Spiced Cranberry Jam

jar of cranberry jam

Most of the time, I do my preserving in relatively small batches. However, as we begin to approach the gift giving time of year, I take inventory of what I have in the pantry and then make a few very large batches to round out the selection (Scott likes to give his co-workers some of my jams and pickles, and I typically put together gift bags for neighbors and family members).

bag of cranberries

One fruit I rely on heavily for these larger, holiday-themed batches is the mighty cranberry. It has great flavor, contains a goodly amount of pectin (which means there’s never any doubt that it will set up), and goes beautifully with all manner of wintertime fare.

cranberries in a pot

This is not my first go-round with cranberry jam (I shared a basic batch the first year this site was around and did a tin can molded version back in 2011), but I like this one because it has plenty of flavor and retains its essential tartness. Of course, if you want to temper the boldness of the cranberry, you can try pear cranberry jam, cranberry marmalade, apple cranberry jam, or cranberry quince sauce.

cooked cranberry jam

When making this jam for gift giving, I cook it until the berries are mostly popped and will sometimes use a potato masher to help break it down a bit more. If you prefer a smoother spread, you could either introduce an immersion blender or push the jam through a food mill for something that it mostly skin and seed-free.

filling jars with cranberry jam

Because cranberries are quite high in acid, this is a recipe you play around with a little without causing unsafe conditions. Swap out the spices and drop in a vanilla bean instead. Use more orange zest and juice for a citrusy punch. Go wild and add a little cayenne or ancho chili powder to provide some heat. Unless you start adding handfuls of garlic and onion, you’d be hard pressed to make an unsafe cranberry jam.

cranberry jam from above

Oh, and one more note about cranberries. If you like sweet and tangy things and you haven’t tried my pickled cranberries yet, consider making up a batch while they’re in stores this season.

Now your turn. What cranberry jams, sauces, and jellies are you making this time of year?

Spiced Cranberry Jam

Yield: 5 pints

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds fresh cranberries (about 12-14 cups)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions

  1. Prepare a boiling water bath and necessary jars. Place lids in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.
  2. Combine the cranberries, sugar, cider, and orange and lemon juice and zest in a large pot (use a big one, this jam will bubble) over high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam that develops on the top of the fruit. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the cranberries pop.
  4. Add the ginger, cinnamon, and cloves and stir to combine.
  5. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the jam looks quite thick. If it appears to be thickening too much before all the cranberries are popped, add a splash of water to loosen.
  6. Ladle jam into jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.
https://foodinjars.com/recipe/spiced-cranberry-jam/

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115 responses to “Spiced Cranberry Jam”

  1. Perfect timing!! I just picked up 6 bags of cranberries. I got this wild hair back in the latter part of September to begin making Xmas gifts as I knew I wouldnt have the money for gifts. Since then I have put up 6 different kinds of salsa, pickles, relish, chutney, butters, and am just now getting into the jams. My mother is enjoying it as she is getting the half jars and leftovers and the stuff that didnt seal… Along about the time I got this wild hair, is when I found your site.

  2. I’m not much of a cranberry person but sure willing to give this a try. I have always told my daughters and grandkids; ‘don’t say eww until you chew.’ (neither words, don’t say you don’t like something until you try it first.)
    Do have couple ?’s.
    First, if a person doesn’t have fresh ginger, about how much of the ground would you use?
    2nd; about how many jars did you get from this batch using 3 lb. bag of berries?
    Thank you
    ColleenB.
    Texas

    • I apologize. After rereading, I spotted how many jars this makes. Pays to have my morning coffee first before reading blogs.
      Colleen

    • I would start with just a teaspoon of ground ginger. The dried version can be quite potent. Taste and if you feel like it could use a little extra, add it by the 1/2 teaspoon.

  3. Also perfect timing for me. Cranberry-Orange Relish is my absolute favorite, but I can’t seem to find a recipe that provides preserving information. This will be just perfect because I (of course) bought the cranberries on sale this week before I looked for the recipe. 🙂

    • If you’re talking about a raw cranberry orange relish, the reason you don’t find any recipes that provide preserving information is because you can’t preserve a raw sauce. It would have to be cooked first.

