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. 101

    […] All things from Food In Jars, but especially this one – Pear Vanilla Jam […]

  2. 102

    […] pear jam turned out so well, I decided to make another, this time inspired by Food In Jars’ Pear Vanilla Jam. A friend of mine was nice enough to give me some gorgeous vanilla beans that were so plump and […]

  3. 103
    Bobi says:

    I’m planning on making this jam, but noticed in your YouTube video for this same jam you added a cup of filtered water to this recipe. I’m just wondering which way I should do it, with or without the water, since the recipe here doesn’t call for it. Also, have you ever tried making it without pectin (ala your pear cinnamon or pear lavender recipes, which are similar but use lemon juice)? Thanks for a great and inspiring blog, I have just ordered your cookbook!

    • 103.1
      Marisa says:

      Bobi, the recipe with the water leads to a softer jam and a slightly longer cook time. You could try to make this without pectin, but it will have a softer set than it has with the pectin.

  4. 104
    Jaclyn says:

    Made this tonight – amazing! Thank you!

  5. 105
    patricia says:

    I just made this too. It is amazing! Although mine is dark brown from the raw sugar.

  6. 106

    […] made vanilla pear jam, quince slices in a chai tea syrup, a fragrant thick quince butter and […]

  7. 107

    […] fruit world. They have a delicate, flexible flavor that goes well with nearly anything (including vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and lavender). They work in fruit butters, jams, and chutneys. Many […]

  8. 108
    Ellen says:

    Please help, Marisa! Yours is the first jam I’ve tried making and I followed the directions to a T. I don’t think it “jelled” enough, though, and need some advice.
    1. was I supposed to let it boil after adding the pectin until it was thick and jam-like and *then* put it in the jars and process it?
    2. (here’s an odd one for you) can I – well, un-do it? pour it back in the saucepan and boil it longer to get it to “jam up”?

    It’s not totally runny, by any means, but it certainly isn’t jam.
    Thank you for any help you can give me.

  9. 109

    […] all printed out and safe in my canning recipe binder. You can find the original recipe at Let me just say that I LOVE that blog. Quick note too: my stove top does not allow for the […]

  10. 110

    […] Pear and chocolate jam. As we all know, I have something of a weakness for pear jams (cardamom. vanilla. cinnamon. lavender.). I had to try a jam that has you melt nearly two bars of dark chocolate into […]

  11. 111
  12. 112
    Mikki Anderson says:

    I have made two batches of this jam and it’s wonderful. I used Nielson-Massey Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste which I buy at my local grocery, $10.00 for 4 oz.; 1 tablespoon = 1 vanilla bean or 8 beans per jar. I actually find that I get a better, cleaner vanilla flavor than I do with real vanilla beans in recipes such as this one where the vanilla is front and center. I make a vanilla bean ice cream with the paste that always gets raves as does this jam. Thanks for sharing.

  13. 113

    […] tradition. He had prepared a batch on Friday and packed it up with some butter and a container of home-made pear and vanilla jam (using pears from our own tree!), ready for morning tea on Saturday. Once our small tent city was […]

  14. 114
  15. 115
    Linda says:

    Hello, I made this recipe today and it smelled and looked so good, tasted pretty good licking the spoon with the leftovers.
    What can I do with the leftover vanilla bean pod? I cooked it with my recipe so it has been cooked, so instead of throwing it away, which I hate to do because they are so expensive, is there anything I can do with the pods??

  16. 116

    […] lucky folks are getting pears AND zucchini! Once we’re settled in I very badly want to make Pear Vanilla Jam because I have so many pears and I think it’s going to make a great Christmas present. […]

  17. 117
    Debra Sharkey says:

    This is the first jam I’ve ever made on my own and I’m pleased overall with the results. Thank you! However, I do have a few questions. You do not specify which type of liquid pectin to use. Certo apparently makes a regular version that says one must use 7+ cups of sugar or the recipe will not set up (blue box) and another version that is for low to no sugar (pink box). I gambled and bought the blue box. Since I wanted to use your quantity of sugar (4 cups) I disregarded the Certo box’s admonitions about using more sugar. I also added 1/4 C. of fresh lemon juice to perk it up a bit. And because I like spicy foods, I added some diced chili peppers from our garden, thus making it “Pear Vanilla Pepper Jam.” The result was more the consistency of a fruit spread than a jam. I’m happy with it but wonder if I used the wrong pectin based on your instructions?

