Why You Should Slather Your Chicken With Jam

Most chicken lovers have enjoyed honey barbecue, sweet and sour, and honey garlic either as a marinade, topping, or dipping sauce for their chicken. Jam, on the other hand, is less common — but it can be used in the same way as many other sweet condiments for a flavorful kick, giving your favorite barbecue sauce some serious competition.

In addition to providing that crave-worthy sweet-and-salty flavor combo, adding jam to your chicken can give you more control over how much added sugar and salt goes into your meal. Plus, there are many ways to customize a chicken and jam dish, allowing you to create your own recipes. Try making a jam glaze and brushing it over your baked, seasoned chicken — you might even try replacing your summer barbecue sauce with jam. Or make a jam marinade and cook the chicken in it instead. Any type of jam will do, but you might find the best flavor with apricot and berry jams, based on the multitude of online recipes that use these flavors.

Jam on chicken is flavorful and customizable

Salt enhances the natural flavors in savory foods, and it has the same effect on sweet foods, too, including jams. According to a 2011 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the tongue contains certain sugar receptors that have to interact with salt to be activated. So if you combine a sweet condiment like jam with a savory food like chicken, the fusion basically becomes a party in your mouth. Ever have chicken and waffles drizzled in sweet syrup? Same concept.

The jam and chicken combo might also be enticing to those wanting to reduce their sodium intake. Instead of drenching your chicken in a salty marinade, jam offers a lower-sodium option. For example, 1 tablespoon of Smucker's Apricot Preserves contains no sodium at all.

Chef Abbie Gellman, a registered dietician, can attest to the irresistible sweet-and-salty flavor combination of jam and chicken. She created an oven-baked jam chicken recipe, which includes the addition of whole-grain mustard to turn the jam into a savory sauce. Her jam of choice is apricot, but she also recommends orange marmalade or blueberry jam. And The Healthy Cooking Blog combines blackberry jam with balsamic vinegar for a sweet, tangy chicken marinade. Between the various cooking methods, flavor options, and other glaze or marinade ingredients, there are dozens of ways to enjoy jam on your chicken.