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Tomato Jam is both savory and sweet with a deep rich flavor. Chunks of fresh tomatoes are cooked down into an incredibly luscious jam!

Tomato Jam

Making this easy and delicious Tomato Jam is an annual ritual at our house.

We typically cook up a batch every summer, when we have an abundance of tomatoes from our backyard garden. We eat some of the jam right away and can the rest – always thinking that those jars will last us all winter and spring until tomato season arrives once again.

But our Tomato Jam is so delicious we always go through it much quicker than we anticipate!

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Tomato Jam

Why is Tomato Jam so good?

Tomato jam is both savory and sweet with deep rich color, and flavors reminiscent of a chunky gourmet ketchup or a tomato chutney – but SO MUCH better!

Tomatoes and onions are slowly cooked down in a mixture of granulated and brown sugars, cider and balsamic vinegars, lemon juice, salt, coriander and cumin.  We also add a generous amount of chopped basil to the mixture which really sends this Tomato Jam over the top.

Your taste buds won’t know what hit them after your first taste. Tomato Jam is fantastic on lots of foods: burgers and hot dogs, grilled steak and pork chops, buttered English muffins, or even baked into these buttermilk corn muffins as a savory-sweet filling. I also think this would great on a grilled cheese sandwich, or with crackers and cheese on a charcuterie board.

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Tomato Jam

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Fresh tomatoes – We show Roma tomatoes in our photos below, but any fresh tomato can be used in this recipe, including small cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • Sugar – We add both white granulated and brown sugar to the jam mixture. Both add sweetness, while the brown sugar adds a deeper, molasses-like caramelization.
  • Lemon Juice – A splash of lemon juice brightens sweetened tomatoes.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar & Balsamic Vinegar – Each vinegar helps balance the overall flavors of the jam, and the balsamic vinegar adds depth and richness.
  • Spices – A combination of ground cumin and coriander adds more depth of flavor.
  • Fresh Basil – The flavors of fresh basil and tomatoes go so nicely together, and this jam is no exception. Don’t skimp on flavor by using dried basil – it won’t be the same.

Tomato Jam

How do you make Tomato Jam?

  • If using larger tomatoes, blanch, peel and de-seed them before roughly chopping. Then place the tomatoes in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. If you are using cherry or grape tomatoes – just add them to the pot – skin, seeds and all. (The tender skins will cook down, giving the Tomato Jam a nice chunky consistency.)
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot – chopped onions, fresh basil, both sugars, both vinegars, cumin, coriander, salt, and lemon juice.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for two or three hours (or more if needed – juicier tomatoes will need more time) until the mixture reduces to a thick jam. Be sure to stir fairly frequently so the mixture doesn’t burn.
  • Once reduced and thickened, you should have about four cups of Tomato Jam in the pot. Note that the jam will thicken more once it’s chilled.
  • Ladle into eight-ounce jars and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Or, ladle into sterilized jars and can for longer storage. (We used the water bath method and boiled for ten minutes.)

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Tomato Jam

Frequently Asked Questions

  • My jam has reduced but it doesn’t seem “jammy”. Is that going to be a problem? No – as mentioned above, the jam thickens more once it is chilled. There is no pectin in this recipe so the consistency is more like a thick relish than a fruit jam. As long as you’ve reduced the liquids, you should be good!
  • Can I make this Tomato Jam with canned tomatoes instead of fresh? We haven’t tried making this jam with canned tomatoes ourselves, so I can’t say for sure how this jam will turn out. I suspect you’d need to make some other adjustments to the recipe to make it taste the same.
  • Can I freeze this jam instead of canning? We haven’t tried freezing this jam ourselves – but it could work. (I’d suggest try it with a small batch first to see how it thaws.)
  • Can I make Tomato Jam in a slow cooker? No, this won’t work in a slow cooker. Since a slow cooker is a covered cooking vessel, it won’t allow the liquids to reduce to the jam consistency that you want.

Tomato Jam

This post originally appeared on A Family Feast in August 2013.  We’ve updated the photos and post but the delicious recipe remains the same. (Scroll down to read all of the rave reviews!)

You may enjoy these other tomato recipes:

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Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups
  • Category: condiment
  • Method: simmered
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

4 pounds plum tomatoes, or other tomato varieties such as grape or cherry

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup sweet onion such as Vidalia, chopped

½ cup brown sugar

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon coriander

¼ teaspoon cumin

1/8 cup cider vinegar

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

Juice of one lemon


Instructions

  1. Clean tomatoes, removing any stems. Cut an X in each tomato end with a sharp knife.
  2. Prepare an ice water bath.
  3. Bring four quarts of water to a boil in a non stick pot. Keep the heat on full and drop the tomatoes in. When the skin starts to peel, remove them to the ice bath. Empty the water, you will reuse the pot.
  4. Work over a sheet pan and peel the skins off the tomatoes. Then squeeze the stem end to pop out the stem. (It’s a squeeze, twist and pull motion to remove the stem. Depending on the variety of tomatoes, you may also need to squeeze out the seeds.) Roughly chop the tomatoes and place them back into the dry pot.
  5. Add all of the other ingredients to the chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the mixture for about two to three hours or until it reduces to a thick jam. Make sure you don’t let it burn. The cooking time depends on the amount of liquid in the variety of tomatoes you use so the timing is not an exact science however the finished product will be about 4 cups (one quart).
  6. Store in 8 ounce glass canning jars (follow complete canning steps shown here) or store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Keywords: tomato jam, homemade tomato jam recipe

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Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam

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    Comments

  • Roz Hodgins wrote:

    I had never tried tomato jam until yesterday when I order an appetizer at Nordstrom’s in store restaurant. It was fresh ricotta cheese layered with fresh pesto and then topped with tomato jam and served with olive oil brushed cristinis–soooo YUM! It was served in a small short canning jar. Naturally I want to duplicate this recipe so the first site I found is yours! Thanks for the detailed instructions with photos. I will be trying the recipe this weekend!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Roz – I hope our version is as good as the jam you had at Nordstroms!

