Small Batch Strawberry Balsamic Jam

May 20, 2015(updated on June 19, 2024)

This strawberry balsamic jam employs a vinegar and a pinch of black pepper to balance the berries and make something that harmonizes deliciously with rich, savory foods!

strawberry balsamic jam

The first time I made this strawberry balsamic jam, it was for a livestream, during which small group of diehard canners showed up and interacted with me virtually my tiny kitchen. Since them, I’ve made it a number of times. It’s a great one to bring with a cheeseboard or to give as part of a thoughtful gift basket.

When I developed this recipe, I used my small batch strawberry vanilla version as my starting place. Swapping balsamic and a dash of freshly ground black pepper in for the vanilla gives it depth and just a little edge that goes really well with other foods that are rich and savory.

If you are looking for more small batch strawberry jam recipes, I’ve also made strawberry fig jam and strawberry plum jam over the lifetime of this blog. Both are quick to make and so satisfying to eat!

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Small Batch Strawberry Balsamic Jam


  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries about 4 cups chopped berries
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 3 half pint jars.
  • Chop the strawberries. Place them in a non-reactive 12 inch skillet and add the sugar. Stir to combine and let the berries sit until the sugar looks damp the fruit has started to weep liquid.
  • Place the pan over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Cook, stirring regularly, until the berries soften and the liquid bubbles and thickens. It should take between 15 and 20 minutes of cooking.
  • Towards the end of cooking, stir in the balsamic vinegar.
  • The jam is done when you can pull a spatula through it and it doesn’t rush as quickly to fill the space.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the black pepper.
  • Funnel the finished jam into the prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process them 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.

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54 thoughts on "Small Batch Strawberry Balsamic Jam"

  • YUMMMM!!!!!

    The first time my (now husband) and I went out for a “fancy” dinner I had an amazing strawberry balsalmic cocktail that I’ve never seen again on a menu. It was amazing. I’m imagining this jam will be similar!

    1. This recipe won’t work if doubled. It works without additional pectin because the small batch size allows for a wide surface area and very little depth in the pan. Doubling it will lead to frustration.

    1. It may need a couple more minutes on the stove to thicken if you use frozen strawberries, but it will work.

    1. The processing time is the same for 4 ounce jars. You never scale processing times downwards for smaller jars, but you do increase it upwards if you move to a jar that is larger than a pint.

  • This sounds delicious and I plan to give it a try tomorrow.
    Much more an “all around” product with the balsamic and vinegar.

  • Could this be converted to a strawberry rhubarb combination jam? I have a bit of leftover rhubarb from another project.

  • I live in the Pacific Northwest, lot’s & lot’s of Wild Blackberries here! I’m going to incorporate the Blackberries vs the Strawberries & hope to have created a delicious Balsamic Jam once gathering time arrives 🙂 Also experimenting with a Blackberry Balsamic Ketchup which should be excellent with Burgers, Fries & Fish!

  • I have this processing in my stock pot right now with fresh strawberries from my garden. The flavor is awesome! I would be happy with a touch more black pepper, but as is was great. I used a dark chocolate balsamic which added a little bitterness. Can’t wait to have this on crackers with goat cheese!

  • I tried this with a little less sugar (3/4 cups) but used pomona’s pectin. Now I wish I had made twice as much. Delicious!

  • I used a scale to measure out 1 1/2 lbs of chopped berries, and it came out to 6 cups. Is 1 1/2 cups sugar enough, then?

    1. There’s no way that 1 1/2 pounds of berries came out to 6 cups chopped. The weight is taken before you hull and chop. Did you weight afterwards?

      1. Ah — I didn’t get that from the recipe, to weigh before hulling/chopping. The six cups was after hulling and chopping. That amount, however, hit 3 half pints exactly. I’m just wondering at this point, with the berry:sugar change, if I should refrigerate. It set beautifully and tastes fabulous.

        1. Whenever you’re canning, the weight is taken before you prep the fruit, not after. And sugar doesn’t impact safety, so if it set up with the amount you used, it is fine.

