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.
Orange marmalade in a mason jar.

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.
4.96 from 47 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Pantry
Cuisine: British
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
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 4 large seedless oranges scrubbed clean (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 lemons (about 1/2 pound)
  • 8 cups water
  • 8 cups sugar

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

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. Tessy stone

    How come after nearly 3/1/2 hrs. Simmering my marmalade still isn’t setting .?any suggestions?

    1. Hi Tessy, it takes a few hours but 3 1/2 “should” be enough. Basically what you have to do is cook off the water so you can get the marmalade to 220 degrees. Water boils at 212 degrees right? So until the water is gone, the marmalade won’t go above 212. You can’t get it to 220. So all I can think is, you still have a lot of water in there. When the water is gone and the temperature can get to 220, the pectin will activate and the marmalade will set. I’m sorry for the trouble. I hope it finishes up for you soon! I do know that it’s not a sign of you doing anything “wrong” or that the batch is bad. It’s just taking it’s sweet time, and I’m sorry about that. Hopefully you can hang in there! Thanks. -Meggan

  2. Sam F

    Slightly failed but gave it a 5 star rating because it tasted really good! I got caught up in my son’s class that I went over the 30 minute cooking time and and it turned a bit darker than the golden orange. This is my first time making marmalade and I thought I did good, my wife and kids think so too, lol.
    Thanks for sharing, next time I’ll follow the directions to a T!5 stars

  3. Anthony Worthington

    I have not tried it yet, but I will soon. I am busy moving house, but I will come back to you once I have made this and report.

    1. Meggan

      Hi Anthony, please do! Good luck with your move. 😀 – Meggan

  4. Lora Marcaurelle

    should i still use lemons with seville oranges?

    1. Carol

      I used half the amount of sugar and half the water and it was fantastic. I’ll definitely be making it again.5 stars

    2. Meggan

      Hi Lora! Yes, the lemons provide flavor and also have a higher pectin content, which helps the marmalade set. Thanks! – Meggan

  5. Myndi McClain

    I was wondering if it would be okay if I had 3 oranges one lemon and one lime.

    1. Meggan

      Hi Myndi, yes! Limes also work in marmalade. – Meggan

  6. KIMBERLY SKIDMORE

    Hello, I am making this mark now and it turned brown, is it burnt? Should I throw it away?5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Hi Kimberly, I would taste it! It does darken as it’s cooked, so it may be a part of the cooking process. Also, did you use dark brown sugar? That may also be why. If it tastes burnt, then I would throw it away, but otherwise, it might just be cooking down. Let me know how it turns out. – Meggan

  7. Catharina

    Meggan, I love marmelade and just happened to come across your recipe. My question is, can I use a sugar substitute like Stevia? I am diabetic and 8 cups sounds like a lot of sugar!

    1. Hi Catharina! I haven’t tried it with Splenda. I am not honestly not sure if that would work because I tried it with agave (which also has a lot of sugar) and the agave could not properly penetrate the rind to make it taste good. I suspect Splenda can’t either. I’m not sure. I do agree 8 cups is a lot. You could try it, but based on my agave test, I guess I am not super optimistic. I don’t want you to be disappointed. But if you took out the rind after cooking it might be fine. I don’t know if you could strain it and the rind would stay behind? Something to try if you want to, I guess! -Meggan

  8. Virginia L Massey

    So good! Just made this and it’s the PERFECT bend of sweet & bitter. Love, love, love how easy it was to make!

  9. Jenny Wenter Visina

    Meggan
    Happy weekend!
    Do I cover the pot when cooking?
    Thank you
    Jenny

    1. Hi Jenny! No, you don’t cover the pot when it’s cooking. I will update the recipe so this is clear. I do cover the pot when I’m letting it sit overnight, but other than that, you want the water to cook off so you can get it to 220 degrees and the pectin is activated. Thanks! -Meggan

  10. Caroline Hogarth

    My second batch of orange marmalade..
    Great recipe and tripled the amount this time…
    My husband says its the best marmalade he’s ever had..
    Thank you!! ❤️5 stars

    1. Meggan

      You’re so welcome Caroline! I am glad it’s a hit! -Meggan

  11. Susan F

    “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.”
    I’m not seeing a way to slide the numbers on the recipe card. Am I missing something here? It’s just myself and I don’t want jars and jars of marmalade… could you tell me the measurements for 12 oz please?
    Thank you and can’t wait to try this!!! :)

    1. Hi Susan! Sorry for the confusion. The recipe slider (just for future reference) is right by “Servings” and you’ll see the number of servings is linked. So you’ll see “96 servings” and the 96 is blue and underlined. So you can click on that blue 96 and adjust the servings. In any case! I would say the smallest reasonable batch is 24 ounces, or 1 orange. So in that case you want 1 orange (about 12 ounces), 1/2 lemon, 2 cups sugar, and 2 cups water. I have never tested a small batch like this, but I am sure it would work fine. I’ve done a half batch (2 oranges/1 lemon/4 cups sugar/4 cups water) and had no issues. Thanks for the question and if you need anything else, just let me know! -Meggan

  12. Lynn

    Should there be any additional time if making at high altitude?

