Bacon Jam: Salty, meaty, chewy, sweet, savoury, smoky, bacony goodness. Bacon is crisped and made into the ultimate breakfast spread with maple syrup, onions, coffee, brown sugar and pepper.
There is simply nothing better than this on toast with a fried egg on top! Trust me.
My love of bacon has been pretty well documented (proof of my bacon-obsession). Even so, I can honestly tell you that Bacon Jam is the my most favorite way to eat it and has been for years.
This unusual-sounding-yet-divine-tasting bacon jam recipe is pretty powerful. How so?
While this jam was cooking the first time I made this, a neighbor (who we haven’t met for three years after we had moved here) came over to introduce himself. He didn’t say as much, but I assume the smell drew him since he kept looking over at the stove where my pot of bacon jam bubbled away. He visited again soon…
When my beloved, The Evil Genius, tasted Bacon Jam for the first time, his eyes rolled back into his head and he said, “Ooooh- Mommy.” which was funny since it sounded like Umami; a quality with which bacon jam is fully packed.
While my husband is a food guy, those are reactions that he just doesn’t have. That equals spectacular food.
I included little containers of Bacon Jam, some homemade fruit preserves, crackers, and cheese in charcuterie board gift baskets for eight friends this past Christmas. Before the day was up, two of them had already asked me for the recipe.
Before the next day was over, five of the others had asked for the recipe. The other friend doesn’t cook.
You can join our Bacon Jam Club; it isn’t exclusive. We want the whole world to know this joy.
Just be warned, once you try it, it’s like the mob. There’s no going back.
Bacon Onion Jam
There’s nothing in Bacon Jam that you shouldn’t be able to find at a reasonably decently stocked grocery store. The list is easy; bacon, onions, garlic, brown sugar, maple syrup, strong brewed coffee, black pepper, and dried thyme.
The truth is it’s kind of a Willy Wonka type of dish made from every-day, common ingredients. I mean, Bacon Jam sounds odd, doesn’t it?
It reminds me a little of the Three Course Dinner gum from the movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory when Violet chews the gum. Shortly before turning into a human blueberry, Violet raved ecstatically about how she could taste the tomato soup, roast beef, baked potato, and blueberry pie all clearly.
You definitely taste the bacon, maple syrup, onion, and brown sugar in Bacon Jam, but there’s nothing weird about it at all. It’s just plain amazing.
The only thing you can’t really make out when you’re thinking about it is the coffee. It adds a little counterpoint to the sweetness without screaming “I’m coffee!” This is my solemn guarantee as someone who doesn’t drink coffee.
If you dislike maple syrup for some reason, you can substitute Lyle’s Golden Syrup or a dark honey. I, however, am a maple syrup junkie and prefer dark maple syrup for my bacon jam but amber syrup will also work.
Bacon Jam Recipe
As far as which bacon you should use for bacon jam, this is mostly a matter of personal preference. Because you’re adding so many other flavours to it, I don’t necessarily advise you to use the most expensive bacon you like. Any reasonably good bacon will suffice.
I tend to use Wegman’s or Aldi thick-cut maple or hickory smoked bacon most often. Just remember that whatever flavour you taste in a slice of the cooked bacon will be concentrated in the Bacon Jam, so choose one you like to eat on its own.
Every time I post about cider vinegar, I inevitably get questions about what I mean. I guess maybe there are some regional differences in what this particular vinegar is called.
Apple Cider Vinegar is another way to refer to it. There are Heinz, Bragg’s, Wegman’s, ShurFine, and so many more brands I cannot even fathom naming them all.
Bragg’s is my favourite because I love raw apple cider vinegar with the mother still in it. If, however, you cannot find apple cider vinegar, you can substitute rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar.
What Pan should I use for my Bacon Jam Recipe?
There are a great many recipes floating around that suggest using a slow-cooker, but I prefer a dutch oven. The slow cooker doesn’t allow for as much evaporation as I think needs to occur to concentrate all of the amazing flavour for the ultimate Bacon Jam.
