The perfect balance of salty and sweet, this caramelized Bacon Onion Jam recipe is a must-make this summer! Finely diced sweet onions are cooked alongside crispy bits of bacon with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar for the most incredible flavor combo. Slather it on your favorite juicy burger, use it as a spread on crackers and biscuits, or simply eat it by the spoonful like we do in our house!

A wooden spoons scoops up some bacon onion jam from a glass jar.

Most would falsely assume that bacon jam tastes incredible simply because it’s made with, well… bacon.

But there’s another component that makes it especially unique—an ingredient that balances the savory bacon flavors with a naturally sweet undertone, allowing you to skip adding a bunch of sugar or sweeteners.

What is this magical ingredient, you might be wondering?! It’s the TX1015 sweet onion.

Unlike their more pungent cousins, TX1015 sweet onions have less sulfur and a more naturally sweet taste. They are THE onion you need for making caramelized onions, and THE onion you need for this bacon onion jam. (Since caramelizing them is part of the process!)

If you do ANYTHING, go out of your way to find some. It will make all the difference in the world to your finished bacon spread! And if you happen to live in Texas, keep an eye out for the TX1015 onions that are in peak season right now, from as early as March until mid-summer!

Why We Love THIS Bacon Jam Recipe

  • All you need are 7 simple ingredients to achieve some truly complex flavors.
  • Hands-on time is less than 30 minutes, and most of the remaining time is just watching it simmer!
  • We use a LOT less sugar than other recipes because sweet onions provide plenty of natural sweetness.
  • It’s easily customizable—adjust the sweetener to your liking or omit the spicy pepper kick. (Don’t worry, I’ll explain that in a minute!)
Bacon, onion, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and salt are on a table to make a bacon onion jam recipe.
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Ingredients

Notes about the ingredients needed for this Bacon Onion Jam recipe are below. Jump to recipe for the exact measurements.

  • Bacon. A good, high-quality bacon is essential since it’s the main ingredient. I prefer thick-cut strips, cut into small pieces to cook quickly. Hickory-smoked, Cherrywood-smoked, or Applewood-smoked varieties all work great.
  • Onion. As I’ve already mentioned above, sweet onions are crucial. If you can’t find them, yellow onions are an acceptable substitute. Avoid red or white onions as they impart a sharper, more bitter flavor. (If you live in Texas, look for these TX1015 sweet onions in the summer—they’re amazing!)
  • Light Brown Sugar. This molasses-infused sugar perfectly balances the salty and pungent flavors. White or dark brown sugar can be substituted, but the taste will vary.
  • Balsamic Vinegar. Use high-quality vinegar for the best flavor. If using a lower quality, you may need to adjust the sugar to counteract any bitterness.
  • Butter. While bacon releases a lot of grease, we won’t use all of it. A bit of butter adds subtle richness without being overwhelming. Substitute with a butter alternative or more bacon grease if avoiding dairy.
  • Salt. Adjust to taste, depending on how salty your bacon is.
  • Cayenne pepper. My secret weapon for balancing flavors in this jam. You remember that show Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat? This is the heat component—just be careful, a little goes a long way. Taste as you go to avoid adding too much!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Bacon Onion Jam

Below you’ll find the simple steps to make this Bacon Onion Jam recipe. Jump to recipe for the printable instructions.

1. Cook the bacon.

Spread the bacon in a single layer across a large skillet. Over medium heat, cook for about 12 to 14 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally.

While it’s cooking, line a plate with a paper towel. When the bacon has reached your desired level of doneness, remove it to the prepared plate.

Remove most of the bacon grease, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan.

2. Caramelize the onion.

Stir the butter into the skillet with the remaining bacon grease. Add the onions and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring regularly.

You want the onions to be golden brown and caramelized. This rich flavor is essential for the jam.

3. Thicken the jam.

Once the onions are caramelized, stir the bacon pieces, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and cayenne pepper into the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

You’ll notice it getting thicker and becoming jam-like in consistency. Allow it to completely cool after cooking. Then, transfer the jam to a glass jar and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Flavor Variations

This recipe serves as a fantastic base for you to get creative with. Here are a few additions you might want to try:

  • Fresh or dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, or sage.
  • Extra spices such as paprika or more cayenne pepper.
  • A splash of bourbon or another sweet alcohol for added depth.
  • Different types of vinegar to experiment with flavor.

How long does bacon onion jam last for?

This homemade bacon jam can last up to one week when stored in the refrigerator. Be sure to let it cool completely to room temperature before covering it with a lid and refrigerating. Avoid freezing, as it will separate upon thawing.

Wrap It Up as a Gift

When I first made this bacon jam my immediate thought was, “Wow, this would make an incredible gift!”

If you’re doing this, grab an 8-ounce mason jar, a cute label and chalk marker, and some type of ribbon. It makes the perfect package and is so easy to throw together!

(Just make sure you keep it refrigerated while transporting!)

What do you eat with bacon jam?

What CAN’T you eat with bacon jam is the real question! lol. We’ve eaten it with SO much but here are some ideas:

  • On your favorite burger or Air Fryer Hamburgers
  • Spread on buttermilk biscuits
  • On a cracker with goat or brie cheese
  • As a topping for eggs
  • Nothing at all. Just dig in with a spoon!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 1 vote

Bacon Onion Jam Recipe

The perfect balance of salty and sweet, this caramelized Bacon Onion Jam recipe is a must-make this summer! Finely diced sweet onions are cooked alongside crispy bits of bacon with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar for the most incredible flavor combo.
Yield 10 servings
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
Total 55 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 1 lb. bacon cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 1 lb. sweet onions about 4 medium onions
  • cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. salt plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper optional

Instructions 

  • Add bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Spread it out in a single layer and cook for 12-14 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, line a plate with a paper towel. Once bacon is fully cooked and crispy, remove it from the pan and place on the paper towel-lined plate to drain. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the skillet.
    1 lb. bacon
  • Add butter and onions to the skillet. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring every few minutes, or until onions are golden brown and caramelized.
    1 Tbsp. salted butter, 1 lb. sweet onions
  • Stir in brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat to low and continue simmering for 8-10 minutes, or until thickened and reaches a jam-like consistency.
    ⅓ cup brown sugar, 1 ½ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, ¼ tsp. salt, 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • Allow to cool to room temperature before storing in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 1 vote

Notes

  • Onions: Be sure to choose a sweet variety for the best flavor.
  • Timing and Temp: Don’t rush the process or use too high of a temperature.
  • Yield: 1 ½ cups bacon jam. Serving size is roughly 2 tablespoons.
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition

Calories: 148kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 227mg, Potassium: 96mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 36IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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