Honey Lemon Apple Jam Recipe

honey lemon apple jam

For months now, I’ve been working on finding a way to make a jam from apples that is satisfying and, well, jammy. The problem with apples is if you try and cook them raw with sugar, which is the way you approach the fruit in most jam recipes, the apples don’t break down. They stay hard and firm, releasing little of their sugars and leaving you with a final product that is closer to marmalade than jam.

chopped apples

In some recipes, such as my Cranberry-Apple Jam, this isn’t such a bad thing. The cranberries and sugar do the jammy work, and the apples add nice texture and mouthfeel. But up until down, I’ve found that making a good jam with apples as the primary fruit just hasn’t been all that great (I did get close with my Apple-Ginger Jam, but it still wasn’t quite right). That is, until now.

This time, I cooked the apples down into a sauce with two cups of lemon juice before adding the sugar. And this did the trick. I got close to the texture I wanted from the fruit before I added the sugar (ensuring I’d get what I wanted once the sugar and honey was added), and I was able to infuse the tart flavor of the lemons fully into the jam to boot (this is a great way to get a whole variety flavors into jam, I’m already envisioning lavender, more ginger or chai spices).

honey lemon apple jam

You may be wondering why I’m so excited to find a good apple jam technique. Well, apples are cheap, abundant and store really well. I overbought at the fall farmers’ markets and so had an entire crisper drawer full that needed to be used (and I have plenty of applesauce and butter already stashed away). And, I just like apples. I think they’re endlessly adaptable and knew there was a way to make them do jam nicely.

hand written recipe

Before, I jump to the recipe, I want to talk pectin. I do include one envelope (half of the contents of a box) of liquid pectin in this recipe. However, many apples are naturally high in pectin. If you’re working with green or under-ripe apples, you might not need to add any pectin. But if you’re using old apples that have been in your fridge for a couple of months, adding a little pectin is good insurance that your jam will have a good set.

Honey Lemon Apple Jam


  • 12 cups chopped apples
  • 2 cups lemons juice (I used a combination of freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice and bottled)
  • 2 cups honey
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 envelope of liquid pectin (can be omitted if you use a few firm, green apples)
  • zest of three lemons


  1. Prepare your canning pot, as well as seven pint jars, lids and rings.
  2. Combine the chopped apples and lemon juice in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (an enameled Dutch oven works well here) and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the apples have broken down. When you’ve got a nice, chunky applesauce, add the honey and sugar and stir to incorporate.
  3. Bring the fruit to a boil and cook for at least five minutes at a roll (watch out though, it will bubble and depending on the size of your pot, can get a little splashy). Add pectin and boil for a few minutes more, to active the pectin. When it seems nice and jammy, turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest.
  4. Fill jars, wipe rims (this jam is sticky, so you may need to add a bit of white vinegar to your towel, to help ensure a clean rim), apply lids and screw on bands. Process in a boiling water canner for ten minutes (if you are above 1,000 feet in altitude, adjust your processing time accordingly).
  5. Eat on toast, spoon on muffins or use to glaze roasted chicken pieces.

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114 Responses to Honey Lemon Apple Jam Recipe

  1. 1
    Nicole says:

    This looks delectable! I am so happy to see yet another way to use apples. My kids adore them and already eat at least two a day. So this should make them very, very happy. Thanks!

  2. 2

    Thank you for the comment Marisa! TY for this post too, I’m researching honey recipes. I have jars of local (for me) Arizona Orange Honey and Wildflower Honey- Yum, right?!?

  3. 3

    Beautiful pictures and apples are on sale everywhere now. Hmm, you might tempt me yet to start jarring. I’ll be sure to link when I give it my first try. Thank you for the inspiration 🙂

  4. 4
    Eleanor says:

    Sounds yummy. Did you use pints or 1/2 pints? I can’t seem to find where you mentioned that.

    • 4.1
      SB Canning says:

      The picture looks like she used a combination. You can use either size as well depending on your personal use. If you don’t have many people in the house you may want to use only half pints so that the jar will get eat up before they get moldy in the frig. You might want to make them for gift giving so half pints will be perfect as well. Pints are great if this was for a bottom filling in a fruit tart or used there was a lot of mouths to feed.

  5. 5
    Marisa says:

    I’m so glad to hear that you all like the sound of this recipe!

    Eleanor, sorry, I tucked the number of jars away in the recipe. It makes seven pint jars.

  6. 6
    Lindsay says:

    Mmm, looks great!

