Bacon jam is a sweet, savory, and salty jam made with thick slow-cooked bacon, maple bourbon, brown sugar, and a few other mouthwatering ingredients. Use it as a spread, a dip, and a topping!
Bacon jam has a complex flavor profile, combining all of your favorite flavors: caramelized onions, crispy bacon, brown sugar, thick balsamic glaze, coffee, and of course, maple bourbon. All of these flavors come together so well, transforming what you already thought were incredible components into one amazing jam. And get ready to use it on EVERYTHING. It’s made in under 1 hour and can last for weeks in the fridge. It’s the best!
About this recipe
Bacon onion jam can be used as a spread on all kinds of delicious crusty bread, as a topping on baked brie, pizza, or a burger, and makes a great addition to any cheese board. Try it on a Christmas brunch board for the holidays. Use it to make a fancy grilled cheese or to dip some crackers in. There is never a reason not to make it. It is so darn good!
It’s made with just 8 ingredients, so you want to find high quality ingredients to make this recipe the best it possibly can be. However, if you can’t find maple bourbon, regular bourbon will do just fine since there is also maple syrup in the recipe (use the real stuff!).
You’ll also want to use both the balsamic and the apple cider vinegar, as they both have their own individual flavors.
Bacon jam is a delicious year-round jam, and when presented in an adorable jar, makes a wonderful gift for someone. Just remind your recipient to store it in the fridge but that it’s best served warm and spreadable! Since it is both sweet and savory, it pairs well with a sharp cheese just as well as it does chicken or steak. A spoonful of bacon jam in one hand and a glass of sparkling white wine in the other, and you’ll definitely be in your happy place!
What you need
- Bacon – We recommend using thick-cut bacon, but any will work (this is not the place for turkey bacon, though!).
- Vidalia Onion – Chop your sweet onions finely, about the same size as you plan to chop the bacon.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – ACV adds a tart aspect to the jam.
- Maple Bourbon – Regular bourbon works, as there is also maple syrup in the recipe to help it out, but if you want extra maple flavor, make sure to look for that maple bourbon.
- Strong Coffee – The flavor of coffee shines through when using strong coffee. Want to really go all out with the coffee undertones? Try using espresso!
- Balsamic Vinegar – Balsamic vinegar adds a tangy sweet and savory note, and when reduced helps to thicken the jam and sweeten it even further.
- Maple Syrup – A wonderful flavor that always pairs well with bacon, bourbon, and onions! Make sure to buy pure, real maple syrup, not the artificially flavored stuff.
- Light Brown Sugar – Brown sugar gives this jam lots of sweetness and stickiness, and always makes bacon taste good. Candied bacon anyone? You could also use dark brown sugar for extra molasses flavor.
How to make it
Add the bacon to a large skillet and brown until it is crispy, but not burned. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Reserve the grease!
Add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease back to the skillet, along with the chopped onion, and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes until the onions softens and is translucent.
Add the apple cider vinegar, bourbon, coffee, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and brown sugar to the skillet.
Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the liquids are cooking, chop the bacon into small pieces and once the cook time is finished for the liquids, add the bacon back to the skillet and simmer on low for another 15 minutes until thick and bubbly.
Everything! You can essentially substitute it for (or add to) whatever you would normally have bacon with. On the side or on top of scrambled eggs. Use it as a topping on a breakfast sandwich, a fancy BLT, or grilled cheese. Top your burger with it, or have it as a pizza topping along with some crumbled blue cheese. It is a jam so it can be spread on toast, crusty baguettes, and even crackers. The list is endless!
According to Suzie and Martin Cowley, a Welsh couple, they are the creators of bacon jam. Known as the meat man and the fruit lady, they have been making this creation since 2008. They started selling it in their small boutique shop and it quickly became a best seller.
It typically lasts anywhere from 2-4 weeks in an airtight jar in the fridge. That’s speaking technically. In reality, it won’t last that long because you’ll have eaten it way before then 🙂
How to make this recipe your own
- If you like your bacon jam to be smoother, add it to a food processor or blender and pulse it until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Swap the bourbon for a different type of whiskey, whatever is your favorite (Rye, Tennessee, Blended, etc).
- Add a dash of cayenne for a spicy kick.
- Adding nutmeg or cinnamon, which are both warming spices, complements the brown sugar and maple syrup nicely.
- Choosing to use smoked bacon or adding a couple of drops of liquid smoke or a sprinkle of smoked paprika to your jam will give it a smoky flavor.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four weeks.
We recommend only reheating what you plan to use so that you’re not repeatedly heating and cooling it. Place in a microwave safe container and reheat in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring each time, until warm. You can also reheat over low heat in a skillet or sauce pan on the stove.
Get the Recipe: Bacon Jam
- 1 pound bacon (thick cut if possible)
- 1 medium vidalia onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup maple bourbon, or regular bourbon
- ¼ cup strong coffee
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar (dark brown sugar will also work)
- Add the bacon to a large skillet and brown until it is crispy, but not burned. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Reserve bacon grease.
- Return skillet to burner over low heat and add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease back to the skillet. Add chopped onion and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, until onion softens and is translucent. This method of slow cooking allows the onions to begin to caramelize and release some of the natural sugars that are present.
- Add the apple cider vinegar, bourbon, coffee, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and brown sugar to the skillet. Stir to combine. Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, reduce heat back to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the liquids are cooking, chop the bacon into small pieces.
- After liquids have cooked for 15 minutes and begun to thicken slightly, add the bacon back into the skillet and simmer on low for another 15 minutes until thick and bubbly.
- If you like your bacon jam to be a smoother, carefully add it to a food processor or blender and pulse it until it reaches desired consistency.
- If desired, save the additional bacon grease in case the jam needs a little extra liquid.
- Serving Suggestions: Bacon jam makes a great topping for breakfast sandwiches, eggs, waffles and pancakes, and can be served as an appetizer with cheese and crackers. It’s also great on a burger or a BLT.
- Storage: Refrigerate in a jar or airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
- Reheating: Bacon jam spreads better when it is warm.We recommend only reheating what you plan to use, so that you’re not repeatedly heating and cooling it. Place in a microwave safe container and reheat in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring each time, until warm. You can also reheat over low heat in a skillet or sauce pan on the stove.