Jump to RecipeJump to VideoLeave a ReviewPin Recipe

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

This easy brown sugar bourbon-glazed ham is a classic Southern recipe that makes an impressive statement on a holiday table. The rich, sweet, and savory glaze turns a simple smoked ham into a decadent entrée that’s perfect for Easter, Christmas, or your next Sunday supper!

Bourbon glazed ham on a platter

Whether it’s Easter, Christmas, or just a regular Sunday supper at home with the family, large gatherings in the South often start with a big sliced ham! It’s a beautiful addition to any buffet, and the leftovers can be enjoyed in next-day sandwiches, in hearty soups, or in weeknight casseroles. You get a lot of bang for your buck when you bake a bourbon glazed ham — and it couldn’t be easier!

Bourbon Ham Glaze

A classic Kentucky bourbon ham glaze includes bourbon (of course!), as well as hints of orange from both marmalade and orange zest. Brown sugar sweetens and thickens the glaze, while Dijon mustard adds a bit of zesty tang and cayenne pepper brings a touch of heat. This bourbon glaze recipe is truly the best, providing a rich, sweet contrast to the savory, salty ham.

Bourbon glazed ham on a blue and white platter with salad and rolls

What does glazing a ham do?

A glaze adds flavor, color, and texture to a baked ham. The sugars in the glaze (from the marmalade and brown sugar) caramelize on the outside of the ham while it’s baking in the oven, which gives the meat extra flavor, a beautiful color and shine, and a crispy exterior.

When should you glaze the ham?

For this recipe, you’ll bake the ham covered for the first half of the cooking time. This allows the meat to come to a hotter temperature without burning on the exterior. Then you’ll remove the cover, and baste the ham with the glaze every 20 minutes or so for the final hour of cooking.

Process shot showing how to make brown sugar bourbon glazed ham

How to Keep Moisture in a Ham

This baked ham stays moist and juicy, since the glaze adds moisture and you’ll keep the ham covered with foil for the first hour. We also add a bit of water to the pan, which steams under the foil cover, providing a moist environment for the meat.

Bowl of brown sugar bourbon ham glaze

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need to make a bourbon glazed ham. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Fully-cooked, bone-in ham: I like a spiral-sliced ham for ease. Look for a smoked ham that weighs about 8-10 lbs.
  • Water: creates steam in the pan that helps to keep the ham moist.
  • Orange marmalade: thickens, flavors, and sweetens the glaze. I like this brand, which is sweeter and less bitter than others I’ve tried. You can also substitute with apricot preserves or hot pepper jelly if you prefer.
  • Orange zest: make sure that you’re only scraping off the very outer layer of the orange peel — not the white pith, which is bitter. The zest is where all of the essential oils are found, adding a bright orange flavor to the glaze.
  • Brown sugar: adds sweetness and helps the outside of the ham caramelize.
  • Bourbon: the rich base for the ham glaze. For the best flavor, use a high quality Kentucky bourbon whiskey that you would like to drink. We prefer Woodford Reserve or other similar brands.
  • Dijon mustard: thickens the glaze and adds a zesty, savory flavor.
  • Cayenne pepper: provides just a hint of heat in the background. You can omit this ingredient entirely, or add more for a spicier glaze.
Basting baked ham with bourbon glaze

How to Make a Bourbon Glaze for Ham

While it looks impressive, this ham is actually very simple to prepare! The meat gets its flavor from the brown sugar Kentucky bourbon ham glaze, which also includes notes of orange, Dijon, and cayenne. It’s the perfect balance for the smoky, salty ham!

  1. Place the ham flat-side-down in a 12-14-inch cast iron skillet, and then pour in a little bit of water.
  2. Bake the ham, covered, in a 325°F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the bourbon glaze in a small bowl.
  4. Remove the cover, baste the ham with the glaze, and continue baking for about 1 more hour, basting every 20 minutes.
Baked ham in a cast iron skillet

How Long to Bake a Pre-Cooked Ham

You can use this recipe with just about any size ham. A good rule of thumb to remember is that a smoked ham bakes at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes per pound. For instance, I roasted an 8-lb. ham for 2 hours. As always, an instant read thermometer is the best way to know when your ham is done. When the temperature registers 140°F – 145°F, it’s safe to pull the meat out of the oven.

Hands serving a brown sugar bourbon glazed ham on a holiday table

Serving Suggestions

Pair the sweet bourbon glazed ham with any of these delicious side dishes:

Square side shot of a platter of brown sugar bourbon glazed ham on a holiday table

Storage

You can safely keep this easy baked ham in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Reheat the ham in a 325°F oven until the internal temperature reaches 140°F. If I’m reheating just a small portion of ham (such as a few slices), I like to wrap it in foil before placing it in the oven (this keeps it nice and moist).