Years ago, my friend and I had a conversation about this; she tried making it with a slow cooker and I opted for the dutch oven. She converted to the dutch oven for subsequent makings of the bacon jam.
How to store extra bacon spread
This recipe obviously makes quite a lot since it starts with 3 pounds of bacon. Equally obviously, you’re going to want to think about your storage options.
My preferred storage method for Bacon Jam is to divide the finished batch into several small 8 ounce jars or containers with tight fitting lids. I label them clearly and pop all but one into the freezer.
The reason for this is that bacon jam is powerful stuff (as mentioned before) and a stretches further than you might think it would. Because of this, I love to stick it in the freezer for longer storage.
This way, that one batch of bacon jam can last me all of the spring and summer for tossing with roasted asparagus, topping toast, and spreading on endless grilled burgers. Then in fall, I make another batch to get me through autumn and winter and all of my baked potatoes, toast (it’s a year-round thing for me!), pizzas, and sandwiches.
How do I serve it?
It goes without saying that Bacon Jam is a natural at the breakfast table. Top toast with it and a fried egg. Don’t stop there, though.
If you want the ultimate base for your Bacon Jam, try a slice of toasted braided sesame semolina bread, no knead cottage cheese dill bread, Pretzel Bread, Jalapeno Cheddar Bread, or Ham and Cheddar Onion Cornbread.
Bacon Jam is amazing spread on toasted buns and topped with hamburgers. It’s also wonderful tossed with roasted potatoes, cooked pasta, or on a Fancy Pants Bacon Jam, Spinach, and Egg Pizza or Elvis Sandwich (Bacon Jam, Avocado, and Gorgonzola Toasted Waffle Sandwich.
You can use bacon jam straight from the refrigerator if you’re spreading it on something that is hot, but it is much easier to spread if you warm it gently in the microwave or in a saucepan first.
If you want to use your frozen bacon jam, I advise thawing overnight in the refrigerator or defrosting in the microwave first.
-Cut the bacon slices into one inch strips. Add the bacon to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until the bacon is browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings into a heat-proof jar with a tight-fitting lid.
-Place the Dutch oven back over the medium-high heat and add the onions and garlic.
-Stir well and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are mostly translucent.
-Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and drop heat again, this time to low.
-Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and boil hard for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, stir the browned bacon into the onions and liquid.
-Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure things aren’t sticking, adding 1/4 cup of water if it seems to be drying out. When the onions are meltingly soft and the liquid is thick and syrupy, remove the dutch oven from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
-Transfer the contents of the Dutch oven to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Fit the lid in place and pulse several times or until the Bacon Jam is a spreadable consistency.
-Scrape into a jar (or jars) or a container with a tight fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month or the freezer for up to six months. You can serve this cold, room temperature, or warm.
- 3 pounds bacon
- 4 large yellow onions peeled and thinly sliced
- 8 cloves garlic smashed with the flat side of a knife or a pan and peeled
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups very strong brewed black coffee
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Cut the bacon slices into one inch strips. Add the bacon to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until the bacon is browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings into a heat-proof jar with a tight-fitting lid.*
- *Save the bacon drippings in the refrigerator. That's too much flavor to trash!
- Place the Dutch oven back over the medium-high heat and add the onions and garlic. Stir well and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are mostly translucent. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and drop heat again, this time to low.
- Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and boil hard for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, stir the browned bacon into the onions and liquid.
- Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure things aren't sticking, adding 1/4 cup of water if it seems to be drying out. When the onions are meltingly soft and the liquid is thick and syrupy, remove the dutch oven from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the contents of the Dutch oven to the work bowl of a food processor that has been fitted with a blade. Fit the lid in place and pulse several times or until the Bacon Jam is a spreadable consistency. Scrape into a jar (or jars) or a container with a tight fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Can be served cold, room temperature or warmed.
I originally published this Bacon Jam post January 17, 2011. I updated it with new photos and improved notes in April 2019.