    1. Hi Lynn, good quesiton! Maybe. Probably. I found something on the internet about this which you can take a look at if you want to. It depends on your altitude, but it sounds like yours might be done sooner than mine. The other thing is, this article is talking about pectin which is added to normal jam recipes. But in the case of orange marmalade, we’re talking about pectin within the pith that breaks down. So I have no idea if it performs the same way. I do have a “test” you can do where you put some on a plate and refrigerate it and see if it gels. So you could do that a bunch of times. Ultimately it’s up to you, whether you want to take a gamble on it or not. Overall I find this recipe to be very forgiving. And I know people in Mexico have made it at around 6,000 feet above sea level. Good luck! -Meggan

      https://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/icooks/01-06-03.html

  13. Sandra wright

    Hi,
    I’ve never made marmalade, and I think I already made a mistake!! I put the water and sugar in the pit at the same time, and brought to boil. It’s now sitting until tomorrow as recipe says. Should I start over? Will it still work? Thanks, Sandra

    1. Hi Sandra! Don’t start over! This is a very forgiving recipe and I’ve honestly made that exact same mistake myself. The marmalade will be just fine. Just let it sit overnight and cook it tomorrow for a couple of hours, and then bring it to 220. You’ll be fine, I’m so sure. Don’t worry! It’s going to be fine! Thanks. -Meggan

  14. Nicole GRIGSBY

    Hello,
    I’m intrested on making your Orange Marmalade and the recipe seems simple enough, however,I do have one question.
    After the first cook should i place it in the fridge or leave it out on the counter? We are careful not to let things stay out too long and I am aware this is citrus but better be safe than sorry. :)

    1. Hi Nicole! Food safety is REALLY important to me, I have my ServSafe Food manager’s license. I totally get it! This is fine to leave out on the counter. That’s how it works. It’s one of those old-fashioned techniques that sounds weird but it’s fine. Thanks for checking! -Meggan

  15. Kate

    I started out great; was on step 4 then fell in the kitchen and required at trip to the hospital. After 5+ hours there, I was sent home and told I needed bed rest and elevate my leg and foot. So my marmalade got an extra 12 hour additional wait I finished up. What a terrific recipe to forgiving to my unexpected medical problems and still come out just right.5 stars

    1. Hi Kate, wow you really had me going in the first half! I was visualizing you falling because you slipped on marmalade or something. Glad everything is okay. Stay safe out there! -Meggan

  16. Towela Phiri

    Hallo Meggan,
    just trying ot your recipe. How do I turn 220 on a gas burner?

    1. Hi Towela! Sorry for the confusion. You cannot set a temperature on a burner like that. You need to use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and see when it gets to 220 degrees. It takes a while because you have to cook off enough water to raise the temperature above the boiling point (212 degrees). I hope this helps! Thanks. -Meggan

  17. Terry Roach

    Excellent recipe, I am mad about marmalade and this is by far the easiest recipe and yet the best result I’ve had! I’m making it for the second time now. First time was with Navel oranges but Seville are now in their very short season (August in Australia) and trying it with the them. This time I’ve switched the lemons for an additional 2 Oranges since I love the extra peel and thought that Seville would give me the bitterness without the lemon. Also, I make my peel quite chunky, which is more of a British style.
    BTW I thought that any Bourbon drinkers might enjoy a creative way to use your marmalade. I discovered that it goes really well in an Old Fashioned believe it or not! Since you’re putting sugar and orange into your Bourbon anyway, try it with a spoonful of marmalade. Just add Bitters and ice. Delicious5 stars

    1. Hi Terry, you’re just my favorite. I love the idea of adding Bourbon AND using it in an old fashioned! So creative! I am going to try making sandwich cookies with marmalade closer to the holidays. And, I keep experimenting with an “orange marmalade” granola. I haven’t figured it out yet, but it seems like it would be a great idea. So I just have to keep trying. Thank you so much for your creativity and for trying my recipe. I’m so grateful. Take care! -Meggan

  18. Nicki

    Absolutely delicious! Used Seville oranges and followed recipe to a tee.
    Thank you a definite winner!5 stars

  19. Esther L (Uganda)

    Hi Meggan,
    Your recipe says to use a stainless steel pot. Can I use an enameled pot?
    Looking forward to making this recipe once I’m out of self-isolation.

    1. Hi Esther, yes, you should be fine. I don’t know why I wrote that? I think it just needs to be a non-reactive pot. Not aluminum, not cast-iron. Enameled should be fine. Thanks! -Meggan

  20. Karen K (Australia)

    Hi Meggan, loved your recipe. Had been given alot of oranges from a friends tree and found your recipe online while searching for ways to use them. Have now made your easy peasy marmalade several times for family and friends to also enjoy. They all want more! Have found a way to cut down on the amount of peel in it (dont really want that much on my toast!). Firstly cut it fine to start with but also use a stick blender to reduce the amount. I still make sure I leave some there though so that it “looks” like marmalade. Thanks and stay safe.5 stars

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