Bacon Jam

There are so many uses for this delicious bacon jam. The combination of bacon and caramelized onions slowly cooked with brown sugar and vinegar results in a tangy and sweet but savory thick bacon spread. It's perfect on cheese boards, baked potatoes, burgers, steaks, eggs, sandwiches and so much more!

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What is Bacon Jam?

Bacon what?? That’s right. Bacon Jam. A jam doesn’t always have to be made of fruit, but it does usually mean sticky and that stickiness usually comes from sugar. Think about the saying “I’m in a jam” – a sticky situation. Bacon jam is a sweet-savory spread that combines the sweet flavors of caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and combines it with salty bacon and tangy apple cider vinegar. It’s similar to tomato jam, another sweet-savory spread. 

A pound of bacon, balsamic vinegar, water, brown sugar, onion, butter and cider vinegar on a wooden counter with a red and white kitchen towel.

How to Make a Savory Jam

Bacon jam is very easy to make and the whole thing can be done in about an hour. There are very few ingredients so do try to use the best ingredients you can find. Delicious thick cut bacon will give you bigger chunks of bacon in the final jam, but regular sliced bacon will work too. Sweet Vidalia onions will add a gentler onion flavor than Spanish onions, but again use what you have.

Bacon cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Rendering the Bacon Fat

The goal of the first step is to render the fat out of the bacon, letting it crisp up. This will happen just by letting the bacon cook over medium heat, but if you’d like to speed the process up, there are a few tips that can help. Start with the bacon in a cold pan and then turn on the heat – that will render the fat out more completely. Also, drain the fat off the bacon as it cooks – if the bacon is sitting in fat, crisping is inhibited and will take longer. You can read all about the different ways to cook bacon here.

Onions cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Caramelize the Onions

Caramelizing the onions is an important step to making bacon jam as well. This is probably the part of the recipe that will take the longest, if you caramelize the onions properly. I use a piece of parchment paper over the onions to ensure that they don’t dry out. For a complete lesson in making caramelized onions, click here

Bacon jam in a jar with a spoon sticking out of it and a piece of bread with cheese and bacon jam.

Bacon Jam Goes With…

Once the ingredients have been combined and you’ve let them reduce into a thick syrupy spread, you’ll want to know how to serve the bacon jam. Most importantly, you need to know that bacon jam should always be served warm. It is inevitable that the fat in the jam will solidify in the refrigerator, so warm it a little before serving. (If you’re smart, you’ll store the jam in a jar without metal clips (unlike the one I used) so that you can pop it into the microwave to warm it before serving.) Warm bacon jam is delicious on a burger (like the Bacon Blue Burger pictured below), in any sandwich (but especially an egg sandwich), on a grilled steak or chicken breast, on pan-fried pork chops, in a baked potato or on mashed potatoes and especially on a cheese board where it pairs perfectly with a sharp Cheddar. 

Looking down on a burger with bacon jam on it next to a jar of bacon jam and some crispy shallots.

How to Store Bacon Jam

Bacon jam will keep nicely in your refrigerator for 2 to 4 weeks. This recipe makes about 2 cups of jam and trust me, it won’t take long to move through that amount. Because it needs to be heated before being served, store the jam in a container that can be easily microwaved for a few seconds.

This delightful jam is sweet, salty, deep, rich and yes, sticky. It’s got everything. That’s the kind of “jam” I’d like to be in!

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Bacon Jam   

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 45 m
  • Total Time: 1 h
  • Servings:
    Makes 2 Cups


  • 1 pound bacon diced
  • 2 sweet onions diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 parchment paper circle cut to fit your skillet
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • teaspoons fresh thyme divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain away the bacon grease, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the skillet.
  2. Add the butter and onions to the skillet. Stir together to coat the onions with the fat and cook over low heat with a circle of parchment paper placed over the onions to prevent them from drying out while cooking. Cook for about 10 minutes and stir occasionally when the onions start to brown. Keep cooking over low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes more until the onions have caramelized.
  3. Add the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, water, 1 teaspoon of the fresh thyme and black pepper. Return the cooked bacon to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid reduces and the consistency is thick and syrupy. Stir in the remaining fresh thyme.

