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.

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236 Responses to Pear Vanilla Jam

  1. 51
    Nora Martinez DeBenedetto says:

    Hi there! I LOVE this jam!!! Any thoughts on doing it with a bit less sugar? I’m okay with it being a bit looser, but will it compromise the safety of the canning?


    • 51.1
      Marnie Newell says:

      Reducing sugar doesn’t compromise safety in canning, just the set of the gel and to some extent shelf life after opening. If you want a jam consistency with less sugar either use a low-sugar pectin (I recommend Pamona’s) or omit pectin and cook for longer as described above. :0)

  2. 52
    karen michener says:

    this is so good I made a batch tonight can’t wait to share it thanks

  3. 53
    Janae says:

    Can I use red pears for this recipe?

  4. 54
    Julie says:

    I recently made your pear vanilla bean jam. The recipe on your website doesn’t call for water, but in the video you posted, you add a cup of water. I added a cup of water and it came out too runny. Do you typcially add water or not? Thanks.

  5. 55

    […] really acidic… will be diluting it when we use it). Tomato Jam Pear Vanilla Jam There is  a recipe for this with pectin on food in jars. I used the whole vanilla bean in batch #2– yum. Cranberry-Pear Jam […]

  6. 56
    uaskigyrl says:

    I do have to say, I read this recipe and it inspired me. I am not a pear fan by any means, I just don’t like to consistency of pears when you bite into them but this time of year we get so many pears in our co-op basket that I have to do something with them! This last week I gave half away but for some reason kept 3 with this post in the back of my mind. Right now I have 3 pears mascerating in the fridge with a vanilla bean! I can’t wait to make this jam as I think it would be wonderful with Brie en Croute! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  7. 57
    Karly says:

    Funny story about vanilla beans, I was at our local grocery store and spent about 10 minutes looking through the spice aisle and then finally gave up and asked someone if they had vanilla beans. Well, they didn’t know vanilla comes from beans and suggested I check the ethnic food aisle. After 10 minutes at the ethnic food aisle I returned to the spice aisle and read every single label until I came upon……Madagascar Vanilla Beans? At $15.00!? For 2 BEANS? My husband would kill me!

    Would it be a travesty to add vanilla extract instead of the beans? I read that you can get them for cheaper online but I was wondering about the use of the extract…I LOVE your blog and am so inspired by your recipes and creativity with food. Thanks!

  8. 58
    Karly says:

    opps, I reread the recipe and found the bit about the extract!

  9. 59
    Jessica says:

    Oh my! So good. I was going to skip pears altogether but this looked to good to pass up and I’m so glad I canned one more thing. Perfect for holiday cheese trays. Umm… Or just eating off a spoon. Shhhh…don’t tell anyone.

  10. 60
    Tara says:

    I’ve never used vanilla beans… What exactly do I do with them in this recipe? Do I leave the bean in there? I have pears and I’m planning to make this soon! Please explain more about the beans!
    Thanks you.

  11. 61
    Pam says:

    I love this jam. Just made it and can’t wait to pair it with some homemade cheese!

  12. 62
    Karen says:

    This stuff is awesome!!!! I used bosc pears and got 6 half pints. Thanks for the fantastic recipe.

  13. 63
    Martin says:

    Where can i find the receipe for vanilla cinnamon pear butter?

  14. 64
    Cassandra says:

    I made this yesterday and I’m not a huge fan. It smelled fantastic while cooking but today when I served it on pancakes it wasn’t as vanilla-y as I would have liked. It was good, but not as good as the raspberry amaretto jam I made last week. Maybe my vanilla beans weren’t high enough quality. With all the rave reviews this recipe has received I have to assume it was user error. Perhaps I’ll try again with fresher beans.

  15. 65
    Audrey says:

    I just made this jam and love it, but it’s a bit too sweet for me. Can I cut the sugar in half and still have it turn out ok?


  16. 66
    Cassandra says:

    Well, I’ve changed my mind. After letting the jam sit for about a week and trying it again. (This time on toast.) I am in love with it’s soft and subtle flavors. The raspberry amaretto I made is bold. This jam serves a very different mood, so I made a mistake in trying to compare them. I am very pleased with this jam, and I’m sure I’ll be making it again.

  17. 67

    […] you might enjoy these recipes: Prosciutto Wrapped Figs with Goat Cheese Tomato Basil Bruschetta Pear Vanilla Jam from Food in Jars Pear, Brie and Honey Quesadilla from Two Peas & Their Pod Share this: This […]

  18. 68
    Bobbi says:

    Do you think apples would work for this as well?

