Orange Marmalade Recipe

My orange marmalade recipe is made with ordinary oranges and lemons, and it’s as unfussy as it is delicious. Every sunshiny spoonful makes your morning toast sparkle. If you love candied oranges and fruit preserves, I bet you’ll be making this on a regular basis.

My orange marmalade recipe is made with ordinary oranges and lemons, and it’s as unfussy as it is delicious. Every sunshiny spoonful makes your morning toast sparkle. If you love candied oranges and fruit preserves, I bet you’ll be making this on a regular basis.
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Orange marmalade is a standard fare overseas, but every orange marmalade recipe is different from the next. Some are wildly complicated: peel this, but not too much, scoop out that, strain something else, than add it back in. It’s enough to just buy a jar or orange marmalade at the grocery store and be done with it.

But that’s not what I’m about—I love to learn how to make the best, most uncomplicated version of everything. So I set out to crack the orange marmalade code and get to the heart of what really matters. This recipe is just that: an easy sweet orange jam with bright, citrus flavor and just a touch of bitterness from the peel.

Got an orange tree in the backyard and a passion for orange marmalade? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

Orange Marmalade Ingredients:

Oranges, some lemons, and a whole lot of sugar. That’s it. Don’t let the amount of sugar put you off, though. After all, you will only be eating it by the spoonful…hopefully!

Can you use normal oranges to make marmalade?

You absolutely can make the best homemade marmalade with plain seedless oranges. However, if you’re lucky enough to find Seville oranges, grab them! Seville is a type of orange with a short season (January- February). Orange marmalade aficionados love them for their bitter and coarse peel, as well as their intense flavor in the marmalade.

This easy marmalade recipe is on the sweeter side--it uses oranges and lemons to mimic the bitterness of Seville oranges. If you like your marmalade not bitter, this is the recipe to try.

If you have other winter citrus, you can make marmalade with tangerines, kumquats, blood oranges, or grapefruit, too. It’s all delicious.

My orange marmalade recipe is made with ordinary oranges and lemons, and it’s as unfussy as it is delicious. Every sunshiny spoonful makes your morning toast sparkle. If you love candied oranges and fruit preserves, I bet you’ll be making this on a regular basis.

Does marmalade need pectin?

Pectin, the ingredient that gives jellies and jams spoonable body, is concentrated mainly in the citrus peel - in the white, inner part of the skin called the pith.

Since this recipe uses the whole orange, pith and all, in thin slices, there should be enough natural pectin for the marmalade to set up properly without adding more.

How do you make homemade Orange Marmalade?

This recipe simplifies the often complex process of making marmalade, and still makes delicious orange preserves.

  1. First, you gather your citrus and give them all a good scrub to remove any wax on the skin.
  2. Then with a sharp knife, cut the fruit in half, removing any errant seeds, and very thinly slice the halves up, skin, fruit, and all.
  3. Boil the fruit in water until softened. Turn off the heat and add the sugar, then allow the whole pot to cool out on the counter overnight to soften the fruit even more. (If you wanted to add a cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, or a couple whole star anise to the marmalade, now is the time to do it.)
  4. The next day, bring the sugar and fruit mixture to a boil and then simmer for another couple hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. After simmering, turn the heat turned up a bit so the marmalade can reach 220 degrees. This is the crucial temperature for jams and jellies, to ensure that the sugar and pectin gel properly.

If the temperature goes much beyond 220 degrees, the marmalade can burn and you'll be left with a caramelized mess!

Store in super cute little jars like these Weck jars with lids and refrigerate, or put up using a steam canner or water bath method.

The recipe makes about 3 quarts (96 ounces).

  • If using 1/2-pint (8 ounce) jars, you'll need 12.
  • If using 1 pint (16 ounce) jars, you'll need 6.
  • If using the tiny jelly jars (4 ounce), you'll need 24.

My orange marmalade recipe is made with ordinary oranges and lemons, and it’s as unfussy as it is delicious. Every sunshiny spoonful makes your morning toast sparkle. If you love candied oranges and fruit preserves, I bet you’ll be making this on a regular basis.

How to make Orange Marmalade in a Crock Pot:

I make homemade orange marmalade on the stove, but some folks love to use their crockpot. This is a little tricky if your crockpot doesn't get hot enough! You can always transfer it to the stove to finish if you need to.

