The Best Bacon Jam
This bacon jam recipe is easily the best in the world. Bacon, onions, brown sugar, coffee, and balsamic are slowly simmered until thick and jam-like. It's simple to make and perfect for serving as an appetizer to elevate cheese and crackers.
We love the sweet-savory taste of bacon in treats. If you do too, try our bourbon bacon peanut butter cookies, bacon bourbon caramel popcorn, or homemade bacon turtles!
This recipe was originally published in 2013. We've updated the post with some new photos and more information, but we've left the delicious recipe exactly the same.
Not to be dramatic, but this is the BEST bacon jam recipe in the world. We know that's a big statement, but we've been told it so many times that we have to believe it. There's something about the taste of sweet onions and smoky bacon that makes this jam totally irresistible.
The onions are sliced thick with chunks of chewy bacon throughout. All you have to do is simmer all the ingredients together in a pot on the stove. It will fill your home with amazing aromas, too.
If you're looking for compliments, bring this bacon jam to your next party. Your friends will love you for it!
What is bacon jam?
Bacon jam is a sweet condiment made with onions, bacon, brown sugar, and coffee. The ingredients are slowly simmered until they become a jam-like consistency. This popular condiment (also sometimes called bacon marmalade) has been popping up on menus everywhere in recent years.
Use it like jam and serve it with cheese and crackers or appetizers, slather it on burgers, or use it on grilled cheese for lots of bold and sweet bacon flavor.
Why is there coffee in here? While you don't taste any coffee flavor, it helps elevate and make the other flavors more pronounced. It's not a common bacon jam ingredient, and we think it's what makes our recipe so good.
Why you'll love it
There are so many reasons you'll love this bacon jam:
- It's both savory and sweet
- It's versatile – serve it on cheese boards or spread onto grilled sandwiches
- It's easy to make
- It can be prepared ahead of time
- It stores well in the fridge for up to 3 weeks
- It has bacon in it!
We've tried a few bacon jams before and while they've all been pretty darn tasty, we think this one is extraordinary. Here are the ingredients you'll need to make this bacon jam recipe:
- Bacon – thick-cut bacon is best for this recipe.
- Onions – sweet onions, quartered then sliced thick.
- Brown sugar – adds a wonderful caramel taste and sweetness.
- Water – is used so that the onions have extra time to soften and become jam-like.
- Coffee – strong brewed coffee for maximum flavor.
- Balsamic vinegar – for a mild acidity to balance out the flavors.
Your bacon jam game plan
It's easy to make this bacon jam at home. Here's how to do it in a few simple steps:
- Start by slicing and cooking the bacon until just before it turns crispy. Remove it, along with some of the fat, from the pan and set it aside.
- Add the onions and cook until they're soft. Then, add the sugar and cook until the onions caramelize and turn dark brown.
- Add a splash of your leftover morning coffee (we're not joking!), some water, and the cooked bacon. Let everything simmer until it becomes thick and jam-like.
- Stir in a little balsamic, grab some cheese and crackers, and dig in!
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
Is it safe to can jam?
Canning meat is often not recommended because of the risk of botulism in low acid foods. If you're thinking about canning some of this jam, it's best to do a little research to see if you're comfortable doing it. If you decide to can some of this bacon jam, using a pressure cooker is a must; boiling water won't do. Here are a few reputable publications on canning meat to get you started:
It will keep in the fridge in a sealed jar or container for 2-3 weeks. When it's cold, some of the bacon fat will harden and turn white. Don't worry, as soon as it warms to room temperature it will look and taste amazing.
Yes, you can. We like the dark color and the bit of sweetness that balsamic adds to this recipe. If you use apple cider instead, start with adding 1 teaspoon then adjust the amount to taste.
We like this jam best when it's served at room temperature. But we've also been known to eat it hot right after we make it or put it on crackers straight from the fridge.
Ideas for using bacon jam
You might be wondering, what do you use bacon jam on? The real question is, what don't you use bacon jam on!
