It’s incredibly easy to make your own strawberry jam that tastes better than anything you can buy at the grocery store. My easy strawberry jam recipe uses only 3 ingredients for the best homemade strawberry jam you’ve ever tasted.
Gone are the days when canning was a hot, all-day chore that many women suffered through. Most everything you could want is available at grocery stores, big box stores or the farmer’s market.
Even though I could pick up some organic strawberry jam at the farmer’s market, I find that making my own tastes better. I don’t know if it is from the satisfaction of making it myself or because it really is fresher from my pantry.
A lot of people think that making good jam is laborious and tedious, but the good news is that it really isn’t. With just a few simple ingredients you can make your own fresh jam in small batches. You don’t even need pectin!
If this is your first time making jam, don’t worry. With just a little patience, great tips and my easy small batch strawberry jam recipe, you can make a jam that the whole family will love! I’ll even walk you through the simple canning process.
- Ingredients and Equipment
- By the Numbers: How to Make Strawberry Jam
- Tips for Making the Best Strawberry Jam
- 1. How to choose the best strawberries?
- 2. What’s the setting point of strawberry jam?
- 3. How to tell if the jam’s setting?
- 4. What to do if jam isn’t setting?
- 5. Why is there scum forming on the jam?
- 6. How to make smooth jam?
- 7. How long does jam last?
- 8. How to make jam with other fruit?
- 9. Can a different type or amount of sugar be used?
- 10. How to eat strawberry jam?
- 11. Best place to get fresh strawberries?
- 12. Is it okay to use frozen strawberries?
- 13. How to make strawberry jam with pectin?
- Easy Strawberry Jam Recipe
- More Delicious Homemade Condiments
Ingredients and Equipment
- 2 pounds of fresh strawberries
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Blender or potato masher
- Large heavy pot
- Heavy wood spoon
- Mason jars with metal lids
By the Numbers: How to Make Strawberry Jam
Follow these simple step by step instructions to learn how to make the most amazing homemade strawberry jam with simple ingredients on your stovetop.
Step 1: Wash and Hull Strawberries.
Start by washing 2 pounds of strawberries really well. Once they’re clean, cut and hull the strawberries. If you haven’t hulled strawberries before, you’re essentially cutting the green tops off of them and removing the hull. See how they’re hollow on top?
I know this sounds like a given, but I actually know someone that cooked the whole strawberries. The jam was not delicious.
Step 2: Soak Strawberries in Sugar.
Once they’re clean and hulled, add your strawberries to a large mixing bowl. Pour one cup of sugar over them, making sure they’re all coated, and allow them to soak overnight in the sugar in the refrigerator.
Step 3: Add Strawberries to Large Pot.
When you pull the bowl out of the fridge in the morning, there will be lots of juice.
You have 2 options here – regular jam or seedless jam. If you want to make seedless jam, after they are finished soaking, run your strawberries through a food processor or your high powered blender.
On the other hand, if you want chunky jam (which is what my family likes), you don’t need to do anything before cooking them. Just pour them, including all of the liquid, from the bowl into a very large, heavy bottomed pan.
The strawberries should only fill the pan no more than halfway, so I typically use a large stainless steel stock pot. If your strawberries fill the pot more than halfway, the strawberry mixture will likely boil over and cause a big, sticky mess.
Step 4: Boil Strawberry Mixture.
Slowly bring the strawberries to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is fully dissolved. When the sugar has completely dissolved, add 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice to the pot and stir to combine.
At this point, I like to use a potato masher to crush the berries as they boil.
Step 5: Cook to Jam Consistency.
Cook the jam for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently and making sure it doesn’t scorch to the bottom of the pot. When it is a syrupy, sticky consistency, it is done. If stays kind of runny, you need to add 1-2 tablespoons more lemon juice to get it to firm up. I had to add about a tablespoon more to this batch to get it to set well.
Step 6: Put Strawberry Jam in Jars.
Get your glass jars ready (make sure you have boiled and cleaned them). This classic recipe will make three 8-ounce jars of jam. I allow my jam to cool to room temperature before placing it in the jars because I keep it in the fridge (we can go through a jar of jam in a day!), but you can do it hot if you prefer to can yours. If you’re keeping it in the fridge, it’s okay to fill the jars to the top.
If you want to use a hot water bath canning process to can your fresh strawberry jam, start with hot jars (so they’re less likely to break when you add hot jam to them), leave ¼” of headspace, wipe the tops with clean paper towels, then quickly place the lid on the glass jar and seal with a ring.
Place your filled canning jars in a water bath on the stovetop and allow to boil for 15 minutes. Once the canning time is up, remove the jars from the pot with a jar lifter. Allow the jars to cool completely on the counter, then store in a cool, dry place for up to one year.
Before putting your canned jars in the pantry, make sure there’s a good seal on your jars. If there’s not, put it in the fridge. Use as desired.
Tips for Making the Best Strawberry Jam
Answers to all of your questions about making the most delicious homemade strawberry jam recipe, including tips and substitution ideas.
1. How to choose the best strawberries?
For best results, it’s important to use dry fresh berries that have been washed and are in good condition. Make sure to wash the strawberries, even if they are pre-washed. You want your ripe berries completely clean before starting.
And, while it’s tempting to make jam with over-ripened fruit, doing that can make for mushy jam that spoils quickly. I also prefer organic strawberries since strawberries are on the dirty dozen list.
2. What’s the setting point of strawberry jam?
The setting point is the temperature that your jam will set at. For sea level, the strawberry jam setting point will be around 220˚ F.
If you’re at a higher altitude, it will be different because water boils at a lower temperature the higher in elevation you go. According to the National Center for Food Safety, you need to subtract 2˚ F for every 1,000 feet in elevation.
So, if you live at an elevation of 1,000 feet, yours should set at at 218° F. If you’re living at 2,000 feet in altitude, yours will set at 216° F, and so on. I live at almost 7,000 feet, so mine only needs to get to about 206˚ F in order to set.
3. How to tell if the jam’s setting?
The best way to tell if your jam has set is to use the wrinkle test. To do this, put a small plate in the freezer before you start making your jam. Then you can pull it out of the freezer when you’re ready to test the jam.
To do the wrinkle test, put a little jam on the cold plate you froze and push your finger into the jam to see if it sets up or is still watery. When you press it, if the surface area wrinkles, it’s set. If it just slides all over the plate, it’s not.
If the plate test shows that it’s set, you can let your jam cool. If it’s not, cook for another 3-5 minutes and try again.
You can also use a metal spoon in lieu of a small plate. Dip the frozen metal spoon in your jam and tilt it sideways. If it slides quickly, it’s not set. If it thickens and doesn’t run, it is.
4. What to do if jam isn’t setting?
If you make this pectin-free jam recipe and it’s too runny when you test it, but it seems like it’s cooked down enough, you may need to add more lemon juice, lime juice or a little pectin (Sure Jell is one popular brand).
Strawberries can differ in both texture and water content when cooking, and some will be waterier than others. There is also variation in how much natural pectin is contained in different lemons, so it’s hard to be sure you’re adding enough until you start cooking the jam.
I like to start with 2-3 tablespoons, and if it’s not setting, add another tablespoon or two after the strawberries have been cooked down.
Pectin can also be used to make your jam set. While I do not use it in my easy recipe, it is a very popular ingredient. Pectin is naturally found in fruit (like apples), and by using added pectin it will help your jam become thicker.
5. Why is there scum forming on the jam?
Sometimes “scum” can accumulate on top of the jam at the end of cooking. Reduce this by stirring the jam in the same direction until it is gone from the surface of the jam.
6. How to make smooth jam?
While my family prefers a more classic strawberry jam with some texture to it, you can also make it smooth. A great way to make smooth, seedless jam is to run the berries through the food processor or a high powered blender before cooking. That way everything is processed and the mixture is completely smooth.
You can also run the berries through a food mill before cooking them to actually remove many of the seeds. You’ll need to use a food mill with an ultrafine disc to catch the seeds because they’re so small.
