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Bourbon Bacon Jam Recipe

Bourbon bacon jam is a flawless blend of smoky, sweet, and savory flavors that will make your taste buds sing. 

I’ve slathered this stuff on burgers, chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese, and more.

And it’s become a staple on my charcuterie boards – my friends and family can’t get enough of it.

Try it once, and I guarantee you’ll make it again and again!

Bourbon bacon jam in a mason jar with a spoon scooping some from the top
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Why You’ll Love This Bourbon Bacon Jam

I know making jam might seem daunting. But trust me, this bourbon bacon jam is worth the effort.

Here’s why:

Flavor Explosion: Salty bacon and caramelized onions are a dream duo, and the bourbon brings a wonderful depth of flavor. 

Versatile Condiment: It’s sticky, meaty, and incredible on pretty much everything. That includes crostini, biscuits, grilled meats, and even pancakes.

Unique Gift: Homemade jam is always a welcome gift. But bourbon bacon jam is a super unique and thoughtful gift for food lovers.

Crowd-Pleaser: Serve this jam at your next gathering, and watch your guests rave about the incredible flavor and beg for the recipe.

Bacon strips frying in a skillet

Ingredients

Given the name of this recipe, you won’t be surprised to see bourbon and bacon on the list below. And the rest are jam staples to make it sweet and sticky. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Thick-Cut Bacon: Smoky, meaty, and oh-so-satisfying, be sure to get a thick cut so it keeps some bite after cooking.
  • Large Sweet Onions: Caramelized until golden and soft, they add depth and a subtle sweetness.
  • Garlic: A flavor powerhouse that mellows and sweetens as it cooks, rounding out the jam.
  • Bourbon Whiskey: The caramel, vanilla, and oaky notes enhance the bacon’s smokiness.
  • Pure Maple Syrup: Adds complex sweetness and a hint of maple flavor. Use the real deal, not imitation syrup.
  • Dark Brown Sugar: Provides rich molasses notes and helps caramelize the bacon and onions. (White sugar will make this too sweet.)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Brightens and balances the sweetness with a tangy kick.
  • Smoked Paprika: Doubles down on the smoky flavor while adding a touch of heat and beautiful color.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: Essential seasonings that amplify all the other ingredients. 
Wooden spoon scooping bourbon bacon jam from a glass jar

How to Make Bourbon Bacon Jam

Making this jam is a labor of love, but the combination of flavors and textures is truly unforgettable.

Here’s how it’s done:

1. FRY. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy, then set aside. Don’t discard the bacon fat.

2. CARAMELIZE. Sauté the onions in the bacon fat until golden brown, then add minced garlic.

3. DEGLAZE. Add the bourbon to deglaze the pan, scraping up browned bits. Cook and reduce by half.

4. SIMMER. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer until thickened. Then add the bacon, stir, and cook on low until it reaches a jam-like consistency.

5. COOL. Let the jam cool to room temperature in the skillet, then transfer to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks.

Bourbon bacon jam on top of avocado toast

Tips For the Best Bourbon Bacon Jam

If you’ve never made jam before, don’t worry! This recipe is straightforward and forgiving, so there’s really no way to mess it up.

That said, here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin:

  • Bacon choice. Use thick-cut bacon for the best texture and flavor.
  • Onion caramelization: For maximum flavor, take your time caramelizing the onions until they are a deep golden brown color.
  • Onion selection. Use sweet onions, like Vidalia, or try shallots for a more delicate flavor. 
  • Bourbon selection. Choose a mild, inexpensive bourbon to enhance the smoky, sweet flavors without overpowering the jam. There’s no need for anything expensive here. 
  • Consistency control. Simmer the jam on low heat until it reaches a thick, syrupy consistency before adding the bacon.
  • Texture variation. If you want this with little bits of bacon rather than chunks, pulse it a few times in a food processor (while warm, not hot).
Bourbon bacon jam in a glass jar

Recipe Variations

I suggest making a small batch of this to see how you like it. Then, you can experiment with different flavors!

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Here are a few of my favorite ways to jazz this up:

Add heat. 1-2 diced jalapeños (or another pepper) or 1-2 teaspoons of cayenne should do the trick.

Keep it sweet. Use shallots and leave out the garlic for something extra sweet.

Molasses. Use molasses instead of maple syrup for extra thick and sticky jam. 

Try liquid smoke. It’s a great way to amp up the flavor. Start with a couple of dashes and adjust as needed.

Swap the vinegar. You need it to cut through the sweetness, so I don’t recommend leaving it out. Instead, try sherry vinegar.

How to Use Bourbon Bacon Jam

I’ve already given a bunch of ways I like to use bourbon bacon jam. But believe it or not, I have more!

  • On hot dogs
  • On salads
  • As a dip for crackers
  • On a cheese board
  • On top of deviled eggs
  • On baked brie or brie bites
  • On avocado toast
Wooden spoon with bourbon bacon jam from the skillet in the background.

How to Store

I’ve never tried canning this jam, so I can’t say for sure if it would work. If you give it a go, let me know!

Instead, here’s how I store it:

To Store: Transfer the cooled jam to airtight glass jars or containers and store in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks. Use clean utensils when scooping out the jam to avoid introducing bacteria.

To Freeze: Spoon the cooled jam into freezer-safe containers, leaving about 1/2 inch of space to allow for expansion. Add the date and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

More Bacon Recipes You’ll Love

Maple Bacon Crack
Candied Bacon
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Starbucks Egg Bites

Bourbon Bacon Jam

Course: CondimentCuisine: American
Servings

~40

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

50

minutes
Calories

60

kcal

Bourbon bacon jam is a heavenly blend of smoky, sweet, and savory flavors. It’s a labor of love, but it’s guaranteed to make your taste buds sing.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

  • 2 large sweet onions, diced

  • 4 -5cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup bourbon whiskey

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 2-3 tablespoons of bacon fat.
  • Add the diced onions to the pan with the reserved bacon fat. Season with a pinch of salt and sauté over medium heat until caramelized and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute until fragrant.
  • Deglaze the pan with the bourbon, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Let the bourbon reduce by about half, then stir in the maple syrup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer until thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the reserved bacon back to the pan and stir to incorporate fully. Let the jam simmer on low for another 10 minutes until it reaches a jam-like consistency.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Then, transfer to airtight glass jars or containers and store in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks. Serve on burgers, in grilled cheese, on cheese boards, and more. Enjoy!

Notes

  • The calories are an estimate based on 1 tablespoon servings. The actual number of servings will depend on how long the jam cooks and reduces.
  • Use thick-cut bacon for the best texture and flavor.
  • Pulse the warm (not hot) jam a few times in a food processor for a finer texture.

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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