  1. First, prepare your citrus fruit. Add oranges and 8 cups water to the slow cooker. Set on HIGH and cook for 2 hours, covered.
  2. After 2 hours, add the sugar. Set the crock pot to LOW and cover. Cook for 6 hours, stirring every hour or so.
  3. Remove the lid of the slow cooker, set to HIGH and cook fruit for at least 2 more hours, until the marmalade has thickened.

Can you make Orange Marmalade low sugar?

You can decrease the amount of sugar you use in marmalade, but at the end of the day the marmalade will still be sweet. The sugar needs to be included primarily to help the marmalade set and to prevent the flavor and texture from changing over time. Making marmalade with less sugar may also shorten its shelf life.

Some cooks make low-sugar marmalade with a pectin specifically formulated for low-sugar preserves.  With this product, you can make jam using your favorite sugar substitutes and still get a spreadable product. Try it out and let me know how it goes!

Can you make Orange Marmalade with agave nectar?

I tried this out at the request of a commenter below. It wasn't BAD, but I felt like the agave did not penetrate and sweetener the peel as well as sugar did. The consistency was fine. But the rind tasted like rind. I don't recommend this substitution.

How can you tell if Orange Marmalade is ready?

True, it can be tricky to know how runny or thick marmalade should be, especially when it’s still cooking. Once cooked marmalade cools, it will thicken up, I promise. But when can you stop cooking marmalade?

I rely on the cold plate method for determining how far along marmalade is. You can spoon a dollop of hot marmalade on a plate and put it in the freezer to chill, or spoon some over an icy cold plate fresh from the freezer.

If the mixture wrinkles slightly when you draw a spoon or finger across it, it has reached the setting point. Your marmalade is ready to go!

By the way, orange marmalade takes 24-48 hours for the natural pectin to set up completely. If your marmalade is still a little runny looking when it cools, check again in a day or two. I bet it will be fine.

My orange marmalade recipe is made with ordinary oranges and lemons, and it’s as unfussy as it is delicious. Every sunshiny spoonful makes your morning toast sparkle. If you love candied oranges and fruit preserves, I bet you’ll be making this on a regular basis.

Ways to use Orange Marmalade:

You probably don't need a reason to eat it out of the jar by the spoonful; the best orange marmalade can be pretty addicting. But here are some ways I've been enjoying it, in case you need an idea or two.

  • Sweet: Spoon it over vanilla ice cream, scones, or fresh sourdough bread for a burst of juicy orange flavor. How about serving it alongside my Lemon Olive Oil Cake for a citrus lover's dream come true? My grandma's recipe for Homemade Crescent Rolls would be the perfect vehicle for orange marmalade, too.
  • Savory: Orange goes so well with meat, especially pork and chicken. Brush a few spoonfuls of orange marmalade over a roasted chicken to make easy Orange Marmalade chicken. Or make a simple orange glaze for grilled Grilled Pork Chops.
4.92 from 24 votes

Orange Marmalade Recipe

My orange marmalade recipe is made with ordinary oranges and lemons, and it’s as unfussy as it is delicious. This recipe makes about 3 quarts total, or 12 (8 ounce jars). It freezes beautifully or you can process it in a water bath for canning.
Course Pantry
Cuisine British
Keyword lemons, oranges
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Overnight soak 8 hours
Total Time 11 hours 10 minutes
Servings 96 servings (2 tbsp each)
Calories 68kcal
  • 4 large seedless oranges scrubbed clean (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 lemons (about 1/2 pound)
  • 8 cups water
  • 8 cups sugar
  • First, cut washed oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit along with their juices into a stainless steel pot.
  • Add water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.
  • The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Turn heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes.
  • Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees (you must hit this temperature for the natural pectin to gel with the sugar).
  • If you want to be doubly sure the marmalade is ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it's cool but not cold. If it's firm–-neither runny nor hard–- it's ready. It will be a golden orange color. If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it; if it's hard, just add a bit more water.
  • Pour the marmalade into clean hot mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Chill in the refrigerator. It may take 24-48 hours for the natural pectin to set up properly.

Recipe Notes

If putting up for storage, use a hot water or steam canner to properly seal lids, according to canning instructions. Otherwise, refrigerate and use within the month. Or, freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 68kcal

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  1. Laura McClellan

    Trying first time today. Will the peels dissolve or will I need to remove before jarring up?

