Low Sugar Pear Cranberry Jam

November 19, 2015(updated on November 6, 2023)

This low sugar pear cranberry jam brings together mellow pear with sharp cranberry for a perfectly autumnal preserve. Pair it with cream cheese or chevre as part of a holiday appetizer spread.

Low Sugar Pear Cranberry Jam - Food in Jars

Last week, a day or two before I left for Portland, I made three batches of jam in rapid succession. The first was a combination of pears and persimmons. The second was a gingery apple butter. And the last one was a low sugar pear cranberry jam.

I meant to share the apple butter last week, and then got lost in travel and the pleasure of being with my parents and thus getting to be slightly less responsible than normal, so it didn’t happen. Because Thanksgiving is looming and I’ve been procrastinating, I thought I’d get this one up first, so that if it appealed to you, there’d still be time to make it before the holiday.

Making Pear Cranberry Jam - Food in Jars

And while we’re on the subject of Thanksgiving and cranberries, don’t forget that the archives of this site are bursting with seasonally appropriate recipes. Here are some of my favorites.

5 from 1 vote

Low Sugar Pear Cranberry Jam

Servings: 3 pints


  • 3 pounds pears, cored and chopped
  • 1 pound cranberries, rinsed well
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold three pints.
  • In a large pot, combine the pears, cranberries, sugar, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir well, until the sugar has started to dissolve.
  • Set the pot on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Once the mixture has started bubble vigorously, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring regularly, until the pears soften and the cranberries have all popped. If the jam seems a little too tight and the cranberries haven’t all popped, add a splash of water to loosen it up.
  • When the pears are tender, the cranberries have popped, and the jam seems nicely thick, it is done (budget 20-25 minutes of active cooking time).
  • Remove the pot from the heat and funnel the finished jam into the prepared jars. 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.
  • Sealed jars can be stored in the pantry. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

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5 from 1 vote

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29 thoughts on "Low Sugar Pear Cranberry Jam"

  • I’m making your persimmon chutney this weekend, thanks to a neighbor’s tree. It’s a hit with my family every year, as are the pickled cranberries.

    California’s quince crop didn’t do well this year thanks to the drought, so I haven’t been able to get my hot little hands on any this this season.

    Any recipes involving pomegranates? Another neighbor has a pomegranate stand each fall, selling organic fruit from her trees for 50 cents to $1 on the honor system. Mostly I just eat the arils as they are, or toss them on salads, but I keep wondering if there is some way to involve them in canning.

  • So persimmons CAN be canned? I couldnt find any legit-looking recipes, and they look to be less acidic than the usual suspects … please point me to some trusted recipes!! I had a lead on a loaded Fuyu-variety tree, but only grabbed what I could eat out of hand 🙁

    1. They only work in combination with higher acid fruits. I typically do them with apples or pears, and a heck of a lot of lemon juice.

  • I just discovered this morning that I am down to my last jar of homemade jam, and since strawberries aren’t in season for me to make my go-to standby, I might have to give this a try instead. Love the color! It looks delicious.

    1. You can always cut a recipe in half. The time it’s an issue is when the recipe calls for liquid pectin, because it can be sort of challenging to divide a packet of liquid pectin in half.

  • Hi! I love pears and cranberries together. I am going to give this recipe a go, but wondered if the pears should be peeled or not? It says cored and chopped in the recipe. So, unpeeled is fine?

    1. As long as you’re using pears that have a relatively thin skin (like Bartlett or Bosc), you do not need to peel. I only ever peel pears if they have really pebbly or tough skin.

  • I don’t particularly care for cranberries, but love pear jam. This may be a dumb question, can I take out the pound of cranberries and sub a pound of pears for a total of 4 lbs? Can I keep the amount of sugar the same so that it stays low sugar? Thanks, Terri.

  • New to this. Can I use a sugar substitute or sugar free pectin instead of sugar? I realize as preserves go, this is LOW sugar. I need NO sugar though. Would it work if I just add a sugar substitute that withstands heat and taste to see when I have it right?

  • First cool rainy day we’ve had in SC and I am using up the last of a friend’s pears with this recipe. My house smells AMAZING and this jam is addictive! I tried a little while I was cooking it in case it needed tweaking. It doesn’t! My question is can I use dried cranberries in this? Fresh cranberries are not in the stores yet and I had to pay a fortune to get one pound of frozen cranberries. I want to go buy pears and make a ton for Christmas gifts!

  • Is that 3 lbs of pears ***after*** they are cored and chopped? If ***before***, about how many cups of chopped should I have? Thank you.

    1. If a recipe says, “3 pounds pears, cored and chopped” that means that you weight the pears and then core and chop them. If I wanted you to core and chop them before weighing, I would have written, “3 pounds cored and chopped pears.” I don’t know how many cups of pears it is after chopping, as I didn’t measure them that way. However, in my experience, a pound of chopped fruit yields a little over two cups. So you should have something like 6-7 cups of chopped fruit.

  • 5 stars
    This looks wonderful! Can I use coconut palm sugar instead of white sugar? Or maybe maple sugar or maple syrup? Thanks!

    1. Coconut sugar would be good here. Just know that the finished jam will have a darker finished color because of coconut sugar’s natural hue.

    1. Sorry about that. I ported my recipes to a different app a few years ago and not all the yield information was carried over. I thought I’d fixed the problem on most recipes, but this one slipped through. It makes three pints.