This bacon jam, also known as bacon marmalade is made with bacon, maple syrup, and coffee, is a sweet condiment that can be slathered on skillet cheeseburgers, crostini, grilled chicken sandwiches, roasted meat, and more. It’s easy to make on the stovetop or in the slow cooker, and makes a great gift (if you can part with it.)
By Josh Henderson | Skillet Restaurant, Seattle
Yup. Bacon jam. Allow me to explain. A resto named 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. The rest is history–David Leite
Why our testers loved this
Like everyone else, our testers agree that bacon makes everything better, including jam. They also love how easy it is to make this sweet and savory condiment, particularly with the help of a slow cooker.
Notes on ingredients
- Bacon–Since bacon is the star of the show here, use the best quality bacon you can afford. Thick-cut bacon works best here.
- Coffee–Although the flavor of the coffee won’t be particularly noticeable in the finished bacon, it does elevate the other flavors in the jam, so don’t be tempted to leave it out.
- Cider vinegar–The vinegar gives the bacon jam a pleasant tang. You could substitute some balsamic vinegar for some of the cider vinegar if you like a little extra sweetness.
- Maple syrup–Use the real stuff here, not pancake syrup.
How to make this recipe
- Cook the bacon. Cook the bacon in a skillet on the stovetop until crisp.
- Sauté the onions and garlic. Pour off most of the drippings and add the onions and garlic to the skillet. Cook until soft, then stir in the coffee, brown sugar, vinegar, and maple syrup and boil for 2 minutes. Stir in the bacon.
- Cook the jam. On the stovetop or in a slow cooker, cook the jam until thick and syrupy.
- Process the jam. Let the jam cool slightly then pulse in a food processor until chunky.
What exactly is bacon jam?
Bacon jam, or bacon marmalade, is a sweet and savory condiment made with bacon, onions, brown sugar, and coffee. Like other jams, it is slowly simmered until thick and syrupy.
Are bacon jam and bacon marmalade the same thing?
Yup. Different names for the same recipe.
How should I use bacon jam?
The options are truly endless, but here are a few suggestions that we’ve tried and loved.
– Slather it on a burger (particularly this skillet bacon cheeseburger.)
– Stuff it into an egg sandwich.
– Use it as a dip for crackers or spread it on crostini.
– Take your grilled cheese to the next level.
– Spoon it over waffles, pancakes, or crepes.
– Include it as part of a charcuterie board.
– Package it into cute jars and gift it.
Can I can this jam?
We don’t recommend attempting to can this jam as we haven’t found any information on how to do so safely. You can freeze it in airtight containers for up to 6 months.
- After cooking your bacon, don’t throw out your bacon fat (and never pour it down the drain.) Stash it in the fridge for any future cooking that might benefit from a boost of bacon flavor, like these flour tortillas with bacon fat or these bacon fat gingersnaps.
- The bacon jam will keep in the fridge in sealed jars or containers for up to 4 weeks.
More great sweet and savory bacon recipes
☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
- 6-quart slow cooker
- 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon cut crosswise into 1-inch (25-mm) pieces
- 2 medium yellow onions cut into smallish dice
- 3 garlic cloves smashed and peeled
- 3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar or less to taste
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real deal, please)
- 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.
- Bacon–Use thick-cut bacon for the best results.
- Freeze–The bacon jam can be frozen for up to 6 months in an airtight container.
- Bacon fat–Don’t toss out leftover bacon fat. It works well as a cooking fat, particularly for foods that benefit from the addition of bacon flavor (which is basically everything.)
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
You had me at “bacon.” I love that this bacon marmalade 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!
This Crock Pot bacon jam was delicious on hamburgers. I didn’t miss my usual ketchup. It was easy to make, too. The smell was fantastic.
Note that 1 1/2 pounds of bacon equals two 12-ounce packages. This is the expensive ingredient here. My yield was closer to 2 cups and I only cooked it in the Crock-Pot for 3 1/2 hours. The liquid didn’t really become syrupy. It just cooked down and the bacon became a bit darker.
This bacon marmalade was really delicious and relatively easy to make. We may have to have a jar of this in the refrigerator at all times. You never know when you may need some.
The finished product is really, really good. It was wonderful on burgers. It was wonderful spread on a brioche bun with fluffy scrambled eggs and grated aged Cheddar cheese. I’m betting that it’ll be equally as good on the hard-boiled egg, tomato, and arugula sandwich that we’ll have for lunch today.
This slow cooker bacon jam is a great accompaniment to any burger. It’d also be good on a number of other sandwiches, for example, fried or scrambled egg, grilled cheese, BLT (instead of the B). It was definitely worth the effort to make it and I could’ve eaten it straight from the container.
I made it a day in advance and put it in the refrigerator. It was pretty firm when I took it out and still firm after sitting on the counter for awhile. Then I heated it in the microwave for about 20 seconds, which brought it to a nice, spreadable consistency.
A spoonful of bacon jam on a roast beef and Boursin sandwich is really quite heavenly! I recommend a rough chop on the onions as it all gets a whirl in the food processor in the end.
I used my slow cooker as recommended. However, I finished cooking off the liquid on the stovetop. As an alternative, I think the jam could be cooked down in a heavy pot in the oven, like browning a roux.
