Add deliciousness to burgers, sandwiches, cheese platters and more.
22 Apr 2022 - 9:25 AM  UPDATED 10 Jun 2022 - 1:44 AM

--- The Cook Up with Adam Liaw S2 airs weeknights on SBS Food at 7.00pm and 10.30pm, or stream it free on SBS On Demand. Catch a chilli jam dressing being made in the 'Stolen Goods' episode. ---


Can you call a spoonable / spreadable savoury condiment a jam? Indeed you can, and many do. While most jams are sweet, and made with fruit, sugar and pectin, there are some familiar favourites on the savoury side that embrace the name, too - onion jam and chilli jam, for example. (Fun fact - chillies are actually fruits, so chilli jam is a fruity jam, just, well, not fruity!) These condiments usually have something to sharpen up the flavours - often vinegar. Here are some great recipes that add punch to burgers, salads and more. 

Tomato chilli jam

Made with two kinds of chilli, this recipe from Angela Nahas will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, and is great to use in sandwiches or on grilled meats.

Thai chicken salad with chilli jam

Chilli jam is a family that embraces a range of consistencies, from semi-set jams to Asian-style dressings - such as the one used on this salad. "The chilli jam in the dressing for this salad is inspired from David Thompson's Thai Food. It's sweet, spicy, sour and savoury. I like to drizzle it on some fresh herbs, cabbage and add some grilled meat or prawns to make a delicious salad," says Suren Jayemanne of the recipe she shares in the new season of The Cook Up with Adam Liaw.

Chilli jam

This chilli jam will keep for months in the fridge, making it a great one to have on hand. Use as a base for tom yum soup, in stir-fries or salad dressings. 

Chilli jam

Red onion jam

Add a slather of rich onion jam to make a burger amazing - like these edamame burgers with red onion jam. Made with onion, thyme, chilli, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, this jam is rich, sweet and juicy. 

Edamame burgers with red onion jam

Warm fennel and capsicum jam

"We have this quite often, with a really nice piece of pork and some of the jam on the side and a fresh salad," says Clarissa Feildel of this caramelised, jammy condiment made with fennel, onion, capsicum, honey, red wine vinegar and sage leaves that she shares on The Cook Up with Adam Liaw

Bacon, beer and rosemary jam

Jack Campbell describes this as "bacon-laced jammy goodness" and it's easy to see why. Along with beer and bacon, there's brown sugar, maple syrup, malt vinegar, onion and chilli in there,  "This jam is particularly good on burgers and sandwiches. It has a lovely salty–sweet punch," Campbell says. 

There's coffee in this bacon jam!

Looking to change up your bacon and egg breakfast? Try making bacon jam (spiked with black coffee and maple syrup) and putting it on a breakfast pizza!

But what about chutney? 

Good question! For this list we've stuck with recipes where the creator has called them a jam, but chutneys share a lot of the same characteristics, with chopped fruit, onion or other vegetables cooked with sugar, spices and vinegar. Find a brace of ideas in our chutney recipe collection, including this quince and chilli number from Paul West.

Quince chutney

More savoury jam
Wakame jam

Seaweed jam has fast become one of my favourite condiments after discovering it in Kyoto, made with kombu and used in dashi. I make my own version from wild-harvested wakame.

Soft shell crab with chilli tomato jam

The chilli-spiked sauce is the perfect match with crisp-battered crab.  

Bacon jam

Bacon jam is a sticky, sweet and salty side you can serve on toasted bread, hamburgers or hotdogs. This recipe adds Sriracha for heat and bourbon for a boozy twist.

Crispy-skinned butterfish with quandong jam

Quandongs are an Indigenous Australian fruit, prized for their high vitamin C content (twice that of an orange). Originally used for medicinal purposes, their slightly tart flavour makes them a great base for preserves, syrups or baked treats. Here, it's used in a sweet and savoury jam that makes the perfect accompaniment to silky and rich butterfish.

Stir-fried clams with chilli jam and Thai basil (hoi lay nahm prik pao)

There’s a happy versatility with this dish as you can substitute the clams with just about any seafood you like including mussels, cockles, scallops or prawns. The chilli jam is a versatile condiment made from deep-fried chillies and garlic. It’s a good staple to keep on hand as it goes with just about anything and will keep in your pantry almost indefinitely.