    1. Laura McClellan

      Thank you

    2. meggan

      Hi Laura! Neither. The peels do not dissolve, but you don’t remove them either (if you have huge chunks from trimming the ends of the oranges, you can take those out). The peels become very sweet and the pith dissolves (that’s where the pectin is). And you just eat it like that. It tastes great, I make it all the time. I have 10 jars on hand at the moment. I hope you like it. If you have more questions, please let me know! Thanks. -Meggan

  2. Margaret

    I don’t understand how this recipe requires only FOUR oranges but makes 3 quarts?

    1. meggan

      Hi Margaret, it’s four large oranges which is about 3 pounds of oranges. And also 1/2 pound of lemons (2). And then you add in 8 cups of sugar. So, I guess that’s how it happens? On the surface it looks wrong, but it’s not. I made this just last week to double-check the yield because another reader wanted to know. Thanks! -Meggan

  3. Maria Northover

    I have some home grown oranges which have quite a thick skin with large pith. Will these still work?

    1. meggan

      Hi Maria, I think so? I can’t imagine why not. The pith is what has the natural pectin in it which makes this whole thing work. And you cook it down significantly so I don’t think you’ll have an issue. Just make sure you cook it to 220 degrees as directed, and try the cold plate test. I think it will be great! I’m excited for you. I made this last week to count how many jars it fills (I got 12 8-oz jars BTW) and now I eat it every day. I just love it. I hope you like it too! Thanks. -Meggan

  4. RACHEL

    Is it possible to double the recipe? I know with jams and jellies it is not usually recommended but I have about 30lbs of oranges we were given!

    1. meggan

      Hi Rachel! Yes you should be fine! Just a question of if you have a pot big enough. :) I use about 3 pounds of oranges in 1 batch. I see no issue with doubling it, it just might take a little longer to cook down. Make sure you always get it to 220 degrees, that’s the temperature that makes the pectin magic happen. I think you’ll be just fine. And also use the cold plate test method described in the recipe, just in case! That way you’ll know if you are having success. It’s a forgiving recipe, really hard to mess it up. Good luck! And wow you’re so lucky to get all those oranges!!! -Meggan

  5. Tamlin

    How did using half cane sugar and half brown sugar work for people who tried it? Thank you :)

  6. Lori

    Hi! I had more oranges than we needed and am so excited to find your recipe. I’m trying the crockpot method just because I didn’t have time to tend to it on the stove. So far, so good! It smells and tastes delicious; just waiting for it to fully set up. It’s taking a little longer in my crockpot so letting it simmer a little longer.5 stars

  7. Teresa Clark

    Just a quick question. How many 1/2 pints will 1 batch make? I’ve got to ship it to California so wondering how much it’ll make.
    Thank you in advance

    1. meggan

      Hi Teresa, sorry it took me so long to get back to you. 1 batch (4 large oranges, about 3 pounds total, and 2 lemons, about 1/2 pound total) yields almost exactly 12 half-pint jars. For me, it was 12 1/2 jars. I’ll update the post with this information. thank you! -Meggan

    2. meggan

      Hi Teresa, off the top of my head I don’t know how many 1/2 pints. The recipe is flexible so it somewhat depends on the exact size of your oranges and how long you cook it. I will make it again so I can get these exact details ironed out. I’d say it will make at least a dozen. But I have to make it to find out for sure, and package it up. I will do it this weekend. Thanks! -Meggan

  8. Nina Fitch

    Hi Im making marmalade for the first time and trying your recipe. Can it sit out for longer than 8 hours or longer in the fridge as I didn’t think of that when I started making it and its 2 pm and just finished dissolving the sugar.

    1. meggan

      Hi Nina, yes it’s fine, there’s so much sugar in it that it can sit out for more than 8 hours. It’s no problem. You’ll be good! Just start heating it up tomorrow when you wake up. Thanks! -Meggan

  9. Fatima

    I made this today and it tastes store bought I’m told ! Such good easy to follow directions. I had to boil it for longer than the recommended time. I added cardamom and vanilla and a stick of cinnamon. I’m wondering why home made always has a darker colour as compared to store bought ? Thank you!!!4 stars

  10. CHRISTINE

    I only used 5 1/2 cups of sugar and found it sweet enough. Will probably cut sugar down next time, but marmalade was delicious. It was really easy to follow. I did the freezer test and it was perfect. Thank you.5 stars