  • Hi Marisa! I made this jam the other day, along with the strawberry vanilla jam recipe from the Food in Jars cookbook. They’re great, but I don’t really taste the extra flavors–the balsamic here, and vanilla in the other one. Should I be adding more flavoring ingredients, or did I get a particularly potent batch of strawberries? I’m really happy about how the jams set, since this was my first time making strawberry jam.

    1. Huh. I wonder if the additional flavors you added weren’t particularly potent? They shouldn’t take over the entire flavor of the jam, but instead add a nice supportive back note. I’ve never heard this particular question before so I’m kind of stumped.

  • Made this last night in under 40 minutes! You’re right, small batch canning is where it’s at! I will say that I started with 2 1-lb containers of fruit, had probably 4.5-5 cups chopped strawberries, and it only made 2 half pints, with a spoonful or so leftover. Did I cook too long? I’ve found that many times with all different recipes, I get 1 less jar than the recipe specifies.

    1. If you’re consistently getting a smaller yield that the recipes suggest you should, you probably are cooking it a bit longer than intended.

  • Love this recipe. I think I might try 3 tbs of balsamic next time, as it doesn’t come through in the flavoring as much as I’d like. I loved the hint of pepper, though. Would love to try this with a fresh soft cheese on crackers.

  • I just made this recipe with one minor change: the addition of a tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary. It. Is. AMAZING.

    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful recipes and inspiration!

  • I cooked this in a 12 skillet per the recipe. It foamed up quite a bit. I managed to skim off the foam and thought I was ok. After the water bath I noticed there is still a tiny bit of foam clinging to the strawberry bits in many places in the jar. (Actually, looking at your picture of your jam, it looks like you have the same thing going on.) Everything I read says those bubbles creat an opportunity for mold to grow while the cans are on the shelf. Is that true?

    1. I’ve not made it raspberries, so I can’t say for sure how it would set up. From a safety perspective, it would be fine.

  • I’ve been making this jam for the last 3 years. I never seem to get 3 jars out of it. Usually only 2. Any ideas what I might be doing wrong?

  • We picked berries yesterday, and last night I made a batch of this jam. It was so good, I made a second batch immediately. To one batch I infused with pickling spices, stuffed in a bouquet garni bag. It goes really well with the balsamic vinegar. Thank you!

  • I am so thrilled with these small batch recipes because they are so great for the two of us. I made this recipe first and then I made another batch using lime juice instead of the vinegar and lots of chopped fresh basil. Both are just excellent.

    1. I’m so glad to hear that you’re pleased with this recipe! And just so you know, I wrote a whole book devoted to these tiny batch preserves. It’s called Preserving by the Pint.

  • Recipe didn’t make the 3 jars I was counting on…..2 1/2 only.
    Boiled for recommended 15 minutes and it was quite thick enough, so added 5 more as recommended also.
    Although the jam is tasty and thick, I am disappointed that it wasn’t the full amount.
    I noticed other comments saying the same thing and your reply that it was probably cooked too long.
    Could you revise your recipe with an asterisk mentioning what could happen if cooked too long.

    1. Yields always vary, especially with small batches. Getting 2 1/2 jars rather than 3 is well within the normal yield variations for a recipe like this. Especially if you’re using out of season strawberries, which tend to have a higher water content and lower sugar content.

    1. You can cook this jam and put it in the freezer rather than preserve it. Or you can borrow these flavors and use them in a freezer jam recipe.

  • I was getting ready to make the honey sweetened strawberry jam and I noticed that I was out of lemon juice..I was wondering if I could use balsamic vinegar as it is 6% acidity in place of the 1 tbsp. lemon juice as stated in recipe..Thanks Laurel

    1. The lemon juice in that recipe is there for flavor balance, not for safety, so you don’t need to be so precise in your swap. Use a little balsamic to balance the sweetness of the strawberries and honey.

  • Hi I just made this jam and I’m wondering what the shelf life is? Also, does it need to be refrigerated after processing?

  • Sounds delicious! Is it good on breakfast biscuits and toast as well, or really more for savory dishes? Thanks!

    1. It’s a pretty flexible jam. The balsamic gives it a savory element, but it is also good on toast that adults will eat. Kids probably wouldn’t go for it.