Leftover Ham Recipes

We all know that leftover ham is one of the best reasons to prepare the meat in the first place! It’s delicious in soups, sandwiches, and casseroles, so here are a few recipes that use leftover ham in a delicious way:

Recipe Variations

  • Use the same bourbon glaze on a smaller ham. Follow these recipe instructions for a 2 – 3 lb. boneless ham.
  • This is the 14-inch cast iron skillet that I use to bake my ham. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use a roasting pan or other large baking dish that will adequately accommodate your ham.
  • Swap out the orange marmalade and use apricot preserves or hot pepper jelly instead.
  • For an alcohol-free glaze, use orange juice instead of bourbon.
  • Maple bourbon glazed ham: use maple syrup instead of brown sugar. You may want to simmer the glaze in a small saucepan over medium heat so that it thickens slightly.
  • Add extra flavor to the glaze with warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, or cloves. Garlic powder is also a nice option.
  • Add more cayenne pepper for a spicy glaze, or omit this ingredient altogether.

Tips for the Best Bourbon Glaze Recipe

  • Make sure that you only scrape off the very outer layer of the orange peel when zesting the fruit. I use this tool to make it easy. You do not want to scrape off any of the white pith, which is bitter.
  • The total baking time will vary depending on the size of your ham, on the temperature of your ham when it goes into the oven, and on your individual oven. As a result, an instant-read thermometer is the best way to know when your ham is done. It’s already fully-cooked when it’s purchased, but the meat should come to an internal temperature of at least 140°F – 145°F for safe consumption.
  • How Much Ham Per Person: A good rule of thumb is to assume about ¾ lb. per person for a bone-in ham, so an 8 lb. ham will feed about 10-11 people.
  • If you’re not using a spiral-sliced ham, I recommend using a sharp knife to score the surface of the ham with ¼-inch-deep cuts in a diamond pattern. This will help infuse the flavor of the glaze into the meat.
Front shot of spiral sliced ham with bourbon glaze on a platter with oranges and cranberries

More Baked Ham Recipes to Try

Pineapple Glazed Ham

2 hrs 30 mins

Virginia Brown Sugar Baked Ham

2 hrs 35 mins

Baked Ham with Apricot Glaze {5 Ingredients!}

50 mins

Square side shot of a platter of brown sugar bourbon glazed ham on a holiday table

Brown Sugar Bourbon-Glazed Ham

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 15 minutes
Resting Time 20 minutes
Total: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 12 – 14 people
Calories 479 kcal
This easy brown sugar bourbon-glazed ham is a classic Southern recipe that makes an impressive statement on a holiday table!

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (8 – 10 lb.) bone-in spiral-cut ham
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup bourbon (or sub with orange juice for alcohol-free option)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like a spicier glaze)
  • Optional garnish: orange slices and fresh herbs

Instructions

  • Position oven rack in lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Place ham flat-side down in a 12 – 14-inch cast iron skillet (or use a large roasting pan). Pour the water into the pan. Cover with aluminum foil.
    Process shot showing how to make brown sugar bourbon glazed ham
  • Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together orange marmalade, orange zest, brown sugar, bourbon, mustard, and cayenne pepper. Remove the foil cover on the ham; brush with glaze.
    Bowl of brown sugar bourbon ham glaze
  • Return the ham to the oven, uncovered, and bake until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the ham registers 145°F, about 1 hour more, brushing with the glaze every 20 minutes. Smaller 8-lb. hams might be done with just 45 more minutes, while larger hams might need at least another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Tent the ham loosely with foil at any point to prevent overbrowning, if necessary.
    Basting baked ham with bourbon glaze
  • Let stand for 20 minutes before carving and serving. Garnish with fresh orange slices and herbs, if desired.
    Hands serving a brown sugar bourbon glazed ham on a holiday table

Notes

  • Make sure that you only scrape off the very outer layer of the orange peel when zesting the fruit. I use this tool to make it easy. You do not want to scrape off any of the white pith, which is bitter.
  • The total baking time will vary depending on the size of your ham, on the temperature of your ham when it goes into the oven, and on your individual oven. As a result, an instant-read thermometer is the best way to know when your ham is done. It’s already fully-cooked when it’s purchased, but the meat should come to an internal temperature of at least 140°F – 145°F for safe consumption.
  • Use the same bourbon glaze on a smaller ham. Follow these recipe instructions for a 2 – 3 lb. boneless ham.
  • This is the 14-inch cast iron skillet that I use to bake my ham. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use a roasting pan or other large baking dish that will adequately accommodate your ham.
  • Swap out the orange marmalade and use apricot preserves or hot pepper jelly instead.
  • For an alcohol-free glaze, use orange juice instead of bourbon.
  • Add more cayenne pepper for a spicy glaze, or omit that ingredient altogether.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/12 of a 9-lb. hamCalories: 479kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 41gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 2273mgPotassium: 548mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 13IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: bourbon glaze for ham, bourbon glaze recipe, bourbon glazed ham, bourbon ham glaze
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’m excited to try this yummy looking ham. There’s only 4 of us, but I’ll definitely make it. Can’t wait.

    1. That’s great, Shery! The leftovers freeze well, and they’re great in casseroles, sandwiches, soups, etc. Enjoy!