Pear Vanilla Jam

pear vanilla jam

Despite the fact that I’ve now made this jam twice in as many weeks, I don’t have any pretty progress shots of it. I made it once with a class and another time for a video shoot, so there just weren’t any moments to snap a few images. However, it tastes so good that I didn’t want to deprive you all of the opportunity to make it just because I wasn’t able to make time for photography.

This is truly a transformative jam for vanilla lovers. Flavor-wise, pears are fairly retiring, so they provide a perfect platform for the vanilla to shine. What’s more, when cooked, the pears take on a translucent, golden-y hue that allows all those vanilla bean flecks to show their stuff.

pear vanilla jam on toast

Last Saturday night, we had a party to celebrate my husband’s 34th birthday. As in traditional in our little family of two, we put together a board of eight cheeses for our guests. I pulled out a couple of jars of jam to serve as accompaniment, but it was this one that got all the love. Paired with a runny triple creme, people were speechless with the goodness of it. Because I’m a girl who loves to share, I gave all the other jars away as late night party favors and now I’m totally out (I finished off the jar you see above yesterday). I may have to make another batch, so you may see those pictures yet.

Note: Often I’ll tell you that you can substitute vanilla extract for the more pricey beans. However, I do not recommend it in this recipe. Splurge a little and get the two beans. They are a vital ingredient in this recipe and I just don’t think you’ll be happy with the outcome should you make a substitution.

Pear Vanilla Jam

Yield: Makes 3.5 Pints (fills seven half pint jars)


  • 8 cups chopped Bartlett pears (or any smooth, thin-skinned pear. There’s no need to peel.)
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 packet liquid pectin


  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine chopped pears, sugar and vanilla beans (and all that bean-y goodness you scraped out). Cook over medium heat until the fruit can easily be smashed with the back of a wooden spoon. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to break the fruit down into a mostly-smooth sauce (remove the vanilla bean solids before blending).
  2. Add the pectin and bring to a rolling boil. Let boil for a full five minutes in order to active the pectin, so that the finished product will have a nice jammy consistency.
  3. Fill jars, wipe rims to remove any residual jam, apply lids (heat canning lids in a small pot over very low heat while you’re preparing the jam to ensure a good seal) and screw on the rims.
  4. Process the filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (start the timer when the pot has returned to a boil). When the time has elapsed, remove jars from pot and place the jars on a towel-lined countertop. Let them cool undisturbed for at least two hours. During this time, the lids should seal. Check to ensure the jars have sealed by pushing down on the center of the lid. If it feels solid and doesn’t move, it is sealed.

Related Posts:

, , ,

263 Responses to Pear Vanilla Jam

  1. 151

    This looks amazing. I hope we get some good pears in my local green grocer soon so I can try it. I shared it yesterday on my Facebook page, Cooking with Whole Grains & Real Whole Foods. I can almost smell it cooking, just reading the recipe. Thank you!

  2. 152
    Robin says:

    I just made this and oh my stars! SO amazing!! I’m so-so with pears, they’re nice but I certainly don’t put them in my top 5 fruit loves, but somehow this sounded special – and it did not disappoint. Very delicate flavor and the vanilla beans, (not vanilla extract!) is a key to the gorgeous flavor you get. I will HAVE to go get more pears and make more for gifts! Thanks!!

  3. 153
    Gen says:

    This sounds awesome – I usually make pear preserves but this sounds delicious and much easier! Can you please explain “packet of liquid pectin”? In our area, it is usually found in a jar. Do I use the entire jar? Or we have powdered sure jell available…… Suggestions? I am not sure what size packet you are referring to.

    Do you think vanilla bean paste could be substituted?

    Thank you! I have some fresh picked pears and will be trying this tonight if I can find the right pectin!

  4. 154
    Sara says:

    Hi I would love to make this for my parents but they are both diabetic. Is there a substitution that would work in place of the sugar? Thank you

    • 154.1
      Marisa says:

      Unfortunately, there’s not an easy swap to make this recipe with a sugar substitute. You’d need to use a pectin designed for low and no sugar canning, and then use the sugar replacement of your choice.

      • Sara says:

        Ok thank you 🙂

        • Greg C. says:

          I don’t add sugar or pectin to my recipe. I boil down the pears with a tablespoon of water. After the fruit is boiled down and is mashed as described in the recipe above, take it off the heat and I add 3-4 tablespoons of honey (adjust to your personal taste and nutritional needs) and stir the honey in well (I add the honey after it comes off the heat so I don’t destroy the health benefits of the honey by overheating it). This results in more of a compote than a true jam because it doesn’t have the pectin, but it is similar enough that it is enjoyable and has significantly reduced sugar. You can even, quite frankly, eliminate most of the honey for your diabetic parents and its still really good if the pears you start with are really sweet (just past ripe works best). And since it uses honey and not sugar as the sweetener it has some additional health benefits (especially if you use raw local honey).

  5. 155
    Michelle says:

    I have never canned before, do these jars of jam need to be refrigerated? And how long are they good for? Thanks I am making this right now!