Bacon jam makes everything taste great. I’ve used the jam on a burger, in a grilled cheese sandwich, on crackers, on toast. It would be perfect for an appetizer on toasted baguette slices or roasted potato slices with blue cheese and arugula. I’d recommend serving it at room temperature rather than right out of the fridge.
This recipe is absolutely a tease—the entire time it was cooking, the aroma wafting throughout the house made us all keep on looking at the clock, trying to figure out how to stay busy until it was done. Yet it was way too hard to resist, so from time to time we would go to the slow cooker and dip in for a little spoonful—you know, just to make sure it tasted good.
I followed all of the steps the recipe asked for, except that I made it in a small slow cooker, one that’s just 16 ounces, and it was absolutely perfect. The jam filled the cooker 3/4 of the way at the beginning and after 4 hours it had reduced to half full. I let the bacon marmalade cool and then I decided to skim just 1 tbsp of the fat from the top.
We ate it this morning with basic crepes and confectioners’ sugar and it was absolutely wonderful! I will be making this more often, as I don’t think that the three jars I was able to fill will last long in this household.
The instant that I tasted this jam, the clouds parted, the sun began to shine, and all was good in my world. At this point, I’ve only eaten this on the skillet cheeseburger and I am concerned that this little jar may turn into a midnight snack or my next meal.
I cut the bacon in smaller pieces than suggested and I opted not to “process” the jam as the final step and instead left it chunky. I also split it among 2 skillets and added a dried chipotle chile pepper to 1 skillet. Whether a jam, a condiment, or a dessert, this stuff is GENIUS.
Bacon jam for the slow cooker? While that entire question may sound crazy, it actually works very well. The times for rendering the fat from the bacon and sautéing the onion and garlic are spot on. It was perfect. After a minute in the food processor it was a “jammy” consistency.
I had tasted the jam halfway through cooking and thought the onions might be overwhelming, but after the entire cooking time was finished, the flavor of the bacon marmalade was amazing, a perfect balance of sweet and savory. Everyone who tried it had a wide-eyed, “Ooh, this is sooo good” look.
On top of all this, I received the benefit of enjoying the aroma throughout my house during the cooking time. This will be fantastic on everything, whether sandwiches or chicken breasts or Brie. I can’t wait to make some for my friends.
I would certainly do this slow cooker bacon jam recipe again. I made this in a 4-quart Crock Pot.
It took about 15 minutes to brown the bacon. I drained off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings and sauteed the onions and garlic in it for 5 minutes. I added the rest of the ingredients, except for the bacon, and simmered it for 2 or 3 minutes. I added the bacon back in and stirred well before dumping it all in the slow cooker. I set the timer for 4 hours and cooked it with the top off. Even after all that time, it still had a soupy consistency.
I let the mixture completely cool and it was only slightly thicker, so I cooked it with the top off for another 4 hours and the consistency was much better. I think smaller slow cookers might shorten the overall time cooking.
After cooling, it resembled a good chutney. As for taste, this condiment has a bacony, sweetly, salty taste with a slightly tart finish. A little goes a long way. I found it to be really nice with sharp Cheddar and it was great on a tomato sandwich.
This bacon jam, as far as I’m concerned, is one of the finest “new” inventions I’ve ever come across. It’s savory and sweet all at once, and a truly great addition to almost anything. My motto is—when in doubt, add bacon—so sheer curiosity regarding the title had me running for my frying pan.
Very little effort is required: chopping onions, bacon, and garlic, then sautéing and deglazing with the apple cider vinegar, and plunking in the brown sugar and maple syrup. I was intrigued with the addition of coffee, figuring that it would impart a richer, deeper flavor. This was all followed by a slow reduction that produced a syrupy liquid filled with bacon.
I used my favorite thick-cut, cherry wood–smoked, local Hudson Valley bacon. I always use it for everything; though pricey, it’s just so much better. I did think that my bacon became a little crunchy and perhaps a little too candied by the end, which will possibly get me to try something a little fattier next time. I used the food processor for a coarse chop and came out with a great end product.
It works great on burgers or with chops, a bit of roast chicken, even as jam on toast with a fried egg added on top. I do believe there to be endless uses for a savory bacon marmalade such as this. Because we all know everything is better with bacon!
I made this jam in my 5-quart slow cooker. Cooking the jam in the slow cooker worked just fine, but it did take longer to cook than the 3 1/2 to 4 hours indicated. It was more like 7 hours for me. This could be due to the fact that I was using an older slow cooker that cooks a bit lower than new ones do.
There are two things I did that weren’t in the instructions that made this recipe a little easier. The first was to bake the whole bacon pieces in the oven. I put it on a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a rack and baked it at 375°F for 20 to 25 minutes (start checking for doneness at 15 minutes). It still took 3 batches to get it all cooked, and probably wasn’t any faster than using a skillet, but it was more hands-off and a lot less mess.
The other thing I did was use an immersion blender to blend the cooked bacon marmalade instead of transferring it to a food processor. You can just blend it upright in the pot or slow cooker, and with much easier cleanup than a food processor.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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.