  7. 7
    Rcakewalk says:

    This does look good- I may give it a go, but do you think I could half the recipe? I have so much other jam to use up! This looks perfectly sunny for the cold middle of winter, and maybe I’ll make a whole recipe anyway on second thought…

  8. 8

    This looks really good. I made apple pie jam and apple butter last Fall. I’m always looking for good ways to use apples. Yummy!

  9. 9
    Brenna says:

    My mouth is watering looking at this recipe. I cannot wait to try it this fall. This past fall my father in law brought be 3 pecks of local apples. I was trying everything. Wish I had this back then.

  10. 10

    I’ve been looking for a recipe to use up the apples in my cold storage. This might be it! Thank you so much for posting it. It looks and sounds scrumptious.

  11. 11
    Kim Tackett says:

    I’d be very interested in how you plan to use lavender with this recipe. I love canning and jelly making. I have a very good recipe for lemon verbena jelly I’d be glad to share. I love your blog. Not many people can much less make jelly and preserves any more. Thank you! Thank you!

    • 11.1
      Pam Achenbach-Ellingson says:

      I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Lemon Verbena. May I ask for your Lemon Verbena Jelly recipe?

      • Kim Tackett says:

        Here it is. I hope it fits.
        Lemon Verbena Jelly

        Yield 5 6oz jars, 12 tbsps each
        If short on lemon verbena, add lemon balm, I never have done this Subtly flavored lemon jelly is good with scones or toasted brioche or in the
        center of thumbprint butter cookies

        2 cups packed lemon verbena leaves coarsely chopped
        6 strips lemon zest 1/2 x 3 inches
        2 1/4 cups water
        1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
        4 cups granulated sugar
        3 oz liquid pectin

        Put the lemon verbena leaves, lemon zest and water into a medium saucepan.
        Bring to a boil over moderate to high heat, then turn the heat to simmer and
        cover the pan. Cook for 15 min. then remove the pan from the heat and allow to
        stand, covered, for several hours.

        Pour the infusion through a strainer into a large, deep saucepan. Press on
        the leaves to extract all flavor, then discard the leaves and zest. Stir in
        the lemon juice and sugar and bring to a full boil over high heat. Add the
        pectin and return to a full boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil for 2
        minutes, stirring.

        Remove from heat and skim the foam, if necessary. Ladle the jelly into hot
        sterilized jars. Seal with new lids and metal rings.

  12. 12
    Adrienne says:

    This looks insanely good. I’m going to be canning various things for favors in my wedding, and I would love to use this recipe. Thanks for the deliciousness 🙂

  13. 13
    Anna says:

    I just found your site and I must say I got absolutely sucked in. I started playing around with canning last summer after a fun strawberry picking expedition and I’ve been trying out different things every since. I LOVE the idea of a honey apple jam and I will definitely be making it this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing.

  14. 14
    Marisa says:

    Gosh, I’m so glad to hear that so many of you like this recipe! It really is a good one, and such a handy way to use up lots of apples.

  15. 15
    kathryn says:

    Thank you for this lovely, lovely recipe. I found it after a spot of Googling, having bought home a large box of mixed apples. The honey and lemon flavour are gorgeous. Instead of using the bought pectin liquid, I simmered the cores and skins of the apples for 30 minutes and then used this pectin-loaded “juice” in the jam.

    Boy it’s good. I mean really, really good. Thanks for posting this.

  16. 16
    annie smidt says:

    Made a half-batch of this last night, with flowery honey from Gaspé QC. Snuck a taste and it’s completely delectable. The lemon makes it quite lovely. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. 17
    Cate says:

    I made this recipe this morning…my, is it delicious! I used fresh Macintosh apples, and I hardly had to cook them for long at all before they got nice and soft. I added two cinnamon sticks to the lemon juice and apple mixture, with probably about 2 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon at the end. It really added a lovely depth of flavor. Yum!

  18. 18
    Rob says:

    Thankyou very much for posting this. Very tasty jam and a great use of the surplus apples I had. I did not add any pectin and it set just fine. Lime juice works also as I ran out of lemons.

  19. 19
    I gave it a try says:

    This jam really turned out very good. Thanks! Instead of cutting the apples, I grated them.

  20. 20

    […] Honey Lemon Apple Jam Recipe (adapted from Food in Jars): […]

  21. 21
    Aurelien says:

    Thank you for this great recipe, it’s deliciously unusual!
    On my side, I have lowered the amount of sugar from 5 cups to 1 cup which is largely enough in my opinion, too much sugar makes it just like a sugary paste.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Gabe says:

    This sounds awesome.i love this site.i havent seen anything i didnt want to try

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Luda says:

    Thanks for great recipe, i have a question though, I’m in the middle making this jam and i want to cut sugar at least in half instead of 5cups put 2 1/2 i don’t like so much sweet jams. Would it still can properly if it has less sugar??