  19. 69
    Kay Lambert says:

    just used this recipe for my first time ever canning. can’t wait to do more! thank you for sharing great recipes on such a fantastic blog!

  20. 70

    […] pears. And they are one of my favorites things to preserve. The archives speak for themselves. Pear Vanilla Jam. Pear Cinnamon Jam. Red Pear with Lavender. Pear Chutney with Dried Cherries and Ginger. Just know […]

  21. 71
    Danielle says:

    I just made this, thinking of using it as Christmas presents – I’m completely delighted. I’d had high hopes for other canning projects as gifts (homemade grape jelly, apple butter, hot veggie mix) but none of them really seemed special enough until this recipe. I wasn’t sure what kind of pear to use, since it isn’t specified, but I chose bartletts and they worked great. Thanks for a wonderful recipe and an addictive blog!

  22. 72
    Angela says:

    Marissa- I made it and love the flavor, but because my pears were not that ripe I cooked it down too long so with the added pectin it’s extremely firm. Thoughts? Its canned already and I want to make another batch should I mixed the previous batch with the other with out pectin? Or am I asking for trouble.

    Also other serving suggestions other than goat cheese?


  23. 73
    Laura says:

    Hi! I just made a batch of this, and think it’ll go great with cheeses. It’s almost to sweet to eat alone, and I was really surprised at the flavor – its so mellow compared to the strawberry jams. It reminds me of French farm breakfasts: third of a warm baguette with a soft cheese and an apricot jam spread on top and a bowl of black tea. Thanks so much for this recipe!!

  24. 74
    cath in Ottawa says:

    I just made a batch of this after finding pears on sale for a dollar a pound – it is incredible! My 5 and 3 yr olds ate some straight from the pan mixed with plain yogurt. I am also thinking it would make an amazing filling for layer cake … And this is just the perfect amount to make – thanks so much!

  25. 75
    JC says:

    Darnit! I have no vanilla beans and pears are on sale this week. Unfortunately the only place to get them in my small town are the $7/bean type jars at the grocery store. Pear butter with cinnamon it is! And I’m ordering some vanilla beans from ebay today so next time I’m prepared!

  26. 76
    Christen says:

    You can often find vanilla beans in the bulk bins at natural food stores. I am able to find them for about $2/bean.

    • 76.1
      Annie says:

      Thanks for that tip, Christen! I often check the bulk section for spices & herbs that I don’t use often because I can get smaller amounts for less $, but for some reason I never thought to check there for vanilla beans.

    • 76.2
      Annie says:

      Yay! They had vanilla beans in the bulk spice section. While not as inexpensive as ordering online, it was still a better deal to get 8 organic beans sealed in a zip-lock bag for the price of 1 or 2 beans in a jar from the baking aisle!

  27. 77

    […] Taste of Home Recipes Pear Dumplings – Gastronome Tart Pear Vinaigrette Recipe – Pear Vanilla Jam – Food in Jars | Food in Jars […]

  28. 78
    hannah says:

    hey :). i made a variation of this jam last night, and i was wondering if i could save the vanilla bean and put it in vodka? (for the extract) or would that not work? i plan on adding more beans to it.. but 1 bean costs $5 so im trying to skimp…
    thankyou :)
    ps. i love your recipes 😀

    • 78.1
      Marisa says:

      You could certainly rinse the vanilla bean off and put it in a bottle of vodka. That’s not enough vanilla to totally create extract, but if you continue to add beans to the bottle, over time it will develop a nice aroma. If you’re going to be using a lot of vanilla beans, I recommend buying them in bulk over the internet. I like, they have good prices and fast shipping.

  29. 79
    Sarah says:

    I love your blog and your recipes are fabulous! I am a newby when it comes to canning, made dill pickles for the first time last year and they were a hit with my three boys. This year I decided to branch out a bit. I made this jam last night and it smells so good, can’t wait to try it! I have also made the bruschetta, and the dilled beans, plan to make the peach jam this weekend. Thanks so much for your advice and expertise!

  30. 80
    Madbat says:

    Marissa, I followed your receipe to the “T” but my jam came out very runny. I canned it and will call it a sauce but was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to fix some of the jars and make it thicker.

  31. 81
    Taylor says:

    How long will this jam keep unopened?

