Simple Apricot Jam Recipe

This simple apricot jam is made with just fruit and sugar. The recipe is calculated using a three to one ratio, so it can easily be scaled up or down, depending on how many apricots you have to start.

A vertical image of jars filled with simple apricot jam

This is the first summer in nearly six years that I’m not working on a cookbook. While this scares me a little bit (I like knowing that I have the next project locked down), it also feels totally liberating. Because it means that I am free to make whatever I want. What’s more, everything I make can eventually make it to the blog. I don’t have to hold anything back.

Apricots spread out to ripen on an old sheet tray

A couple weeks ago, I got about 22 pounds of apricot seconds from a local grower. If I was producing for a book, those apricots would have been earmarked for particular projects. I would have needed to have made interesting flavor combinations. What’s more, I would have been timing every aspect of the cooking process, to be sure that I could accurately represent the process in writing.

Pockmarked and scarred apricots in an old blue and white colander

Instead, I made three large batches of plain, unadulterated, totally simple apricot jam. Just apricots and sugar, measured by weight, macerated overnight, and cooked down into slightly runny, intensely tart, vividly orange jam.

Chopped apricots for simple apricot jam

Because, my friends, as much as I like apricot butter, apricot jam spiked with rosemary or thyme, and apricot chutney, this very simple apricot jam is one of my favorite things on the planet. And because I was canning only to please myself, that is what I made.

Apricots cooking down into a simple jam in a copper preserving pan

My whole sensory self was engaged as the jam cooks. I watched the bubbles, felt the fruit thickening as I stirred. The fragrance of cooking sugar rode up with the steam and the sound of the boil became more frenzied as the process neared completion.

Finished basic apricot jam in a copper preserving pan

This is not canning that easily fits into a book. It doesn’t bring anything new or novel to the table. It is, in fact, how people have been making jam for a very long time. But it brings me joy. It’s artful, creative jam making.

A cluster of mason jar filled with simple apricot jam

A note on working with seconds. Normally, when calculating recipes by weight, I measure out the fruit before I pit and quarter it, figuring that the loss will be minimal. However, when I’m working with seconds that require more trimming and culling than unmarred fruit, I wait until after I’m done with the prep work to weigh the fruit and calculate how much sugar to use. It’s this second approach that you’ll see reflected in the recipe below.

Basic Apricot Jam


  • 6 pounds pitted, trimmed, and roughly diced apricots
  • 2 pounds sugar


  1. Combine the apricots with the sugar and let them macerate for at least an hour (overnight is even better).
  2. When you're ready to cook, prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold around 5 pints of product (I use a combination of quarter, half and full pints for my jam).
  3. Pour the macerated fruit into a low, wide, non-reactive pan and set it over high heat.
  4. Bring the fruit to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally at the start of cooking, and nearly constantly towards the end.
  5. The cooking process will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the width of your pan, the water content in the fruit, and the heat output of your stove.
  6. You're looking for the jam to get glossy, for thick layers to form on the walls of the pan, and for the jam to sheet nicely off your spoon or spatula. When it does all that, it will be done.
  7. When the jam is thick enough for you, remove the pan from the heat and funnel the jam into your prepared jars.
  8. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. When the time is up, remove the jars from the canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars are cool enough to handle, test the seals. Sealed jars are shelf stable for a year or more. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.


As you can see from this recipe, it uses a ratio of three parts fruit to one part sugar. You can easily scale the size of this recipe up or down depending on how much fruit you have. Once your fruit is prepped, put a bowl on your scale. Zero out the weight and weigh the fruit. Divide the weight by three and add that amount of sugar. Done!

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20 Responses to Simple Apricot Jam Recipe

  1. 1
    Desundial says:

    will this work with peaches too?

    • 1.1
      Marisa says:

      Yes. The cooking time might be a little longer for peaches, as they’re often a bit waterier than apricots.

  2. 2
    Pamela says:

    I totally agree with you about apricot jam. Simply apricots and sugar can be transformed into the sublime.

  3. 3
    Julie says:

    As fun as new combinations are, there’s also something special about making just a two-ingredient jam of something you like. You didn’t put in some lemon juice? I wasn’t sure if apricots were acidic enough on their own.

    • 3.1
      Marisa says:

      Apricots are plenty acidic on their own. According to the FDA, they generally have a pH of between 3.s and 4.0. That’s well below the 4.6 cut-off.

  4. 4
    Melody A. says:

    It looks delicious !! thank you for the simple instructions. Love your blog!

  5. 5
    Susan says:

    i’ve got this recipe marked for when my baby apricot tree grows up and starts to produce. How beautiful!

  6. 6
    Jackie says:

    I made your small batch apricot jame last week when I found two pounds of apricots at a great price! Turned out great! Apricots are showing up at farm stands here in the Seattle area now and I will be looking for more! Love your copper jam pot. I have one similar to it which I have used for years. Thanks for your blog.

  7. 7
    Kristen says:

    Oh thank you Marisa. This recipe is just what I needed! I ran out of my bottled lemon juice last night and was hoping to not go to town at all today. I can still make my jam though (I have apricots and peaches sitting on my counter). Hooray!

  8. 8
    Kristen Finnemore says:

    I so agree with you Marisa. Simple is joyful and soul-satifying. My mouth is watering. Sadly, the Northeast will not see much in the way of stone fruits due to the late freeze.

  9. 9
    Deidre says:

    This is so timely – I’m meeting with a friend tomorrow who has an apricot tree and wants to learn how to make jam. Thanks so much! A quick question though, if we want to add a little cinnamon and nutmeg to a batch, will that throw off the acidic content?

    • 9.1
      Marisa says:

      Adding those spices won’t throw anything off. Small amounts of spices can always be safely added to recipes such as this.

  10. 10
    Brenda says:

    Will the 3-1 ratio work with most fruits and berries?

  11. 11
    r.a. says:

    This looks good but apricot season is over here in California. Maybe next year I will try this. I have 15 jars of apricot jam made with Pamona’s Pectin that will be long gone before the next apricot crop is here.

  12. 12
    Jill says:

    Made this tonight with about 3 lbs of local Michigan apricots. The raw apricots were a little bland but they cooked up into one if the most flavorful jams I’ve ever made. Delicious!

  13. 13

    […] gently shook the sugar into the fruit, and left it to macerate overnight — it’s a trick I picked up from Marisa McClellan at Food in Jars. It bought me some time, since I didn’t want to refrigerate the fruit, which spoils the […]

  14. 14

    […] Simple Apricot Jam from Food in Jars […]

  15. 15
    Kelli says:

    Love love love this recipe. Made it today and it is A+. Thank you!

  16. 16

    […] way through at least 25 pounds of these, the very sunniest of stone fruit. I made a bunch of this basic apricot jam (it’s a little runny but so delicious), there was this batch of sour cherry apricot jam, and […]


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