Garlic jam [VG/V/DF/GF]


This started out as a curious thought in the back of my head – I know garlic softens and sweetens the longer you cook it, so could I make garlic jam? I scribbled some notes based on what little I know about jam making, dug out an old onion marmalade recipe to use as a rough guide, and promptly forgot all about it.

Then last weekend, I acquired some beautiful purple garlic bulbs, and the garlic jam pondering resurfaced… I spent a pleasant Sunday evening peeling and slicing 40 cloves of garlic, and ended up with 2 jars of this sweet, punchy, unapologetic condiment – I’ll be serving mine on toast with freshly sliced ripe tomatoes, or with buttery sautéed mushrooms, or dolloped on the side of some roast chicken…

Makes 2 small jars:

350g garlic cloves
A little oil
300g sugar (I used caster)
70ml white wine vinegar
70ml white wine
6 thyme stalks, picked

Wash and rinse your jars and lids, and pop them on a baking sheet in a low oven, around 120C will do. Bake them for 10 minutes to sterilise them, then turn the oven off – without opening it – until you need the jars.

Peel and slice your garlic cloves and toss into a heavy-bottomed pan with the oil. Bring to a very low heat to soften for 10 minutes – don’t allow them to brown or burn. (if you find peeling the cloves hard work, chop the top and bottom off and drop them into a jug or bowl of boiling water. Allow to soak for half an hour – they should slip right out of their skins).

Pour over the vinegar, wine and half the sugar, and bring to the boil. Toss in the thyme leaves and reduce the heat back down to a simmer. Simmer for a further 15 minutes to soften, then mash with a masher to break up into small pieces.

Add the remaining sugar and stir well. Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 5 minutes, stirring well to stop it sticking to the bottom. Add a splash more wine to loosen if necessary.

Remove from the heat and drop a teaspoon of the jam mixture onto a saucer. If it starts to set around the edges, it’s good to go.

Remove the jars from the oven – with a tea towel or cloth as they will be hot!

Pour the jam carefully into the warm jars, and balance the lid on top to cool. Once cooled, label and seal the lids, and store in the fridge or in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MxJackMonroe. Facebook:

And because I couldn’t resist getting stuck into mine straight away, here it is on toast with tomatoes, parsley and a smattering of salt – delicious!


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  1. This sounds good – how strong is the garlic taste in the end? I’ve got lots of garlic at the moment so this would be ideal.

  2. I bought some when we went to Isle of Wight garlic farm last year. Yours sounds just as scrummy as theirs and a darn sight cheaper too. It goes lovely with a cheese sandwich instead of pickle.

  3. Oh dear if I try this and like it my daughter will hate you big time. I grow a lot of garlic most of which I give to her as she uses far more than I do.

  4. Sounds good recipe. Please can you help, just bought ‘signed’ copy of your book in whs, but browsing through, on page 55, the onion soup recipe, you mention potatoes in the method, but no mention in the ingredients. Could you let us have the quantity please? P

  5. OMG- sounds fabulous..shades of Keith Floyd.. I just smack the garlic with the bottom of a wine bottle & then peel off the skins fron the slightly pulverised bulbs (drinking the wine optional!).
    Thank you

  6. Jack. That sounds divine I’ll give that a go. would it work with wild garlic I wonder?

  7. Sounds delice. I’m thinking of using the chopped garlic in the frozen ethnic section. It’s 400g of minced garlic for just 95p. Saves peeling the cloves on by one.

  8. If you struggle with peeling garlic, bang them in the microwave for 10 seconds they steam ever so slightly and peel easily.

  9. Such a good idea, thank you for this! I wonder if you could save yourself the bother of peeling/slicing all those cloves by roasting the garlic whole first, then just squeezing the flesh out?

  10. My partner eats garlic like apples so I was excited to try this. The sample on the plate set like toffee and of course, the rest has gone solid in the jars! What went wrong – I followed the recipe carefully and have a lifetime’s experience of making preserves! Perhaps if I microwave the jars and set the jam in trays – garlic toffee?!

  11. Just made this with some whole bulb garlic and cider vinegar. It’s lovely with cheese! Thanks jack

  12. Hi Jack,

    Greetings from the States. Love your blog! I had a couple of (probably dumb) questions about the garlic jam recipe. Yours seems to have turned out much darker than mine, but I expect that’s to do with your garlic – it looks almost purple. What I have access to is white garlic. (Also, I think there must be a size difference – 40 cloves wouldn’t get me anywhere near 350 g – I peeled somewhere between 7 & 8 bulbs of garlic for this!)

    My other question has to do with the amount of sugar – did you really mean 300 grams? It seems quite sweet…? I mostly do ok with the metric system, but I wonder if I made a mistake or if it’s meant to be fairly sweet.

    However, I will say it’s a wonderful idea – we all love it. (I made it last night.)

    Keep up the good work, Jack!

  13. Jack, this sounds great! Vampires beware😎! Thank you so much for doing the leg work so I don’t have to. Very much appreciated

  14. Love the idea of garlic jam but really not keen on all that sugar. I wonder how little it would take to make something yummy but not really sweeter than the braised garlic is by itself….

  15. Love this recipe – a staple in my pantry now! Just wondering if you’ve played with cutting the sugar, using rosemary or roasting the garlic? Planning on some experimenting, but was curious if you’ve played with the recipe?

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