Grilled Chicken with Nectarine BBQ Sauce
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Lest you think your favorite fruit spread is just for PB&J or slathering on toast, here are 15 ways to use jelly or jam that you might not have tried.

A little background: I first wrote this as an ode to Trader Joe’s Peach Bellini Jam, a top TJ’s summer find for the past two years:


Naturally, it did not come back this year (we did get Watermelon Fruit Spread, which is lovely but not an adequate replacement).

This is hardly unheard of, of course; the store’s seasonal products are one of the big draws but when they inevitably vanish from shelves for the year, there’s no guarantee they’ll return (to say nothing of the precarious nature of year-round items that can and do disappear without warning—still not over the discontinued German pumpernickel pretzels). At least Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning is probably safe.

Related Reading: Trader Joe’s Employee Spills Secrets (Including Seasonal Item Intel)

Luckily, there are other peach jams out there, even ones with Prosecco.

Stonewall Kitchen Bellini Jam, $7.95

The same combo of peaches and sparkling wine in a gorgeous golden preserve.
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And almost any flavor of jelly or jam is good in most of the recipes below. Be sure to check out artisanal producers like Trade Street Jam Co. and BRINS Jam for more inventive flavor combos—but any jar of Bonne Maman from the grocery store shelf is a fine choice too.

How to Use Jelly & Jam Besides on Toast

Here are 15 ideas to get you started:

1. Pair It with Cheese & Crackers

red pepper jam recipe

Chowhound

Basic, yes, but just plain good. Dollop a bit of jam or jelly on top of cheese and crackers; both soft, fresh cheeses like goat, feta, and brie and hard, aged cheddar or gouda work well with it—even a sharp blue cheese sparkles against most sweet fruit flavors. Try subbing in a peach preserve for the fig jam in our Goat Cheese Crostini recipe (and keep the fried sage, because it’s also great with stone fruit). Don’t forget about pepper jelly in any of the savory applications here, either.

2. Stir It into a Drink

peach bellini Champagne cocktail

A spoonful or two of jam is a great secret-weapon drink enhancer, whether mocktail, cocktail, or simply a glass of bubbly (you could even double down and make your Peach Bellini extra-peachy). Try it in iced tea—ideally made with white tea—and lemonade too. Raspberry is another favorite in drinks; you can push it through a strainer first if you don’t want the seeds.

3. Use as a Glaze for Grilled or Roasted Meat

glazed pork tenderloin recipe with jam or preserves

Chowhound

Brush some peach or berry jam onto grilled chicken or pork tenderloin in the last couple minutes of cook time for a sweet and savory bite; mix it with some salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, and a touch of lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar first if you want a bit more complexity. Our Glazed Pork Tenderloin recipe calls for apricot preserves, but you can experiment with other flavors.

4. Melt It into a Dessert Sauce

Grilled Fig and Orange Blossom Sundaes

Chowhound

Need to improvise a chic and easy dessert (or just want to gussy things up a little for yourself because you deserve it)? Melt some jam or orange marmalade into a sauce to pour over pound cake, fresh fruit, and whipped cream—or ice cream, of course. Grilled peaches are a nice addition in either case.

Related Reading: 15 Easy Ways to Turn Summer Fruit into Dessert

5. Use It as a Pizza Sauce


Brushed on a pizza crust instead of tomato sauce, peachy jam is the perfect partner for prosciutto and fresh mozzarella or burrata (plus red pepper flakes for a kick), or paired up with a funkier cheese like blue or brie. Blackberry jam is also good here.

Related Reading: How to Grill Pizza

6. Use It as a Sandwich Spread

ham and cheese baguette sandwich for picnic with fig jam or peach jam

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Along those same lines, peach jam works fabulously as a sandwich spread for grilled cheese (ham optional but highly recommended), or for cold cheese/meat sandwiches too—but be sure to use a worthy bread, not the super squishy stuff. Apricot preserves and fig jam work well too. If you want to veer closer to PB&J territory, Peach Bellini Jam and almond butter is a nice twist.