  11. Nubia O.

    Hello,
    Just finished making your recipe and it was so easy! I started it in the morning, let it sit about 8 hours, and finished it at night. I am definitely going to make it again and try less sugar. During the process the first time I put it in the fridge to test it came out like hard candy, added more water to it, tested again and it was better, but still a little too thick. I added more water and by the third time it was the consistency I wanted! I also think I cooked it too long since the color is more caramel, so I would say keep an eye on it those last 30 minutes, I had walked away. Still good but I refuse to give up and will be making again.5 stars

  12. Sue Dawson

    This was my first time making orange marmalade and I canned it as well. Kept some out for us now and could not have asked for a better recipe to use. Taste was fantastic and
    recipe was easy to follow.

    Thank You

  13. SEEMA BHANSALI

    I’m a novice and this came out great! It did come out a bit thick once refrigerated so I reheated with water and it was perfect. Made for my husband’s birthday and he loved it. Thanks for sharing this great recipe:)5 stars

  14. Sally Duggan

    Marmalade was delish- I did it in crock pot but needed an extra 5 hours or so as mine didn’t get very hot.
    I have around 8 jars of marmalade now- what is the shelf life? Do I have to store it in the fridge or will the cupboard be fine of unopened?
    Loving it! Sally, South Africa5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Sally! Thanks for trying the recipe! There is no shelf-life outside of the fridge – all that sugar, no preservatives, it has to be refrigerated. Or you can freeze it! I’m glad it worked for you, even in the crock pot. Thank you! -Meggan

  15. Emma Paling

    Simple and tasted great!5 stars

  16. Krista

    Hello! I’m almost done boiling it. It’s tasty and then has a very bitter aftertaste. I’ve never had marmalade before. Did I do something wrong or is it an acquired taste? I did a 1/2 batch.. good fruit. Thanks!

    1. Katherine Tallack

      How many pint jars does this make?

    2. Krista

      Thank you I’ll try that! Yes I used 4 cups of Raw cane sugar. It looks the right color and texture. I cut the pieces as thin as I could but see some are thicker than others and not as soft despite all the soaking and cooking. Will try more sugar, Maybe grind up some pieces too, thanks!

    3. meggan

      Hi Krista! Marmalade should not have a very bitter aftertaste, although it is possible it is acquired and I don’t notice it anymore. You used sugar right? I know that when I attempted to make it with agave, it was really bitter. The agave couldn’t penetrate the rind the way it needed to. I would say if you don’t like it, put it back on the stove and add a little more sugar. Maybe another cup? You said you did a half batch, so I’m thinking another cup. It’s okay if you’ve already chilled it in the fridge, just take it out and reheat it. If you want. I am really sorry you’re having issues. I feel confident in the recipe only because I’ve made it so many times and so many other people have made it to. I’m sorry about that! -Meggan

  17. Tiffany Nelson

    Meghan,
    I’ve never been much of a cook but was given a bag of oranges so decided to try to make marmalade for a friend. Your recipe is perfect and easy enough that even I was able to do it! Thank you…it’s so yummy! I love the sliding serving calculation tool as well.
    Tiffany5 stars

  18. Kris

    After boiling oranges without removing the white pith from under zest you can as well throw it all away. It’s unbelievably bitter, inedibly bitter. You don’t mention any proportions of oranges to water either. This is a kind of recipe that anyone can write: just cook oranges and add some sugar. Unfortunately, it absolutely doesn’t work with oranges.

    1. Mary

      Hi Kris
      Look for recipe button.Recipe lays out a nice proportion to follow: 4 oranges, two lemons, 8 cups water, 8 cups sugar. Tastes great! Love this because spares the work of zesting and peeling or making supremes.

    2. meggan

      Hi Kris, have you actually made this recipe? I have made it loads of times, so have so many other people who love it. It’s not unbelievably bitter, inedibly bitter. I have no idea what you’re talking about. You don’t need to remove the pith. Thanks for sharing your weird ideas that don’t make any sense…. Meggan.

  19. Sarah

    I’m using leftover oranges. They are small to medium sized. How many cups and or grams of oranges do you use?

  20. Robin Dockery

    Meghan,
    After 48 hours, I’m still runny. Can I unpack and reheat now or is it too late?5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Hi Robin, I’m so sorry for the delay. Yes, go ahead and unpack and reheat. -Meggan

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