    • 25.1
      marisa says:

      Chances are that it won’t set well with just 2 1/2 cups of sugar.

      • jen says:

        marisa – question on the honey/sugar quantities. your handwritten notes says 1c honey, 5c sugar, but then the recipe itself says 2c honey, 3c sugar. not sure what difference this would make – i’m guessing the sweetness is about the same but does it have any effect on how the jam will gel?

        • marisa says:

          The handwritten recipe was my first attempt and the typed recipe is the one that I’ve settled on as my favorite. They both gel well, it’s just a matter of how much honey flavor you want.

  26. 26

    […] A home-canned batch of Honey Lemon Apple Jam. […]

  27. 27
    Tiffany says:

    Hi! I’ve got some extra transparent apples, and would love to try this jam. However, I don’t have that many. Could I halve this? Thanks!

  28. 28
    Jessica says:

    It was such a pleasure meeting you at the Phoenixville Farmer’s Market yesterday – one taste of this jam and I knew I’d be canning some later in the year when I am up to my ears in apples. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  29. 29

    I tried this recipe today and it is the first time I made jam, and it turned out amazing! Thank you for sharing.. Wondering if I can post this recipe on my website. Cheers!

  30. 30
    jen says:

    love your site!

    can i use powdered pectin instead, and if yes, how much? i’ve got a couple of boxes already in the house (both regular & low sugar Sure-Jell), and would rather use them up than buy the liquid.

  31. 31
    Amarit says:

    I made this last week after going apple picking and it was my first time making real jam and first time canning. It was delicious! And not as intimidating as I thought it would be. I used 2.5 cups of sugar, mainly since I ran out, and used a package of powdered low-sugar pectin and it came out great. I also only used the zest of two lemons (as that’s what I had in the house) and it still had plenty of lemony flavor. The whole family loves it, including my picky young kids, so I’m planning to make another batch soon!

    I’m wondering what other flavors would be good mixed in. Some cinnamon maybe? Thanks for the recipe!

    • 31.1
      Amarit says:

      To clarify, I did use 2 cups of honey in addition to the 2.5 cups sugar, so the sugar is not cut in half as a previous comment mentioned.

    • 31.2
      jen says:

      Amarit – did you add the low sugar powdered pectin at the same point in the recipe as Marisa says to add the liquid? i’ve never used liquid and i don’t know if the powdered works the same way.

  32. 32
    Emily says:

    I made a batch of this lovely jam with a huge bag of Russet apples from my dad’s tree. In hindsight I shouldn’t have added pectin as it’s slightly too set and they were new season’s apples but the flavour is amazing!

    • 32.1
      Karly says:

      I made this jam too and it was phenomenal! It has a great tangyness to it! I am new to canning and wasn’t sure if my apples would set on their own so I added pectin, and I think it was it a little too “jammy”. Next time I know:-) Still delish!

  33. 33

    […] Orchards has been cancelled, which means I won’t be there at 4 pm giving a demonstration of Honey Lemon Apple Jam. It’s a two-day festival, so if the weather clears up, I may be there on Sunday. We’ll […]

  34. 34
    Mary says:

    Do you use bottled lemon juice or fresh lemons?

    • 34.1
      marisa says:

      I use a 100% fruit juice lemon juice like those that are sold at Whole Foods. However, since this recipe doesn’t need the lemon juice for safety, you could also use freshly squeezed.

  35. 35
    onesillyme says:

    Made this last night with the last of the apples from my trees. I am sick of working with apples at this point, but so glad I made this! My yield was 5 1/2 pints for some reason. I love lemon jelly but prefer the texture of a jam so am one happy camper!

  36. 36

    […] week I made Apple lemon Honey jam from Food in Jars , Again with Les’s apples. The honey was from Dave at Island Apiaries. This […]

  37. 37
    Marje says:

    Am 2/3 of the way thtough about 6 bushels of the golden delicious off my tree. Am curious about doing a ginger apple jam but using this method. Would you recommend less lemon juice to cut down on the tartness?

    • 37.1
      marisa says:

      Yes, I would back down on the lemon juice a whole bunch and use a combination of apple and ginger juice for the liquid.

