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Spicy, Smoky Tomato Jam Recipe

This Spicy, Smoky Tomato Jam Recipe just may be the most favorite thing I have ever canned.  It has a depth to it from melting the tomatoes slowly in dark brown sugar, a little tinge of smoke from the paprika, and a little earthy bite from the bits of toasted cumin, and is a perfect tomato jam recipe for canning. 

I just really enjoy canning.

It’s that simple.

I love putting up seasonal produce for those times when it isn’t their season.

I love all the different colors of canned yumminess in my pantry…it just really says ‘this is Lynn’s pantry’.

I love how the process of cooking down your fruits or veggies changes their textures and flavors into something equally enticing as, but totally different from the fresh version.

I love how I can reuse my jar stash, reducing what I add to our landfills.

I am assured by knowing exactly what comes out of the jars since I put everything in them.

While I stick to the basics of a recipe for safety reasons, I do love playing with the spices and other flavoring ingredients to create something unexpected.

And I really love giving gifts from my kitchen, especially my preserves and this tomato jam canning recipe is perfect for gifting.

Now, let’s talk about this recipe.

These jars of Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam check all the boxes. It’s tomato season, so taking this abundant fruit, changing it into something unexpected and then filling my jars with this tomato jam canning recipe was something that just had to happen.

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Before we dive into this Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam recipe for canning, let me give a little caveat here.  I will experiment with just about ANYTHING, except when I am canning.  There is a part of me that thinks that the USDA might be a tad overboard on putting the fear of God into everyone when it comes to canning. But botulism is a real thing and I’m not one to tempt it.

So, when I ‘invent’ a jam canning recipe, I usually rely pretty heavily on tried and true sources, only altering those things that don’t affect pH which is especially important when water bath canning.

Smoky Spicy Tomato Jam Recipe spread on Goat Cheese and Crackers
Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe

For this recipe, I relied on Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars for the basics and then put my spin on it.

Supplies I Used for canning this Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe:

The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is my bible. Even if I think I could make the recipe in my sleep, I double-check myself against the Ball Book…that whole botulism thing. If you are new to canning, it should be your very first purchase. My cookbook library inventory recently expanded with the addition of The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes!

Tomato Jam

Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe

With a dash of smoked paprika and a helping of toasted cumin seeds, this Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam recipe elevates your cheese and cracker tray, your grilled cheese sandwich, pizza or anything else for that matter!
4.64 from 33 votes
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Additional Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 3 hours 50 minutes
Course Appetizer Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 pint jars
Calories 47 kcal


  • 5 pounds tomatoes cored and chopped, I used primarily Roma, with a few Early Girls thrown in
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumin seed toasted and coarsely ground after toasting, I used a mortar and pestle to grind
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes


  • Prepare canner, jars, and lids. See The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for guidance. Lay out a clean towel, along with a small bowl of white vinegar (to wipe off rims) and your canning supplies on a clean counter.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large, stainless steel jam pan.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to simmer
  • Simmer the jam, stirring frequently until it reduces such that you can run a spoon through it and the jam doesn't quickly fill the void left by the spoon. This will take approximately 2 hours.  I had to turn on and off the heat when I couldn't watch it and mine took closer to 3.5 hours.
  • Remove the pot from the stove and spoon the jam into your prepared jars.
  • Leave 1/2" headspace.
  • I really like a wide-mouth canning funnel for this step.
  • Wipe the rims with vinegar, apply your gaskets, lids, and clips if using Weck or your rims and lids if using Ball/Kerr.
  • Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
  • Let rest, undisturbed for 24 hours after removing from the water bath.
  • Refrigerate any jars that don't seal correctly.  The gasket tab on the Weck Jars will point downward when sealed and the lid on the Ball Jar will sink in when sealed.



Note that serving size in Nutrition Facts is for one pint jar of Tomato Jam.