    • 155.1
      Marisa says:

      Once the jars are fully sealed, they are shelf stable and do not need to be refrigerated. Once you open the jars, they do need to be refrigerated. While sealed, they are good for up to a year. Once in the fridge, they keep for a couple months at least.

  6. 156
    Rebecca says:

    Can this recipe be modified to use low acidic Asian pears? Thank you!

  7. 157
    Jane says:

    Pectin question, please (I think I’ve seen this here, but want to make sure): I’ve made this delicious recipe a couple of times, and just now noticed your pear cinnamon jam recipe. I see that one does not use liquid pectin. Can I make this recipe WITHOUT the pectin? Or can I use the other (cinnamon) recipe and add 1-2 scraped vanilla beans? I have delicious local pears! Thanks!

  8. 158

    […] wheel of brie. When you begin searching for ‘pear jam’ recipes one that keeps showing up is’s Pear Vanilla Jam. This simple recipe has been shared, reposted, and referred to SO MANY times that I figured it must […]

  9. 159
    Tim says:

    My jam is not thick enough can someone help ?

  10. 160
    Barbara says:

    This is a fantastic tasting and very versatile jam! It is definitely a recipe I’ll use again and again. I liked the suggestion of trying it with a creamy cheese, so I baked a wheel of Camembert with this on top and it was a really delicious combination. I also used it as a topper on plain cheesecake…mmmmmmm!

  11. 161
    Steph says:

    How much headspace is needed in the jars? Thanks!

    • 161.1
      Marisa says:

      About 1/2 inch. That’s standard for all jams.

      • Amy says:

        Almost all of my jam recipes call for 1/4″ headspace.

        • Marisa says:

          Amy, it really doesn’t matter that much. You need to leave enough headspace so that the jar will seal properly and not so much that the product will oxidize or that the jar will float in the canner. I prefer to us 1/2 inch for most things, but 1/4 inch also works.

  12. 162
    Camille says:

    This recipe looks amazing!!! I am definitely going to try it soon! I was just wondering if I decreased the sugar, would it still set? Thank you!

    • 162.1
      Marisa says:

      It’s not going to set as well if you decrease the sugar. You’ll be better off if you swap in a low sugar pectin. Perhaps use this recipe with pears instead of strawberries.

  13. 163
    Lisa says:

    Do I put the whole vanilla bean in there I have always used extract but I am going to get the bean for this i just am not sure what to do with it thanks

    • 163.1
      Marisa says:

      You split the bean lengthwise with the tip of your paring knife. Then you use the flat of the blade to scrape out the seeds. Then you add both the seeds and the scraped pod to the cooking jam. At the end of cooking, fish out the pod before canning.

  14. 164

    […] Spread 1/2 pint of jam on top of the dough. I used the Pear Vanilla jam  that I made using the recipe from Food In Jars. […]

  15. 165
    Cathy Fields says:

    Do you think that this would work with Asian pears? Thanks.

  16. 166

    […] pear jam recipe was originally inspired from this Vanilla Pear jam recipe from Food in Jars. I’ve made several batches over the years, and have played around […]

  17. 167
    Marsha Lindsey says:

    Making this recipe again after skipping last year. This is our favorite neighbor Christmas gift and people were wondering where their pear vanilla jam was! Thank you for such an amazing recipe!!

  18. 168
    Tonya says:

    My jam is very thick? Not sure why…too much under ripe pears or did I cook it too long? No burnt taste. Thoughts?

  19. 169
    Terrie says:

    Marisa, I have your book Food in Jars and love it! Could I make this recipe in my Ball Jam & Jelly Maker. I bought the thing a couple years ago but have been hard pressed to find great recipes (like this one) that can be made using the appliance.

  20. 170
    Christy says:

    This looks delicious. I was wondering if you could tell me the brand of the liquid pectin you use. I usually use Pomona’s Pectin but it is a mixture of calcium water and pectin. Thanks.

  21. 171
    Christy says:

    Thanks so much for your last reply. I have bosc pears – do you think they need to be peeled since they seem a little thicker skinned than the bartlett?

  22. 172
    John says:

    can honey be substituted for the sugar?

  23. 173
    Becky says:

    About how many pears did you use? to make eight cups that is? Thanks in advance.


  1. Caramelized Vanilla Pear Jam | - November 23, 2015

    […] wheel of brie. When you begin searching for ‘pear jam’ recipes one that keeps showing up is’s Pear Vanilla Jam. This simple recipe has been shared, reposted, and referred to SO MANY times that I figured it must […]

  2. Recipe: Stuffed Vanilla Pear Jam Scones - Flour On My Face - June 28, 2016

    […] Spread 1/2 pint of jam on top of the dough. I used the Pear Vanilla jam  that I made using the recipe from Food In Jars. […]

  3. This Vanilla Pear Jam Will Change Your Life - Sweet Bee Garden - August 14, 2016

    […] pear jam recipe was originally inspired from this Vanilla Pear jam recipe from Food in Jars. I’ve made several batches over the years, and have played around […]

Leave a Reply