Bourbon Glazed Ham
This Bourbon Glazed Ham is slathered with a bourbon, brown sugar and maple glaze. It’s delicious and incredibly flavorful, the perfect sweet and savory holiday dinner! You haven’t had great ham until you’ve tried this recipe! This juicy bone-in Bourbon Glazed Ham is packed with flavor and perfect for your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter main course.
If you’re looking for a simple glazed gam recipe that will be the star of your holiday table, this recipe is it! After you try this Bourbon Glazed Ham recipe, you won’t need to look for another!
I made this recipe using a Frick’s Bone-In Shank Portion Ham generously donated by Central Market! This is not a sponsored post, but these are two of my favorite purveyors. I highly recommend turning to both for your holiday needs.
The Best Bourbon Glazed Ham Recipe
I don’t say that this is the best Bourbon Glazed Ham lightly! I grew up with a glazed ham and a turkey every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Usually the ham was a little bland (sorry Mom), but this recipe will blow you away. The ham stays tender and juicy (never dry!) and the savory bourbon glaze is the perfect complement to the smoky ham.
This glaze is unbelievably good and I make sure to baste the scored meat often and throughout the entire cooking process. Hams are so versatile, any leftovers can be used for a variety of meals. I look forward to leftover ham every year so that I can make ham and eggs, ham BLTs, and my Ham and Bean Soup! Leftover ham is easy to freeze and having the bone on hand is so great for adding flavor to soups and stews.
This is a ham recipe that’s perfect for every holiday and special occasion! You can always feed a crowd and the prep is minimal and so much less involved than with roasting a turkey. Though, if you want to add a turkey to your table too, make sure to check out my Roasted Turkey Breast and Dry-Brined Turkey recipes!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
Delicious – Like I said, this recipe is fantastic! The incredible bourbon, brown sugar, and maple glaze that has lots of sweet and savory notes pairs so well with the smoky ham. The glaze also has tons of black pepper and butter, making it even more flavorful.
Family and crowd favorite – Any ham is a family favorite, and especially during this time of year, there is a great deal ham traditions happening. The secret is getting your hands on the best recipe! This recipe can become a tradition and food-proof recipe to pull out anytime. It makes a great Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with a lot of potential for leftovers.
Leftover Friendly – The versatility of Bourbon Glazed Ham is that leftovers will always be eaten. You can make so many things with leftover ham! You can turn your holiday leftovers into several meals for days to come.
Budget Friendly – Ham is an affordable cut of meat that can easily feed a crowd! This dinner feels impressive while still being low effort and low cost. Plus, with leftovers potentially turning into several meals, it’s extra cost effective.
How to Make Bourbon Glazed Ham
You don’t need any fancy tools to make Bourbon Glazed Ham, but I do recommend investing in a roasting pan. It’s essential for this recipe and other recipes for Roasted Turkey and Chicken.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ham. I used a bone-in, fully cooked ham shank for this recipe. Check out the below sections on choosing the right kind of ham.
- Bourbon. Use whatever you have on hand! My go-to is Woodford’s Reserve since that’s what I usually drink. You don’t need any fancy bourbon.
- Maple syrup. Pure maple syrup is a must here! Sorry, no Aunt Jemima’s. Trader Joe’s, in my opinion, is the best source for affordable real maple syrup. My favorite is the Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup and since it’s seasonal, I stock pile it every year.
- Brown sugar. I use dark brown sugar, but you can use either.
- Worcestershire. Worcestershire sauce gives the glaze great savory notes.
- Dijon Mustard. The dijon mustard from Trader Joe’s (I’m an evangelical about it) is the ABSOLUTE best. It’s got sharp flavor and balances the sweetness of the glaze.
- Black Pepper. Freshly ground black pepper is a must here!
- Ground Cloves. Instead of taking time to stud the ham with cloves (which you have to remove before eating!), a bit of ground cloves in the glaze gives the ham a perfectly warm spiced flavor.
- Butter. Whisking a couple of tablespoons of butter into the glaze at the end gives it a beautiful sheen.
- Prep your ham. Remove your ham from the fridge 2 hours before cooking. Most smoked hams come without skin, but if your ham has skin, carefully peel the skin away from the ham leaving the layer of fat underneath exposed. Score the ham 1/4″ deep in a 1″ diamond pattern all over.
- Roast. Pour 2 cups of water into the bottom of a roasting pan with a rack set inside. Place the ham cut-side down on the rack. Loosely cover the ham with foil and roast at 350 F for 45 minutes.
- Make the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine the bourbon, maple syrup, brown sugar, dijon, Worcestershire, pepper, and cloves. Bring to a gentle simmer while whisking. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until smooth. Set aside.
- Glaze. Remove the ham from the oven and remove the foil. Increase the heat to 400 F. Brush the ham liberally all over with 1/4 of the glaze. Return to the oven for 15 minutes. Cook the ham for 60-75 minutes, brushing with more glaze every 15 minutes. Once the ham has reached an internal temperature of 150 F, remove from the oven.
- Rest. Let the Bourbon Glazed Ham rest for 30 minutes before slicing away from the bone.
Bone-in vs Boneless Ham for Bourbon Glazed Ham
Obviously, ham can be found both boneless and bone-in. So which best for Bourbon Glazed Ham?
