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This salty-sweet Bacon Jam recipe is made with slowly simmered bacon, brown sugar, onions, and spices. It adds a definite “wow” factor to almost anything you put it on. And trust us, it can go on almost anything.
We definitely think that bacon makes everything more delicious! For more bacon-centric recipes, be sure to also check out our Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers, Oven Baked Bacon, Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, and Green Beans with Bacon!
What is bacon jam?
If you have never heard of, much less tried, bacon jam, it’s an appetizer or spread-type accompaniment that goes with something else, either crostini or crackers or some kind of protein typically. And while it’s called a “jam”, that term is somewhat misleading. Bacon jam is really closer to a chutney or chunky relish, with small pieces of bacon and onion in a sticky glaze.
It has the most amazing smokey, savory flavor from the bacon that is perfectly paired with the natural sweetness of caramelized onions and brown sugar. Bacon jam is slow-simmered until all the flavors meld together to create an over-the-top addition to anything you want to combine it with.
Bacon jam makes a fantastic appetizer when served on a fruit and cheese board with crackers, or mounded on top of a brick of cream cheese or served with burrata and crostini. But our favorite way of eating it is on top of burgers or grilled chicken.
How to make bacon jam
It’s actually very simple to make bacon jam and the ingredient list is short. Some bacon onion jam recipes are made with bourbon or coffee, but I just use water instead to deglaze the pan after caramelizing the onions.
Start by slicing the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces, which is easiest to do when it’s very cold or even partially frozen. Cook the bacon in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat until most of the fat is rendered but the bacon isn’t all the way cooked and crispy yet. Transfer the partially cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon, and drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
Add the onions and garlic to the reserved bacon fat. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions soften and begin to caramelize. This typically takes around 10-15 minutes. As the onions cook, the heat draws out their natural sugars.
Then deglaze the pan by adding the water and scraping up any yummy browned bits off the bottom. Add the bacon back to the pan along with a brown sugar (maple syrup would probably be good as well if you like that bacon and maple syrup combo), a chopped tomato, a little smoked paprika, and black pepper. Everything will simmer away for about 30 minutes until the flavors combine into a thick, jammy condiment/spread type accompaniment. Stir in some balsamic vinegar right at the end, then cool a bit before serving warm or room temperature.
You can pulse the finished jam in a food processor a few times so it is truly more of a spreadable jam-like consistency. But to be honest, we really prefer it chunky and closer to a chutney or relish.
How long is bacon jam good for?
Bacon jam will actually last for quite a while in the fridge in an airtight container. The sugar and salt from the bacon act as preservatives that help it last longer. I have kept it up to 2 weeks in the fridge and it still tastes fantastic, but I’ve heard it will last twice that long and still be good.
I haven’t tried freezing bacon jam, but I can’t see what that wouldn’t work to make it last even longer, if you are thinking of making a double or triple batch to have some on hand whenever you want it.
More ways to enjoy bacon jam
Our favorite way to enjoy bacon jam is on burgers or over some grilled chicken. But here are some other delicious ways to use it:
- Serve with brie or burrata and crackers
- Make a sandwich with toasted bread or english muffins, bacon jam, and a fried egg
- Top scrambled eggs with a big scoop of bacon jam
- Spread some bacon jam on grilled cheese or other sandwiches
- Add it to any pasta dish
- Use as a pizza topping with arugula and your favorite a cheese like gouda or brie
Call me crazy, but I could see this being worked into an ice cream flavor someday.
This is a great homemade edible gift idea for the holidays too. Make large batches and give jars of bacon jam with a note informing the recipient to let the bacon jam come to room temperature before serving but to store in the fridge otherwise. I read once that Kate Middleton gave the Queen a jar of homemade chutney for her first Christmas as part of the royal family, so there’s definitely protocol for fancy condiments such as this making excellent gifts.
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- 1 1/2 pounds thick-cut bacon, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium tomato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet until most of the fat has been reduced and the bacon is almost crispy but still chewy, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate Drain most of the excess grease, reserving 2 tablespoons in the pan.
- Add the onions and garlic to the skillet with the reserved bacon grease and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until softened and browned.
- Add the bacon, tomato, brown sugar, water, smoked paprika, and pepper to the pan with the onions. Stir and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar.
- Cool slightly before using.
Keep covered in the fridge for 2 weeks.
VARIATION: Replace 1/2 cup of the brown sugar with 1/3 cup of maple syrup.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 460Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 1439mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 29g