  4. I have a fantastic Orange-Cranberry Relish that I love to make!! I never bother to preserve it because I eat the whole thing up so quickly – it goes with everything!

  5. I, too, am interested to know if you think jalapeno could be added for a spicier version of this fabulous sounding spread? For this particular recipe, how much would you suggest of the jalapeno?

  6. For years I’ve made a cranberry marmalade with currants and brown sugar, plus pinches of allspice, mustard, cardamon, cloves and ginger. Serve over warm Brie with slices of apple, pear, crackers… My go-to holiday appetizer! And the little jars are so pretty as gifts…

  7. My old Hubs can’t have sugar, so I’ve looked everywhere for a simple sugar-free cranberry jelly recipe made with the juice only. I have to make it with Splenda – do you know of a recipe source? I’d be so grateful!

  8. I’m excited to try this, alongside the cranberry syrup in your book. I do have a question…I am hoping to use some of my cranberry stash to infuse a little bourbon (orange, clove, cranberry). The infusion is only about 4 days and then I will have lovely, bourbony berries left over. Do you have any experience with or suggestions about using boozy berries in a jam or chutney?

    • I would just use your leftover boozy cranberries in this (or similar) recipe without making any other changes. I just made a Cranberry, Apple, Pear jam with red wine as the liquid rather than water as in the basic recipe I used.

      If you want maybe change the spice profile to fit the orange, clove and bourbon that you’ve added already to the cranberries.

  9. Wish I’d seen this recipe before I made a batch of jellied cranberry sauce from a different website! That recipe had orange zest, and I thought it would be great, but it didn’t tell you to cook it down, so I had to re-process when it didn’t jell the first time. After 2nd processing, you can’t really taste the orange anyway!

    That said, I made your pickled cranberries last year, and my last jar will be on my table, along with the aforesaid jellied cranberry sauce, and a fantastic cranberry/dried cherry/walnut chutney which I’ve been making for years. (not cannable, I don’t think, but certainly can be made ahead – it gets better with age!

    And next year, I’m totally making your recipe!!!

  10. This is my absolute favorite cranberry sauce. Does it appear it would be safe to water bath and if so how long would I process? I would load it into hot jars of course. I have been wanting to can it for some time and this post leads me to believe I could!

    1 c blueberries
    1 c fresh orange juice
    8 oz cranberries
    1 TB orange zest
    3/4 c sugar
    1 tsp vanilla

    combine in sauce pan until sugar dissolves an berries soften. about 15 minutes.

    Any advise would be so appreciated!

  11. I made a double batch of your pear cranberry about a month ago . . . . .so FLIPPING good I scared myself. thank you for thinking that one up 🙂

  12. I made a Super Berry jam last summer with cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, and sweet cherries. It’s so, so good! The mix of berries is just right.

    I plan to try this one. Vanilla bean in cranberry jam? Sounds marvelous.

  13. Could you put chopped walnuts in this and still be able to can it? If so, I’m calling this one good for the traditional cranberry relish this year!

  14. Thank you so much for this 🙂 We joined a CSA this year. For some reason I thought we’d be getting a wide variety of vegetables and fruit, and we did – just spread out over a year. Each delivery would be a ludicrous amount of 2 or 3 things. Your site has provided a lot of encouragement for dealing with it all! Armed with So Easy and the Blue Book I think I managed to defeat our CSA deliveries. I haven’t canned since I was a teenager, but so far no signs of jar failure of spoilage. I was just checking them to see what I could gift – so this post was perfectly timed.
    Thank you again!

  15. I made your cranberry quince sauce – so good! I brought it to a potluck and everyone raved about it. And pickled cranberries are on the agenda for today.

  16. I used a quarter cup of diced ginger instead of the grated 1tbl. Will this make the batch unsafe? Anyone know? I’d like to give the jars as gifts.

  17. Marissa — How are you using this? I made it yesterday and found it seemed more condiment like, as in cranberry sauce, rather than a jam. I suppose I could do the brie thing with it.

