Summer is fast approaching, which means it’s almost tomato season (hooray!). Preserve your harvest with this quick and easy Tomato Jam recipe.
Made with fewer than 10 ingredients in under an hour, this sweet and savory tomato jelly is perfect for serving with cheese and crackers as part of an impressive charcuterie board, or for slathering on your favorite grilled cheese, burger or even out Cheeseburger Sliders!
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Why We Love This Recipe
When it comes to snacking, I’m an equal opportunist; I love sugary treats just as much as I love salty ones! This delicious old-fashioned tomato jam hits the intersection of sweet and savory, meaning I don’t have to choose.
This tomato jelly is:
- Quick & Easy. Make this delightful spread with just 10 minutes of active time and 20 minutes of cooking time. It’ll be ready in less time than it takes to watch an episode of [insert your favorite 45-minute drama here]!
- Made With Only 9 Ingredients. Aside from fresh tomatoes, lemons, and ginger, you probably already have everything you need in your pantry. Oh, and as an added bonus? My tomato jam doesn’t require any pectin!
- Versatile. This tasty sweet & savory spread is as at home on a cheese board as it is a burger. Read on below for more ideas on how to use it!
- Allergen-Friendly. Free from soy, gluten, nuts, eggs, and dairy, these tomato preserves are suitable for people on just about every kind of diet!
Ingredients for Tomato Jam
Aside from a few fresh ingredients, I’d bet you already have everything you need to make my tomato jam. Here’s what you should gather:
- Roma Tomatoes – Roma tomatoes are nice and sturdy without too many seeds. If you can’t find them, plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or San Marzanos all make acceptable substitutes.
- Brown Sugar & Granulated Sugar – I like using both caramelly brown sugar and purely sweet white sugar here, but you can easily sub one for the other.
- Red Wine Vinegar – I like the flavor of red wine vinegar best in this recipe, but you can use apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar in a pinch.
- Paprika – Feel free to use sweet paprika, smoked paprika, or hot Hungarian paprika depending on your flavor preferences!
- Ground Cinnamon – Cinnamon and tomatoes might sound like a strange combo, but the warm spice adds great dimension.
- Salt – I generally reach for kosher salt in my recipes. If you only have table salt, just a pinch is enough.
- Fresh Ginger – I tend to keep a fresh knob of ginger in my crisper drawer at all times. It lasts for a long time, is easy to peel with a spoon, and can make everything from a tummy taming tea (just add a few slices to hot water!) to my chicken lettuce cups. In a pinch, swap in ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger for each tablespoon of fresh.
- Lemons – You’ll want both the essential oil-packed zest and the fresh juice to give bright acidity to this tomato jam. Zest first, only peeling away the bright yellow skin, then roll firmly on the countertop for 10-15 seconds before cutting to get the most juice out of each fruit.
How To Make Tomato Jam
Be sure to check the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions.
If you’ve never made homemade preserves before, don’t fret! This recipe for tomato jam is quite simple. Here’s how it’s done:
- Peel Tomatoes. Pierce the top and bottom of each tomato. Fill a stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Boil tomatoes for 2 minutes, then remove tomatoes from the water and add to an ice bath. Allow them to cool for 2 minutes then remove the skins.
- Make Tomato Jam. Chop tomatoes, remove the core, and reserve juices. Add tomatoes and juice to a pot with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then continue simmering for 35-40 minutes, mashing tomatoes halfway through and at the end.
- Jar It Up! Allow to cool for 15 minutes or so, then fill glass jars.
- Enjoy! Serve with crackers, breadsticks, or as a part of an impressive charcuterie board.
While some of the flavors are similar, no! This tomato jam is infinitely more complex than your squeeze bottle of Heinz and is particularly well-suited to pair with cheese.
Not for this recipe, you don’t!
Sure! Make sure you start with properly sterilized equipment. Ladle the hot jam into jars, leaving at least ¼ inch of headspace. Tighten the lids, then submerge entirely in water. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes, then remove the jars. Allow them to cool — any lids that don’t suck in after coming to room temp are not appropriate for storing on the shelf and should be refrigerated and used within a month.
Once you make a batch of this delectable tomato jelly and take a taste, I have a feeling you’ll have no shortage of ideas on how to use it. Here are a few of my favorite uses:
- Add a ramekin to cheese boards or charcuterie plates.
- Spread it on BLTs, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (maybe with my homemade pimento cheese?!?), & Burgers.
- Use it as a spread for biscuits and toast.
- Dip your breadsticks in it!
- Use it as a hostess gift. Bonus points if you add crackers and cheese!
This old-fashioned tomato jam is pretty perfect as written, but there’s always room for customization. Here are a few variations to consider:
- Spicy Tomato Jam – Feel free to add red pepper flakes, minced jalapeños, or even a fiery habanero to the mix!
- Tomato Onion Jam – Vertically slice an onion and add it to the mix when you begin cooking.
- Plum Tomato or Cherry Tomato Jam – If you can’t find Roma tomatoes, plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes make a fine substitute!
After cooking and cooling your tomato jam, spoon it into clean glass containers (mason jars are perfect). It will refrigerate well for 3-4 weeks, or can be frozen for up to 6 months. If you opt to freeze it, make sure to leave at least ½ inch of head space for it to expand so the jar doesn’t break.
- Use firm varieties of tomatoes instead of slicers. Don’t get me wrong: I love Cherokee Purples as much as the next gal, but they are simply too watery for making jam. Stick to firmer varieties like Roma or Plum tomatoes.
- Simmer, don’t boil. Keep an eye on your tomato jam mixture as it cooks. You want it to simmer gently instead of boiling it, which can cause the sugars to scorch and burn.
- Use a heavy-bottomed non-reactive pot. This will ensure even cooking and prevent burning or sticking to the bottom. I generally prefer to use my enameled Dutch oven for jam making.
More Relishes to Try
- 2 ½ pounds Roma tomatoes
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Pierce top and bottom of each tomato. Fill a stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Boil tomatoes for 2 minutes, then remove tomatoes from water and add to an ice bath. Allow to cool for 2 minutes then remove the skins.
- Chop tomatoes, remove core and reserve juices.
- Add tomatoes and juice to a pot with remaining ingredients.
- Bring to a simmer, then continue simmering for 35-40 minutes, mashing tomatoes halfway through and at the end.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes or so, then fill glass jars.
- Serve with crackers, breadsticks, or as a part of an impressive charcuterie board.