You are going to love the complex flavors of this bacon onion jam recipe. This versatile condiment can be used to top everything from burgers to bagels, and is the basis for an incredible appetizer. This recipe features a full pound of tasty bacon, caramelized onions, brown sugar, a dash of spicy mustard, and a splash of sweet-tangy balsamic vinegar.
Can’t you imagine countless jars of bacon jam lining the shelves in Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon’s refrigerator? They probably don’t even use ketchup!
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Want to get right to the good stuff? Click any of these headings to jump ahead:
- What is Bacon Jam?
- Why You’ll Go Hog Wild for this Recipe
- Recipe Inspiration
- Ingredients and Substitutions
- Equipment Needed
- Step by Step Instructions
- Recipe Variations
- What to Serve with Bacon-Onion Jam
- Storing, Freezing and Reheating Leftovers
- How Long Does Bacon Jam Last?
- More Popular Bacon Appetizer Recipes
- Bacon Onion Jam Recipe
- Save for Later
What Is Bacon Jam?
Bacon Jam is a sweet-savory condiment or relish made from bacon, onions, sugar or sweetener, vinegar, and other ingredients. It’s slow cooked until it develops a jam-like consistency.
The ultimate spread for bacon lovers, it can be served as an appetizer with crackers and cream cheese, on a charcuterie board, or as a spread or topping for dozens of foods. See more ideas below!
Why You’ll Go Hog Wild for This Recipe
- Amazing sweet-savory-salty-tangy flavors that will make your tastebuds so happy!
- Easy to make.
- Can be prepared ahead of time.
- Homemade bacon jam makes a great food gift!
After preparing the New York Times recipe for bacon jam, I was inspired to create a new recipe that would especially highlight the incomparable flavor of bacon. During testing, I made several updates for this onion bacon jam recipe:
- Reduced the number of onions from 4 to 3, for a more balanced ratio of onions to bacon.
- Increased the amount of bacon (are you surprised) from 3/4 pound to 1 pound.
- Omitted the mustard seeds, and opted for a spicy prepared mustard instead.
- Slightly increased the amount of brown sugar.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Shown above, from the top, here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe. (The printable recipe below has detailed directions.)
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard – You can also use stone-ground mustard if you prefer.
3 yellow onions, such as sweet Vidalia onions. You can also use white or red onions if you prefer.
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar – For the best quality and flavor, look for a bottle marked Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale with a D.O.P. (“Denominazione di Origine Protetta”) stamp or seal.
3 tablespoons brown sugar – Light or dark brown sugar works equally well in this recipe.
1 pound sliced smoked bacon – Regular or thin-sliced bacon, your choice! You can also use English back bacon in this recipe.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your taste preference. You’ll add this at the end.
A sharp chef’s knife to cut up the bacon and chop the onions.
A cutting board, like our favorite pig-shaped maple cutting board from J.K. Adams.
A large, heavy-bottomed pot to cook the jam. We cooked this batch in our favorite red Le Creuset Dutch oven.
A cooking spoon or wooden spoon to stir the jam.
A tightly sealing container to store leftovers. Small wide-mouth Mason jars are perfect for this.
Step by Step Instructions
Chop the bacon and put it in a heavy bottomed pot or large skillet.
Cook over medium heat until it’s nearly browned and the fat is rendered.
Pour out all but 3 tablespoons bacon drippings. (Save that tasty fat! Here’s what to do with bacon grease.) Add the chopped onions.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are browned and caramelized. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and mustard, and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is thick and jammy, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the heat, cool for 15 minutes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish.
Cool to room temperature and transfer to a tightly sealing container or glass jar if you’re storing it.
Spicy bacon jam – Add a little kick of heat by stirring in 2 or 3 chopped, seeded jalapenos when you cook the onions. Alternately, you can add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
Bourbon bacon jam – Add a splash of bourbon when you add the balsamic and brown sugar.
Maple bacon jam – Add 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup when you add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.
What to Serve with Bacon-Onion Jam
This bacon jam recipe is extremely versatile, and can be used in so many ways:
- As a cheeseburger topping
- As a topper for Brie cheese with crackers (shown above) for an appetizer
- Drizzled on beer cheese soup
- Spread on a sandwich (It’s the perfect condiment with grilled cheese!)
- As a crostini topping with goat cheese
- With hot buttered biscuits
- As a topping for pizza
Storing, Freezing and Reheating Leftovers
Put any leftover bacon jam in a tightly sealed container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To store it longer, freeze it in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
To reheat, spoon the jam into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture starts to bubble. Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes and serve.
How Long Does Bacon Jam Last?
Is bacon jam shelf stable? In a word, no. As a fresh meat product, bacon onion jam needs to be refrigerated or frozen.
Tightly sealed and refrigerated, the jam will stay tasty for up to 4 days. (It may technically be safe to eat for up to a week, but in our test kitchen the flavor started to change after 4 days and wasn’t as fresh and tasty.)
Frozen bacon jam that’s been stored in a tightly sealed container in the freezer will stay fresh for up to 1 month.
More Popular Bacon Appetizer Recipes:
Want to be the most popular person at the party? Bringing bacon appetizers is almost too easy. We promise you won’t be bringing any of these tasty small bites home:
- 20 Game Day Appetizers with Bacon
- Mini Quesadillas with Bacon and Jalapenos
- Bacon Heart Appetizers
- Mini BLT Sliders
- Bacon Wrapped Dates
Here’s the full, printable recipe:
Bacon Onion Jam
- 1 pound bacon, chopped
- 3 yellow onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Put the chopped bacon in a heavy bottomed pot or large skillet.
- Cook over medium heat until it’s nearly browned and the fat is rendered.
- If there's excess fat, pour out all but about 3 tablespoons bacon drippings. Add the chopped onions to the pan.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are browned and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard, and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is thick and jammy, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, cool for 15 minutes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy! (If making ahead, cool to room temperature and transfer to a tightly sealing container or glass jar and refrigerate.)
Got questions? Just ask! I’m happy to help. If you post your creations on social media, tag #BENSABaconLovers so I can share! Thank you for your support. – Eliza
Nutrition Disclaimer: All nutritional information shared on this site is an approximation. I am not a certified nutritionist, and any nutritional information should be used as a general guideline.
You might also enjoy the Bacon Onion Jam web story for this recipe.
Save for Later
If you use Pinterest to save and share ideas, here’s a handy pin: