Making fig jam is something I look forward to every summer. The fig season is so short, and the fruit is so delicate, that you have to work quickly.

I used The Flavor Bible to add a little more nuance to my fig jam recipe, which is already pretty stellar. I think you’ll enjoy the addition of vanilla and black pepper.

I hope you’ll also give my savory fig jam recipe a try, too! Or for another summery jam, I think you might like my a-little-bit-different-but-delicious peach tomato jam recipe.

For ease of browsing, here are all my condiment and jam recipes in one place. Thanks for stopping by!

Fig jam with goat cheese on crackers.

Making Fig Jam is More a Procedure Than a Recipe

The first post I ever read of my friend Stacy’s blog, Food Lust People Love was about her Gram’s fig preserves.

The rules are simple:

  • Two parts figs
  • one part sugar
  • Cook and cook
  • Be gentle so you don’t break up the figs
  • Can.

NOTE 1: I am not gentle, so I knew I’d be making jam and not preserves.

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Speaking of which…

What is the Difference Between Jam and Preserves?

Both jam and preserves involve cooking fruit with sugar, some acid, and maybe with some pectin.

The difference is that preserves are made using whole fruit and jam is made using pieces of fruit.

Jelly is made using the juice from fruit with no bits of fruit in it.

NOTE 2: I am not a canner, and if you aren’t either, you can still make the fig jam. It will be fine in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks, probably longer considering the sugar content.

Use a Scale for Accuracy

I love the procedure for making this jam.

It releases you from the strictures of a recipe and allows you to make as much or as little preserves as you want. For example:

You can weigh your figs then divide that number by two to come up with the amount of sugar you’ll need. Easy!

If you have 7 pounds of figs, you’ll need 3 1/2 pounds of sugar.

I like to do things by weight, so I almost always use my kitchen scale. You should too.

This Escali Primo is one I’ve had since culinary school, and it works great.

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03/07/2024 05:03 pm GMT

Using The Flavor Bible to Add a Little Extra to My Fig Jam

You do own a copy of The Flavor Bible, yes?

If not, let me take the time to put in a little plug for it. Whether you want to add another dimension to fig jam, to a lamb recipe, to a rice dish, or to almost any food you want to make, The Flavor Bible makes it easy.

Not a cookbook, but an invaluable resource for building flavor profiles, you can look up almost any ingredient or style of cooking (Greek, Indian, Chinese, etc) and find lists of ingredients that complement the ingredient or that exemplify/typify the cuisine.

So when I looked up figs, along with lemon (which I was already using) and a host of other ingredients, I found and settled on vanilla and black pepper.

Another recipe I developed using The Flavor Bible is my savory grape bread, so you may want to take a look at that too.

Using a Food Mill for Your Fig Jam

Sweet fig jam with vanilla and black pepper in a clear glass jar.
This is what the fig jam looks like after running it through a food mill. I love the texture!

If you are very, very gentle with your figs, and can simmer them gently without breaking them up, you will end up with fig preserves.

To make a rustic jam, you can break up the figs some but leave them in sort of larger chunks.

If you want a more uniform jam that has a lot of texture but not chunks, I recommend getting a food mill and passing your figs through it after cooking.

The food mill will allow the fruit pulp to pass through along with the seeds, but most of the skins will be left behind. The texture of your jam will be very similar to that of what I consider “traditional jam,” which for me comes in jars at the store!

I have an OXO food mill. It works smoothly and I have never had an issue for it. It’s great for making apple sauce and apple butter too.

More Fig Recipes

Figs are wonderful for eating out of hand, but if you have access to figs or you are lucky enough to have a fig tree in your yard, you should definitely try Nancie McDermott’s Fig Pie recipe.

Also consider using fig jam as a sort of sauce for pizza. It works really well as a sweet component in an otherwise savory recipe. My grilled pizza pairs fig jam with goat cheese, roasted red peppers, and purple potatoes.

Sweet fig jam and goat cheese on a cracker with goat cheese and a knife on a slate board.
Sweet fig jam with herbed goat cheese is a heavenly combination.

