Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe - Otherwise Amazing (2024)

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Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe - Otherwise Amazing (2)


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This Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipe uses no pectin, just lemons and sugar. It’s like sunshine in a jar, and who doesn’t need that some days?

I’m honestly obsessed with this stuff. I used to eat it every day, but it doesn’t fit into our new low-refined-sugar lifestyle (so fun), so I think it’s going to have to be just a Sunday thing.

People think you’re performing some kind of alchemy in your kitchen when you give them a little jar of homemade jam, so I recommend learning if you haven’t tried it yet. And I guess it is alchemy, or chemistry anyway. I just wish Ball would bring back the adorable gingham lids they used to make (anyone listening?). There are few things that make me as happy as a jar of lemon marmalade with a yellow gingham lid.

If you are interested in making jam, be sure to check out my recipe for Wild Plum Jam!

Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe - Otherwise Amazing (3)


  • 1 1/2 pounds Meyer lemons (about 6–7)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 5″ x 5″ piece of cheesecloth, and a 6″ piece of string
  • 6 half-pint (8 oz.) jars, or the equivalent (if you want something prettier, check out these Weck tulip jars)

Time needed:1 day, 1 hour and 30 minutes

Makes roughly 6 half-pint jars.

  1. Wash the lemons

    Since you are going to be cooking the whole fruit, wash the lemons well, scrubbing off any dirt or grime that’s collected in the little pores.

  2. Cut up the lemons, saving the seeds

    Cut each lemon in half, and pick out as many seeds as you can, setting them aside. Then cut each half in half and thinly slice.Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe - Otherwise Amazing (4)

  3. Tie up the seeds

    Place all of the seeds you’ve collected in the center of the cheesecloth and tie it into a little package with the string. Cut off any excess cloth or string, and rub off any loose bits of cheesecloth.Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe - Otherwise Amazing (5)

  4. Soak the lemon mixture overnight

    Put the lemons, water, and seed package into a large non-reactive pot, cover, and let sit for 24 hours. This will allow the lemons to macerate a bit and the pectin to release.Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe - Otherwise Amazing (6)

  5. Simmer the lemons

    Bring your lemons and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer uncovered until the mixture reduces by about half, to about 4 cups or so. This takes a while so I tend to do this while I’m doing other things in the kitchen so I can give it a stir occasionally.

  6. Add the sugar

    Take the seed packet out of the pot. Then add the 4 cups of sugar and keep at a low boil, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam.

    Also, put a small plate in the freezer now for the gel test. You want the plate to get good and cold.

  7. Do a gel test

    You can tell when the marmalade is starting to gel because it gets this kind of tar pit bubbling as it starts to thicken. That’s when you know it’s time to do a gel test: put a teaspoon of marmalade on the cold plate, put the plate back in the freezer for 2 minutes, then take it out and tilt it. If the marmalade runs in drips, it’s not ready yet. If it runs in more of a sheet or a mass, it’s ready. You can see in the photo how the marmalade also has kind of a skin on it, and the surface is wrinkling a bit. These are also signs that it’s ready.Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe - Otherwise Amazing (7)

  8. Ladle the marmalade into jars

    Ladle your marmalade into sterilized jars or containers, leaving a 1/4 inch space at the top. Seal with jars with lids.Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe - Otherwise Amazing (8)

  9. Seal jars in a water bath

    Fill a large pot about half full of water, place a rack in the bottom, and bring to a boil. (You can use a canning pot for this or just a large stockpot.) Add your jars to the hot bath and make sure that the water covers the lids by at least one inch. Bring the water back to a boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the bath and let cool.

  10. Check the seals and tighten the bands

    Make sure that all of your jars have sealed properly, and finger tighten any bands that need it.

Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe - Otherwise Amazing (9)

Your marmalade will keep up to a year in a cool dark place. Label your jars with the year so you know when it’s time to get rid of it. Mine never lasts that long. 🙂 Pro tip: if you use round labels on the tops of the jars, like these, then you don’t have to worry about getting them off the jars when you want to reuse them. It’s not as convenient when you’re looking in the cupboard or frig but I’ll give that up to not have to scrub labels off of all my jars.

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  • Hello
    Do you find it absolutely necessary to do the water bath? I usually skip this step.
    Kind regards


  • Where does the seed packet come in? Does this help with the pectin production?


    • Exactly —- lemon seeds have a lot of pectin in them.


  • a couple of questions

    do you take out the seed packet before you add the sugar, or do you leave it in until done?

    and is a years shelf life it? i was just given a bunch of meyer lemons, and thought marmalade would be a great gift for Christmas next year, but maybe not a good idea.


    • I used to leave the seed packet in until the very end, but now I take it out before I add the sugar. Most of the pectin is out after all the soaking and the boiling, and the packet just gets very goopy once the marmalade starts to set.

      Technically marmalade only lasts a year. I would eat my marmalade that was more than a year old (though it never lasts that long), but I don’t think I’d give it to anyone else. Make it and give it as a gift in January! Everyone loves an unexpected treat.


  • I love this recipe! I have made it 3 times. It’s so easy to follow . It’s amazing!