    • 117.1
      JennyG says:


      If you only use 4 cups sugar it’s considered to be “low sugar” jam & you would need to use low/no sugar pectin. The main difference between regular pectin & low/no sugar pectin is that the regular pectin uses the sugar to create the chemical reaction that causes the jam to gel. In low/no sugar pectin they add calcium to the pectin to cause the chemical reaction instead of the sugar. If you really don’t like the consistancy of the jam you can recook it, but it will require you to buy new lids for your jam jars.

  18. 118
    Tina says:

    Is powder pectin ok to use instead of liquid for this van pear recipe?

    • 118.1
      Marisa says:

      Yes. Swap in two tablespoons of powdered pectin for every packet of liquid pectin called for. Whisk the pectin into the sugar before combining it with the fruit.

      • Robin says:

        Is this rule for all recipes (jam) or just this one? So many call for liquid, butI rarelyhave that on hand. Thanks so much for all you share! If you do a weekend in Southern central PA or MD I am so there!

        • Marisa says:

          That is the rule for most jams. All the recipes in my cookbook can be converted in that manner.

          • Judith says:

            Marisa, I just ran across your site recently and had no idea sites such as yours existed. SO interesting and helpful. I’m sorry. Due to the last ice storm two years ago (we were on a generator for 22 days and my husband turned my freezer up to 30 degrees ! ! ), I have the equivalent of 84 pints of peach slices, packed in a variety of fruit juices (mostly white grape), taking up space in my freezer that have lost their texture and no one will eat them. I want to make a last ditch effort to salvage them by turning them into a sweet spread of some sort. I’m thinking jam, but am open to suggestions. Something simple; I’m not good at telling when to quit, but am going to try out the candy thermometer tomorrow. What do you think? Thaw out 8 cups peaches/juice; add 3.5 cups sugar; bring to boil; add 2T powdered pectin; then boil pretty hard till it hits 220? Please, lend me some expertise. I’ve overcooked so much good fruit (not that this is; but, it WAS). What would you do? Thanks.

            • Marisa says:

              I’d go for peach butter, probably. It cooks for so long that the loss in texture shouldn’t matter. Look in the recipe index for the first post on fruit butters, it will give you the basics. They should also be good in smoothies.

  19. 119

    […] really. But it felt like it. Using these delicious, cheap, deliciously cheap pears on Monday I made vanilla pear jam from Food in […]

  20. 120
  21. 121

    […] I had another 20 pound box of pears to address today and the plan was to make my favorite everjam, Pear Vanilla Jam (from the blog, Food in […]

  22. 122

    […] I knew I was going to be canning pears I knew I wanted to make this Pear Vanilla Jam from Food in Jars. It’s very similar to the above jam with vanilla but it uses liquid pectin which makes for […]

  23. 123
    JaxTex says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe – Happens to be my two favorite flavors in the world! I used Keifers from our backyard tree. Next batch (oh yes, there will definitely be many more batches) I’d like to reduce the sugar, because our pears are super sweet. Should I use more pectin, cook longer, etc? I’d like to avoid low-sugar pectin if possible, because I live in a small town & it’s very difficult to find.

    • 123.1
      JennyG says:


      If you add too much pectin your jam can get super stiff or even gritty. If you can’t find low sugar/no sugar pectin I suggest buying some from Amazon (or walmart, etc).

