This easy sweet chilli jam recipe is one you NEED in your repertoire. It takes just 30 minutes, is sweet, spicy and so versatile. Watch it spice up salads, sandwiches, and cheese boards or use it as a dipping sauce. Plus, it keeps for months and makes a wonderful gift.
Jam can feel intimidating. Often it needs to cook down for hours, then cool, then be properly stored and sealed in jars. The whole process can take a literal day and I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have time for that!
But this insanely delicious and easy sweet chilli jam recipe solves that problem. It takes 30 minutes at most to make, from start to finish. It’s as simple as throwing chilli, ginger and garlic in a food processor and then cooking that with all the other ingredients for 20 minutes. No long boiling time here!
And I can’t even explain how often I use this chilli jam. It’s seriously DELICIOUS and is an unbeatable way to jazz up any dish. I use it in salad dressings, drizzle it over grilled chicken or veggies, as a gorgeous dipping sauce for dumplings or spring rolls, or I throw it in a sandwich with cheese for the most unreal grilled cheese you’ve ever had…the possibilities are endless with this. It also makes a great gift and the recipe is easily scaled up.
In this post – everything you need to make this sweet chilli jam
- Ingredients you’ll need
- A step-by-step guide
- How to sterilise glass jars
- Five delicious ways to use the jam
- Your frequently asked questions
There are just 8 ingredients that go into this recipe (plus water) and they’re all easy to find at the supermarket.
- Long red chillis. Try to use longer chillies in this recipe because they tend to be milder than the smaller ones. If in doubt, give the chilli a little taste before you use it. I do de-seed the chillies in this recipe, but for ease, you could keep them in. Just be aware that it will make the jam spicier.
- Fish sauce. I ADORE the savoury depth fish sauce brings to literally anything, so am using quite a bit of it here. It smells a little scary, but I promise it doesn’t taste fishy at all. You just get a wonderful salty, deep flavour coming through that you just can’t really replicate. But, you can use a vegan alternative if you want to keep it vegan or use 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (or tamari) and 1 tablespoon of lime juice instead.
- Rice vinegar. This recipe definitely uses Asian-style flavours which is why I love using rice vinegar. It works perfectly here, but you could use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar if you don’t have any.
There are also two pieces of essential equipment you’ll need for this recipe:
- Food processor. This is to blitz the chillies, garlic and ginger into a paste. It just makes it a lot easier (and quicker) to do it this way, but if you don’t have one you can just chop everything finely with a knife.
- Sterilised glass jars. These are essential if you’re looking to store your chilli jam for a long period of time. You can just use a plastic container if you don’t have anything, but you’ll need to store this in the fridge straight away. I’ll show you how to do this a little further down the page if you’re unsure! I also have a full post all about how to sterilise jars if you’d like more information.
How to make the chilli jam
Start by de-seeding and roughly chopping your chillies (you can leave the seeds in if you like for a spicier jam) along with the ginger and garlic. Get them in a food processor and blitz until it starts to form a paste.
Then it’s as simple as getting the paste into a pot along with all the other ingredients. Stir everything until the sugar dissolves, then reduce the heat and let the jam simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
It will be bubbling up and should reduce by about a third. And it will be looking deeply red and sticky. At this point, it’s done!
Spoon into sterilised glass jars and seal.
How to sterilise glass jars
This is a key component of making any kind of preserve. Sterilising your storage jars means the jam will be shelf stable at room temperature – until you open it when it needs to go in the fridge.
Luckily, it’s easy to do. Wash your jars and lids with hot soapy water, then stand upright on an oven tray (don’t dry them). Get them in the oven at 160C fan and leave them in there for 20 minutes.
And that’s it! I like doing this while the chilli jam is simmering on the stove, so they’re ready for filling once the jam is done. If you’d like more information, I have a whole post about how to sterilise jars that shares more detail.
PRO TIP: If your jars have a rubber ring around the lid, remember to take it off before putting it in the oven!
REMEMBER: Glass reacts to sudden temperature changes so make sure you’re not adding boiling hot jam to cold jars, or cold jam to jars straight out of the oven as they can shatter. I discovered this the hard way…
Five ways to use chilli jam
- It forms a key part of the sweet chilli dressing in my crunchy Asian salad.
- My sweet chilli jam glazed halloumi is the perfect starter.
- Use it in a grilled cheese toastie for the best cheesy snack.
- Drizzle it over chicken poke bowls
- Enjoy rainbow summer rolls with a chilli jam dipping sauce. You’ll find that recipe in my free Fakeaway Favourites e-book!
Got a question?
I think it has the perfect level of heat! It’s softened with the sugar so it’s really quite mild. If you’re worried, you can take 2 chillies out and add one roughly chopped red pepper instead.
When stored in sterilised jars, chilli jam will last for months at room temperature, unopened. Once you open it, store it in the fridge and it will still last for months. Just make sure you’re always using a clean spoon when you’re getting anything out of it to prevent cross-contamination.
This recipe actually doesn’t use that much sugar for the quantity you end up with, but you can try to reduce the sugar if you like. Just be aware that the jam’s consistency will change and won’t be as sticky and ‘jam-like’ as you’d expect. This comes from sugar. It will be more liquidy and the sugar also helps the jam keep as long as it does.
I definitely recommend using the fish sauce for the amazing depth of flavour you get from it, but if you really don’t like it or are vegan, replace the fish sauce with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce/tamari and 1 tablespoon of lime juice.
Like this recipe? Here are some other sauces you might enjoy
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print