    P.S. I have a friend who insists that fruit jams don’t need processing in a hot water bath. She sterilizes the jars in her dishwasher, fills them with piping hot jam, and puts the lids on and sets them aside to pop on their own. I have never heard anyone say this is feasible, but she says the sugar and the acid make it safe from botulism. She’s been doing it this way for 30 years and no one has died yet as far as we know.

  18. What are the chances that you can put this in individual zip lock bags and freeze it?… Was hoping someone had tried this.. I’m not big on giving up space for canning jars, but can stack freezer bags easily…

  19. Yum! I loosely chop a few kumquats and chuck them in my cranberry relish/spread. Fast citrus flavor without pulling out the microplane.

  20. Love your site and learned how to make pear vanilla jam from you this year. Thank you! I enjoy making Cranberry Chutney from The Farmhouse Cookbook. Has some sweet, has some heat. Very tasty and tangy.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

  21. Thanks for the tip on safely playing with cranberry recipes, Marisa! I have just reached the point where I feel comfortable enough to putter around with jam recipes, but I am paranoid about exceeding the safe acidity threshold.

  22. Just made this with the vanilla bean. The jars are cooling on the counter now. Had some of the extra with nutella on homemade wheat bread. It was amazing. Thanks for the recipe!

    I am bringing it for Thanksgiving, but might mix in some tangerines from my tree and maybe some jalapeno.

  23. Just made a batch! It made a perfect 5 pints and a teaspoon. It is just sweet enough but still plenty tart. I replaced a 1/3 cup apple cider for Grand Mariner just to use up the last of a bottle I had in the cupboard. Reduced the amount of orange zest so it didn’t have too much orange overpowering the jam. Very tasty!

  24. Cranberries make a great addition to other preserves. In the last few weeks I’ve made an apple chutney with cranberries, mango chutney with cranberries, and applesauce with cranberries.

  25. I’m obsessed with your pickled cranberries. I’ve been adding them to my holiday cheese platters lately. I find they pair beautifully with a semi-soft blue cheese in particular.

  26. I just made your pickled cranberries, not in small part because I wanted a shrub. The leftover liquid, with gin (since the pickles have juniper), soda, and a rosemary sprig (because I’m enamored with cranberries and rosemary). Heaven.

  27. I really want to try this (but maybe in a small batch just for myself.) This is the first year that I’ve realized just how amazing cranberries are! I love them. Thanks for posting this. 🙂

  28. I make a great cranberry sauce with Dry marsala as the liquid. I’m wondering if I could use marsala in this jam recipe instead of apple cider (or orange juice as other recipes seem to use).

  29. Marisa, You have saved my life – yet again! For years i have made Spicy Cranberry Sauce and this morning could not find my recipe. This so close that I can tinker with the spices and get close enough that my husband will not know!

    Love your book and have thoroughly enjoyed making the jams the past two summers using it. A happy holiday season to you and yours.

  30. Hi,
    I like the looks of this recipe but only want to make a maximum of 6 half-pint jars. I stink at scaling down recipes accurately so can anyone provide some suggestions for cutting this recipe down to equal 6 half-pints?
    Do you think the following would work?:
    1.5 pounds fresh cranberries (about 6-7 cups)
    1.5 cups granulated sugar
    1.5 cups apple cider
    1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
    1/2 orange, zested and juiced
    1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

    Thanks!

  31. […] Christmas time means cranberries! They are on sale and we always end up with too many. So, with all those leftover cranberries we made spiced cranberry jam! If you have leftover cranberry sauce, or leftover cranberries, this is a great way to use them. Thanks to Marisa from food in jars for this recipe. […]

  32. Great looking jam….I also took the time to check out your Pickled Cranberry recipe. What a great idea! I would never have thought of pickling them. Definitely will have to work some pickled cranberries into a burger recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

  33. Thank you again for this great recipe – it was lovely to give out around Thanksgiving! I just opened a jar today, though, and I noticed a few bubbles (not moving) at the top – and black scum on the underside of the lid. I threw out the whole jar to be safe, but I was curious if you knew what the cause of that was, and what I could try in the future to avoid it. (This recipe was so delicious, I really miss that last jar!)