Bone – in. I am personally ALWAYS pro bone-in ham. A bone-in ham makes for a great visual presentation on the table! And it’s not just there for show — a ham bone is an excellent starter for flavorful soups and stocks and lends extra flavor to the ham. That being said, it can be harder to carve around at times, depending on your dexterity.
Boneless. Boneless ham is always a great choice, too! Because you can slice it thinner, it makes a great option for ham sandwiches. If convenience is more important to you than presentation and bone-in flavor, boneless ham is always an option. With this type, the bone is removed and the ham is pressed into that familiar oval shape.
I highly recommend opting for a bone-in, unsliced ham for this Bourbon Glazed Ham recipe.
Types of Hams
Hams that are wet-cured are referred to as city hams. Most hams you’ll find at your local supermarket are city hams. In addition to being wet-cured, they are usually smoked. City hams are pre-cooked, meaning all you need to do to prepare the ham at home is gradually heat it through in an oven set to a low temperature. This recipe for Bourbon Glazed Ham uses a Smoked City Ham.
Country hams are dry-cured and may also be smoked. They are not as common as city hams in the U.S., especially in more urban areas. Country hams can be eaten just as they are since they are preserved. They have a very salty taste and a drier texture compared to city hams. I do not recommend a country ham for this Bourbon Glazed Ham recipe.
Spiral-cut ham comes pre-cooked and pre-sliced. It’s a heat-and-serve ham where all the work has been done. It’s worth noting that many spiral-sliced hams come glazed, so they’re not a good choice if you’re looking to make this Bourbon Glazed Ham. If you do want to make a spiral-cut ham, do not score the ham and look for an un-glazed spiral-cut ham.
Cuts of Bone-In Ham
Bone-in hams are sold as half hams. When you opt for bone-in ham, you’ll also need to consider the part of the ham you buy. This recipe for Bourbon Glazed Ham uses the Shank End, as evidenced by the cylindrical bone running through the middle.
- The shank end (or leg portion) sports that classic ham profile, so it’s a good choice for a picture-perfect table. The meat tends to be leaner and it has one long bone, which makes carving easier.
- The butt end (the top half of the ham) has more tender, fattier meat, lending a richer flavor. However, it does have a T-shaped bone inside that can be tricky to carve around.
How much to buy: Plan for 3/4 to 1 pound per person. If you’re serving a turkey alongside this Bourbon Glazed Ham, you’ll only need 1/2 lb per person.
Tips and Tricks for Bourbon Glazed Ham
- Adding a little water to the roasting pan will help retain moisture in the meat. You essentially steam the ham for a short period of time before increasing the temperature and glazing.
- If you’re using a spiral cut ham, wrap the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil before placing in the oven, to avoid the ham from drying out while cooking. Again, I don’t recommend a spiral cut ham for this recipe.
- If during cooking, the ham looks like it browns too much, cover it with foil to avoid it getting looking burnt.
- A meat thermometer works the best to determine internal ham temperature.
What to Serve with Bourbon Glazed Ham
This recipe for Bourbon Glazed Ham is the star of the table, but you need all the extras to go with it! These are all my favorite cocktails, sides, and desserts to make your Thanksgiving or Holiday table extra-special.
- CARAMELIZED ONION MASHED POTATOES
- SAUSAGE AND FENNEL STUFFING
- STOVETOP MAC AND CHEESE
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole
- THE BEST CHARCUTERIE BOARD
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Parmesan Creamed Corn
- PUMPKIN CREME BRULEE
- SALTED CARAMEL PUMPKIN PIE BARS
- Apple Pear Crisp
- SALTED CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE
- Easy Pecan Pie Bars
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Bourbon Glazed Ham
Bourbon Glazed Ham will last for 5 to 6 days in the refrigerator.
To further extend the shelf life of cooked ham, freeze it for up to 4 months. Wrap pieces of ham tightly in plastic wrap and then store in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. This helps prevent freezer burn. Defrost the ham overnight in the fridge.
The best way to reheat Bourbon Glazed Ham is to place it in a roasting pan with a bit of water, cover it with foil, and bake it at 350°F for 20 minutes or until heated through. If already cut into individual slices, you can also reheat it in the microwave.
More Holiday Main Course Recipes
Dry-Brined Spatchcock Turkey
Roasted Turkey Breast
Reverse Sear Prime Rib
Herb Roasted Chicken
Beef Wellington for Two
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Bourbon Glazed Ham
- 8 – 10 lb bone-in ham (shank or butt end), not sliced*
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- Start by prepping your ham. Remove your ham from the fridge 2 hours before cooking. If your ham still has its skin on, carefully peel the skin away from the ham, leaving the layer of fat underneath intact and exposed. Using a sharp knife, score a 1" diamond pattern into the ham 1/4" deep.
- Preheat an oven to 350 F. Pour 2 cups of water into the bottom of a roasting pan with the rack set in the pan.
- Place the ham, cut side down, in the rack and loosely cover with foil. Roast for 45 minutes.
- While the ham roasts, combine all the remaining ingredients except for the butter, in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer while whisking to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter until the sauce is glossy and set aside.
- Remove the ham from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400 F. Brush the ham liberally all over with 1/4 of the glaze. Return to the oven for 15 minutes. Cook the ham for 60-75 minutes, brushing with more glaze every 15 minutes. Once the ham has reached an internal temperature of 150 F, remove from the oven.
- Let the ham rest for 30 minutes before slicing.