A delicious, sweet concoction of juicy oranges, lemon, fresh cranberries & sugar, this Easy Christmas Marmalade is fabulous on toast, English muffins, biscuits, yogurt, ice cream…
If you’re a fan of bitter marmalade with big chunks of citrus zest and complicated or time-consuming (or both) instructions, you might want to click on over to a different recipe. But if you love a fresh, vibrant, marmalade studded with tiny slivers of vibrant orange zest and bits of tangy, fresh cranberries, this easy Christmas marmalade (takes 30-minutes, start to finish!) has your name (and mine) written all over it!
I’m so in love with the colors of winter produce. Oranges, lemons, cranberries, pomegranates, butternut squash, carrots… I do believe that God gave us vibrant, jewel-hued fruits and veggies at this time of year to give us a bit of cheer when the landscape outdoors is gray, bleak and often dreary.
This Christmas Marmalade is the essence of cheer in both taste and sight. It’s vibrantly flavored with bits of juicy oranges, fresh-tasting citrus zest and tangy cranberries. It looks gorgeous in glass jars or in a pretty little bowl at the table.
Takes under 30 minutes, start to finish!
If you’ve never made jam before, this is a perfect place to start. It comes together quickly and is quite failproof. Oranges have a lot of their own natural pectin so this jam sets up quickly and consistently.
How do you make it? The most difficult part is probably zesting the oranges which isn’t really difficult. I like to use a small zester like this one. The zest isn’t too fine so that it disappears in the marmalade, but not so coarse that the texture has large chunks of zest. The zester is easy to work with and you can zest 3-4 oranges in right around 5 minutes.
After the oranges are zested, cut off the remaining peel and chop them in small bits. I just slice them in rounds, then slice the rounds in both directions. Set aside the zest and combine the oranges with chopped cranberries and sugar in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a full boil, time it for 30 seconds then remove from heat.
The last thing you’ll need to do before transferring the marmalade to shiny clean jars is to add the pectin. Simply combine the pectin with water in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil and time for 1 minute. Add the pectin mixture to the orange-cranberry mixture and stir, stir, stir. Scoop the beautiful jam into jars and stand back to admire your gorgeously-hued handiwork!
How to use this Christmas Marmalade
There are a zillion different ways to use this delicious orange-cranberry Christmas Marmalade. Here are just a few ideas:
- On toast. It’s super delicious on this Easy No-Knead Brioche Bread (pictured below). It’s also wonderful on English muffins, biscuits, bagels and dinner rolls.
- It makes a delicious and quite gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- Use it as a topping for baked brie.
- Serve it with yogurt and granola.
- Make a fabulous grilled ham and cheese with a layer of this Easy Christmas Marmalade sandwiched between the layers.
- Serve it over ice cream.
- Use it as a glaze for chicken, shrimp, pork and salmon, delish!
- Top pancakes with it.
- Drizzle it over ice cream.
- Use it to get a perfect shine on your favorite sports car. (Just kidding!)
- Add it to a salad dressing.
- Serve it with cheese and crackers. I love to serve it in a small bowl combined with some fresh pomegranate arils on a cheese tray. So good!
I think you get the point. There are so many delicious ways to use this Christmas Marmalade!
Perfect for gift-giving!
This cheerful marmalade makes a wonderful gift at this time of year for neighbors, friends, co-workers, teachers, etc. It’s great on its own or combine it with a loaf of home-baked bread. Or add some delicious crackers and a log of goat cheese (or a block of smoked cheddar, gouda or whatever your favorite cheese is). A package of homemade granola would also pair wonderfully with this Christmas Marmalade.
I love combining this pretty little label when gifting my Christmas Marmalade.
You can either attach it to the top, use a little twine or ribbon to tie it around the neck of the jar or, if using a taller jar, glue it to the side. I have a PDF of these labels so if you’re interested, just leave a comment below the post and I’ll email them to you.
One last little fun tip. I love to include a pretty spoon with my marmalade gift. I found these awesome little (super inexpensive) gold spoons on Amazon. They end up costing less than a dollar apiece, are made of stainless steel and are nice quality.
