We launched our Scotch Bonnet Chilli Jam back in 2021, in collaboration with Great British Menu winning chef, James Cochran. It was his family recipe, and he uses it on the best-selling dish at his London restaurant, 12:51. Even though we are very familiar with chilli sauces, ketchups, BBQ sauces and the rest, this was the first time we’d tackled a chilli jam. We wanted to explain what made our chilli jam different to our normal chilli sauces!
What Is Chilli Jam?
Chilli jam's sometimes do need a bit of explaining... is it a chutney, is it a chilli sauce? We describe our Scotch Bonnet Jam as sweet, spicy and savoury. They’re typically very sweet and have a thicker consistency than a hot sauce. That’s not to say one is better than the other, they’re just different products for different uses (read our blog on the best ways to use chilli jam). We've written about certain bits of our chilli jam recipe below... you could even use those tips to make your own chilli jam at home.
Difference No.1 - Thickness
Throughout our range of jams, chilli sauces, BBQ sauces, mayo's and ketchup, we never ever use thickeners, instead using evaporation to thicken. The cook times are longer but it’s so worth it. For our chilli jam recipe, the cook hits temperatures of around 103-104C, which means there’s enough evaporation that takes place to leave quite a sticky, thick jam without using thickeners.
Besides evaporation, the other element that helps to thicken our jam is the use of sugar. Obviously sugar is heavily involved for the flavour of a sweet chilli jam, but it’s secondary use is for thickness - a normal chilli sauce wouldn’t include the amount of sugar present, and so won’t thicken so much during cooking.
Difference No.2 - Sweetness
The second chilli jam vs chilli sauce difference is sweetness. Unless you’ve got a super sweet hot sauce, a chilli jam will typically be a lot sweeter. This sweetness is what makes a jam so versatile, it works on pizza, fried chicken, with cheese or almost anything else (our top 6 uses of jam are here).
There are lots of things that add sweetness besides sugar though. Our Scotch Bonnet Jam uses Scotch Bonnet chillies in the recipe. They have a sweet, tropical flavour profile.
Those Scotch Bonnet’s are what also give our jam such a kick. They’re a super fiery chilli, so although our recipe isn’t full of them, they pack a punch and make our sweet chilli jam a bit more fierce. We’ve combined them with serenade chillies which are milder, but really complement the mix of flavours already happening in that little jar.
Our chillies are charred which add a level of smokiness, and produce some pretty nice black flecks in the jam.
How To Use Chilli Jam
On everything, is the answer! Seriously, a good chilli jam is super versatile. Way beyond what you think. One of the go-to pairings is on fried chicken, just how James Cochran uses it in his restaurant. Another elite usage suggestion is with any form of grilled cheese. A member of our team has it with ice cream. We have actually written the 6 top uses for our chilli jam before, read that here.