Bacon Jam

This bacon jam, made with bacon, maple syrup, and coffee, is a sweet condiment slathered on burgers at the Skillet diner in Seattle–and just about everywhere else these days.

A jar of bacon jam with a spoon in it on a wooden board with a lid and breadsticks in the background.

Yup. Bacon jam. Allow us to explain. A diner called Skillet in Seattle is known throughout the land for burgers slathered with a sweetly smoky lusciousness known as bacon jam. So ridiculously habit-forming is this curious condiment made from brown sugar, maple syrup, coffee, and bacon that the diner, which operated out of a vintage Airstream trailer, began to jar the concoction and sell it.

What exactly is bacon jam? Skillet founder Josh Henderson, whose jam-making prowess is demonstrated in the video below, says it comprises bacon, onions, balsamic, and brown sugar. Bacon jam junkies have been conjecturing as to whether there are missing ingredients. A robust collection of renegade recipes exist online. Most of them a riff on the recipe found below, a basic blueprint. We can vouch for the go-wobbly-in-the-knees responses we’ve witnessed in the dozens of folks who’ve sampled this bacon jam. Especially when it’s slathered on the Skillet cheeseburger.

We can fathom making tweaks to this recipe, like maybe making it a splash of balsamic rather than cider vinegar, cutting back on the sugar, tossing in a splash of bourbon…or not. Here’s how to make it at home.–Renee Schettler

What can I eat with Bacon Jam?

Four cheese burgers on a grill topped with bacon jam

Equally debated as the ingredients that go into bacon jam is what to do with it once you’ve made it. Slather it on burgers. (Clearly.) Also egg sandwiches. Grilled cheese. Waffles. Crostini. Surprise us. Surprise yourself. And kindly let us know how you did so in a comment below.

Video: How to Make Bacon Jam
Video courtesy of Foodcrafters

Bacon Jam

  • Quick Glance
  • (24)
  • 15 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Serves 24 | Makes 3 cups

Special Equipment: 6-quart slow-cooker

Ingredients


Directions

In a large skillet over mediumish heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towel-lined plates to drain.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from the skillet and reserve for another use. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the coffee, vinegar, brown sugar, and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the skillet, for 2 minutes. Add the bacon and stir to combine.

If making this on a stovetop, reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid almost completely evaporates and turns syrupy, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If making this in a slow-cooker, transfer the mixture to a 6-quart slow-cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until the liquid almost completely evaporates and turns syrupy, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Let the bacon concoction cool slightly before transferring it to a food processor and pulsing until coarsely chopped. Spoon the bacon lusciousness into individual jars or other resealable containers and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks. Spoon into a pan and rewarm gently over low heat prior to indulging. Originally published November 8, 2012.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

The phrase “everything is better with bacon” can now be restated as “everything is better with bacon jam.” A brilliant idea. It’s hard to describe the taste—a little sweet, mostly savory, just an incredible blend of flavors. We tried this on a burger but it was even better on a fried egg sandwich. We ran out, but wanted to try it on a grilled cheese sandwich, too. My son said this is so good that it’d make a vegetarian convert into a carnivore.

You had me at “bacon.” I love that this bacon jam recipe is easy enough to make yet the end product is something you’re not going to find on the shelf at your local grocer.

Frying up all that bacon was a grease-spattering nightmare and keeping a household of bacon-loving fingers away from all that bacon while it awaited its jammy destiny was a chore. It took my recipe longer than 1 1/2 hours to reduce down to a jam-like consistency, and I kept second-guessing myself—is it thick and syrupy enough?

I spread it on some thickly sliced toasted bread and then perched a fried egg on top for a “breakfast for supper” meal and it was delicious, though I imagine it’d taste just as good if I were to spread it on a tennis shoe. After all, it’s bacon!

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Comments

    1. Karen, we’ve never tried canning it, and don’t have any information on a safe way to do so, so we wouldn’t recommend it.

    1. Yes, Heidi, I’d say coffee is necessary here, both for flavor and consistency. It’s possible you could swap in a different liquid, but I can’t think of anything that would provide a similar flavor profile.

  1. Will be using this recipe on my days off. I have been making my own bacon and have accumulated a fair amount of trimmed pieces. Looking forward to it.

      1. Robin, you should be able to safely refrigerate it for up to 4 weeks. If you’re anything like us, it will be gone long before then.

  2. What is the “shelf-life” in the refrigerator for the recipe? I’d like to make it and give as hostess gifts this Christmas.

    1. That’s a great idea, Patsy! You can safely store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

  3. I made a batch of bacon jam from a similar recipe, but yours came out so much better. Your directions were spot on! Just one question. What is going on with the mixture during the 4 weeks in the fridge?

    1. Michael B, terrific to hear it! (That’s why we have folks on our team make each recipe before we publish it on the site. Sometimes over and over again. To make certain we can make any adjustments necessary so that both the results and the instructions are worth your while!) The flavors sorta meld and mellow over time. That’s a very unscientific explanation. It’s sorta like how many recipes for a braise or a stew will suggest you refrigerate it overnight to let the flavors mingle. Same thing here. The booze becomes less prominent and the sweetness and saltiness all becomes more unified, if that answers your question?

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