Quick Easy Jams (No pectin / Small Batch)

A roundup of quick easy jams recipes that yield 1 to 2 jars of jam, take less than an hour to make and require no storebought pectin. #jams @mjskitchen

For the next few months there will be an abundance of fresh fruit and it would be a shame to let the season pass without making a few jars of jam. So to celebrate the bounty of fruit now available, let’s do a little jammin.

The only ingredients you need for a jar of quick easy jam are 1 – 2 pounds of fruit, some sugar or honey, and a little lemon juice or other source of natural pectin.  No need to go to the store and buy a bunch of jars, boxes of pectin, and special tools. If you have a sauce pan, something to stir with, and a pint container or two, you can have a jar of jam in no time at all.

Below are some of my favorite quick easy jam recipes that can be made in an hour or less, yield one to two jars of jam, use a relatively small amount of fruit, require no sealing lids, water baths, and no store bought pectin.  I’m sure you’ll find at least one jam you’ll want to make soon.  I made a jar of the apricot jam this morning and can’t wait for toast and jam in morning!

Be sure to check out the Kitchen Notes for tips on how to make quick easy jams.

Quick & Easy Cherry Jam

A quick & easy cherry jam, no pectin, just cherries, sugar and lemon juice | mjkitchen.com


Apricot Jam

A quick and easy apricot jam - when you only want one jar


This marmalade takes longer than an hour, but it is such a unique marmalade with beautiful ingredients that I couldn’t resist including it.

Rose Hip and Orange Marmalade

@East of Eden Cooking

A unique and delicious marmalade with rosehip and orange


Mixed Berry Jam

Mixed berry jam with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries


Strawberry Jam

jar of strawberry jam


Red Chile Strawberry Jam

A quick and easy strawberry jam with red chile flakes and no pectin | mjskitchen.com


Raspberry Mole Jam

Raspberry Mole' Jam made with spice, red chile and a touch of cocoa. mjskitchen.com


Spicy Red Pepper Jam

@The Wimpy Vegetarian

This is a spicy jam designed to be spread on soft cheese and crackers, or use it to top off turkey burgers or sausage.



Tomato Red Chile Jam

Tomato jam with 4 ingredients - tomato, red chile, sugar, lemon juice @mjskitchen #jam #tomato #red #chile


Here are some more quick easy jams (with no pectin) that you need to check out.

Easy Citrus Jam @The Creekside Cook

Strawberry Balsamic Jam @Family Spice

Homemade Mango Jam @Masala Herb

Raspberry Rhubarb Jalapeno Jam @Chocolate Moosey

Green Tomato Jam @Kitchen Riffs

Roasted Tomato Jam @CulturEats

Plum Jam @Masala Herb

Homemade Peach Jam @Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Grape Jam for 2 @Spicie Foodie

Small Batch Fig Honey Jams @Flavor the Moments

Honey Sweetened Rhubarb Fig Jam @Heartbeet Kitchen

Coco Jam @Ang Sarap (Bet you’ve never seen this one before)

Kitchen Notes for Quick Easy Jams

Pectin – If you’ve never made jam without pectin here are some kitchen notes to help you help.  It’s quite easy, but there are a few tricks that make it even easier.

  • All fruit has some natural pectin; however, some fruit have more pectin than others.
    • High pectin fruit includes apples, citrus, citrus rinds, crab apples, cranberries, plums and grapes.
    • Low pectin fruit includes apricots, blueberries, cherries, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries.
  • The amount of a fruit’s pectin decreases as it ripens; therefore, use the least ripened fruits for jams.
  • Increase the pectin of low pectin fruit jams by adding a little high pectin fruit (e.g., lemon/orange juice and zest, apple juice)

