Unlock A Whole New Flavor In Grilled Cheese With Bacon Jam

From using mayo instead of butter to achieve ultimate crispiness to employing ice cubes as your secret weapon for ooey-gooey goodness, there are numerous tricks out there for crafting the perfect grilled cheese. But one tip we're pretty sure will elevate your cheesy sandwich from mediocre to mouthwatering is adding one drool-worthy ingredient: bacon jam.

Bacon jam is the savory counterpart to the fruity preserves you might pair with peanut butter. While it can include a variety of ingredients, the basics are cooked bacon, caramelized onions, a sweetener like brown sugar or maple syrup, and an acidic element like vinegar. The result is a rich spread that imparts notes of both sweetness and smokiness, as well as an irresistible bacon flavor.

While you may find this meaty condiment at the supermarket, you can also make your own bacon jam at home. Once you've mastered a standard recipe, you can experiment with other ingredients like chili powder or cayenne pepper for a kick, or coffee for bold flavor. Alternatively, play around with textures — leave it chunky, or blend it in a food processor until it reaches the consistency you desire. Then, simply store it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge — it stays good for up to a week, which allows for many upgraded grilled cheeses.

Other ways to use bacon jam

Bacon jam is no one-trick pony — it's worth whipping up a big batch to keep on hand to upgrade all sorts of other recipes, especially burgers, BLTs, and other sandwiches. Just like it pairs beautifully with the warm and melty goodness of grilled cheese, it's also a solid choice for a savory condiment to add to a cheese plate, or it can be mixed with cream cheese to make a savory dip.

Want to start your day off with bacony goodness, but don't have time to let it sizzle in the skillet? Use bacon jam instead. Spread it on toast or biscuits, add it to a breakfast sandwich, or stuff it into an omelet for an easier way to start the day. And if you have picky eaters who shy away from veggies, bacon jam can help with that, too. Toss vegetables with it before roasting them in the oven to impart that umami flavor, or shake it up with oil and vinegar to create a quick dressing that will jazz up salads or raw vegetables.

You can also use bacon jam to take your sauces to the next level. Give your gravy a more meaty flavor by stirring it in while you're cooking on the stovetop, or add a smoky flavor to any other savory sauce. Alternatively, elevate your soup, stew, chili, and even baked beans by stirring in a few dollops of the jam.