Of course, this jam is the perfect sweet condiment for pairing with crackers and cheese like brie or goat cheese. It's a staple on snack boards like our cheese board with pomegranate baked brie or our epic holiday cheese board.
We like to make little crostinis and serve them with other toppings like dried figs, rosemary, roasted cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, or baby arugula. We even use it on bacon jam pizza!
It also adds incredible flavor to burgers and grilled sandwiches like this grilled cheese and apple recipe!
Give it as a gift! Tie a pretty ribbon around the lid of a glass jar and give it to someone you know who loves good food. Remember to let them know that it needs to go into their fridge after you give it to them – if they don't eat it all right away.
Popular bacon appetizer recipes
- Bacon Scallop Lollipops with Honey Sriracha Glaze
- Mini BLT Cups
- Bacon and Goat Cheese Pops
- Bacon Caramel Popcorn
The Best Bacon Jam
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
- 1 lb thick cut bacon
- 2 extra large sweet onions, quartered and thickly sliced
- ½ cup brown sugar, use coconut sugar for paleo
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Cut the bacon into half-inch slices and add them to a large frying pan. Don't worry if the bacon pieces stick together, they will come apart as they cook. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the bacon is cooked but still quite chewy. A few crispy bits are ok. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan.1 lb thick cut bacon
- Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings. Add the onions to the pan and cook for about 8-10 minutes then reduce the heat to low. Add the sugar and stir. Continue to cook until the onions have caramelized, about 20 minutes.2 extra large sweet onions, ½ cup brown sugar
- Add the reserved bacon, coffee, and water and increase the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring about every five minutes, until the onions are thick and jam-like, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the balsamic. Taste for seasoning and salt if necessary.½ cup water, ⅓ cup strong brewed coffee, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Bring back to room temperature before serving. There will be little spots of white fat when you take it out of the fridge. As the jam comes to room temperature, these will disappear.
Simple to make and delicious. I used local honey instead of sugar . Perfect
Love this recipe. Thank you.
I made this according to the recipe. I found the brown sugar made it too sweet to my liking. I added some soy sauce and a little extra apple cider vinegar to cut down on the sweetness.
The next batch I make I plan to use molasses instead of brown sugar and 1/3 cup beer instead of water.
Out of this world. Can’t wait to make it again.
Made it last night and turned out great!! Followed the recipe with no modifications. Only thing I did at the end was use my immersion blender because I use it for charcuterie so wanted it more spreadable. But I still think cutting everything in larger chunks was worth it because since it cooks for so long you don’t want to burn anything.
Also, I put some aside to throw some hot peppers in and also delish! Highly recommend doing that if you like a kick
OMG! This stuff is fantastic!!!! Just a few ingredients but man, it packs a wallop of flavor!!! Used it on chicken sandwiches, and will use again on hamburgers, then again, on a spoon, in my mouth!! Great stuff!!!
Can you taste the coffee flavor? I don’t like coffee or even the slightest taste of it in any recipe. What could be substituted for the coffee?
I don’t taste it, but then I love coffee. If you’re really sensitive to it, you can omit it. The cooking time will be a little less as you won’t have as much liquid in the pan.
I just finished a batch and I made extra strong Italian coffee for it and I don’t taste coffee at all.
I just made this tonight and it’s perfect! I was invited to a friend’s for biscuits (!) tomorrow and I thought this would be a cute little add. I used a cast iron pan and ran it through a mini-prep for a few whirls, in two batches, when it was done. No other notes – it was great.
Fantastic! I made it last night. It was so good that hubby & I ate it instead of supper!
There are two things I will change the next time I make it:
1- The quality of bacon. I used regular Smithfield brand, and it was very (probably too) fatty. I think it would have been even better with more “meat”
2- The coffee. While it adds great flavor, the caffeine kept me awake with my heart racing, but it was totally worth it. Will probably substitute bourbon for the coffee, or maybe try decaf.
Thanks so much!!