  • Canadian Housewife wrote:

    I just made this jam today using all fresh ingredients from my garden (great way to use all the cherry tomatoes that split on the vine before I could harvest them.) My many, many taste tests were amazing and I CAN NOT WAIT to eat it all up! Thank you for this fabulous recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome! Thank you for writing to us today!

  • Dale Rose wrote:

    Did you squeeze out the cherry tomatoes seeds aswell?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Dale – No – you can just throw the cherry tomatoes in whole!

  • Al wrote:

    can you pls tell me how many minutes for the water bath for the jam

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Al – When we’ve canned this jam, it was in the water bath for 10 minutes.

  • Larry West wrote:

    Made this yesterday and it turned out great! Ended with only a little over three half pints due to extra thickening while we ate dinner, but that made it better. Added 5 nice strips of lemon zest and used freshly picked Greek basil, and also used all cherry tomatoes with skin on. The skins turn out to be the tastiest element when the jam is complete. Had it on toasted bagel this morning, and I love it. Gonna make more next week! Thank you for a great recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for writing to us Larry! We’re so glad you enjoyed it! And I agree – I personally like making this with the cherry or grape tomatoes and leaving the skins on for some extra texture and taste! Have a great evening and thanks again!

  • Heather wrote:

    So I thought I should leave a comment cause I have just finished making this jam. I used black cherry tomatoes and a few grape to top it up to 4 lbs. It was so tedious peeling all those tomatoes! It took me way longer than 30 minutes to complete this part of the process. I had to refrigerated the tomatoes over night because I would have been canning late in to the night. I used 1 cup of white sugar instead on 1.5 and it did take about three hours to reduce. I have just finished the whole process and I can not stress how insanely good this jam is! I have a little bit left over and I can’t wait to put it on some goat cheese. I was going to give it as gifts but I am seriously reconsidering this. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to make it again.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for writing to us Heather and I’m glad that you enjoyed the jam! I will share that since sharing this recipe we have made this jam using all cherry tomatoes ourselves (versus the mix of some large and some small) and skipped peeling the tomatoes because – as you rightly point out – it is a very tedious process with the very small tomatoes! (The larger tomatoes are easier and quicker to peel.) Leaving the skin on (and we’d only recommend doing this with grape or cherry tomatoes) actually added some great texture to the jam and the cooked skins were small enough in size that you just noticed the texture, not that it was skin. Hope that helps for the next time! Thank you for writing to us!

      • Heather wrote:

        Hi Martha,

        Just printing off your recipe again so that I can make this jam 🙂 Just saw your comment. I am going to leave the skins on this time and see how it goes. I am down to one jar as I have been hoarding it 🙂 I have to say my favourite way to use it was making pizza. I used a couple pieces of Nann bread I found at my local grocery then used the jam instead of tomato sauce with chicken, onion and a touch of mozza. DELISH!

        • Martha wrote:

          Thanks Heather – we’re so glad you are enjoying the jam as much as we do!

  • miranda wrote:

    The only tomatoes I have are beef master. Can I use those for this jam or do you have to use the smaller varieties? This sounds delicious and I would love to make it!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Miranda – Any type of tomato will work for the jam – different varieties will actually taste a little different but they are all delicious! With the large variety, you might need to adjust the cooking time (longer) to accommodate more liquid from the larger tomatoes. Hope that helps!

  • Toni Cunningham wrote:

    Hi, This jam sounds amazing! The link you have for canning does not work. Did you water bath can it? Thanks.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Toni – Thanks for letting me know! Yes – we used the water bath method for canning our tomato jam. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

      • Nicole wrote:

        How long do you process it for water bath canning?

        • Martha wrote:

          Hi Nicole – Once you’ve sterilized your jars and done all of the other prep (Ball Canning’s website is a great resource) you will process this jam in a water bath for 10 minutes.

  • Sharon wrote:

    Sounds so good and I have tomatoes coming out my ears. Enjoyed you blog.

    • Martha Pesa wrote:

      Thanks Sharon! This is a great way to use up those tomatoes!

  • Ellie wrote:

    With what kinds of food do you eat tomato jam with? I would love to try this out, I can imagine the flavors already (really excited), but I have no idea what I would eat this with.

    • Martha Pesa wrote:

      It’s like a very sweet ketchup so you can put it on sandwiches or meats even scrambled eggs! Let us know how you like it!

    • Gigi Axline wrote:

      We had this at a swanky restaurant in Vegas served with cracker/bread.Yum!

      • Martha Pesa wrote:

        And now you can make it at home Gigi! Thanks for stopping by!

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