Bacon Jam: From "I don't get it" to " I can't live without it"

Sometimes, not often but sometimes, my fellow employee-owners here at King Arthur Flour would like to murder me. Well, maybe not murder, but definitely toss me out the window in displeasure. Like the other day…

I was spending the day in the test kitchen, and I need to cook some bacon. Well, quite a bit of bacon. Like pounds of bacon. At 8 o’clock in the morning.

Can you imagine that? Arriving to work and the whole building smells like frying bacon? So, you check the tasting kitchen, ready to snag a few pieces of porky goodness to bring to your desk and… no bacon.  You’d be thinking dastardly thoughts about my well being too.

After the fifth or sixth person came to the kitchen to give me a sarcastic “thanks a lot” or glare daggers at my back, I sent this email, titled “Whasup with the bacon!?”:

“A batch of bacon jam in the making, and perhaps some maple bacon cupcakes.  I know it’s a killer, but the rewards will be great later today!”  Finally the hordes calmed down, knowing that eventually I would be feeding them their beloved bacon. Of course, from then on I was fielding questions instead of dodging bullets. “Bacon JAM? ”  “BACON Jam? ” “What the heck is BACON JAM?!”.

Bacon jam is the salsa of the decade so far. It seems to have started with a particular food truck out west, then it was featured on an episode of “Top Chef” and it’s been going like wildfire ever since. Bacon jam is a bacon and onion relish, cooked down to a syrupy goodness with brown sugar, maple syrup and a host of other sweet and savory flavors. The smoky bacon marries so well with the sweet onions and syrups and each chef has their own take on ingredients to add to give it their own twist.

My twist here? I couldn’t resist using our entrancing boiled cider as part of the liquid, and chef Susan Reid suggested some bay for complexity. It is a masterful combination and completely addictive.

Let’s get started on our Bacon Jam.

Ah, bacon. How do I love thee bacon, let me count the ways…

Cut 1 1/2 pounds of  nice thick bacon into 1 inch pieces and cook until crisp. I like to use a skillet for cooking my bacon, but some folks like to use the oven. Any way you like is fine, you just want the bacon on the crisper side.

Like this. Nice dark edges, fat rendered out. If you think it smells good now, just wait.

In the bowl of a 2 quart or larger crock pot, place:
the cooked bacon
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup boiled cider
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
2 dried bay leaves

The onions will brown up and cook down, the bacon will soften slightly and the liquid will have cooked down.

If you are not a coffee fan, don’t worry. NO ONE could tell I had put coffee in this. It just gives a deeper, richer flavor.

Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. (thanks everyone for reminding me to add this important info!!!)

Pour the jam into a food processor or blender, removing the bay leaves, and pulse to a relish consistency. You may find that there is still a bit too much liquid for your liking at this point. Easily fixed…

By simmering the jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until the liquid reduces and the jam is thick and syrupy. By now the scent has practically driven you mad, so it’s time to start tasting.

When you make a vat of bacon jam in a building full of people and it is time to serve, you’d better have a lot of toast. Turn your oven on to 350°F and use your oven racks as giant toast racks. Monitor well, there will be a little smoking of crumbs and crumbles from the pieces of bread.

Turn the toast and move pieces about the oven as they brown up. Remove the finished pieces as they are done and continue to bake until all of the pieces are golden brown and ready to go.

I’m happy to say, after serving my co-workers piles of toast and bacon jam, they forgave me…for now. I hope your family and friends will do the same for you.

Please make, rate and review our recipe for Bacon Jam.

Print just the recipe:

Show me the bacon! BLT Pizza; Maple-Bacon Biscuit Bake ; Bacon Bites

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. gpyrocat

    Exquisite timing! I was just running through email before I went grocery shopping and I have a dinner party next weekend. I will blow their socks off with this!! I’ve already served them your fudge cake with chocolate ganache frosting and they think I am a total baking goddess (their term, not mine.) I can’t wait to hear what they gave to say about this. 😉

  2. aoifeofcheminnoir

    The Pineapple Onion Marmalade recipe is one I found in an issue of Better Homes And Gardens a few years ago and is still on their website along with another recipe that has become a big favorite with my son, Ultimate Triple Onion Tart. The Tart is one of those “rustic” formed ones and is out-of-this-world” good. I know KAF can put their own spin on both of these recipes. God, I love googling recipes!