7. Mix It into Homemade Ice Cream

strawberry cheesecake ice cream recipe

Chowhound

Swirled into homemade vanilla ice cream before it’s fully frozen, jam makes for an easy peaches-and-cream (or berries-and-cream) style scoop. You don’t need an ice cream maker, either. (If you’re looking for a template, try using the jam of your choice in place of the quick strawberry sauce in our Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream recipe; keep the Biscoff cookie swirl if you like since its cinnamon-spice notes pair well with other fruits too.)

8. Use It to Fill Hand Pies

homemade strawberry pop tart recipe

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Any jam or jelly makes a great filling for homemade Pop Tarts, which you can make with frozen pie crust for an easier project. (And since bellinis are still on the brain, drizzle a Champagne glaze on top. Never got that out of a box, nor will you ever.)

9. Mix It into Vinaigrette

Persimmson Salad recipe with Sesame Dressing and Rice Flakes

Chowhound

Spoon some jam into a repurposed mason jar with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper and shake it up into a simple vinaigrette to dress peppery greens like arugula (add fresh fruit to the salad too if you have it, whether peaches or nectarines, grapes, or berries). If you’re down to the last dregs of your jam, just make the vinaigrette right in the almost-empty jar. Good to the last drop.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Salad

10. Use It to Candy Bacon

candied bacon recipe

Chowhound

Ummm, yes, please. Make your bacon in the oven and when it’s almost done, brush both sides with peach jam, orange marmalade, or apricot preserves for a fruity take on the classic candied bacon—perfect beside fruity French toast or pancakes for a summer brunch (naturally, you can daub some more jam on top of those too).

11. Use It in Fruit Salad

Summer Stone Fruit Salad

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Whisk a little jelly or jam jam into a dressing for fruit salad and pair like with like (i.e., use the peach jam for a salad based on stone fruit), to intensify the flavors and add a little sheen.

Related Reading: 18 Secret Ingredients for Fruit Salad

12. Use It to Dress Up Yogurt

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Casually fold some jammy goodness into your morning yogurt for a summery boost; leave streaks for a pretty marbled effect and bolder pops of sweet jam flavor against the tangy yogurt instead of fully incorporating it (unless you prefer that, of course). You can also freeze the fruit-swirled yogurt in ice pop molds for a healthy frozen treat any time of day.

13. Use It as a Glaze for Baked Goods

fruit galette recipe

Chowhound

Melt jam and brush it on top of a fruit tart (or Peach Upside Down Cake) to add extra shine and sweetness. Or melt and brush onto the top of a plain pound cake or between layer cake layers so it soaks in a bit and adds a subtle fruity flavor; you can add a little jam to a glaze or frosting too.

14. Turn It into a Spicy Dipping Sauce

cool cucumber recipes for summer (five spice chicken rice paper rolls with cucumber)

Chowhound

Mix a sweet jam with as much Sriracha as you want for a fruity-spicy dipping sauce ideal for summer rolls, salad rolls, spring rolls, egg rolls, fried shrimp, and even chicken nuggets (trust; it’s almost like dipping them in hot honey—a.k.a., the best chicken nugget dipping sauce of all time—but with a summery twist).

Related Reading: 50 Creative Ways to Use Sriracha, Just for Starters

15. Use It as a BBQ Sauce Secret Ingredient

Grilled Chicken with Nectarine BBQ Sauce

Chowhound

Mix a healthy portion of peach jam (or any other flavor you fancy) into your favorite barbecue sauce for a a shortcut version of our Nectarine Barbecue Sauce recipe. Slather it on whatever you want—from chicken skewers to shredded jackfruit—and revel in the sweet-spicy flavors of true summer BBQ.

If you’re in need of more inspiration, check out this oldie-but-goodie Chowhound thread on what to do with peach jam.

Want to DIY All the Way?

12 Summer Fruit Preserve Recipes to Make the Season Last
Jen is an editor at Chowhound. Raised on scrapple and blue crabs, she hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Portland (Oregon) for so long it feels like home. She enjoys the rain, reads, writes, eats, and cooks voraciously, and stops to pet every stray cat she sees. Continually working on building her Gourmet magazine collection, she will never get over its cancellation. Read more of her work.
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