Serving: 2tbspCalories: 47kcalCarbohydrates: 12gSodium: 113mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11g
Keyword appetizer, jam, savory, smoky, spicy, tomato jam
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cheese board with tomato jam

Ways to Use Your Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe:

Not naming names here, but certain people have been known to enjoy this jam by the spoonful

Of course, it is absolutely DELIGHTFUL when dolloped over your favorite cheese and cracker…takes a humble nibble to something quite spectacular.

Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe on Goat Cheese and Crackers with Earlywood

Tuck a little Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam into your next Grilled Cheese Sandwich (yes, you may go ahead and drool now).

What about a dollop of tomato jam on a bowl of white beans? This tomato jam canning recipe is so versatile, it will pair well with just about any item you can think of!

Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe on Goat Cheese and Crackers with jars of canned tomato jam recipe nearby

Whip up a quick appetizer by spreading it on some baked puff pastry, topping with a little goat cheese and then putting it under a quick broil, just to melt the cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions About Canning and Preserving:

What’s the difference between Water Bath Canning and Pressure Canning?  Water Bath Canning can be used as a preserving method when canning high acid foods like most fruits, pickles,  jams, jellies, marmalades, and fruit butter.  The acids in these high acid foods can destroy and inhibit the growth of dangerous bacteria, like botulism.  Low acid foods, on the other hand, don’t have enough acid to counter any potential bacteria, so they need to be heated at higher a higher heat to kill the bacteria. A pressure canner allows the water to be heated to 240 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit

The term “pH” is a measure of acidity; the lower its value, the more acid the food. The acidity level in foods can also be increased by adding lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar, which is why this tomato jam can be water bath canned.  I am not comfortable ‘creating’ recipes from scratch; opting instead to use tried and true recipes and merely altering spices, flavorings and the like.

What causes the ‘pop’ that signals a successful canning process?

In a nutshell, when you heat your filled canning jars in a pressure canner or boiling water bath canner, pressure builds inside the jars. During the cooling process, the air pressure decreases again.which causes the lids to seal on the jars. The popping sound indicates that the seal on the lid has closed tightly over the jars, as a ‘vacuum’ is being formed from the changing air pressure.

What do you do if your Ball/Kerr lids don’t ‘pop’ or your Weck gasket tabs don’t ‘point’ down?

If your lids don’t pop or your gaskets don’t seal, then you don’t have the necessary seal to store your jars at room temperature and you need to either re-process them or put them in your refrigerator or freezer.

Can you recycle glass canning jars?


Can you reuse the metal lids and rings on Ball/Kerr Jars?

NO!!!  Not for canning, however, I keep some used ones, which I mark with a sharpie so I know they have been used, for everyday storage and freezing.

To refer back to this Smoky, Spicy Tomato Jam Recipe in the future, make sure to bookmark this page or pin the following image.

Spooning tomato jam over cheese and crackers
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Signature of Lynn

Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!

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  1. This recipe sounds delicious, what a unique flavor combination. And that mini spreader and cutting board are too cute! I just entered the giveaway.

  2. Oh my goodness Lynn! You had me at brown sugar! I am not much of a canner, but I will be trying this recipe for sure. And, those mini cutting boards and spreaders are adorable. A great gift for any occasion. But, I suspect I will be gifting myself first!

  3. 5 stars
    Wow. This recipe sounds so good. I can’t wait to try it. And, thanks for the heads up on the Early wood products. I never heard of them but they look gorgeous. Since I have a whole family of foodies they will make perfect Christmas gifts. (going on my own wish list too)

      1. Hey you say to core and chop the tomatoes in the ingredients list but then in the video you do not core them and say to dice them. Also you leave the skin on and you do not blend this at all?

        Thanks in advance.

        1. Hi Tim,

          You are right, I did not core the Romas. I need to go back and clarify that. And you could either dice or chop them, will not make much difference. The skins are helpful to give the jam some texture…you will not need to blend the jam at all as it cooks down to a lovely jam.

          Hope this helps…thanks.



  4. From a canning perspective, could the sugar in this recipient be reduced significantly? To a total of maybe 2 1/2 cups? Thanks!

