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Honey Bourbon Glazed Ham – The Best Way To Cook A Small Ham

This Honey Bourbon Glazed Ham is my favorite recipe to make when I am cooking a holiday dinner for a small gathering. The sweet bourbon glaze made with apple juice, brown sugar, honey and of course bourbon adds a ton of flavor to the ham.

Not to mention that when it is baked, a nice caramelized crust develops on the outer surface which adds a slightly crisp texture to each piece of ham when sliced. But best of all, it couldn’t be easier to make!

With just 6 ingredients you can have the most delicious ham ready to serve with your favorite holiday side dish recipes!

honey bourbon ham
Honey Bourbon Glazed Ham ready to be sliced and served.

Honey Bourbon Glazed Ham Recipe

*A printable recipe card is located at the bottom of this article which contains the specific measurements, temperatures and cook times. However, continue reading below to learn about more helpful tips about this specific recipe.


  • 1-2 lb. Ham, Smithfield brand or something similar
  • Water
  • Bourbon
  • Apple juice, 100% juice, no added sugar
  • Light brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Cayenne pepper*

**Do not skip the cayenne pepper in this recipe. Because the glaze is made with sweet ingredients, you need a dash of cayenne pepper to balance out the flavors.

It will not make your glaze hot or spicy, instead it will make it even more delicious!


The first step in making this Honey Bourbon Glazed Ham recipe is to preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Then place a baking rack in the bottom of a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Set the pan aside while you prepare the ham.

Remove the plastic wrapping from the ham and rinse the meat under cold water. This will help remove the excess salt that is on the surface of the ham.

foil covered roasting pan
It is important to let the ham cook a little before cutting off the fat cap and before adding the glaze.

Use paper towels to pat the ham dry. Then place the ham, cut side down on top of the baking rack.

Cover the pan with a lid or use aluminum foil to and place the roasting pan in the preheated oven. Allow the ham to bake for 20 minutes.

While the ham is in the oven, prepare the glaze.

Honey Bourbon Glaze Instructions

Start by pouring the bourbon and apple juice in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat.

Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a low bowl until the liquid is reduced by half. This should then leave you with 1/2 cup of thickened liquid in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, add the packed brown sugar, honey, and cayenne pepper and stir until well bended. Then add the reduced liquid bourbon mixture from the pan and add it to the sugar mixture.

Before applying the Honey Bourbon Glaze to the ham, mix it well enough until it forms a paste. Then remove the ham from the oven and increase the oven heat to 400°F (200°C).

bourbon boiling
Start making the glaze by brining the bourbon and apple juice to a boil and then let it reduce by half.

While the ham is out of the oven, remove the majority of the fat cap if necessary. Then score the surface in two different directions, to create a diamond cut pattern.

*You may be wondering why you didn’t score the ham before placing it in the oven. The fat actually provides the ham with a little flavor as it renders down during the baking process.

However, we don’t want to the fat to overpower the Honey Bourbon Glaze flavor. Therefore, the fat is cut off after the initial baking time.

Brush the Honey Bourbon Glaze on The Ham

Once the fat has been removed, brush the paste evenly over the top and sides of the ham. Then return the ham to the oven once it has reached the higher temperature and bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes.

The surface will turn a deep brown in color. This is a good thing, as that means the glaze has coated the ham sufficiently to give it excellent flavor and texture.

Now remove the ham from the oven and let it rest for 10-20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you make this recipe using a bigger ham?

  • If you want to make this recipe but need a larger ham, simply double, triple or even quadruple the glaze ingredients. Then brush the glaze on during the last 30 minutes of the baking time.
  • Increase the baking time accordingly based on the size of the ham that you are cooking:
    • Bone-in Ham: 15-18 minutes per pound
    • Boneless Ham: 10-15 minutes per pound
honey bourbon glazed ham
The glaze will turn the exterior surface of the ham a deep golden brown color when baked.

2. What is the best Bourbon to use for this Honey Bourbon Glazed Ham recipe?

  • Use whatever Bourbon that you prefer or that you have on hand. If you aren’t familiar with the various types of bourbon and will be purchasing some to make this recipe, I recommend a straight bourbon like Wild Turkey.
  • Although there several flavored bourbons on the market, such as honey, cinnamon, and smoked varieties, you will want to stick to a straight bourbon to make your glaze.
  • FYI – Smaller bottles of bourbon are often found on a shelf behind the cashier in case you are using it only for cooking this recipe.

3. Can you make the glaze ahead of time?

  • Although it is best to prepare the Honey Bourbon Glaze fresh while the ham is in the oven, you can prepare it ahead of time. However, you may need to heat the glaze a little so that it is easier to spread on the surface of the ham.

4. Can I add the glaze at the beginning of the cooking process?

  • Because the glaze has sugar as one of the ingredients it is best to apply the glaze after the ham has already had some time to warm up in the oven. Otherwise, the glaze may burn rather than caramelize.
easter dinner
A complete holiday dinner with the Best Tasting Mashed Potatoes and Honey Bourbon Glazed Ham.

5. Is there a substitute for the Bourbon in the glaze recipe?

  • Although the alcohol in the bourbon burns off during the boiling process, leaving you with only the delicious caramel flavor, I understand some people prefer not to use alcohol in their recipes. In that case, substitute the bourbon with 1 teaspoon of non-alcoholic vanilla extract and cook as instructed.
  • However, if you want a great tasting Honey Glazed Ham that contains no bourbon, or need a recipe for a larger ham try this recipe: Honey Glazed Ham.

6. How do I store leftovers?

  • If you are lucky enough to have leftovers of your Honey Bourbon Glazed Ham, store the remainder in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • However, it is best to store the ham in a solid piece rather than cutting it in slices so that the meat doesn’t dry out.
  • You can also place the ham in an air-tight container or Food Saver Bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Just be sure to mark the package prior to freezing so that you know what is in the bag.

Now that you have all the ingredients, instructions and frequently asked questions, make this delicious ham for your next holiday gathering!

Enjoy! Mary

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Honey Bourbon Glazed Ham

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes


  • 1 lb. Smithfield ham
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup apple juice, 100% juice, no added sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Place a rack in a large baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Rinse the ham under cold water. Pat the ham dry and place, cut side down on the baking rack. Cover, and bake for 20 minutes,
  3. Pour the bourbon and apple juice in a small saucepan and boil over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, honey, and cayenne and stir till well bended. Add the reduced bourbon mixture to the sugar mixture and stir to form a paste.
  4. Remove the ham from the oven and increase the heat to 400°F (200°C). Remove the skin and most of the fat. Then score the surface in two different directions, to create diamond cuts. Brush the paste evenly over the top and sides of the ham. 
  5. Return the ham to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, or until the skin turns deep brown in color.
  6. Remove the ham from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.


Recipe provided by

Nutrition Information
Yield 5
Amount Per Serving Calories 466Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 58mgSodium 936mgCarbohydrates 79gFiber 0gSugar 77gProtein 20g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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