Make Ahead

Sweet & Savory Tomato Jam

August 28, 2009
9 Ratings
  • Makes 1 1/2 pints
Author Notes

Just enough sweetness to tow the line between a condiment for roasted and grilled meats and a treat to slather on toasted baguette, this is a great way to preserve summer's bounty. —Jennifer Perillo —Jennifer Perillo

Test Kitchen Notes

Merrill and I are huge fans of tomato preserves, but I'd never made one quite like this. Jennifer Perillo's recipe calls for vinegar, cumin, coriander, onion and salt, which I expected to translate into a chutney-like preserve. But there's enough sugar in this jam to keep it balanced -- deliciously -- between a sweet and savory. It made me realize that tomatoes really need an acid like vinegar to underline their sweetness; the vinegar also adds an important feeling of richness to the jam. Jennifer Perillo says you can serve the jam with grilled meats as well as spread it on toast. The only issue with this recipe is that it makes just 3 half pints; I'd like to share it and yet I'd find it difficult to part with any of them. - Amanda & Merrill —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 1/2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  1. Put all ingredients in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until thickened to a jam-like consistency, about 3 hours. Transfer to sterilized glass jars and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks, or use a hot-water canning bath for 15 minutes for long-term storage.
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Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).

75 Reviews

Willazilla September 24, 2023
The result of this recipe was truly amazing. It took me a long time to cook it to the correct consistency. I live 6000 feet above sea level, and erred on the side of caution with the heat. For flavor, I went for the savory side, using Roma tomatoes, a pinch of cumin, fresh cilantro, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and otherwise followed the recipe and its proportions. My goal was to make something to serve with chicken and pork, as well as morning toast. I completely met my goals and more! One night I added a little to some chocolate ice cream! Soooo tasty, and now I have to make more. 🙂
Judyone March 24, 2021
This the first time making this recipe. Do you need to peel the tomatoes? Thank you
Patsymc March 24, 2021
Yes I would peel them. Take the stem out and dip them in boiling water for a couple of minutes then shock in ice water and the peeling will come right off
Judyone March 25, 2021
Liebchen December 28, 2021
For future readers - I didn't peel my tomatoes, but did run an immersion blender through about thirty minutes in, which sufficiently minimized the peels/seeds for me. Otherwise, made it without any changes and it was absolutely delicious!
Patsymc March 6, 2021
Been making this wonderful jam since 2013 At Christmas one year my brother begged me for jar but had no fresh tomatoes. Since then I’ve been doubling the recipe with a 100 ounce jar of San Marzano tomatoes Great winter project today House smells awesome
Kristina I. August 10, 2020
I found this recipe back in 2009 and have made it faithfully each summer since. I make it to recipe specifications and have never had trouble with it gelling or being too sweet. It's my favorite condiment for a fall cheese plate with Jasper Hill Harbison and Marcona almonds. Yum!
Sharyn G. July 21, 2018
Mine didn’t gel much, more like chili sauce.
Megan April 2, 2018
It’s simmering between now and smells great. I added a touch of ginger and some red pepper flakes and smoked paprika to give it a little more depth.
Curlytexan August 18, 2017
This was my first try at making jam and at canning. It worked out perfectly! I did cut the sugar in half as many suggested. I'd cut back on the vinegar a little next time - maybe by a third. It was very good none-the-less. I gave a few away and got good feedback. This is a great way to use a bounty of summer tomatoes!
kschurms September 10, 2016
Like many others here, I found this to be absolutely delicious, but a bit too sweet. I cut back by about 25% on the sugar portions when making it, but still. If you're going for more of a traditional jam, then this will probably be fine for you. However, I was looking for a more savory tomato condiment, and found that the sweetness overpowered the taste of the tomatoes and the spices. For next time, I'll probably just add in <1/4 cup of brown sugar to help this caramelize, but that's it.
FYI, it's still phenomenal on top of everything, even as sweet as it is. My favorite pairings so far have been spreading it on top of goat cheese toast, and adding to some thyme-y white beans!
Heidi August 30, 2016
Delicious! Ate it on my bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. Shared some with my coworker who immediately asked for the recipe.
Watch the cooking time; however, I found my jam only needed to cook two hours.
Stephanie H. July 3, 2016
Luuuuuve this recipe!!!! Its amazing and so versatile, we have it with everything, from cold meat, toasted sandwiches to scones and whipped cream.
Darilyn S. June 23, 2016
Since I like peach salsa, this year I added 4 peaches to this recipe. Everything else the same. It's a jammy, peachy, tomatoey deliciousness. So good with eggs wrapped in a butter tortilla
Lizz F. October 7, 2015
This is a wonderful recipe, but the skins and seeds need to be removed from the tomatoes first. The skins are unpleasant to chew through, and the seeds are hard, even after the 3 hours of cooking. It was so unpleasant, I threw the whole double batch out! And it thickened so nicely, darn. I will make this again, but first seed and skin the tomatoes.
Fresh July 4, 2017
My husband has probs with tomato skins. Has anyone sieved or used a Foley food milll for this recipe? Results?
Dee G. September 10, 2015
This has become my go-to recipe at this time of year when my tomatoes are coming in a little too fast - if they are just a little to soft for sandwiches, they are perfect for this jam. Great with a bit of heat from red pepper flakes too.
Nina P. September 2, 2015
I think it did take me a lot longer than the recipe called for. My work around is to put it in the oven at 300 with the lid off and then you don't have stir.
Hattie J. September 2, 2015
Mine has been cooking for 4 hours and still isn't very think. I did reduce the sugar by half. If any of you have tips please help!!
Lorin August 21, 2015
I agree that this is AhMazing with chevre. I'm glad I read through the comments prior to making though because I reduced the sugar to half and it was still rather sweet for me. I also added chili flakes and some balsamic.
Sherry August 15, 2015
Heaven in a jar! I tripled the recipe and I'm glad I did. I added additional vinegar and spice (cayenne, red pepper flakes, etc.) to make it a little less sweet. That sweet/hot combination is addicting.
Ida-Maria S. August 9, 2015
Made this last year and it was amazing!! No more store bought ketchup! Will be making a lot more this season so it will last us until next year :-) Thanks for sharing!
Barbara B. October 24, 2014
I've made this about 5 times now, each time using more tomatoes. Right now I am using 25 lbs. I let them simmer down until the consistency is very thick and the color is a deep burgundy. I usually add a little cayenne and I also greatly reduce the sugar like many others who have commented. My whole family loves it, we use it on meatloaf, with eggs and toast, with wine and cheese, as a sub for ketchup. It is so artisanal and makes a great gift!
Diane September 8, 2019
Barbara, if you're getting this, could you let us know if you peel your tomatoes or not please. Thanks!
Adelucchi September 6, 2014
Thanks for this recipe. I made this yesterday and it turned out great! I altered the recipe when I left out the cumin because I was fresh out. Added some red pepper flakes with a dusting of cayenne at the end to bring the heat up. Took longer to cook but I thought my fire was too low at first. When I cranked it up some it was ready with an added 45 minutes. A lick of the spoon said its wonderful!!