Costco Spiral Ham vs. Honey Baked: Differences & Which Is Better

Costco Spiral Ham vs. Honey Baked Spiral Ham
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Ham is the uncrowned queen of festive tables, always being no less than the centerpiece. In my family, there is a tradition of serving ham at every big gathering – birthdays, celebrations, you name it! Still, good ham takes time, and that’s something I often don’t have. In such cases, store-bought hams come to the rescue! My favorites are not only fully baked but come spirally cut, as well, making heating and serving a breeze! Let’s compare the differences between two similar-tasting brands – Costco spiral ham and Honey Baked ham!

While Honey Baked ham comes fully glazed, Costco ham has a separate glaze pocket. The most important thing to note is that you can get Costco ham only in the holiday season, but Honey Baked is out all year round! The second one is pricier, though, but with more size options to pick from.

This is one of those articles we all hope to find when deciding between two options. I wrote everything in detail, and it will definitely help you decide! Read on to compare preparation, taste, availability, price, taste, and many more, and decide together which one is the best!


Both of these ham varieties come fully cooked, but frozen. This means your biggest task is to patiently wait for it to thaw and make sides! The universal rule for defrosting ham is 4-6 hours per pound in the refrigerator, as this is the safest method to follow.

Still, I know nothing compares to steamy, juicy, and crispy-skinned ham, and Costco’s is extremely delicious warmed up! I recommend following these instructions and side dish recommendations for the best results.


How to Cook Costco Spiral Ham [+ Serving Tips]

Honey baked brand, though, recommends serving it cold, and if you want it warm, you should heat it up slice by slice. The best way for this is to wrap single slices in aluminum foil so they stay juicy. It is made to be eaten cold, but the taste is finest when eaten at room temperature, so leave it out of the fridge an hour before serving.

When it comes to glaze, Honey baked ham comes already glazed, while Costco ham has the glaze packed separately. You can use it or not; it’s totally up to you! If you fancy the taste of the Costco glaze, feel free to heat it up and cover your ham in it.

Still, I like to make my own sauce and glaze the meat in it instead. I find this option better as I can alter it to my taste – whether I want it spicy, sweet, or anything else actually, and Costco spiral ham is the great choice for this!


Costco and Honey Baked both use very lean meat, so it shouldn’t be fatty. However, there are a few comments online from people who had fatty Honey Baked ham, though. Still, there are a lot more satisfied customers! As with every ham, they are both salty, but not excessively though.

The meat alone is tasty in both cases, tender, juicy, and a bit chewy – just like a ham should be anyways.

Even though these are smoked hams, the level of smokiness is different. Costco has a distinct, slight smoky relish, while Honey Baked is a bit stronger. This comes from the fact that it’s smoked between 20 and 24 hours. 

Costco uses a hickory tree for smoking, which can be pretty intense, but it’s actually slow-smoked, so it fits great! As this one is better when warm, keep in mind that the grilling method will double up on the smoky taste. So, if you don’t appreciate that, go for other cooking methods.

Honey Baked company has its own hardwood mix to smoke the ham over it. The one I tried was perfectly good, but I read some reviews of people who got too-smoked ham to start with it, but it may depend on one’s individual taste. Since it doesn’t need to be warmed up, you can’t mess it up by adding more of the smoky flavor by grilling it if you like it smokier.

Already glazed Honey baked ham has a crispy outer layer, subtly sweet, of course, as the glaze is honey-based. Costco’s glaze is brown sugar-based, so it’s on the crunchier side, no doubt! Again, you can alter the taste here by adding your own glaze to start with.

Appearance and Size

You will find Costco spiral ham in its signature packing – shiny, bright red crumpled paper with a black label. Honey Baked ham is also wrapped in shiny and crumbly paper, but this one is golden. They are both pretty eye-catching.

There is one more variety of Kirkland ham, smoked over applewood and wrapped in golden foil, very Honey Baked-alike. Regarding ham’s appearance, Honey Baked ham is glazed in honey, of course – because of this, it has a golden crunchy layer outside. On the inside, the ham is pale pink in color, and if it’s a bone-in variety, it will be slightly reddish around the bone.

Unlike Honey Baked, Costco actually recommends heating the ham, so that’s the reason why its pink is a darker shade. Also, if you remember, the glaze that comes with the meat contains brown sugar, so the outside can come off slightly dark brown. The glaze is optional, though, so if you skip it, the ham will have the usual roasted meat look.