  38. 38
    Gwen says:

    Is there any particular reason you peeled the apples? I’m inclined to leave them on–more nutrients!–but wondered if there’s a taste advantage to removing them.

    • 38.1
      marisa says:

      Apple peels never break down entirely, no matter how much you cook them, so you end up with annoying flakes of peel throughout the entire jam. It’s not my favorite texture, which is why I recommend removing them. However, if that doesn’t bother you, feel free to leave them in.

  39. 39
    Katie Stewart says:

    This looks fabulous! I have a leftover packet of liquid pectin (Ball brand) that needs using, and this is the only apple recipe I can find to use it with! I’m thinking of adding some chopped crystalized ginger… thoughts?

  40. 40
    Shawne says:

    I just made this recipe tonight. Well, I adapted this recipe due to necessity. I had a bag of aging orchard cortlands and macs that needed using, and I was tired of apple butter, chutney and sauce. I liked the idea of citrus with the apples, so I decided to key off this recipe. I ended up with double the apples, 24 cups, chopped. I didn’t have any lemon juice, but I had been give a mess of limes recently, and when I squeezed them I got just about 4 cups. So I cooked the apples down with lime juice instead of lemon. It smelled AMAZING

  41. 41
    Shawne says:

    (continued from above) while it was cooking. The present economy being what it is, however, I had no honey on hand, nor could I afford any. So into this I tossed in 9 cups of white sugar. I knew I wouldn’t get the wonderful flavoring that comes with honey, but this recipe promised to be different enough with the citrus that I figured it would have to hold its own. I didn’t add any flavoring like cinnamon, etc. and I didn’t add any pectin. I cooked this down in an open, oval dutch oven in the oven (apple butter style) at 315 degrees for about 4 hours. It got jammy enough. The flavor of this adaptation is very much “lime forward” and really different and pleasant. The apples create a nice saucy texture, and because I used a slower cooking method and no pectin, the color caramelized down and turned into a beautiful pinky russet. I ended up with 13.5 cups of jam. I had to siphon off 2 cups of it to supercool in a dish in the freezer so my husband can enjoy some tonight. He may be off to the kitchen to toast some bread now to have with his fresh Lime Apple Jam.

  42. 42
    Robyn says:

    I don’t have the special canning equipment for boiling the bottles, how can I improvise?

  43. 43
    AmandaMS says:

    I just made this jam. It smelled delicious while it was cooking and came out just the way you described it in your directions. Can’t wait to taste it when it cools!

  44. 44
    Mollie says:

    About how many Granny Smith apples would this be? Or how many pounds? I’d really like to make this; it sounds de-licious!

  45. 45
    Jamie Masar says:

    So, I halved the recipe but only ended up with 4 half-pints instead of 7 :(. I feel like this happens to me pretty much EVERY time I follow a jam recipe! I’m not blaming you at all-obviously, i must be cooking it down WAY too much. Do you have any suggestions for being able to tell when the apples are cooked enough? I waited until it was an apple-sauce type consistency, but as I said I must’ve waited way too long…should the apples still be slightly crispy?

  46. 46
    Di says:

    Hi! I accidentally modified this, and it was awesome. 😀 I thinly sliced four homegrown Meyer lemons and soaked them in two cups of water (as for my other less impressive recipe for lemon apple marmalade) in the fridge for a day and a half, then I used that to cook down the apples instead of lemon juice. The flavor is deliiiiicious, wow. I will completely make this again. 😀 Thank you!

  47. 47
    rusty says:

    Just made this, but without the liquid pectin and not as much sugar. I put in the cores and lemon pips instead, and then sieved the lot after the apple had cooked for a very smooth jam. It had no problem setting, lovely consistency, but a bit too sweet for me as jam ( being more of a marmalade person). I think I will double the lemon next time, but meanwhile it will great as a glaze.

  48. 48
    sbf says:

    Great recipe! Used fresh Meyer lemon juice plus 2 limes to fill 2 cups. Orange Blossom honey and cane sugar added another dimension of sweet and fragrant to apples w/ a bite of lemon zest on the back of tongue. Jam set up nicely. Thanks for sharing.

  49. 49

    […] intimidating, though each step soon became routine for me. Say I were to make a jam (my favorite is Honey Lemon Apple Jam). First things first, I fill the canning pot with water and begin to bring it to a boil, doing the […]

  50. 50
    Margaret says:

    I made this with a combination of apples and pears, since I didn’t have enough apples. Cooked down some dried apricots & dried peaches with the lemon juice and then added it to the fruit. Makes a nice fruit conserve.


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