Cooking times / methods

  • Rolling boil – Always bring jam to a rolling boil – one that can’t be stirred down.  You want a full, rolling boil that is well under control with a gentle stir.  If you feel like you’re whipping egg whites to keep it under control, then the heat is way too high. Be sure to stir constantly once the jam comes to a rolling boil.  Infrequent stirring can cause the jam to burn and create a messy stovetop due to splattering or even a boil over.
  • A foam normally forms on the top of the jam as it starts cooking.  A lot of processes say to skim off the foam, but I never do until the very end.  In most cases there isn’t any foam left.  From what I’ve read, it’s mostly air being released from the fruit, so the jam cooks and you continue to stir, the air bubbles of the foam pop and the foam goes away naturally.
  • The standard maximum cooking temperature for jams is a temperature of 220° F (104° C) at sea level; however, as you go up in elevation, this temperature lowers.  The rule of thumb is to subtract 1ºF for every 500 ft. increase in elevation.  Since I live right at a mile high (5280 ft), my jams are ready when they reach about 210ºF. At 205ºF you get a stall in the temperature, so be patience.  Once it comes out of the stall, the temperature climbs quickly.  If you like a softer jam or plan to use it for a marinade, the stop cooking 5 to 10ºF before the recommended final temperature.
  • If the temperature gets too high or too much liquid evaporates, you’ll get a “stiff” or “stringy” jam that will be hard to spread. If this ever happens, don’t throw the jam out.  Add it a quick bread or knead it into a yeast bread.
  • After the jam sits overnight, if it is too soft, transfer it into a skillet, bring to a boil and stir for 1 minute.  This should boil off enough of the liquid to stiffen it up a bit.
  • For a smaller or a little larger batch of jam, just keep the weight ratio of fruit to sugar as 2 to 1 and the water and lemon amounts about the same.  Don’t make too big of a batch. The larger the batch, the longer it takes to cook (since you’re not using pectin).

Substituting the fruit

Most of the jams listed are versatile enough to use different fruit that what is called for.  Here are some substitutions you can make.

  • Use peaches or nectarines for the apricot jam.
  • Change the berries up to what’s available in the Mixed Berry Jam
  • Instead of Cherry Jam, use the same recipe to make blueberry jam

So are you ready to make a quick easy jam?  Do you make one already?  If so, please share your recipe or a link to your recipe in the comment section.


34 Responses to “Quick Easy Jams (No pectin / Small Batch)”

  1. Su Anne October 12, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

    You took the intimidation out of homemade jam! I substituted peaches for apricots as you suggested and it was better than the apricot jam. I didn’ think that was possible. Next I am trying the Tomato Red Chile. The kabobs sound amazing. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration.

    • mj October 13, 2017 at 10:09 am #

      Thank YOU Su Anne! As Bobby would say “It’s hard to believe anything is better than the apricot jam”, but I think peach would do it. Once we finish off the apricot jam, I’ll pull some peaches from the freezer and give them a try. YAY!

  2. Kaye August 13, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    Greetings from Texas MJ.
    We have hatch peppers in our grocery stores right now. It’s wonderful. Making omelettes with peppers and cheddar jack cheeses. Yummy!
    I was wondering if I could make green chili peach preserves using my peaches with lemon juice, sugar and blueberries that I froze last year for a cobbler recipe after thawed? Any variations that I should adjust doing this? Thank you.

    • mj August 13, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

      Greetings to you Kaye! Thanks for your comment and question. The main this here to to keep the proportion of fruit to sugar at 2:1. Some people use a 3:2 ratio, but I find that too sweet. Since both peaches and blueberries are relatively low pectin fruits, this ratio, along with the citrus juice helps to ensure it sets. Lemon juice works just fine and is great with blueberries. You can even use the juice from a whole lemon if you chose. I’ve never had chile with blueberries so that will be interesting. Please let me know how it turns out. Thanks again!

  3. Jan Myers August 23, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    MJ – I’ve had so much fun with all your chili pepper recipes, but now the homemade jams have my attention. I made 6 pints of cherry jam, then switched to mango when in season and now I’m working on the peach jam as peaches have hit the shelves. They have all been delicious. It won’t be long until the chili peppers are in and I can make the spice red pepper jam. This has really been a lot of fun, easy to make and oh, so good. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • mj August 23, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

      Thank you so much Jan!!! There are so many possibilities with these small batch jams that I’m making them all of the time. No need to store a bunch in the pantry when you can just whip it up on demoand. I’m so glad that you are having fun with them! This is why I blog…to turn people on to some of the great things I’ve learn to do with food. Your feedback is SO VERY appreciated!!!! Thanks!

  4. Viviane Bauquet Farre June 24, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    I love this super-straightforward approach to jam-making, MJ… simple, fast, and more delicious than other methods, because the purity of the fruit is maintained. Beautiful!

    • mj June 26, 2016 at 8:50 am #

      Thanks so much Viviane! It’s certainly is a great way to enjoy summer fruit in the colder months. 🙂

  5. Hotly Spiced June 24, 2016 at 12:08 am #

    I love how jam can be made from so many different fruits and berries. You have a lot of tempting options here. I would like to try the mango jam but rhubarb is in season here now so that might be an easier option xx

    • mj June 24, 2016 at 10:07 am #

      I made a strawberry rhubarb jam using the strawberry recipe and it was awesome! Hope you give one of these a try Charlie. Thanks!

