Creamsicle Jelly

creamsicle jelly

I’ve been up to my eyeballs in citrus this weekend. In the last 48 hours I’ve made 16 1/2 pints of marmalade, all in an effort to ensure that the recipes I’m including in this crazy cookbook of mine will be the best ones possible. And I think I’m on the right track. Last night, I found my sitting in front of my computer, eating blood orange marmalade from my overflow jar with a spoon.

creamsicle jelly

However, I did manage to squeeze (ha!) just one little project to feature here. It’s a orange jelly, thoroughly flecked with vanilla seeds. I’m calling it creamsicle jelly, because as I tasted it during cooking (what? I had to make sure it tasted good), it made me think of nothing so much as those popsicles from childhood (though it doesn’t include any cream).

creamsicle jelly

Typically I’d tell you all that you should really start from whole fruit, but when it comes to orange jelly, I believe it’s okay to cheat a little. There’s a world of really good, freshly squeezed orange juice out there and often, it ends up being less expensive (at least in Philadelphia. I know you Floridians have oranges coming out your ears this time of year) than buying enough fruit to yield four full cups of juice.

And aren’t those Weck jars pretty? Look for a how-to post on Tuesday that will show you all the ins and outs of using them (truly, they’re pretty darn easy once you know a couple of things).

Creamsicle Jelly

Yield: 2 Pints


  • 4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • 1 packet liquid pectin (half a box)*


  1. Combine orange juice, sugar, vanilla bean scrapings and beans (to extract as much flavor from them as possible) in a large pot (this one is a foamer). Bring to a boil over high heat and cook with the intention of reducing the volume by approximately half.
  2. Use a thermometer to track the temperature, so that you know when you’re getting to 220 degrees (the set point of jams and jellies). When it has reached 220 degrees and is able to maintain that temperature even after a good stir**, add the pectin. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.
  3. Remove the vanilla beans from the pot and pour jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and screw on bands. Process in a boiling water canner for ten minutes.
  4. When time is up, remove jars from processing pot and place them on a towel-lined countertop and let them cool undisturbed for several hours. When they are cool enough to handle, check the seals. Store any unsealed jars in the fridge and place the rest in your pantry.
  5. Eat this jelly on toast or stirred into yogurt (if you want to get the true creamsicle effect).


* I’m hearing reports that people are having a really hard time getting this jelly to set. I think the liquid pectin may be to blame. These days, I’m only using Ball brand liquid pectin, because I’ve discovered that the Certo brand barely seems to work anymore. Last summer, I had a number of recipes fail with it that used to work quite easily.

If you’ve made this jelly and it hasn’t set up, you can give it a few days to see if it eventually gets firmer (this often happens) or reboiling it with a second packet of pectin. If you haven’t made it yet, I’d recommend either using Ball brand liquid pectin or switching to half a packet of powdered pectin.

** When I cooked this jelly, it reached 220 degrees at least six or seven times before it was time to add the pectin. It needs at least 30 minutes of boiling (if not more) in order to set up well.

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87 Responses to Creamsicle Jelly

  1. 51
  2. 52
    Shera says:

    Can pure vanilla extract be used in place of the vanilla bean? I have never used the beans before and not sure where to get them.

    • 52.1
      Marisa says:

      Unfortunately not. It doesn’t have the same depth of flavor. I order grade b vanilla beans online from Beanilla.

  3. 53
    Jackie says:

    Shera, I used Pure Vanilla Extract in mine and it tasts yummy!

  4. 54
    Felicia says:

    Just made this jam. It is so delicious!! It made 3 half pint jars and nearly a 4th full one that I didn’t process. The fourth one is setting up really well. Can’t wait to try it on toast with peanut butter.

  5. 55
    Barbara says:

    Use Pomona’s Pectin and you will have good gelling results even with low sugar recipes!

  6. 56
    Karen says:

    This recipe sounds wonderful. Any suggestions on how to adapt this for the automatic jam and jelly maker?

    • 56.1
      Marisa says:

      Unfortunately, this preserve won’t work in the automatic jam and jelly maker, because it’s cycle doesn’t run long enough to get up to 220 degrees.

  7. 57

    […] I also made this creamsicle jelly from Food in Jars this weekend. Dan loves the orange + vanilla combo, so the jelly was a big […]

  8. 58
    amy says:

    Love this recipe. Since you are a jelly maker like me…I need your help. Admittingly I am self taught…but none of my jellies are setting. My tried and true recipes are a flop and need a double dose of pectin. Any suggestions?

    • 58.1
      Marisa says:

      It could be that the pectin you’re using isn’t working as well as it once did. Certo was reformulated in the last few years and it isn’t as effective as it once was.

    • 58.2
      Trish says:

      Hi mine didn’t set up too well either but I found a fabulous use for it. Orange vanilla syrup. It is awesome on pancakes and waffles. I’m making another batch and I think I will try for the same syrupy consistency this time too.

      • julie hallowell says:

        pomona pectin is awesome!!! I will never use any other brand again if I can help it. can do low sugar–less than half most recipes and still sets up. I have found at many health food stores and you can check them out online too.

  9. 59
    Peter says:

    I have made this Jelly 2 times and both times I had to do a re-boil to get it to set. Actually I had the identical recipe from another site and it did not go into the depth that your recipe does and I know that is the reason for the no set. First time I made it even on a re-boil it did not set so I make a lot of my Jams and Jellies for re-sale at craft shows I attend. Not wanting to toss the first batch I pawned it off as Dreamsicle Ice Cream syrup and it was a huge hit. I made the first batch with 100% Simply Orange. Second time around I used a dozen or so Valencia oranges and did the hand squeeze and all to get the required 4 Cups followed the other recipe to the letter and still it was a NO set. Did a re-boil with the liquid pectin (3/4’s of 1 pack with sugar and lemon juice) and low and behold I did get it to set but looks like I have given up that perfect orange clarity because of the re-boil. There are a few things in this recipe that the other one did not like 30 minutes or more of boiling and 3 minutes of cooking after introducing the liquid pectin. This is a Jelly well worth the effort to make. I know I am long winded but for those wanting to skip the Vanilla Bean I recommend not as when this jelly sets up and the specs of Vanilla Bean run throughout the jelly it is down right pretty and I find one Bean and it’s seeds are plenty to get the actual Creamsicle flavor. I am off to make 5 more jars using this recipe…happy jel setting!


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