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15 Unique Ways to Use Jams with Food & Drink

15 Unique Ways to Use Jams with Food & Drink
Home » Holidays or Celebrations » How to use jams and preserves

Jams, jellies and chutneys can definitely go beyond toast and add interest and deliciousness to many different baked goods, holiday food boards, or savory sauces. Here is a list of more than 15 ways to use jams and jellies to enhance your recipes in the easiest way possible.

Ideas for cheese plates using cheese and jam pairings with pairing chart included
Ideas for cheese plates using cheese and jam pairings with pairing chart included

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1. Easy Appetizers

Quick & Easy:

  • Spread jams or chutneys over a round of brie and microwave briefly
  • arrange jams on a cheese plate to pair with cheese

Recommended Preserves for Appetizers

  • Hot pepper jellies
  • Herbal jellies
  • Fruit chutneys

2. Savory Sauces

Quick & Easy Recipes:

In saucepan, mix preserves with some orange juice, cornstarch, soy sauce and mustard; heat over med-high until thoroughly combined and use as a sauce for meatballs, little smokies, or any of your favorite proteins; 

Recommended Jams/Jellies

  • Red Currant jelly
  • Plum jams
  • Sour cherry jams
  • Low sugar blueberry jams

3. Marinades

Quick & Easy Recipes:

Heat 1/2 jar of fruit jam in saucepan and mix in 1 Tbsp. mustard, 2 cloves garlic and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. 

Place protein of choice (chicken, pork, fish or ribs) in plastic bag, pour marinade over it and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight. 

Remove meat or fish from bag and place on grill or roast in oven.  Use any marinade that has accumulated in the bottom of the roaster to baste the meat the last 5-10 minutes.

Blueberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Blueberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Recommended Jams/Jellies


4. Shakes or Smoothies

Smoothie Ideas:

In blender, add some frozen vanilla yogurt, a banana, some jam of your choice,  some skim milk and/or some fruit juice or water (to help liquefy).  

Add protein powder or flax to blender if desired.  Blend to desired thickness. 

Recommended Jams/Jellies

  • Blueberry jam is my favorite for this
  • All jams will work for smoothies…pick your favorite fruit

 5. Breakfasts

Easy Ideas:

  • Spread soft jams over pancakes or waffles
  • dollop tomato jam or savory jam on omelets
  • stir fruit jams into plain yogurt or into oatmeal.


Recommended Jams/Jellies

  • hot pepper jellies
  • berry jams
  • tomato jam


6. Sauces & Dips

Easy Ideas:

  • add Dijon mustard to a citrus jam and use with fish
  • melt hot pepper jellies and use as dipping sauce for eggrolls, wontons, samosas, etc.
  • use fruit jam as a base for your favorite BBQ sauce recipe
Process shot of making a blueberry shrub syrup
Blueberry sauce cooking on stove

Recommended Jams/Jellies

  • citrus jams
  • hot pepper jellies
  • berry jams

7. For Beverages:

Creative Ideas:

Jellies can be used as an easy enhancement to cocktails, turning a simple cocktail into a “craft cocktail”. There is a range of cocktails and mocktails that can be made with fruit syrups (which is often just a jelly without the pectin).

Here is an ideas to get you started:

Prosecco Sparkler:  warm up your favorite jelly (not jam) until liquefied and stir several tablespoons into glass of chilled prosecco or other sparkling white wine.

Champagne & Ginger Lime
Champagne with Pear Jelly

Recommended Jams/Jellies

  • pear jellies
  • strawberry jelly
  • herbal jellies

Blueberry Mojito: Check out this easy recipe for making your own blueberry mojito with fresh or frozen blueberries

Lime marmalade margarita: Add several tablespoons of lime or lemon jams to your recipe for margaritas and blend.

 8. Sandwiches & Burgers

Easy Recipes:

Panini: Use basting brush to spread olive oil or softened butter on outside of 2 slices of robust bread (or sourdough bread);  layer inside of sandwich with cheese and a fruit jam or fruit butter (prosciutto or other meat sliced thin can also be added);

Place sandwich in Panini machine, oiled sides of bread on outside (touching grills) and close machine until cheese is melted and bread slightly browned.

If you do not have a Panini machine, just grill above sandwich like a grilled cheese sandwich.

PBJ’s: Try peanut-butter-jelly sandwiches with a bold jam or jelly to get a taste treat. 

Hamburgers:  I use a sweet-tart jam on one side of bun, ketchup on the other side of the bun and the hamburger of your choice in the middle for a wonderful tart and savory combination.

I love this with a ground chuck patty and an egg as the protein in the middle, and jam on the buns…scrumptious).

Recommended Jams/Jellies

9. Sweet Treats & Desserts

Here are a few of the many ways jams can be used in desserts

Chocolate-Raspberry Panini with Mascarpone: Butter 4 slices of French bread and arrange on baking sheet, buttered side down.  Spread each with 1 Tbsp preserves. 

Sprinkle chopped bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao) over each, leaving 1/2-inch border. Spread 6 Tbsp mascarpone cheese evenly over plain side of remaining 4 bread slices.

Sandwich cookies: Spread generous tsp of jam between two of your favorite cookies (oatmeal or ginger cookies work great). 

Bars: Use as filling in any of your favorite bar recipes (i.e., raspberry-almond bars)

Empanads: Use as a filling for empanadas

Mini-tarts: Try these easy jam tarts for an easy recipe to do with kids) Basically roll out a pie crust and line a small circle of dough in miniature muffin cups or some sort of shallow mold. Fill with jam and bake  until crust is golden and filling bubbles thickly.

Ice cream topping: Spoon sweet jams over ice cream fruit jams are especially good with ice cream, but the hot pepper jams are a nice twist.

9 jam tarts in a baking tin made with pie dough and great jam
2-Ingredient Jam Tarts for Spring

Recommended Jams/Jellies

  • sweeter jams
  • hot pepper jellies
  • citrus marmalades

10. Mustard-Jam Mixtures for Vegetables:

Easy Idea:

Vegetable toppings: combine 1/3 cup jam (go for less sweet jams or chutneys) with 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard and 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp lemon juice; heat until melted and drizzle over vegetables

Protein toppings: mix 1/2 cup of mustard (coarse grain) with 1/4 jam and top a pork tenderloin with the mixture. Wrap in foil and cook 25 minutes at 350 F.

Pork tenderloin with mustard glaze on a bed of orzo pasta and broccoli.
Pork tenderloin with mustard glaze on a bed of orzo pasta and broccoli.

Recommended Jams/Jellies

  • currant jelly
  • stone fruit jams
  • fruit chutneys

11. And, of course, TOAST!

All of the jams, jellies and preserves are wonderful with toast and all kinds of breads (bagels, cornbread, etc.)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    wow i am loving this

  2. Cheri says:

    Great back pocket ideas. Thanks for taking the time to share them. Into my recipe folder they go.

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