Orange Marmalade Recipe | 10 min. Water Bath

Orange Marmalade Recipe | 10 min. Water Bath
sweet orange marmalade canning recipe
Deliciously sweet with mild citrus notes, this recipe is as simple as it is savory.

Finally, an easy and versatile orange marmalade recipe!

Looking for a delicious orange marmalade canning recipe you can make in under 90 minutes?  Better yet, one that quickly converts to a shelf-stable spread with just a 10-minute water bath?

Check that box. You’ve just found it. 

This is a deliciously sweet, mildly tangy orange marmalade you can think of like a citrusy orange juice taken to the Nth degree. And, you can whip this out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Oh, that last part got your attention?

Excellent, because, it’s true. Watch my video showing you several ways to use this jam and keep scrolling for even more recipe ideas.

Disclosure:This post may contain affiliate links and if you click on them I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

This is a simple, savory recipe. A go-to for sure!

Now, there are many ways to make marmalade. Some of them are very technical and “stuffy” but I’m not here to debate those methods, ya’ girl just wants it ‘yum’ and done. Oh, you too? Well, you’ve finally found an uncomplicated, sweet orange marmalade recipe! If you’ve scoured cookbooks or worse yet, actually tried those recipes before landing on this page, then you are well aware that marmalades can be downright finicky to make.  

Yeah, orange marmalade, I’m throwing you shade and giving you ‘side eye.’ 

That’s because my previous marmalade attempts have ended in tears, burnt fingers, sticky pots and a bit of cussin’ and fussin’ (but, once you’re hooked to that fresh marmalade taste, maneuvering around these culinary landmines is a chance you’ll take every time). 

That being said, there are many ways to make marmalade, but this recipe isn’t highfalutin–its straightforward, savory and simple so that YOU can keep your sanity. 

Why? Because this recipe is brought to you by a working gal with a full-time job, family, and mini-homestead.

I don’t have time for the nonsense. And neither do you.

This Orange Marmalade Recipe is almost too simple to make…

This orange marmalade uses regular store bought oranges, sugar and honey.

A splash of vanilla and pectin. 

A pinch of cinnamon and cardamom. That’s it. 

(Thank goodness)

And it’s sooooo not bitter. It’s sweet, with just the right amount of subtle bright notes to give you that citrus comfort without making you pucker. 

Think of this humble recipe as a bolder, more zesty version of the original fruit. (Note: This description is also how I want to describe myself in my 70s. Just sayin’).

Sliced oranges used for canning orange marmalade.
Seasonal citrus taste can’t be beat. Preserve the harvest by making deliciously sweet orange marmalade.

Simply put, this marmalade recipe is, GREAT! 

… and gloriously sticky. 

It’ll be just the thing you reach for over and over again to brighten your breakfast, level up lunch sandwiches or dollop on chicken, fish (and certainly) duck. The citrus from the oranges and splash of vanilla provides an enjoyable tartness on the tongue that pairs perfectly with the sweetness from the generous cup of honey we’ll use. But the shy star of this show is actually the 2-3 teaspoons of cardamom we’ll add that introduce hints of nuanced clove, ginger, and fennel flavor. Yum! 

Whew, with all THAT description, I’ve better convinced you that your pantry needs this stuff! But, there’s one marmalade truth I need to spill:

Lean in close for this last one, sis… if you want your jam to set and your peels to soften, I’m going to discourage you from using less sugar (or a sugar substitute) in this recipe. So don’t be shy about it. EMBRACE the sugar! This jam is a treat, after all. Think: that 80s rock song, “Pour some sugar on maaaaaaa-y!” 

Alright, slowly walk away and pretend we don’t know each other and that you didn’t just hear me belt out slightly off tune.

Take two more steps back. Ok, we’re good.