I agree with the Smithfield observation. After this batch I think I’ve written off Smithfield bacon. The quality & flavor isn’t what it used to be.
Used it as a base recipe. Added a little bit of pepper and coffee seasoning while bacon cooked, chopped everything smaller as it cooked with the spoon, put in the balsamic too early while cooking, added a few drops of orange bitters and its so freaking good!
Very good. Does take longer than the directions say.
Love this recipe but wondered if it could be canned? Would like to have on hand in half pint jars without having to make it each time!
Yes, but you need to can it in a pressure cooker – not a hot water bath. But it also freezes very well!
Oh my!! I just stumbled onto this recipe and read many of the reviews. I know it will be the perfect addition to my holiday charcuterie board! I can already smell it and hear the rave reviews. No doubt it will be going in my permanent recipe file! Thank you!
didn’t thicken up at the end. I’m guessing it’s because i put the vinegar in too early. 😭. still tasted great!👍
It will thicken, you just have to keep cooking. I have made a 3x and a 4x batch. Both took MUCH longer than the stated cooking time in the recipe, despite not adding any water and using espresso instead of coffee in order to add less liquid. Cooking time will depend on lots of things, like moisture in bacon and onion, humidity, how much liquid you add, and size of the batch. Just keep cooking it until the liquid part looks thick, like maple syrup.
I think the fact that I bring this jam for an appetizer is the main reason we get invited anywhere for dinner…and I am ok with that! 😉
I like to deglaze w/a splash of bourbon, add a lil chili flake and dried thyme, otherwise this recipe is perfect.
Absolutely delicious!! Can’t get enough!!
Never fails to impress.
I would eat the entire thing straight out of the pan if I could! Best bacon jam recipe I’ve ever tried!
We were planning to have burgers for dinner last night, so I decided to make a bacon jam for them. When searching for a recipe I came across this one and decided on it simply because of the coffee element, as I love coffee. Although a little time consuming to make, it sent build your own burger night into a completely new experience.
This came together super easily and its my new favorite thing. I really love how you added in the ingredients after each step in the directions, this was so helpful for not having to scroll back! First time ever rating a recipe, well done.
I second the comment on having the ingredients after each step. It made it so much easier to make.
We enjoyed this on smashburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. So good!
Next time I’ll double the recipe as is pretty time intensive.
I made this and added a little whiskey glaze. Then, poured it over a Boursin cheese ball for a cocktail party. Oh my goodness! It was a frenzy. So delicious. 🙂
That sounds incredible!!
I’ve been making this for a couple of years and it’s a favorite for a few of my favorite people. I do add Worcestershire the last few minutes as well. Thanks for the great recipe!!!
Make sure you make plenty of this recipe if you are having guests…my niece pretty much ate the whole jar before the rest of the company came. It is fabulous and always a big hit. I like it with goat cheese and a wheat cracker — but I’ve been known just to sneak a spoon out of the fridge!
I did a variation by replacing the bacon with a bunch of reserved fatty skin from a roasted duck. It turned out amazing!
The balsamic and brown sugar were essential in making it a jam as opposed to just jammy.
Oh. My. Goodness. I’ve made this twice now and both were superb. The first I followed the original and had it on crostini with a sharp smooth cheese as suggested.
Then made second batch but added 2 fresh peaches, chopped smooth, and about twice the amount of a good thick balsamic. Put this over a burger with a small bit of bleu cheese and it was divine. Didn’t get quite as thick the second time from the moisture, next time I will cook it down more. Definitely a win in this house.
Been making a variation of this for years and googled Bacon Jam to see if it is actually a thing. Found your recipe and will try adding the coffee next time I make it. (Currently have some in my fridge). Only thing I do differently is add 2-3 sliced and seeded jalapenos to the cooking onions. Love it and thanks for sharing!
I love this recipe! I caramelize the onions in step two for like 30-35 mins which gives it that really dark color without making the bacon crispy. But 10/10 highly recommend.