  32. 82
  33. 83

    […] Pear Vanilla Jam from Food in Jars […]

  34. 84
    Elizabeth says:

    I made it tonight!! My husband and son loved it!!! I am new to canning and am totally in love with it! I did go a bit overboard with my purchasing of pears so I am wondering can I double the recipe with no problems?

    • 84.1
      Robin M says:

      Make two batches do not double for most fruit and jams. Fruit butters normally you can double as it does not depend on the ratio of fruit to pectin mix the pectin is in the fruit. If the butter is not frim enough use some tart apples in the next batch.

  35. 85
    ~amy~ says:

    this sounds delish!!!!!

  36. 86
    Alexa says:

    Just made this and it turned out fantastic. I can’t wait to give away jars as gifts..but on second thought, I may keep it all to myself!

  37. 87

    […] are a number of recipes on my blog for these autumnal preserves. I’m a particular fan of the Pear Vanilla Jam and the Persimmon and Pear Chutney. Also, the recipe in the book for Honey Lemon Apple Jam is one […]

  38. 88

    […] start to plan your holiday gift giving, consider this size for your projects. I am certain that my Pear Vanilla Jam would love gorgeous in these jars, as would any number of chutneys, jellies and […]

  39. 89
  40. 90
    Mary says:

    Just finished making the pear vanilla jam, the recipe worked beautifully, thanks so much! I notice in the pear cinnamon jam (which seems to be the same recipe with a different flavor profile) that there is no pectin, can the pear vanilla jam be made without pectin as well?

  41. 91
    Carrie Bettencourt says:

    This recipe sounds really good. Can it be made with powdered pectin? And what adjustments would be necessary? Thank you!!!

  42. 92
    Charlene V. says:

    Yum! This is divine! I had it at a neighborhood party with cheese and fell in love with it. I made a batch yesterday and added about 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, with great results. Next time I will make it in a deeper pan, as it spattered a lot while cooking and I would prefer to keep it all in the pan instead of on my stove! :-)

  43. 93

    […] I started a big batch of my beloved caramelized pear butter going in the slow cooker and made some Pear-Vanilla Jam from Food in Jars.  My husband ate three a day for three or four days straight and took several to his boss, and I […]

  44. 94
    Folky says:

    Up until last night my husband has been pleasant about my jam making, but rarely ate any of it on his own. When I asked him to taste the Pear Vanilla Jam his eyes lit up and he declared it the best thing he had ever eaten! After dinner I noticed that he was trying it on bread, brownies, and shortbread. This morning he asked if when we go to the farmers market I would buy pears to make more jam. ^_^. Thanks, Marisa, for another winning recipe!

    P.S. I didn’t quite have 8 cups of pears so added one pear apple that retained some body, and a small red apple that left beautiful little red flecks throughout the jam.

  45. 95
    Fuss says:

    Thanks for posting the recipe. I’ll be making these tomorrow!

  46. 96

    […] focused on jam.  My father’s trees kept me busy throughout the fall making fig and pear […]

  47. 97

    […] purchased these Bartlett pears in hope of making this pear jam. Then, life got in the way. Life got in the way for 2 […]

  48. 98
    Linda says:

    I would love to make this jam and some of your other recipes…but I would like to use a different pectin. I looked at a liquid pectin and it had BHT or some other preservative in it which I would like to avoid. So I have Ball RealFruit Low or No Sugar Pectin. Can I substitute? I could also get another regular pectin if that would be better but I would prefer to use a powder. Thank you for the lovely recipes and website!

    • 98.1
      Marisa says:

      Linda, the low and no sugar pectins react completely differently from the traditional pectins. If you want to use a traditional powdered pectin, you can substitute 2 tablespoons for every packet of liquid pectin. If you want to make this a low sugar jam recipe, I recommend going for Pomona’s Pectin and following their directions for jam, cutting the amount of pectin in half.

  49. 99
    Tammy says:

    I made this recipe yesterday, thank you for sharing, it was a huge hit.
    We’re heading to Hood River this weekend. I’ll be buying more pears.

    • 99.1
      Lynn says:

      Hi Marissa,
      I took your advice on the Facebook page regarding adding nuts to this recipe. I omitted the vanilla, added lemon zest, juice of 1/2 lemon, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and 1/2 C chopped Hazelnuts, it could take more cinnamon but it still tastes great.
      Thanks for posting my pear party photo.
      I love your website!

  50. 100

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