Everyone wants a show stopping ham for their holiday table. Learn how to make a low carb and keto bourbon glazed ham with a few helpful tips and techniques from a culinary arts teacher!
There’s nothing wrong with a delicious and elegant than my champagne brined turkey, or my favorite low carb green bean casserole, or even this keto cornbread stuffing, but for me the holidays are all about the ham.
The holidays are happily packed with so many delicious sugary treats, that sometimes you want to keep the main dish (aka the ham) sugar free. This is an easy foolproof guide to mastering a ham in a keto friendly fashion without disappointing your sugar and carb loving guests.
Below I break down everything you need for an authentic tasting sugar free ham glaze, as well as cooking methods to prevent the ham from drying out and becoming over cooked. I’ll also cover both baking and grilling methods (double smoked ham anyone) to help fit your style of cooking.
Read through the recipe post to help guide you through your holiday ham experience with ease and be sure to gather tips and techniques as needed (as well as possible substitutions) in the class notes below. Let’s dive in to this keto ham recipe!
- 9×13 inch Baking Pan
- Small Pot
- Measuring cups/ spoons
- Pastry Brush
- Carving Knife
Below I will break down some common questions about ham cuts, sugar free glaze ingredients and substitutions, and cooking methods.
A quick general guide to buying the best ham:
We all have been in the grocery store, staring at the case of hams not knowing maybe the weight, the style, bone in or boneless, etc.
There are SO many questions. Good news, is that this recipe will work for any style or weight of ham but let’s take some of the guess work out of it with these helpful tips:
- If you aren’t comfortable with your carving skills opt for a spiral sliced ham. It takes the guess work out of the cuts. If you enjoy carving, get a bone in ham and hack away (safely).
- If you do buy a spiral cut ham (this seems to be the most popular after all), make sure it comes unglazed and toss any glazing packets out so you can make the sugar free one with this recipe.
- Spiral cut hams can dry out easier because it is more exposed to the dry air of your oven (or grill) and does well with misting periodically throughout the cook.
- When determining how much to serve, approximate about 3/4-1 pound per guest (and more if you want leftovers).
- Hams (unless specified as raw which is rare) are actually already smoked. This means, they really just need to be reheated. While the FDA lists all reheated foods need to be cooked to 165 F. for food safety a whole ham can be cooked to 145 F.
- Utilize a sharp knife to score any outside skin to help the glaze adhere as well for slicing both a bone in or spiral ham.
How do I make a sugar free keto glaze?
I’ve been blogging and cooking keto recipes for well over three years. I feel that I have done a great job of not only taking flavor into account, but texture. Achieving a good glaze is as much about texture as it is taste (and also appearance, we eat with our eyes first).
Here is what I use:
Allulose: This is my go to low carb sweetener that works best if you want to caramelize or create an authentic sugar like texture that you would get with a standard glaze. I use this in my keto simple syrup and keto friendly caramel sauce and you’re essentially creating a syrup for this recipe.
Substitutions: You can use other sweeteners but you may find that low carb white or brown sugar will crystalize and have an odd after taste. You could also swap out the syrup you make with this recipe and use this sugar free maple syrup instead as well.
Bourbon: Choose any bourbon you like or have on hand. You can use a cheaper one (since it will have flavors added to it). The alcohol will burn off in the cooking process, and will leave the flavor behind. Don’t want to use alcohol in this recipe? Simply sub it for a cup of water instead.
Cinnamon Sticks: Add a cinnamon stick to the syrup mixture to infuse the flavor.
Whole Cloves: Add a few whole, dried cloves to the syrup mixture to infuse the flavor.
Here is how I make the glaze:
In a small pot, combine the bourbon and allulose together and heat on medium low heat until dissolved. Bring it to a simmer and then remove it from the heat to rest about 30 minutes with the cinnamon stick and cloves in the pot. Strain and remove and set the glaze aside. It can be warm or room temperature (this makes it easier to add to the ham).
How should I cook the ham?
- Preheat your oven or your grill to 325 F. Use indirect heat if using the grill.
- Prep your ham by placing it cut side down in a foil lined baking dish. Score the skin (if not spiral cut) with a cross hatch pattern.
- Cover your ham lightly with foil and put it in the oven and bake for 1.5 hours. You will not need the glaze until the last 30-45 minutes, so keep it handy but off to the side.
- If you want to keep the ham moist and flavorful, I like to spritz the outside with very diluted apple cider vinegar or sugar free apple juice if you don’t mind a few natural carbs. This keeps the outside moist and juicy.
- After that 1.5 hour mark, check the temperature. You want the ham to be around 115 F-120 F before you add the glaze. When it reads the right temp, use a pastry brush and lightly coat the entire top of the ham and bake again (uncovered) for 15 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times, every 15 minutes
- Remove ham from oven when it reaches a final internal temperature of 140 F. Let it rest 15 minutes tented in foil before slicing and serving.
How To Make A Low Carb Holiday Ham Recipe
- 1, 6-8 lb. Ham any pre-smoke ham will work
- 1 1/2 cup Allulose
- 1 cup Bourbon or sub with water
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 3 Whole Cloves
- Optional- Sugar free apple juice or diluted apple cider vinegar for spritzing.
- Remove your ham from the packaging and pat it down and remove excess moisture. If your ham is not pre-sliced, use a knife to create a cross hatch pattern into it (like a checkerboard) by just lightly scoring the skin. Set it aside and let it warm up from the fridge (pro tip, if you leave it out for an hour prior to baking it will cook much faster as well).
- To make the glaze, carefully heat the bourbon over medium low heat. Add in the allulose sweetener (please see the blog post in regards to substituting other low carb sweeteners) and whisk until dissolved. Bring the mixture up to a simmer and then remove from the heat. The alcohol will cook off, but it can also be substituted for water instead.
- To the bourbon mixture add a whole cinnamon stick and the three whole cloves and let it steep and cool in the mixture for about 30 minutes, remove them then discard and set the glaze aside.
- To bake or grill your ham, preheat your oven to 325 (grill should be set for indirect heat) and place it cut side down in a baking dish lined with foil.
- Lightly tent the ham in foil to cover it and bake for about 1.5 hours. If you want to keep the outside skin moist, spray it with very diluted apple cider vinegar or sugar free apple juice every 30 minutes if it’s looking dry.
- After 1.5 hours, remove from the oven and brush the entire ham in a layer of glaze and return to the oven to continue to bake for another 30-45 minutes or so. Continue to add glaze every 15 minutes or until the ham reaches 140 F internally.
- Let it rest tented in foil for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.