Why you’ll love this easy Orange Marmalade recipe:

  • While this jam is higher in sugar, it provides a range of nutritional benefits, supplementing your diet with vitamins and keeping your fat, calorie and sodium intake low. 
  • It requires just one pot to make and ingredients you probably already have on hand. 
  • Just saying that you make your own marmalade imparts an (intriguing) eyebrow raise from other foodie friends that (unless you share how easy this is) will give you instantaneous kitchen kudos.   

But, Cassandra….is this really worth making? What else could I possibly use this jam for? 

Good question. 

And, I’ve got you covered on this one. Orange Marmalade is sooo much more versatile than what we give it credit for.

Keep scrolling. 

What can you make with Orange Marmalade?

orange marmalade spread on a bagel with cream cheese and walnuts. orange marmalade breakfast.
Brighten up breakfast with sweet orange marmalade jam spread on a cream cheese bagel.
  • Breakfast
    • Weaknesses for bagels? Yeah, me too. Try stirring a heaping tablespoon into your cream cheese topped with a few nuts and a drizzle of honey. Whoaaa! Good morning, somebody. 
    • Change up your morning oatmeal brown sugar routine- orange marmalade makes a sweet and tart oatmeal topping in the morning that is already flavored to perfection. 
  • Lunch
    • Easily add pizzazz to a vinaigrette dressing base by adding a touch of sun-kissed sweetness. 
    • Shhh….I often doctor up store-bought BBQ sauce (or add it to my homemade mix) by adding a few generous spoonfuls to up the sweetness and stickiness factor. 
  • Dinner
    • Create an instant glaze that’ll pair deliciously with anything from baked goods to brisket. Just melt your marmalade on the stove until it liquifies and drizzle on cakes or brush over chicken thighs and ham. Salivating yet?
    • Is that defrosted piece of meat staring back at you? No worries. Stuff a pork loin, or chicken breast with several spoonfuls of jam and bake as normal. Now pat yourself on the back love, you’ve just cooked smarter. 
  • And
    • Feeling cosmopolitan but want to stay in your comfy clothes? Stir marmalade into gin or prosecco and become a believer.  

Since ‘seeing’ is believing, check out the video I made showing you how I use orange marmalade in everyday recipes.

How is the marmalade not bitter? And, do I have to use pectin?

This recipe doesn’t use the column, seeds or rind or the oranges. While these components contain natural pectin they also impart that bitter tart taste, which I prefer to avoid. Instead, we use the zest to give us tons of  orange-y flavor. We’ll have to use pectin since we’re not using the natural parts of the fruit that contain it. 

Is this recipe approved as safe?

YES! That’s because I only share tested home canning recipes inspired from reputable sources. I take safe canning practices very seriously, so this (and any) recipe that appears on my blog or YouTube channel will: 

  1. Use only recipe methods that follow safe and science-based guidelines published by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Center for Home Food Preservation, and Jarden companies like Ball and Bernardin
  2. Source all information so that you can follow it back to the canning authorities where the recipe originated. I know this makes nearly every other word in my blog post look like a lit-up Christmas tree, but I want you to be a confident, informed canner too, so I’m very transparent about any modifications I include.

My goal with publicly sharing canning recipes is to inspire you to create your own healthier, better-tasting, and usually cheaper convenience foods. And, to show how canning food in the modern world still makes sense! Above all, I want you to be both safe and successful in your canning efforts. For this reason, I’ll always link to the approved NCHFP canning recipes and encourage you to make a small investment in purchasing the most updated preservation books and equipment I use in my own kitchen.

Recipe Tips & Notes 

  • Preserve recipes are notorious for floating fruit. To combat this, select only ripe (as in soft, but not mushy) fruit. 
  • Thoroughly wash, rinse and dry the fruit at least 12 hours before you prepare this recipe.
  • This recipe is adapted from Blue Ribbon Canning by Linda J. Amendt.