  • Can you double the recipe? My meyer lemon is loaded with lemons


    • Lucky you! So no, you can’t double the recipe in the same pot. The chemistry of marmalade (or jam) gelling is pretty finicky and you can throw it off just by doubling the ingredients. However, I almost always do two batches in separate pots at the same time — it’s only a little bit more work.


  • Will this recipe work with Ponderosa lemons? The skin isn’t pretty, but these are the juiciest lemons ever!


    • I don’t think you can, unfortunately, because they aren’t as sweet as the Meyers. (Meyers are actually a lemon crossed with a mandarin orange!) Maybe you could do half Ponderosa and half mandarins? But that would be an experiment for sure! I’m thinking maybe the skin is too thick on the Ponderosa though… that’s a lot of bitterness to contend with.


  • Hi, My marmalade is bitter; it tastes like lemon seeds. What did I do wrong? I’d try it again if I could eliminate the bitter taste!


    • Oh no! That happened to me once because I thought I was using Meyer Lemons, but they were another kind, maybe Eureka, that aren’t as sweet. Be sure to taste the lemons before you buy or prep them to be sure they are very sweet (but still lemony).


  • Do the lemons and the seeds, need to be in the fridge, or can they sit on the counter? (for the 24 hours)

    • Definitely can sit on the counter! I have sometimes left them sitting for up to 48 hours if life intrudes.


  • I am always looking for ways, to use my Meyer Lemons. I am anxious to try this recipe. My question, if I freeze the marmalade, how long should I keep it in the freezer. Another way, I use Meyer lemons, , is to sun dry them, just like I do with cherry tomatoes. Slice smaller lemons, thinly, sprinkle with sugar. Great in tea, or even water, Thanks!


    • Freezer jam keeps for at least a year. I love the idea of sun-drying them! I will have to try that…


  • My mother loves orange marmalade. Can I use oranges instead of the Meyer lemons?


    • I’ve never tried this recipe with oranges, Alicia. Give it a try!


  • I absolutely used Meyer lemons and it came out very tart/sour with a bitter taste. The consistency was great though.


    • Not sure why that would be. Were the skins very thick? That’s where the bitter taste comes from.


  • If I start the soaking process with 4 cups of water, and subsequently boil the mixture until it reduces to 4 cups do you add more water before cooking? My guess is I will be left with 4 cups after sugar has been added. Just want to make sure.


    • No, do not add more water at any point other than when you start the soaking process. I don’t really understand your comment that you will be left with 4 cups after the sugar is added. You should have about 4 cups of cooked lemons and water, then you add the sugar which adds quite a bit of volume, and you should have 40-50 ounces (5-6 cups) of marmalade after it gels.


  • I had the same question about starting with 4 cups of water to soak then…
    “Bring your lemons and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer uncovered until the mixture reduces by about half, to about 4 cups or so”

    By the last answer above it seems that the sugar will add enough volume to yield four cups of marmalade after reduced by half?

    Thanks in advance


    • Here’s how it goes:
      • Lemons + water = about 8 cups
      • Reduce down to about 4 cups
      • Add 4 cups of sugar
      • Cook until it gels
      • Yield is 5-6 cups of marmalade


  • I’m wondering how much lemon is actually there ? Meaning how many cups of lemon does 6 pounds make? I Have a tree and lemons come in all sizes and if you don’t have a kitchen scale it hard to know what the weight is. Thank you


    • I think it’s about 4 cups of sliced lemons.


  • Great recipe! Have you ever tried it with a Keto-ok’d sweetener.? I want to help out my daughter.
    I also make microwaved Meyer lemon curd. Delicious!


    • No I haven’t. Not sure how it would gel. Maybe you’d need to add pectin?


    • I would love your lemon curd recipe if you would be willing to share it😋


  • I live in Nebraska and never see meyer’s lemons in the store. A friend brought some back from Arizona or California and I have a precious few to work with so I thought I’d make your amazing looking lemon marmalade. Something happened to stress me out and I put sugar in with the lemons and the seed packet. Is my marmalade doomed? I guess I have nothing to lose by trying to let the lemons sit in sugar water and go from there I don’t have enough for another batch, so I’m very hopeful


    • I’ve made the same mistake and it worked out fine! I hope yours did too 🙂


  • I made this today. It’s delicious. Lemon marmalade is always a little bitter but so good as a spread. I’ve made kumquat marmalade in the past and that’s so tedious. I’m going to try this recipe with oranges. Should work the same.


  • My tree has produced hundreds of Meyers lemons for several years. I decided I would try this recipe to share my bounty. A good lesson learned! Mine have way too much pith causing it to be bitter. I may try again sometime but will be sure to handle the cutting up part with this in mind. Thanks for a good learning experience.


  • I think your lemon marmalade looks wonderful! My question is: Do you make Orange Marmalade using the same recipe? And what are Meyers lemons?


    • I have made orange marmalade but not with this recipe. Meyer lemons are thought to be a naturally-occurring hybrid between a more typical lemon like a Eureka, and a mandarin orange. They are much sweeter than a typical lemon.