So easy to make yet one of the best things I’ve ever had! There’s no end to the things you can put this on. Who doesn’t love bacon?
So yummy 🤤. I used red onions instead of sweet because it was all I had. My 12 year old even likes it! I cannot wait to use it on burgers tomorrow? Thank you.
So. 1. I never leave reviews. 2. This tastes amazing. 3. I wanted a more spreadable jam so I put it in the food processor. Anyone else do this? Did I do something wrong that it was super chunky? Couldn’t image trying to spread. Thoughts?
I made this tonight, but I used Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey in place of the water. It added a nice complexity, but I’m sure it would be just fine with the water.
Next time, I will use the recipe as written. I’m sure it will be great!
Is it okay to use regular cut bacon. Or, another trip to the store for thick? Love the layout of your recipe. Will check in again. thank you
I’ve made it with regular cut bacon and it works, too. I just prefer thick cut as I like the texture better. Both are equally tasty!
How many ½ pint jars will this bacon jam recipe make?
Ive only heard of such thing a few days, when a local restaurant posted his lunch menu. It was a hamburger slathered with bacon jam.
Hi Barbara, our recipe should give you about 1 pint of bacon jam.
Outstanding! I watched a show about restaurant burgers, and one that got all the customers going goo-goo was some place that put bacon jam on their cheeseburgers. I’m a sucker for good reviews, so I googled “best bacon jam” and found this. Delicious! My plan is to smother it on burgers. Thanks much!
I’m not certain how to rate until I’ve tasted it. However, I love every ingredient in it. Bacon, caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar and etc., It sounds wonderful and I am getting ready to make it to add to a Charcuterie Board. Thank you for sharing your recipes and that wonderful sense of humor you have. Kindest regards, Pam
My family loves this- I have shared the recipe with friends who also love it. Thank you so much! I add a little fresh ground black pepper( standard step at our house) and put it on homemade biscuits because we live in the south.Delicious!!!
Big hit also at Thanksgiving! Delicious and always in demand! I pulse it in the food processor to make it spreadable.
Locally our favorite burger joint serves a burger they call Lady Marmalade. It is delicious! They wouldn’t give me the recipe so I’ve been looking for one to use to replicate their burger. This is it! Just add it to the top of your hamburger, top with a bun – needs nothing else but lots of napkins!
I love this recipe but I love love love that you listed the measurements below the steps. Ugh amazing.
Ps my husband is obsessed with this jam!
This is amazing
Just want to say, what a GREAT idea having ingredients listed with cooking instructions!!! Thank you!! Brilliant!!
I have not made this recipe yet but I do plan on it! However I wanted to comment on the layout of the recipe! I love there really isn’t 10 pages of back story to the recipe, it’s pretty quick and to the point, I also LOVE that she put the measurements of the ingredients bellow the paragraph that she’s talking about so no extra bouncing around, I believe this is my first recipe of yours that I have found, but I can’t wait to explore more!
Can I freeze it
Yes! This jam freezes well.
Very delicious… If you double this recipe like I did, it will take forever to boil down enough to become thick and sticky… so have patience! Also I did not see the point of adding water because your actually trying to reduce it so I left it out. Total prep and cook time for me was 2-3 hours but it was totally worth it. I’m serving this at a party tomorrow on toasted baguette with goat cheese!!
WOW!!! Just WOW!!!!!! I’ve never made bacon onion jam before and came across your recipe!! Truly 10 out of 10! I will be serving for the holidays. This will be great for New Year’s Eve! Who am I kidding, it’s great anytime!!!!! Thank you for sharing!!
This is absolutely amazing. I used half streaky bacon and half triple hickory smoked and tripled the strength of the coffee. Also used beetroot balsamic to give a touch more sweetness. I was making it for a varied group but have shared it with my chilli mates suggesting a few habaneros or scorpions would be amazing. Perfect in ages cheddar with a full bodied South Australian red win
I’ve made this a few times and it is fantastic. I’ll bet this would be great as a topping for pork belly burnt ends.