naturally will thicken it slightly, as sauces generally become denser when cooled.
  • Blending: If consistency is uneven, you can blend the sauce using a hand blender for a smoother texture.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm? 

Raisin Sauce for Ham is traditionally served warm. When warm, the sauce has a smoother texture, allowing its flavors to meld together and become more pronounced. 

The warmth also helps complement the taste of dishes, especially when paired with hot meals like roasted or grilled meats.

Serving it warm ensures a cozy, rich experience, enhancing the overall taste of the dish it accompanies.

However, a cooled version might work better if the sauce is used in a salad or as a sandwich spread. It’s essential to consider the dish you’re pairing with the sauce.

Generally, I recommend serving it warm for the best experience for main courses like ham or roasted meats.

Substitutes For Raisin Sauce

Nutritional Values 

This sauce blends natural sugars, raisin vitamins, and minimal fats, making it a flavorful yet health-conscious choice.

What Are The Total Calories In Raisin Sauce For Ham? 

The total calories in Raisin Sauce for Ham largely depend on the exact measurements and specific products used. However, based on the ingredients provided, a rough estimate might be:

  • Brown sugar: 415 calories
  • Cornstarch: 60 calories
  • Raisins: 435 calories
  • White vinegar: 3 calories
  • Lemon juice: 4 calories

This sums up to approximately 917 calories for the entire batch. It’s necessary to note that portion sizes, actual ingredient brands, and variations can influence the final caloric count.

I recommend using a dedicated nutrition calculator or software to get an accurate value.

Raisin sauce transforms a simple ham into a culinary masterpiece offering a perfect balance.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Raisin Sauce For Ham

Raisin Sauce for Ham, based on the ingredients provided, might have the following dietary considerations:

  • Gluten-Free: This sauce is generally gluten-free as long as the cornstarch and other ingredients used are not cross-contaminated.
  • Vegan: The sauce is vegan-friendly, containing no animal-derived ingredients.
  • Dairy-Free: It doesn’t include any dairy products.
  • Nut-Free: No nuts are present, making it suitable for those with nut allergies.
  • Soy-Free: The sauce doesn’t contain any soy ingredients.
  • Low-Fat: The ingredients don’t contribute significant fats.
  • Sugar Content: Contains natural sugars from raisins and added sugars from brown sugar.
  • Not Low-Carb: Due to the sugar and raisins.

Nutrition Table 

Dietary Restrictions Of The Raisin Sauce For Ham  

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Overcooking: Cooking for too long can lead to a sauce that needs to be thicker or caramelized.
  • Lumps Formation: Not properly mixing cornstarch can result in lumpy sauce.
  • Overpowering Sweetness: Adding too much brown sugar can overshadow other flavors.
  • Skimping on Acid: Not using enough vinegar or lemon juice can result in a sauce lacking in tang.
  • Burnt Bottom: Stirring the sauce regularly can prevent it from sticking and burning at the bottom of the pan.
  • Incorrect Consistency: Adding too much or too little water can affect the desired consistency.
  • Overseasoning: Too much mustard powder can dominate the sauce’s flavor.
  • Raisin Quality: Using old or stale raisins can diminish the sauce’s taste.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce?

  • Sandwich Spread: Enhance sandwiches or wraps.
  • Pancake/Waffle Topping: A fruity alternative to syrup.
  • Dessert Drizzle: Over ice cream or puddings.
  • Baking Ingredient: Incorporate into muffins or bread recipes.
  • Yogurt Mix-in: Add to plain yogurt for a sweet touch.
  • Oatmeal Flavoring: Mix into morning oats.
  • Grilled Cheese Enhancer: Add between slices for a sweet twist.
  • Salad Dressing Base: Mix with olive oil and additional vinegar.
  • Dip: Pair with soft cheeses or bread.
  • Meat Glaze: Brush on chicken or turkey for a fruity finish.
Uses Of The Raisin Sauce For Ham  