  • True confession: I had nice lemons that were not Meyer. Used them and followed directions except did not soak seeds. Took a long time for the set and the final product is weird/bitter/ earthy. Is there anything I can do to convert all this work into something more useful/palatable? I thought of adding ginger and did add 2 cloves and a tiny dash of kojetce cinnamon to two 8oz jars. Days of work on my feet for a valuable lesson? Tell me it’s salvageable? Suggestions?


    • My suggestion is to use it on or in something that is also sweet, like a thumbprint cookies. You can counteract bitterness with sweetness. But you also said weird and earthy? I don’t know what to tell you about that. If it is really weird then it is just a lesson learned?


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Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe - Otherwise Amazing (2024)


Why won't my lemon marmalade set? ›

It sounds like you have over boiled it. If you cook it for too long at a high temperature, the natural pectin breaks down and no longer acts as a setting agent and the sugar polymerises into toffee. The way to make any set jam or marmalade is to simmer the fruit gently until it develops your desired level of softness.

What happens if you boil marmalade too long? ›

Don't overcook your marmalade

Lady Claire Macdonald, food writer: While you're testing your marmalade to see if it's set, take it off the boil. Otherwise you risk boiling away the water content, and ending up with a dark, over-thick marmalade that's dry and rubbery.

Why do you soak fruit before making marmalade? ›

Add the shredded peel and muslin bag to the pan along with the water. Leave to soak overnight. This helps to extract the maximum amount of pectin from the fruit pulp, which will give a better set.

How can I thicken my homemade marmalade? ›

Add pectin.

While this trick won't work for jam recipes that already call for pectin, adding pectin to a loose batch of jam while re-cooking it almost guarantees that the jam with set back up nicely. Whisk a tablespoon of powdered pectin (preferably the no-sugar-needed variety) into the pot of cooking jam.

How do you fix marmalade that didn't set? ›

Stir in the appropriate amount of Certo, and boil as fast as possible for about 5 minutes. Test a small sample on a cold plate (put the plate in the freezer for 10 minutes). A skin should form and start to set. If still not setting, boil again for another 3 minutes and test again.

How do you fix runny lemon marmalade? ›

How do you fix runny marmalade? Runny may mean not enough pectin. You could Try boiling to get it thicker. If that doesn't work try adding a small amount of sugar if it's not too sweet.

What are the problems in making marmalade? ›

Too often the weights of fruit and sugar are unbalanced, for example listing equal quantities of fruit and sugar. The volume of water is often insufficient to soften the peel before adding the sugar. The type and method used with a muslin bag fails frequently to release enough pectin, crucial when making marmalade.

Does marmalade improve with age? ›

I try and leave the marmalade for at least two weeks before I use it as the flavours get better with age. The marmalade will last for up to 2 years stored in a cool dark place . If you wish you can add 6g of powdered pectin before putting the sugar into the mixture, stir the pectin well into the sugar.

What fruit is best in marmalade making? ›

Citrus is the most typical choice of fruit for marmalade, though historically the term has often been used for non-citrus preserves. One popular citrus fruit used in marmalade production is the bitter orange, Citrus aurantium var.

Do you leave the pith in marmalade? ›

Many marmalade recipes will have you remove the peel, boil it once, twice, or three times, and then separate the tasty and colorful zest from the bitter white pith. However, you can also remove the pith at the start. Use a sharp peeler or paring knife to carefully cut off the zest from each piece of fruit.

What cuts bitterness in marmalade? ›

If the aftertaste is too bitter and you can't remove the bitterness from the jam, prick the oranges and boil them for about 40 minutes, drain and cover with cold water. Soak them for 12-15 hours and change the water from time to time.

Does lemon juice thicken marmalade? ›

Lemons contain a very high amount of pectin, which naturally sets and thickens the marmalade.

What is a substitute for pectin? ›

Pectin Substitute

Cornstarch - Another plant-based thickening agent, cornstarch is a great substitute for pectin. Gelatin - For non-vegan menu items, you can substitute gelatin for pectin, but it will yield a different consistency.

Why add lemon juice to marmalade? ›

Adding acid in the form of fresh lemon or lime juice is important for two reasons: First, it makes for a more well-balanced jam, returning some of the acidity lost with the addition of sugar. Second, pectin needs acid to properly activate, or firm up.

Can you reboil marmalade that has not set? ›

As you have made a successful batch I doubt that it is because you didn't squeeze the muslin bag sufficiently so it's likely that it wasn't boiled enough. The size of the oranges shouldn't make any difference. You can re-boil it. You will need to empty the marmalade into the pan and add the juice of a lemon.

What helps marmalade set? ›

Pectin occurs naturally in fruit and it is this pectin that helps marmalade to set.

Why is my lemon jelly not setting? ›

- If the jelly hasn't set after they're cooled, don't despair. Some jellies may take up three weeks or more to set. Properly processed and sealed jars may set in storage for three weeks or longer, until you decide if you want to remake the jam.

Does lemon juice stop jam setting? ›

The addition of lemon juice also helps to activate the pectin and set your jam. Slightly unripe fruit contains more pectin and is more acidic than very ripe fruit and will also help to set your jam more easily.

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