  6. Anna @ shenANNAgans June 22, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

    A friend made me the most delicious plum jam on the weekend, I vowed right there and then I needed to make more jam, its like you read my mind. I absolutely adore your round up, especially the marmalade. YUM!

    • mj June 23, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

      I am able to read minds at times, but not sure it I can read one across the ocean. However, you never know. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the roundup. Thanks for stopping by!!

  7. Raymund June 22, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    What a nice roundup of home made jams! definitely I would love to make some of those

    • mj June 23, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

      Thanks Raymund! Hey, pick out your favorite fruit and gie a jar of jam a try. It’s easy!

  8. Katerina June 22, 2016 at 12:54 am #

    Greeks are very fond of jams and every household has a recipe of its own! I love your jams especially those ones with a touch of Tex Mex! Pinned!

    • mj June 23, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

      Thanks so much Katerina! It’s interesting to know that jams are so popular with Greeks. Didn’t know that.

  9. Debra June 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    Great round up, MJ.

    • mj June 23, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

      Thanks Debra!

  10. Anne@ASaladForAllSeasons June 20, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

    While there are many good jams out there…..there is nothing better than a home made jam. So great not to fuss with all that canning equipment. Such a great variety here….but I think I love the mixed berry jam the best. On a nice thick slice of toast with a warm cup of tea. What time should I be over??? 🙂

    • mj June 23, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

      Come on over anytime Anne!!! I have the jam ready, and plenty of tea to choose from. Take your pick. 🙂 Thanks Darlin!

  11. A_Boleyn June 17, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    Stunning collection of jams.

    • mj June 19, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

      Thanks so much!

  12. susan | the wimpy vegetarian June 17, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    Thanks so much for including my red pepper jam in your lovely roundup! And now I see several others I need to try! Thanks!

    • mj June 19, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

      Thanks so much Susan! Once red bells drop in price, I’ll be making your jam. Also, I think it would be great made with spicy roasted, New Mexico red. 🙂

  13. Sissi June 17, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    Wonderful idea to post this fantastic list of preserves (beware! I might steal it one day). Thank you for reminding me the preserving season is so close! I must admit I’m particularly attracted to your savoury jars’s content… Though they are different from my preserves, the recurrent chile’s presence is our common point of course! I feel like testing all of them! Anyway, I have to check my jars’ and lids’s stock!

    • mj June 19, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

      Thanks so much Sissi! Please help yourself to whichever one you want to “steal”. 🙂 I love addition chile to fruit jams. If Bobby didn’t use it so much on PB&J’s I’d add it more often. Let me suggest the Tomato red chile jam. It’s one of my favorite to use as a marinade, especially for pork.

      • Sissi June 20, 2016 at 9:11 am #

        Thank you! I’ll remember that (have never thought of using jams in marinades…. what a fantastic idea!).

  14. Deb|EastofEdenCooking June 17, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    What a luscious reminder to savor the season of abundance! I was just gifted plums and will get my jamming going this weekend. Thank you for including me in this round up! Happy summer MJ!

    • mj June 19, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

      Thanks so much Deb and so happy to include your scrumptious marmalade!!!

  15. John/Kitchen Riffs June 17, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    I love quick jams! Just not up to heavy duty canning — too much bother. And you’re right — such a great way to preserve (enhance, IMO) the fresh flavor of fruit. Great assortment. And thanks for including my green tomato jam! Oh, and Happy Birthday to Bobby on Sunday!

    • mj June 19, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

      Totally with you on the heavy duty canning. Did it for so many years and I’m done. 🙂 I’m going to be making your green tomato jam once I start getting excess tomatoes. It looks excellent! Bobby is having a great Bday, thank you. 🙂

  16. Angie@Angie's Recipes June 17, 2016 at 3:32 am #

    That’s a great roundup of homemade jams, MJ.

    • mj June 19, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

      Thanks Angie!


  1. How To Make Mixed Fruit Jam | India High Tech News - July 7, 2017

    […] Letting the jam cool just slightly before placing in jars will help keep the fruit mixed in the jars instead of all floating at the top. [11] Strawberry jam, peach jam, blueberry jam, or any other fruit jam you like. [12] Thanks so much Sissi! Please help yourself to whichever one you want to “steal”. ? I love addition chile to fruit jams. [13] […]

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