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Bourbon-Cherry Glazed Ham

Don’t stress about what to make for your Christmas main dish, this Bourbon-Cherry Glazed Ham is the perfect simple centerpiece for your epic feast.

sliced ham sitting on serving platter with garnish

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally have my first-holiday ham recipe on the blog! This Bourbon-Cherry Glazed Ham is a show-stopping addition to your Christmas meal and is so easy to put together. In fact, it’s just as easy as using that questionable glaze packet that comes with some hams. 

I’ve been on turkey duty for a few years now for Thanksgiving, but I’ve yet to award the coveted spot of Christmas main dish. I’m sure I’ll be contributing a couple of side dishes and desserts, but that’s it. If you’re making the ham this year, then this is the perfect impressive recipe! 

I LOVE the cherry and bourbon flavors together in this glaze. It’s so tasty next to the smokiness of the ham, and the glaze leaves a nice crispy crust on the outside. Let’s just say I wasn’t mad about having 8 pounds of leftovers when it was all said and done.

I’m still hanging on to the ham bone to make a big pot of beans with later! (Wow, I definitely just sounded like a southern grandma).

If you’re intimidated by making a ham you definitely shouldn’t be. As long as you make a flavorful glaze, keep the meat moist, and don’t burn or overcook, you’re bound for success every time. 

Ingredients & Subs

fully cooked ham — Most hams clock in at about 10 pounds which is what you’ll need to feed roughly 25 people. You can get boneless or bone-in,  and sliced or whole, whichever you prefer.
brown sugar
dijon mustard
Bourbon
balsamic vinegar
tart cherry juice
ground cinnamon
garlic
Rosemary, cherries, and citrus for garnishing

How to Make

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven. Remove any packaging or netting from the ham. Discard the glaze packet if it comes with one. If your ham is whole (not pre-sliced) trim away the rind and discard, leaving behind just the layer of fat. Score the fat diagonally in a diamond pattern. If your ham is already sliced, no need to prep. Set the ham aside to rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  2. Line a roasting pan or baking dish with aluminum foil. Place the ham in the roasting pan and cover the ham completely with foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. While the ham is cooking, make the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together brown sugar, dijon, Bourbon, balsamic vinegar, tart cherry juice, cinnamon, and garlic. Simmer until reduced by half.
     After the ham has baked for 30 minutes, carefully remove the ham from the oven, and increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Remove the foil and pour 1/3 of the glaze all over the ham, brushing in between the cuts to evenly cover. If your ham is already sliced, you open the slices with a fork to get the glaze in the ham. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, brush with another third of the glaze and baste with the pan juices, and repeat again after 15 minutes more minutes of baking until a dark caramelized crust has formed about 30 minutes total. Remove ham from oven and let rest 15 minutes, continuing to baste with pan drippings. Transfer to a serving platter with Rosemary, cherries, and citrus for garnishing.

sliced ham sitting on serving platter with garnish

How long should you cook a fully cooked ham?

The good news is, your ham is pre-cooked, so it takes out that super scary element that poultry has. At 325º, your ham should take approximately 15 minutes per pound, depending on your oven.

I can’t stress enough the importance of investing in a meat thermometer. Since your ham is already cooked, all you need to worry about getting the internal temperature to 140ºF.

Is my ham pre-cooked?

Yes. Almost all mass-produced store-bought hams are either smoked or cured in some way that fully cooks them through. If you were actually wanting a raw ham to smoke yourself, you would likely need to visit a butcher to obtain that. 

How to store

Don’t let that ham sit on the counter while you play your white elephant game. Leftovers should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking. Store them tightly wrapped in your refrigerator. I’d recommend getting some secure plastic bags and making everyone some to take home. Be sure to eat within 3 days. If you’re not sure that you’ll finish your ham leftovers before then, go ahead and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for 1-2 months.

sliced ham sitting on serving platter with garnish

What do I serve with my ham?

Garlic Parmesan Potato Stacks

Air Fryer Salt and Vinegar Brussels Sprouts

No-Knead Artisan Rolls

Sour Cream and Cheddar Deviled Eggs

Harvest Panzanella Salad

Sweet Potato Salad with Spiced Pecans

How do you cook a ham without drying it out?

Easy! You want to make sure you keep the ham covered at least for the first portion of cooking. You can remove it towards the end when you want to brown your glaze and make sure the outside is crisp, but keeping it covered, in the beginning, helps keep it nice and juicy.

I also recommend putting about 1/3-1/2 a cup of water into the base of your roasting pan and be sure to use the drippings to baste the ham all over throughout cooking. You also want to make sure you’re not overcooking your ham.

It’s already fully cooked, so you just need to make sure that it reaches 140ºF near the center.

sliced ham sitting on serving platter with garnish

Easy Ham Leftover Recipes

Ham, Caramelized Onion, and Kale Cauliflower Pizza

Pimento Cheese and Hot Ham Sliders

Ham, Mushroom, and Spinach Strata

Ham and Cheddar Mini Frittatas

Hawaiian Pineapple Ham Sliders

Pick up these tools to make things a breeze! 

 

sliced ham sitting on serving platter with garnish

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Take a browse around the site and please let me know if you make anything by leaving a comment and rating the recipe below. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, concerns, or requests!

Bourbon-Cherry Glazed Ham

Bourbon-Cherry Glazed Ham

Yield: 1 Ham
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Don't stress about what to make for your Christmas main dish, this Bourbon-Cherry Glazed Ham is the perfect simple centerpiece for your epic feast.

Ingredients

  • 1 fully cooked whole ham (boneless or bone-in), about 10 pounds
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups tart cherry juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Rosemary, cherries, and citrus for garnishing

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven. Remove any packaging or netting from the ham. Discard the glaze packet if it comes with one. If your ham is whole (not pre-sliced) trim away the rind and discard, leaving behind just the layer of fat. Score the fat diagonally in a diamond pattern. If your ham is already sliced, no need to prep. Set the ham aside to rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  2. Line a roasting pan or baking dish with aluminum foil. Place the ham in the roasting pan and cover the ham completely with foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. While the ham is cooking, make the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together brown sugar, dijon, Bourbon, balsamic vinegar, tart cherry juice, cinnamon, and garlic. Simmer until reduced by half. After the ham has baked for 30 minutes, carefully remove the ham from the oven, and increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Remove the foil and pour 1/3 of the glaze all over the ham, brushing in between the cuts to evenly cover. If your ham is already sliced, you open the slices with a fork to get the glaze in the ham. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, brush with another third of the glaze and baste with the pan juices, and repeat again after 15 minutes more minutes of baking until a dark caramelized crust has formed about 30 minutes total. Remove ham from oven and let rest 15 minutes, continuing to baste with pan drippings. Transfer to a serving platter with Rosemary, cherries, and citrus for garnishing.

Notes

See the blog post above.

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