  3. iceegirl98

    Sounds yummy! I would also love the onion jam and the pineapple onion marmalade recipe. Are you sharing?!
    Can’t find those recipes, do you remember where you saw them? Maybe you can create them and share! betsy@kaf

  4. aoifeofcheminnoir

    Oh no! Vidalia onions are coming soon…I’d sorta planned on doing Pineapple Onion Marmalade. Guess I’ll have to add this, too!!
    The Pineapple Onion sounds FAB! Are you willing to share the recipe here? ~ MaryJane

    1. Margo Haynes

      I love vidalias but my greatest love is sweet Texas 1015’s but they have such a short growing season. I am going to get me some onion sets for them when I go back home this Christmas. Guess I’ll have to try with both types! This is great, today I got this lovely jam recipe & am grumbling to myself for not writing down the tip from the lady using dalmatian sage & her additions, now I can’t find it !lol The triple onion tart is right up my alley, when I was a teen, I loved onion sandwiches! Thanks KAF and all of the lovely people that post here!

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so glad you’re excited about this recipe, Margo! Let us know how you like it. Barb@KAF

  5. jlrs64

    I would love to make this recipe but am allergic to bay leaf. What could I substitute forn the bay leaf?
    I would just leave the bay leaf out, there really isn’t a comparable substitute. You can also choose a herb that you like. I might choose sage or rosemary for instance. You really can’t make a mistake.

    The bay in this recipe was inspired by our chef Susan Reid. The first batch we made did not have any bay in it and is still amazing without it, so go ahead and leave it out, no worries. ~ MaryJane

  6. emdh

    Well I made this last night and all I can say is it is AMAZING! And that’s just putting it on what I had on hand — a Ritz with some cream cheese. Can only imagine how good it’s going to be on some bruschetta or my next grilled cheese. My takeaways from it were: 1) it takes a good bit longer than I expected to cook it down to a jam-like consistency (however in my case, that worked well, since I needed that time to pick out all the tiny pieces of bay leaf that I forgot to take out before running it in the food processor); 2 — be sure to take the bay leaves out of the crock pot!!!; and 3) I made the recipe as written and couldn’t detect even the faintest hint of coffee (which I can’t stand). I’m going to take this to a meeting tomorrow with some Boursin cheese and Vinta crackers, and can already hear the groans with the first bites. Thanks MJ!

  7. Sally

    After you cooked the bacon, do you keep all the fat and put it in the crock pot or the you scoop out the bacon pieces into the crock pot and leave the fat out?

    See step 1. You’ll want to drain the bacon after frying. Frank @ KAF.

  8. blackthumb

    I don’t have any coffee or even a pot, though I realize the importance of its flavor. Can I use your expresso powder?

    Sure give it a try. I suggest about 1/2 teaspoon of Espresso powder blended with 3/4 cup of water to replace the coffee. Taste for strength before added, adjust as needed. Frank @ KAF.

  9. Amy

    I have to put in a plug for the boiled cider……it’s the best stuff ever and a little goes a long way! It really bumps up the flavor of crisps and pies and all sorts of stuff…..defnitely worth it! The suggestion of coffee in the jam recipe is brilliant too…..I’m sure you can’t identify it seperately… would just give a depth of flavor to it. Love all your posts!

  10. sherylm

    Oh My Goodness you are killing me! I just looked at the picture and my mouth started watering.

    I have had the good fortune to have had “The Bacon Jam” – yes, the original – and it is fabulous! I have had this condiment in my “someday” list. Your’s sounds equally amazing, and I think the apple and bay flavors will go exceptionally well together. I think you’ve just kicked it up to first place!

    Question, can I take apple cider that I have and cook it down to syrup myself? Would it give me a similar result?

    Boiled Cider is an 8:1 reduction. At home, that is going to release enough steam to peel wallpaper, I don’t recommend this. And it’s really easy to scorch. An easier substitute is using the same amount of frozen apple juice concentrate to replace the Boiled Cider. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.


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