  24. 124
    JennyG says:

    This jam was very easy to make, and a big hit with my family. I used regular pectin instead of liquid, I peeled the pears, and I used a potato masher once the sugar had all liquified. I used 4 oz jam jars and the batch made 12 4 oz jars & 2 8 oz jars. Plenty of jam for sharing around. Thanks for the recipe! :)

  25. 125

    […] looking for recipes, nothing outrageous, nothing too involved, and BAM, I came across a recipe for Pear Vanilla Jam on the Food in Jars […]

  26. 126

    […] What a relaxing Saturday morning. For the first time since having baby I was able to make time for a bit of canning. We got 4 pears in the CSA box this week and my hubby doesn’t really eat fruit, nor do I like pears, so it seemed a perfect candidate for some processing. At first we were thinking pear butter (I happened to see this recipe yesterday), or pear sauce, but when I looked through my favourite canning blog this morning, I was inspired by the recipe for Pear Vanilla Jam. […]

  27. 127
    Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I have made it 3 time now with a couple of alterations. I added cinnamon and I cut the sugar in half. I also used Pamona’s Pectin which allows for much less sugar. My question for you is does it need lemon juice added for safety with these changes? Pamona’s paperwork called for 1/4 cup lemon juice for every 4 cups of cooked pears. I thought pears were acid enough on their own? I put some lemon juice in each time I made it, but I imagine the flavor is quite different without it. Can I lesson the sugar (1/2 the amount) and use Pamona’s Pectin without adding the lemon juice and still be safe to can? Thanks for your help!

  28. 128
    GREEN7LADY says:

    I made this for the first time 2 weeks ago…..and it’s gone! Such a huge hit with family and friends. We ate a whole jar with blue cheese and crackers.
    This recipe is so easy to make I whipped together another batch last night while dinner was in the oven.

  29. 129
    courtney says:

    thank goodness one of those jars didn’t seal. otherwise i’d feel way worse about keeping one for myself. so yummy! pretty color, too, spotted all over with little vanilla seeds. very nice one. i’m thinking oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream? and, of course, cheese.

  30. 130

    […] prayed to the recipe gods.  Low and behold, one of the first recipes I stumbled upon was for Vanilla Bean Pear Jam. I read it over, looked at my box of pears and thought – I CAN DO THAT!  And ya know […]

  31. 131
    Michelle says:

    can i use asian pears for this jam?

  32. 132

    […] attempted pear jam, but ended up with more of a pear sauce.  I roughly followed this recipe from Food in Jars, but adjusted it for larger quantities, less sugar and with fresh […]

  33. 133

    […] make everything a little more cozy.  I’d really love to be making some jam today, perhaps this one from Food In Jars’ Marisa McClellan which looks absolutely incredible, but I’m running […]

  34. 134

    […] – Decide that you absolutely must make Pear Vanilla Jam. […]

  35. 135

    […] Let me back up a minute and explain. As I mentioned a while ago, a friend gave me some beautiful Asian pears from his family’s tree. Needless to say, I ignored every warning on the internet about how canning low-acid fruit will kill you, and made a pear vanilla jam from them. Don’t worry, I’m keeping it in the fridge. (Recipe via Marisa at Food in Jars.) […]

  36. 136

    […] a few different food related blogs that are all worth checking out. Pear Vanilla Jam from Food in Jars Apple Butter from Erin’s Kitchen Onion Jam from Leena […]

  37. 137
    Cindy S says:

    Is it possible to substitute real vanilla extract for the vanilla beans in the Pear Vanilla Jam recipe?? If so, how much vanilla extract? Thank you!

  38. 138
    Laura says:

    Is it safe to sub in some high quality vanilla paste for the vanilla bean in this recipe? Thanks in advance!

  39. 139
    Michael says:

    I recently read a recipe in which butter was added to the jam being made and it blew mind. Lol. I have yet to try it, but is it ok to add butter to jams and then can them. Does it affect the preserving process? Could I do it to this one?

    Both nervous and excited!!!

    Thanks, M.

    • 139.1
      Marisa says:

      When you add butter, you do it to control the foaming action of the jam, and you only add 1/2 teaspoon or so. So it doesn’t impact the safety because it’s such a small amount.

  40. 140
    Peggy says:

    This Jam was very good but after making another pear jam, it had more of a true “pear” taste. I think it was because the other recipe had less sugar. I would make this again but with less sugar. I would try at least 1 cup less of sugar, maybe 2 1/5 to 3 cups of sugar per recipe. This recipe definetly has a strong vanilla flavor which masks the pear taste also. So just be aware of that if you are looking for a real strong pear flavor.

