How to Make Sweet + Cheerful Orange Marmalade for Canning

This simple recipe for canning orange marmalade is easier than you think, and it brings a burst of sunshine to your kitchen.

This is one of my favorite waterbath canning recipes to make in winter because oranges are easy to get, and it’s a pretty and cheerful project.

Orange Marmalade

This easy and delightful recipe brings a touch of homemade sunshine to your pantry with just a few simple steps and ingredients.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serving Size 8 half-pint jars


  • Waterbath canning equipment
  • peeler


  • 3-4 navel oranges medium-sized
  • 2 lemons small to medium-sized
  • tsp baking soda
  • 2 ½ cup water
  • 1 box (1.75 ounce size) powdered pectin
  • 5 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon butter or margarine to reduce foaming (optional)


  • Prep canning equipment. Wash the jars with hot soapy water. Place the jars in the water bath canner with enough water that you can fully submerge the jars. Set the burner to medium and allow the jars to simmer in hot water. Place the lids and rings in a simmering pot of water. Place over medium heat covered.
  • Prep peels and simmer. Cut the top and bottom off of the oranges and lemons. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the colorful parts off the oranges and lemons. Cut the peels into thin slices and set aside. In a 6-8 qt pot add the water and baking soda. Place the peels in the large pot over medium heat and allow to simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  • Add fruit to the pot. Remove the membrane (the pith) from the oranges and lemons. Chop the fruit into pieces. You should have about 4 cups of fruit and juice. For larger oranges or lemons you’ll want to reduce the amount of fruit so you get a total of 4 cups of chopped fruit and juice. Transfer the cut fruit and juice to the pot with the peels. Cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add pectin and boil. Add the pectin and stir the mixture until the pectin is well combined. If you’re using butter, add it now. This will reduce foaming that happens during the boiling process. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat. Allow to boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly. *A full rolling boil means that the mixture is fully boiling while you’re stirring.
  • Add sugar. Add the sugar all at once and stir to combine. Bring the mixture back up to a full rolling boil and allow to boil for 1 minute.
  • Skim foam. Remove from the heat, and skim any foam off the top using a metal spoon.
  • Fill jars. Ladle the hot jam into the hot jars. Fill the jars with a ¼ inch of headspace.
  • Wipe rims and top jars. Wipe the jar rims with a moist paper towel. (it can be water or white vinegar). Place the jar lid on top followed by a ring. Tighten the rings to the fingertip tight.
  • Process. Transfer jars to a prepared water bath canner. Bring to a boil and once the water is boiling set the timer for 10 minutes. Process for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude.Turn off the heat, remove the lid from the water bath canner, and allow the jars to sit for 5 minutes before removing them.
  • Cool and check seals. Transfer jars to a heat-safe space and allow to cool for 12-24 hours. Check the lids for a proper seal by pressing on the center. The center shouldn’t pop up. Store in a cool place for up to 18 months.


You can skip the pectin in a pinch and boil the mixture until it hits a soft ball stage which is 235 degrees F. You can test this by placing a plate or saucer in the freezer for 10 minutes, removing it from the freezer, and dropping a small amount of marmalade on the plate. If it stays in a ‘soft ball’ it’s hot enough to thicken without adding pectin.
The butter helps reduce foaming that happens during the rapid boiling process. You can skip adding butter but you will need to skim the foam off the top before transferring the marmalade to the jars.
Calories: 597kcal | Carbohydrates: 155g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 142g | Vitamin A: 144IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg

There’s something magical about spreading a dollop of homemade marmalade on a warm slice of toast. The combination of sweet oranges and tart lemons creates the perfect balance. Plus, the process of canning is surprisingly relaxing and satisfying. Every time I make a batch, it feels like I’m preserving a little bit of sunshine for the months ahead.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this marmalade as much as we do!

Orange Marmalade Tips

  • Choose the Right Fruit: Use fresh, firm oranges and lemons. Overripe fruit can affect the texture and flavor of your marmalade.
  • Sterilize Properly: Ensure your jars and lids are properly sterilized to prevent spoilage. Boil them for at least 10 minutes before filling.
  • Check the Pectin: If using powdered pectin, make sure it’s not expired. Fresh pectin helps the marmalade set properly.
  • Adjust for Altitude: If you live at a higher altitude, adjust the boiling time in the water bath canner to ensure a proper seal.
  • Avoid Overcooking: Be careful not to overcook the marmalade; it can turn too thick and hard to spread. Keep an eye on it while boiling.

Key Ingredients and Tools

Here are a few important tools and ingredients that will help you make this orange marmalade recipe successfully:

  • Navel oranges. These oranges are ideal for marmalade because they are seedless and have a thick peel, which adds texture and flavor.
  • Powdered pectin. This is a gelling agent you can find in the baking aisle. It ensures your marmalade sets properly.
  • Canning funnel. This tool makes it easier to transfer the hot marmalade into jars without spilling, ensuring a clean process.
  • Magnetic lid lifter. This handy tool helps you pick up sterilized lids without touching them, keeping them clean and reducing the risk of contamination.
  • Water bath canner. Essential for safely preserving your marmalade, a water bath canner allows you to properly process the jars and ensure they seal correctly.

These tools and ingredients are crucial for achieving the best results with your marmalade.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with toast, scones, or cheese and crackers.

Troubleshooting and Help

Can I use other types of oranges for this recipe?

Absolutely! While navel oranges are ideal because they’re seedless and have a thick peel, you can use other varieties like Valencia or blood oranges. Just be sure to remove any seeds.

Do I need to use pectin?

Not necessarily. If you don’t have pectin, you can boil the mixture longer until it reaches the soft ball stage (235°F). You can test this by dropping a bit of marmalade on a cold plate; if it forms a soft ball, it’s ready.

What if I don’t have a water bath canner?

No worries! You can use a large, deep pot with a lid and a rack at the bottom to keep the jars from touching the pot directly. Just make sure the jars are fully submerged in boiling water.

My marmalade turned out too runny. What did I do wrong?

This can happen if the marmalade wasn’t boiled long enough or the pectin didn’t fully activate. You can try reheating it and boiling it for a few more minutes or adding a bit more pectin.

Can I reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe?

It’s best to follow the recipe as is because the sugar helps with the preservation process. Reducing the sugar might affect the texture and shelf life of your marmalade. If you want a less sweet version, look for a low-sugar marmalade recipe specifically designed for that.

Overall, don’t stress too much about following the recipe to the letter. It’s all about getting a delicious recipe on the table that you and your loved ones will enjoy.

Storing Leftovers

Storage Instructions:

  • Cool the Jars: Let the jars cool for 12-24 hours in a heat-safe space.
  • Check the Seals: Press the center of each lid to ensure it doesn’t pop up. This means it’s sealed properly.
  • Store in a Cool Place: Keep your sealed jars in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cupboard. The marmalade will stay fresh for up to 18 months.
  • Refrigerate After Opening: Once you open a jar, store it in the refrigerator. It will stay good for about a month.

Freezing Instructions: Orange marmalade does not freeze well as it can change the texture and flavor. It’s best to stick with canning for long-term storage.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this homemade orange marmalade. With these straightforward steps and tips, you’ll have a batch of delicious marmalade ready to share or keep for yourself. Happy canning!

How to Make Sweet + Cheerful Orange Marmalade for Canning

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