7. How long does jam last?
Homemade jam that hasn’t been canned usually lasts for 1-2 months in the fridge. It can spoil faster if it’s contaminated with other foods or left out on the counter for too long.
Canned jam that is sealed, on the other hand, will last for up to 1 year in the pantry if stored properly.
8. How to make jam with other fruit?
While I find strawberry jam to be a staple, another one of my favorite jam recipes is blueberry. I often make Instant Pot Blueberry Jam because it’s more hands-off since you don’t have to stand over a pot and stir for a long time. Plus it tastes amazing.
However, it’s basically the same process to make any type of fruit jam, whether you do it on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot.
9. Can a different type or amount of sugar be used?
I prefer to go with good, old-fashioned white sugar when making jam even though we’re typically a low sugar family. It’s the classic way to make it, but you can also use other sweeteners like brown sugar or honey if you prefer.
Other sweeteners will change the color, flavor and texture of your jam, so keep that in mind. If you use less sugar than what’s called for, this jam may not set the same and you may need to add pectin.
My recipe is already lower in added sugar than a lot of the recipes you’ll see online. Many recommend using equal parts fruit and sugar, but that would just be too much sugar for us.
I recommend making the full recipe as written the first time. Then you can play with amounts of sugar and find the perfect balance for your family.
10. How to eat strawberry jam?
One of my favorite things about homemade strawberry jam is its versatility! I think it’s the perfect recipe to make with strawberries because there are so many ways to enjoy it:
- Classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on gluten free bread
- Gluten free toast, scones or biscuits for a quick breakfast
- Over vanilla ice cream or yogurt
- A tasty topping for chocolate cake or cheesecake
- Stirred into oatmeal
- A spoonful all by itself
11. Best place to get fresh strawberries?
If it’s strawberry season, you may be growing your own strawberries. Use those! If not, you can pick some up at the farmer’s market or even the grocery store.
I often get my produce from Misfits Market since they usually have a pretty good price on organic strawberries. Just make sure you’re following the tips above about choosing the best berries for jam!
12. Is it okay to use frozen strawberries?
Yes, you can use frozen strawberries in place of fresh. I do find that store bought frozen berries typically aren’t as sweet as fresh, so you may find yourself wanting to add more sugar if you only have access to frozen berries. The cooking time may be a bit longer as well.
13. How to make strawberry jam with pectin?
If you’re looking for a good pectin strawberry jam recipe, check out the National Center for Food Safety. They’re a great resource for food canning safety!
Easy Strawberry Jam Recipe
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Potato masher
- Large Stock Pot
- Heavy wood spoon
- 3 8 ounce mason jars with metal lids
- Cut and hull your strawberries.
- Let them soak in the sugar overnight in the refrigerator in a sealed bowl.
- If you want to make seedless jam after they are finished soaking, run them through a food processor or blender. If you want chunky jam or jam with texture, you can either add them whole or crush the strawberries lightly.
- Add your strawberries to a very large, heavy bottom pan like a large saucepan or stock pot. The strawberries should only go halfway or the mixture will boil over and make a big mess.
- Bring the strawberries to a full boil. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. When the sugar has dissolved, add the fresh lemon juice.
- Crush the boiling berries using a potato masher.
- Cook the jam for about 30 minutes. When it is a syrupy, sticky consistency, it is done. If stays kind of runny, you need to add a little more lemon juice to get it to firm up.
- Get your canning jars ready (make sure you have boiled and cleaned them). This recipe will make 3 medium sized jars. I allow my jam to cool before placing it in the jars, but you can do it hot if you’re planning to put them in a boiling water bath.
- If refrigerating, you can fill them to top of the jar with jam, then wipe the top of the jars with clean paper towels and then quickly place the lid on. If you’re canning, leave ¼-inch headspace between the hot preserves and the top of the jar before putting the lids. Once sealed, lower hot jars into a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Once they’re done boiling, turn off the heat and remove the jars from the pot with a jar lifter to cool on the counter.
- Allow your homemade jam to cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator for jam that wasn’t put into a water bath, or place jars in a cool dry place away from direct light for canned jam.