    1. Hi Elaine!

      So, you could reduce the sugar and as long as it sealed, it would still be shelf safe. The only issues you might have is that it would be shelf stable for a shorter period of time and it would be a good bit thinner…not as jelled. Hope this helps and do let me know if you make the recipe with less sugar and how it turns out.

      Have a great day my friend!


  5. 5 stars
    Wow. This recipe sounds so good. I can’t wait to try it. And, thanks for the heads up on the Early wood products. I never heard of them but they look gorgeous. Since I have a whole family of foodies they will make perfect Christmas gifts. (going on my own wish list too)

  6. 5 stars
    I have never heard of tomato jam before Lynn. I bet it must be delicious especially if the tomatoes are home grown.

  7. 5 stars
    Wow. This recipe sounds so good. I can’t wait to try it. And, thanks for the heads up on the Early wood products. I never heard of them but they look gorgeous. Since I have a whole family of foodies they will make perfect Christmas gifts. (going on my own wish list too)

  8. 5 stars
    I have never heard of tomato jam before Lynn. I bet it must be delicious especially if the tomatoes are home grown.

  9. I made a batch of the tomato jam just last night with tomatoes from our garden. I made three or four batches last fall. I gave some of it away as Christmas gifts and hostess gifts. We finished the last of it a month ago and I’ve been anxiously awaiting ripe fruit to restock the pantry. I love this recipe! Thanks Lynn.

    1. Oh Kristine…you and me both! I just finished my last jar Saturday night and am planning my canning day to get a couple of jars put up. It really is one of my favorite jams, in fact, it may be my favorite jam. I love the complex flavors! But I am so jealous that you are using your own tomatoes! I am anxious to get our garden planted so that I can use my own tomatoes next year.

      Thanks so much for writing in…you made my day with your comment!



  10. Ok I may or may not become famous with this jam recipe (according to family).
    I made another batch today and was wondering if you have tried using the Instant Pot to shorten the cooking time? I haven’t tried that method yet, but am curious. Thanks.

    1. Hi Rhonda,

      I have not tried the instant pot…but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I guess I would try it at short periods of time so that it doesn’t get overcooked. If you do try it, please pop back in and let me know.



  11. I have made this delicious Tomato Jam several times. I absolutely love it! The flavor is outstanding, and its uses are not just limited to cheese and crackers. I love it on turkey burgers as well as ground beef. I have also dolloped a tablespoon full over a bowl of beans…..as well as on hot dogs. My favorite is using it on waffles for breakfast, or when I want a quick snack. I also find myself just eating it solo right out of the jar. Thank you for such a versatile recipe…Excellent!

    1. Andrea,

      You have made my day and it is not even 10 a.m!

      I never considered this jam over waffles! Brilliant! Now my mind is whirling…maybe a savory waffle with that delicious jam? And truly, right out of the jar can’t be beat either.

      Thank you so very much for taking time to send that wonderful comment. While we love that jam, you just never know what others might think. Hearing your confirmation of its delicious-ness is the motivation I need to keep creating.

      Thanks again and have a wonderful day!



  12. Absolutely Awesome, Have made it 3 times for sale in my florist shop and sold out every time. Love the idea of paring it with a cutting board and spreader. THANKS. I have women giving this as party favors for showers and parties. They love it.

    1. Oh Harrison, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! You just put the widest smile on my face knowing that this jam has found a place in your florist shop! Like you, I think it is just about the perfect accompaniment with cheese and bread.

      Make sure you set aside a few jars for yourself the next time you make it!

      Happy Canning.



  13. Hi Lynn,
    I’m new to canning and very excited to try your recipe. I what do you think of using cherry tomatoes? I have way too many and thought this would be a nice way to use them but I’m concerned about the skins changing the texture. Thank you for such a lovely recipe.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      To be honest, I think I’d be hesitant. In my mind, cherry tomatoes are very think skinned and filled with seeds. You wouldn’t get the ‘meat’ that you need from those small tomatoes to make a thick jam.

      Sorry for the bad news!



4.64 from 33 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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