Orange Marmalade Recipe | Quick 10 MIN. Water Bath


  • Large heavy bottomed pan
  • Thermometer 
  • Citrus zester
  • Grater 
  • Water bath canner

Ingredients (makes about six 8-ounce jars)

  • 2 lbs oranges (about 21-24 medium oranges)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 teaspoon ground cardamom (to taste)
  • 2 cups honey
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of vanilla 


  1. Start by thoroughly washing, rinsing and drying the fruit at least 12 hours before you prepare this recipe.
  2. Next cut the stem ends and slice into quarters. Remove the seeds, central column and pith from the oranges. Reserve at least 6 rinds. 
  3. Place the orange flesh in a heavy bottomed 5 quart pot and add 3 cups of cold water, bring to a boil, stirring periodically. 
  4. Add the sugar, splash of vanilla, cardamom and pectin.  Turn heat back to medium for another 30 minutes.  (note: if canning, now is a good time to sterilize your preserving jars in a boiling-water bath). 
  5. Continue stirring as you bring the marmalade to a boil. If you prefer a soft set heat to 218 degrees. If you want a firmer set heat to 220 degrees. Keep stirring.
  6. Reached 218? 220? Immediately cut the heat and move your pan off the burner. Let it rest for 20 minutes to allow your jam to set. 
  7. After 20 minutes give it one last good stir. You’ll notice the fruit suspended throughout the gel. So pretty! 

How Can You Tell When Your Orange Marmalade is Ready?

Easy. You can use something called the cold plate method (also known as freezer test or the saucer test). What you’ll do is stash a few small plates in the freezer before you start making your marmalade so that they’re nice and cold by the time you’re towards the end of the recipe. 

Drop a dollop of the marmalade onto the frozen plate and return it to the freezer for 2-3 minutes. When you pull it out, the consistency will give you a snapshot into the future into how your marmalade will set. 

If you push it up and it wrinkles, you can be confident of a strong set. 

But, if you can slide your finger through without resistance, you need to cook the marmalade longer. 

Marmalade can take up to 24-48 hours for its natural pectin to set completely. So, don’t freak out if it still looks a little runny even after the cooking time.

Canning your Orange Marmalade 

canning orange marmalade
Preserving orange marmalade only requires a 10 minute water bath to have this

Filling the jars:

  1. Sanitize your jars and place them on a dishtowel. 
  2. Grab your funnel and ladle  that marmalade goodness into the jars, leaving a ¼ inch of headspace. 
  3. Remove any air bubbles by running a long plastic or wooden skewer between the jar and the marmalade. 
  4. Wipe the rims of the jars with vinegar to remove any spillage (which can prevent your jars from creating a seal). 
  5. Secure the rings to the top of your jar until they are “fingertip tight” but still allows enough air to pass through. 

Processing your jam on the stove

Note: If this is your first time using a water bath canner to preserve, please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning.

  1. Using a jar rack or plate, lower the jars into the boiling water of your water bath canner. 
  2. Pour in more water to ensure that the water covers at least an inch above your jars.
  3. Place the lid on your pot. 
  4. Bring water to a full boil for 10 minutes, then use a jar lifting to remove the jars out of the water and let them cool on a towel undisturbed for a minimum of 8 hours. (note: do not tighten the caps or you’ll risk breaking the seal). 

When are the jars ready?

 As your jars cool, you’ll hear the jars making clicking pops.  Leave the jars undisturbed on a towel for a minimum of 12-24 hours. After that, you can confirm the jars have sealed by removing the rings. A sealed jar lid will remain secured to the jar without the rim and be slightly indented in the center. Use your index finger to moderately tap on the jar in a few places, it should not pop back when pressed. The majority of your jars will seal within a few hours of cooling down. If you have any jars that didn’t seal properly, just store them in the fridge and use them within the month. 

Storage Tips 

  1. Your canned marmalade will be shelf stable and keep (unopened) for up to one year. 
  2. If you’re not going to can your marmalade, you can store it in the fridge for use within the month! 
  3. Buutt…if you’re not canning this, freeze for up to 3 months. 

Craving more 15 minute water bath recipes? Don’t miss out on my Savory Carrot Cake Jam, which will surely become another one of your weekday favorites! 

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