Beef Sliders with Bacon Jam


How many slides equal one burger? Asking for a friend.

Beef Sliders with Bacon Jam
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Cook Time:
5 mins
Active Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
10 mins
Stand Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
50 mins

One of the simplest ways to feed a backyard barbecue crowd? Beef sliders, of course. This miniature version of one of our favorite grill-out eats—the hamburger—is conveniently portioned and simple to serve. Did we mention that you don't even have to fire up the grill? That's right: These Beef Sliders with Bacon Jam conveniently cook in your oven.

In this recipe, we spike our ground beef sliders with mustard and balsamic vinegar, resulting in patties that are savory, moist, and tender. Rather than crumble the bacon on top or serve it in strips, these sliders take a different approach to adding bacon to a burger. Two words: Bacon jam. We'd serve this bacon jam with just about anything (ice cream? Why not). The bacon jam is smoky and thick, toeing the line between acidic and sweet; as a topper for these sliders, it brings the bacon flavor to every bite. As the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar reduce, the sugars begin to caramelize, giving this bacon jam a slightly sticky quality, while still allowing for the bacon to retain a little bit of crunch.

Serve these beef and cheddar sliders with shoestring fries or chips; they're great to offer as a small bite at summer gatherings.


  • 1 pound bacon, roughly chopped

  • 1 ¼ pounds 80/20 ground beef 

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion (from 1 medium onion)

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 (12-oz.) pkg. savory butter rolls (such as King's Hawaiian)

  • 6 extra-sharp Cheddar cheese slices

  • 3 small round tomatoes, cut into 12 slices total

  • Hamburger dill chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium, stirring often, until mostly crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon, and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels; set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in pan.

  2. While bacon cooks, place beef, mustard, salt, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, and ¾ teaspoon of the pepper in an 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Mix using your hands until well combined. Press mixture into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until browned (meat will not be fully cooked), 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. (Keep oven on.)

  3. Meanwhile, add onion to reserved drippings in pan; cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Transfer bacon to a cutting board; finely chop.

  4. Using a long spatula, transfer beef patty from baking dish to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Wipe dish clean; coat with cooking spray.

  5. Add bacon, sugar, and remaining ¼ cup vinegar to onion in pan. Bring to a boil over high, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring often, until almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat; set aside.

  6. Without separating individual rolls, cut roll loaf in half horizontally, creating 1 top and 1 bottom. Place roll bottom in prepared baking dish. Cover with cooked beef patty; spread patty with bacon jam. Add cheese and tomato slices; cover with roll top. Bake at 350˚F until cheese is melted and rolls are golden, about 8 minutes. Slice into sliders before serving with pickles.

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