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

  • Saucepan: Essential for simmering and cooking the sauce.
  • Whisk: Helps ensure a smooth consistency, especially when mixing in the cornstarch.
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons: For accurate ingredient quantities.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer: Useful if you want a smoother sauce by filtering out raisin chunks.
  • Wooden Spoon: For stirring, ensure the sauce doesn’t stick or burn.
  • Zester or Grater: For obtaining fresh lemon zest.
  • Citrus Juicer: To efficiently extract lemon juice.
  • Heat-Resistant Bowl: If you need to let the sauce cool before storing.
  • Airtight Container: For storing any leftover sauce.
  • Thermometer: To monitor the sauce’s temperature if aiming for a specific consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use A Different Type Of Vinegar In The Sauce?

While white vinegar is commonly used, you can experiment with apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar for a slightly different flavor profile. However, adjust the quantity based on the vinegar’s acidity.

I Don’t Have Fresh Lemons; Can I Skip The Zest And Juice?

While fresh lemon juice and zest add a certain freshness and tang, you can substitute with bottled lemon juice. If skipping entirely, consider increasing the vinegar slightly for the tanginess.

My Sauce Is Too Thick; How Do I Adjust It?

If the sauce becomes too thick for your liking, gently reheat it and whisk in additional water, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

How Long Can I Store The Leftover Raisin Sauce?

The sauce should stay fresh for up to a week when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s always better if you give it a quick stir before serving.

Can I Freeze The Raisin Sauce?

Yes, this sauce freezes well. Pour it into a freezer-safe container, leaving some space for expansion, and freeze. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stovetop, stirring occasionally.

Raisin Sauce For Ham – The Secret To A Memorable Meal

5 from 1 vote
Course: Sauces


Prep time


Cooking time




Rest Time



Raisin Sauce For Ham Recipe is a delightful blend of plump raisins, brown sugar, and tangy mustard creates a sweet and savory glaze that pairs perfectly with succulent ham.


  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Mustard powder

  • 1 tablespoon 1 White vinegar

  • 1 cup 1 Raisins

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 Grated Lemon zest

  • 1 tablespoon 1 Lemon juice

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 Water

Step-by-Step Directions

  • Prepare Ingredients
    Measure out all your ingredients so they are ready to use. This will ensure a smooth cooking process.
    Use the zester or grater to zest the lemon until you have about 1/4 teaspoon.
    Use the citrus juicer to extract 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
  • Blend Dry Ingredients
    Combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and mustard powder in your saucepan. Mix these dry ingredients together until they are well blended.
  • Introduce Wet Ingredients
    Slowly pour the white vinegar into the saucepan, stirring constantly to ensure the mixture remains smooth.
    Add the raisins, freshly grated lemon zest, and lemon juice, continuing to stir.
  • Add Water
    Slowly pour in the 1 1/2 cups of water while continuing to stir. This gradual addition helps maintain a smooth consistency in the sauce.
  • Cook the Sauce
    Place the saucepan on the stove over medium heat.
    Frequently stir the mixture using the wooden spoon to prevent sticking or burning.
    Bring the mixture to a boil. You’ll want to see consistent bubbling throughout the saucepan.
    Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for about 5-7 minutes or until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
  • Cool & Serve
    After achieving the desired thickness, remove the saucepan from the heat.
    If you want a smoother sauce, you can strain it through the fine mesh strainer into the heat-resistant bowl, removing the raisin chunks.
    Allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes if serving immediately. Transfer the sauce to the airtight container later and store it in the refrigerator.
  • Enjoy
    Serve the sauce warm over your ham or any other dish of choice. Enjoy the rich and tangy flavors that complement a variety of dishes.
    Remember, as with any recipe, you can adjust the ingredients based on personal taste. This sauce is versatile and delightful whether you prefer it sweeter, tangier, or with more raisins.

Recipe Video


  • Adjust sweetness based on personal preference.
  • For a spicier kick, consider adding a pinch of cayenne.
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice offers better flavor.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

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