  41. 141
    deardeedle says:

    Bummer, as a pear novice I didn’t know I had asian pears cooking until I read through the comments. Good thing I did! I ended up finishing and then instead of water bath canning I froze the results. I’m hoping to find a use for them (they are tasty!)

    Suggestion: You might want to note not to use Asian Pears in the instructions for those of us not as pear familiar.


  42. 142
    Danielle says:

    I’m new to canning and up until now all my batches have turned out great (only 4 in total). This recipe was way too thick and sticky. It also only made 1 1/2 pints for me. I took it off before the full 5 mins after adding the pectin because I could see it was just getting too thick. What I can’t figure out is if I just cooked it down too long or if I added too much pectin. I added 2 tbsp of the powdered pectin. Also, I added 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice because I wanted it a little less sweet (I used anjou pears). Did the lemon juice change anything? Any help in figuring out what I did wrong would be great! Also, is there a way to fix it?

    • 142.1
      Marisa says:

      It sounds like you cooked it too long. That’s what would account for the texture and the smaller yield. And, if it was really thick before you added the pectin, you probably didn’t need the pectin at all.

      • Danielle says:

        Thanks, good to know! Love your new book. I’ll be trying the pear chocolate next and I’ll keep this in mind when trying it.

  43. 143

    This jam…is magical. Hands down, my favorite jam I’ve made this season, and you KNOW how many of your recipes I’ve made. Thank you!

  44. 144
    Kyna says:

    Have you ever tried adding bourbon to this recipe? How do you think it would turn out?

  45. 145

    […] made pear-vanilla jam from one of her cookbooks, first by chopping perfectly ripe bartlett pears and mixing them with […]

  46. 146
    Olivia says:

    Thank you for what looks like an excellent and delicious recipe!
    I have a couple of questions re. substitutions because I’m in Europe and not in the US. I’ve never seen pectin for sale over here, so can I use preserving sugar in place of normal sugar and add the lemon zest and juice?
    I’m also very interested in the “Processing” part. In Britain and Ireland – where I’m from – people make jam, cover it with a disc of waxed paper and screw on the lid while hot. I don’t recall ever having seen anyone boil the jam for a few minutes after that. I’ve just read the ‘Canning 101’ and was curious to see that it’s commonplace in the US, and safer to boot, but is it suitable for all kinds of jam? I’m going to make marmalade tomorrow and I don’t want to ruin a good batch of preserves by boiling it to bits 😀

    • 146.1
      Marisa says:

      I don’t know how much pectin is in preserving sugar, but I imagine you could give it a try.

      As far as processing goes, it shouldn’t impact the finished quality, it just sterilizes the finished product and makes for a longer lasting product.

      • Olivia says:

        Thanks for taking the time to answer, I appreciate it. I guess I’ll just give it a whirl and see what the result is. I boiled my marmalade and it seems to have survived the process. I’ll make a second batch and I won’t process it, just to see if it makes any kind of difference – making marmalade for science, and all that.

  47. 147
    christina says:

    Hi, is it possible to use honey or maple syrup instead of white sugar?

    • 147.1
      Marisa says:

      Unfortunately, you can’t just swap a liquid sweetener for honey. I have a Pomona’s Pectin version of this recipe that I sweeten with honey going into my next book, though.

  48. 148
    Beatrice says:

    I tried this recipe but I used Bosc pears…I thibk it was the wrong pears because my jam looks more like apple sauce. I allowed the jam to boil as directed by this recipe & it just won’t set. Should I throw out the batch? I’m at a loss.

    • 148.1
      Marisa says:

      This is a softer set jam. It will always have some movement in the jar, so it sounds like you didn’t do anything wrong and it’s just as it should be.

  49. 149
    Jeanna says:

    Hi, I made this jam this morning only I used peaches. WOW! Better than candy. My house smells amazing. I have both your canning books on the Kindle and love the wonderful ideas. Thanks!

  50. 150

    […] me introduce you to Pear Vanilla Jam by Marisa the author of Food In […]


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