Costco Spiral Ham is a darker shade of pink than Honey Baked Spiral Ham

But, if you decide to make some other glaze, maybe cranberry-based, it will have a burgundy crunch, the apricot one will be yellowish, and so on. The ham inside has a different shade of pink when compared to Honey Baked; I would describe it as pink with a brownish shade.

Costco ham usually weighs about 9 lbs (4 kg), and it comes with a 6 oz package of glaze. On the other side, Honey Baked company offers a wide range of differently packed hams. You can buy it boneless, bone-in, quarter, half, or whole – that’s a nice list to pick from, you must admit.

The hams go from 3 to 10 lbs and everything in between! On their site, you can choose how big you want it, depending on how many guests you’re expecting. There is a chart, so it’s an easy task!

If you’re hosting 4-6 guests, go for a 3 lb ham in a quarter or half, double the size for 8-12 guests, or choose a 10-pound piece for 22 people. 


Unfortunately, Costco spiral ham is not on the shelves all year round. I don’t know the exact reason, but it’s probably because the sales are off when it’s not a holiday season. But around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, they will be everywhere!

Of course, you can buy Kirkland ham at every Costco store. Costco is the USA’s fav, but you can, surprisingly or not, find it in Australia, Canada, China, France, Spain, Hawaii, Mexico, Japan, and a few more locations. Honey Baked ham is on the market whole year round! When the holiday season starts, sales skyrocket, no doubt! Nevertheless, there are more than 400 locations all over the USA, but none anywhere else.

Ordering and Shipping

Bad news for Costco spiral ham lovers – you can’t have it shipped by the store directly. Having said that, you can have it picked up from the store. Some other companies offer delivery from Costco, though, like Instacart. 

That’s not a bad solution when in a rush or just don’t want or can’t leave the house. When it comes to the Honey Baked company, they specialize in fast on-door delivery. They offer pickup in the store, shipping, and even catering!

They have a very well-organized site, and everything is just a click away. When comparing these two sites, both of them have the same city, state, or zip code search engine, which helps you locate the nearest store available! Honey Baked one is simpler to handle, to be honest, at least for me.

Now, let me say a few things about delivery and catering. Honey Baked uses third parties for delivery, too, but they are connected directly to the site, and you can choose from Doordash, Uber Eats, or Grubhub. Catering works by the same principle – just choose your nearest store, and they’ll deliver you everything.


Honey Baked ham is for sure pricier than Costco ham. I justify it by the fact that Honey Baked company founder Harry Hoenselaar is the one who invented spiral-cut ham. They sell tradition, name, brand, and quality, along with tasty ham! 

Costco is an affordable franchise – no less tasty, at all! Let’s compare the exact numbers, though. ☺

When you’re buying 9 lb spiral ham from Costco in-store, you’ll pay $20.61 – that’s $2.29 per pound. On the other hand, according to the Honey Baked site, their 9 lb ham will cost you $107.99 – so, that’s quite a difference. If you wonder whether Honey Baked is worth the money, you may check out this video.

Which Is Better, Costco Spiral Ham or Honey Baked Ham?

It’s hard to decide on this one! I read like a thousand reviews for each because I wanted a second opinion! ☺ There are good and less good experiences on each side, but I would definitely buy Costco spiral ham again. But, during the off-holiday season, Honey Baked it is, as Costco is not available. 

They are both delicious, but I probably had more expectations from Honey Baked because of the price difference. Their site, delivery, and shipping are surely handier. If you care more about tradition and convenience, go for Honey Baked, but if you want to save a few cents, Costco is for you!

My biggest reason for this conclusion is that you can bake the more affordable Costco ham with sides, baste it, and glaze it to look, taste, and smell like homemade. That’s all the holidays are about, right?

Here are all the differences summarized in a table:

CriteriaHoney BakedCostco Kirkland Signature
PreparationThaw it and serve coldFully glazed, honey-based
GlazeFully glazed, honey-basedGlaze comes separately, brown sugar-based
TasteSmoky, salty, crispy, and sweetSlightly smoky, salty, and crispy
Size3 lb – 10 lbapprox. 9 lb
AvailabilityAll year long, USA onlyDuring the holiday season, worldwide
ShippingYesNot available
Price (9 lb)$107.99$20.61
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