I really hope you love this fig jam recipe, you guys! If you make it, please share a photo with me, either in the PCO Facebook Group or on instagram by tagging @onlinepastrychef and using hashtag #pcorecipe. Thanks, and enjoy!

And Stacy, I have never forgotten your sweet post about Gram’s fig preserves. When my friend Carol brought me a sack of fresh figs from her neighbor’s tree, I immediately turned to that post for inspiration.

5 golden stars for rating recipes

Fig Jam Recipe

Jennifer Field
This fig jam recipe is by no means set in stone. It's a procedure. Bring your own flavors to the party. You'll be glad you did. I will say, though, that vanilla and black pepper make wonderful additions!

If you make this jam to taste, store it in the fridge for up to a month. If you want to can it and keep for months and months, please follow the USDA canning guide to make sure your jam is safe for long-term storage.
5 from 1 vote
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Condiments and Jams
Cuisine American
Calories 105 kcal


  • 3 cups figs washed with stems removed
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons 4 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 a juicy lemon
  • several grinds of fresh black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract


  • Place all the ingredients except the vanilla in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
  • Bring to a boil, and then simmer gently for about 45 minutes or so.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings, adding a touch more salt or lemon juice, if you think it needs it
  • Cool and run through a food mill, mash with a masher or leave as is, depending on the final texture you’re looking for.
  • Stir in the vanilla.
  • Enjoy within a month.

Did You Make Any Changes?


If you happen to have a piece of vanilla bean lying around, you can add that to the pot and let the figs cook with the vanilla. In that case, omit the vanilla extract.
As a courtesy, nutrition is calculated for 1 ounce or 2 Tablespoons of jam.


Serving: 1gCalories: 105kcalCarbohydrates: 27gSodium: 34mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26g
Keyword fig jam, jam, jam recipe
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

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  1. Jenni ~ I love your vanilla/pepper twist on fig jam. And your suggestions for making it savory. I stirred a little mustard into my fig preserves last night and put it out with fresh goat cheese and with a bloomy rind cow’s milk cheese from Caromont Farm here in Virginia. I especially like your idea of adding a little onion. My neighbor just gave me a jar of onion relish. I’m thinking that might be nice, too. Glad to have found your blog through Jamie. Cheers, D

  2. 5 stars
    I bought figs specifically to make this jam. I won’t bother canning since we love jam at my house! And by we I mostly mean me.

    I would love to try this in a fig and goat cheese tart. Swirled in a cheesecake would be good too. Spread generously on a piece of fresh baked bread would hit the spot right now too!

    1. I like the way you think, Dionne! It all sounds good to me. I’m leaning towards a vanilla pudding layer for a fig jam tart with the rest of mine. But I don’t think there is any wrong way. So good!

  3. Two things I’m sure of, Jenni. Gram would have loved both of these fig jams. She had a great sense of adventure and would have tried anything. And two, she would have loved you. Because you are the best.

    I laughed to think of her watching over your shoulder, as you made these lovely jams. There might well have been some tsk-ing as you added strange things like black pepper. And I hope you heard her calling you by both of your names. (If you do have two names.) Whenever I was in trouble or she was exclaiming my name in surprise, it was always, “Stacy Monica!” never just Stacy.

    Thank you for this wonderful tribute. It pleases me no end to think that Gram’s ripple of good influence continues, far outside our family and into the greater family of everyone who loves cooking and loving and cooking for people we love.

  4. Really nice flavor combinations! But please be aware that these are not appropriate recipes for processing for shelf stability. Please store these in the refrigerator and eat within a month. Figs do not have enough natural acidity to be safely canned without sufficient sugar and lemon.

  5. I love it! Figs are starting to come into season here, and I can’t wait to try this. Maybe a good way to inaugurate my new kitchen in September! (Yes, I have to move. AGAIN.)

    1. I’m going to have to start calling you Gypsy Camille! This jam is excellent, though, I must say. If you want to can it, you’ll have to follow the rules for sugar and acidity (as Cathy points out), but if you’re going to use it within a few weeks, just go with what tastes good! =)

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