Café Tips for making this Easy Christmas Marmalade
- Look for heavy feeling oranges with a shiny peel. These will be juicier than lighter oranges with rough (usually thick peels).
- Don’t boil the jam longer than 30 seconds as instructed in the directions. You want to keep the fresh flavor and vibrant color. Boiling it for 30 seconds helps dissolve the sugar.
- When zesting your oranges and lemon, it’s important to get just the colored part of the skin. The white part underneath (called the pith) is bitter. You don’t want that.
- As mentioned above, I use this zester to zest my oranges. The zest is not too fine, but not too coarse and it doesn’t get any of the pith. If you can’t get one of the small zesters, use a vegetable peeler to remove just the colored zest. Then cut the peel into thin slivers.
- What’s the best way to roughly chop cranberries? They’re a bit of pain to chop, being round and prone to rolling all over and off the counter. I use my Vidalia chopper for this (and so many other things). I just put 8-10 cranberries on the grate, bring down the top and let it engage a bit with the berries, then give it good “whack”. It not only chops them perfectly, but there’s also a measuring guide on the side so you can stop when you have enough without having to transfer them to another container to measure.
- This jam is not processed with a hot water bath so it is NOT shelf-stable. Keep it in the refrigerator when not in use or it can be frozen for long term (4-6 months) storage. If you use this marmalade as a gift, be sure to tell the recipient(s) to store the jam in the refrigerator when not in use.
- Don’t try to change the proportions of the ingredients and be sure to measure carefully. Making marmalade (and other jams and jellies) like this is an exact science and you can end up with problems with setting if you alter the ingredients.
- Feel free to leave a comment below if you would like me to send you a PDF for the label pictured above. I simply print them out of cardstock or good quality paper and cut out the labels. I use double-sided tape or tacky, quick-drying craft glue to attach the labels.
- I attach the spoons (pictured above) to the top of the jars with a piece of scotch tape then the label over the top of the spoon.
- I love this red and white check ribbon for decorating these jars. It’s great quality, inexpensive and you get a ton of it on a roll (50 yards!).
- When making jam and jelly (or marmalade) it’s wonderful to have a funnel to neatly transfer the jam or marmalade to the jars. I have this funnel and have used it for longer than I can remember. It goes right into the dishwasher.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
A delicious, sweet concoction of juicy oranges, lemon, fresh cranberries & sugar, this Easy Christmas Marmalade is fabulous on toast, English muffins, biscuits, yogurt, ice cream...
- 4 medium-size navel oranges 3 if they're large
- 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries
- 4 ¼ cups sugar
- ¾ cup water
- finely zested zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1.75 ounce box powdered fruit pectin I use SURE-JELL
Wash clean glass jars and lids with hot water or run through the dishwasher. Dry thoroughly. (You'll end up with about 5 cups of jam, so the number of jars you'll need will depend on what size they are.)
Remove colored zest (just the colored part, not the white pith) from the oranges and the lemon, using a small zester (I love this one). If you can’t get one of the small zesters, use a vegetable peeler to remove just the colored zest. Then cut the peel into thin slivers, or finely chop. Transfer the zest to a small bowl and set aside.
Cut the remaining peel off of the oranges. Slice oranges then coarsely chop, reserving any juice. Transfer oranges and juice to a bowl.
Add one cup of coarsely chopped cranberries to the oranges and stir to combine. Transfer exactly 2⅓ cups of the fruit mixture to a large pot. If you don’t have quite enough, add a bit of water or orange juice to make exactly 2⅓ cups. If you have extra, discard (or use for something else) any remaining fruit mixture.
Add the sugar to the pot and stir until well mixed. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir frequently until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil (a boil that you can’t stir down). Set a timer for 30 seconds and boil, stirring continuously. After 30 seconds, remove from heat.
Add ¾ cup water to a small saucepan. Sprinkle in pectin and stir until dissolved. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring continually.
Add the hot pectin, lemon zest, orange zest and lemon juice to the fruit mixture and stir for 3 minutes. (Don't cheat on the 3 minutes.)
Transfer marmalade to prepared containers immediately and fill to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers and immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature a few hours (if you can wait!). Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in the refrigerator before using it.
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