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Chilli Jam

box of chillies

Spicy, sticky and just the right amount of sweet, we love putting this chilli jam on just about everything – great in stir-fries, dressings and marinades, delicious on toasties and burgers, with fried eggs or mix with sour cream for homemade wedges! The below recipe is easily adaptable to suit your desired level of heat, and can be doubled or halved without a fuss. See notes below!

Makes 4 x 300ml jars


150ml vegetable oil
500g onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1kg red chillies, thinly sliced
500ml (2 cups) white wine vinegar
750g caster sugar


Put the oil into a shallow wide heavy bottom pan. Add the onions and sauté over a medium heat until they are soft and sweet but have no colour. This should take approximately 15 minutes.

Add the ground spices and the chillies and stir to combine. Cook for another 15 minutes to soften the chillies. The chillies and onions need to be very soft to prevent them from becoming candied once the sugar is added.

When they’re at the right consistency add the vinegar and 500ml (2 cups) of water, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and cook for 30–40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking

Check for setting point. Turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Pour into hot sterilised jars, remove air bubbles and seal. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year, or heat process to extend the shelf life to 2+ years.


There are over 100 varieties of chillies, which vary widely in flavour as well as in heat intensity, from mild to punishing. Always try your chillies raw before embarking on any chilli recipe, so you know what you’re in for, and adjust accordingly.

If you are a real hot-head, leave in the seeds, or throw in a couple of varieties high on the Scoville chart like birds eye, habaneros or Scotch Bonnets. If you want to keep it mild, use long red chillies and remove the seeds, or replace some of the chilli with more onion, capsicum or tomato.

If you messed up and your chilli jam has turned out hotter that you’d like it, you can always make another batch of onion, tomato or capsicum jam, and mix them together to dilute the heat. Just bring it all back up to a boil before jarring up again.