  4. Serve warm on burgers, steaks, waffles, sandwiches, crostini or as a condiment for a cheese board. To store, refrigerate in jars for up to four weeks.

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Comments (22)Post a Reply

  1. Sounds delish! Want to try but I am extremely allergic to onions, any recommendations for a good substitute? I can have limited amounts of garlic without cross reactivity. TIA

    1. Hi Allison. You could try shallots or leeks if your allergy allows them. Could also try making it with diced tomatoes or apples. Either option would have a different outcome but would probably be delicious.

  2. I am so making this. We have a local pork shop by our house where we get all our fresh pork and they have the best thick cut bacon (and they even sell bacon brittle- like peanut brittle but bacon instead). Thanks for the recipe, and all your tips.
    Hugs, Di

  3. Just wondering if light brown sugar can be used instead of dark. There are only 2 of us so will halve the recipe and don’t want to buy an entire bag of dark brown sugar. Thanks. Love your recipes and books.

  4. I just made this yesterday and I’m going to have to figure out a way to padlock the fridge door. My husband has decided it doesn’t need to have anything else with it…just a spoon! Yes, It IS that good!! I will definitely make this again…and again…and again!!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this three days ago. It’s amazing. The vinegar seemed a bit strong at first, but it seems to have mellowed out into a delicious savory sauce. Definitely a keeper! Thank you.

  6. I have most of the ingredients ready to prepare, but I’m stumped on how much sweet onion to dice. The sweet onions in Southern California are huge. Could you convert the two sweet onions to cups for me please. I know that I’m going to love this recipe, and don’t want to mess it up. A big fan of yours!

    1. Thanks Heather! I usually figure 1 average onion yields about 1 cup of diced onions. You can use 2 cups of diced onions for this recipe.

  7. My Mom made this when I was a child. Up until now I have not found a recipe that tasted like hers. I definitely will try this. She passed away 60 years ago so it has been a long time waiting for it again. She often served it on hot dogs, too. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    1. Hi Nancy. Canning meat products is a little more complicated than preserving fruit and vegetables and must be done using a pressure canner which reaches higher temperatures. This recipe should be stored in the refrigerator, or you can freeze some for later.

  8. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Made some onion jam a few years ago and it is a game changer on burgers. With only two of us in the house, I was thinking I could freeze half, don’t you?

  9. 5 stars
    I first discovered Back Jam about 2 years ago but it’s so hard to find!
    The first time I saw this recipe sometime ago I had to make it that night! And it was from Meredith so I knew it would be good 😊 Off to the grocery for ingredients I went. I have now made this Bacon Jam
    many many times for myself and others and oh yes I make it and seal so I always have it on hand, It is much better than what I could buy! So much better I have been known to just eat a spoonful ( or 2) out of the jar! Now with my tomatoes coming in abundance I am going to try the Tomato Jam!
    Thanks Meridth and we all miss you on the “Q”!

  10. Excellent. I tried another recipe for bacon jam way back and didn’t think much of it. Tried this recipe and the results were great. We’ve used it on hot dogs and yesterday as a delicious topping for a steak sandwich. Will be making it again very soon.

  11. 5 stars
    Yum!!! Just made it and was so overwhelmed!! Hardest part of making this was not nibbling on the bacon while Carmel using the onions!!

  12. 5 stars
    Just made it and yum! Husband had some on a restaurant burger on a recent road trip and had a craving. I researched and tried yours. This is perfect! My onions took longer but I wanted them really caramelized and it is worth the wait. Thanks for the straightforward instructions and the pix! It’s a huge hit! House smells awesome too. Don’t fear the vinegar, gentle cooks, for it is a nice balance.

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