    • Megan, sometimes you get some black scum forming on the bottom of lids as the acid from the product reacts with a scratch that exposes the metal of the lid. It’s not dangerous, just ugly. And bubbles aren’t a risk if they’re not actively moving. If there are just a few air pockets in a product, they do no harm. I think this jam was probably safe to eat. 🙁

      • Thanks for the quick response! I guess one actually can be too careful 🙂 but good to know for next time, and I’m relieved that those other jars I gave out as gifts have nothing to worry about!

  34. I know this is an older recipe, but I just had to say how delicious it is! I had an extra bag of cranberries left from making your apple-cranberry and pear-cranberry jams (this is what happens when I send my boyfriend to get ingredients!) and wanted to make something with them. I based the proportions on your 2009 cranberry jelly recipe, but was still slightly short of one lb. of fruit, so I peeled and pithed two oranges we had in the fridge after zesting them to bulk it up. I also switched to brown sugar and used a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. I ended up with two half pints and one 4 oz. jar, which are in a waterbath right now. Love the recipe. Thanks!

    • Miriam, is it possible for you to share how much brown sugar you used in your adjustment to Marisa’s recipe. also increments to spices. I would like to try your version since I usually have those ingredients on hand. Thank you

  35. Thank you so much for this recipe! I have a question, I doubled the recipe and opted out of using the apple cider, instead I used water and one packet of gelatin, but kept the same amount of sugar. The jars all sealed properly and I processed for over 15 minutes (I am at a higher elevation). Is my recipe still safe (I’m giving as gifts)?

  36. HI! So excited to try this. Question – can I add another orange and 4 apples and still be safe to can?
    Also – if we 86 the spices and add jalapenos and sriracha sauce are we ok?

    • Yes. Normally I tell people to watch out when they add hot peppers, but there are so many high acid ingredients in this recipe that you should be just fine. And sriracha is half vinegar, so that’s okay too.

  37. I love that I always find your website when I search for recipes and can rely on the quality and safety of the recipes.
    I am wondering if this recipe is more like home made cranberry sauce in taste (tart, orangy) as I am really looking for a sweet spread for toast. What is the best thing to add to offset the tart…I am thinking sugar but maybe you have other ideas? I’ll go dig your book out now 🙂

    • Like it says in the recipe, you cook it for 10-15 minutes, until the cranberries pop. Then you add the spices and cook until it seems thick to you. Because there’s natural variation in cranberries, I can’t tell you precisely how long it will take. In some cases, another five minutes of cooking might be all you need. Other times, it could take 15-20. It varies.

    • Have you seen my new cookbook, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars? It’s all about preserving with honey, maple, agave, coconut sugar, fruit juice concentrates, and dried fruits.

      If you’re converting from sugar to honey, you always use at least 1/3 less honey than sugar.

      • Hi. I would like to make this recipe to give the finished jam as gifts this Christmas. I have a few family members who are diabetic so I’d like to cut the sugar with stevia. What do you know about cannning with stevia? Do you think it would be safe to replace half the sugar with stevia equivelant? Or even more stevia than sugar? What about no sugar at all? Thank you!

        • Unfortunately, swapping stevia in for sugar isn’t an easy process or one for which I can offer you a formula. Stevia often gets quite bitter when combined with acidic things like fruit (that’s the first obstacle). Second is the fact that sugar plays an integral role in the set and preservation process. When you remove sugar, you end up with syrupy preserves that spoil quickly.

          You can use non-sugar sweeteners in preserving, as long as you use a pectin designed for that approach and you accept that their shelf life will be reduced. I suggest you take a look at pomonapectin.com, as their product is a pectin designed for low and no sugar canning. They have a collection of recipes on their site that should lead you in the right direction.

  38. I made strawberry cranberry jam last year for Christmas gifts. I just finished spiced pear jam that I made from the skins of the pears I peeled for canning. I ended up with 6 quarts of diced pears in light syrup and 16 half pints of spiced pear jam from 16 lbs of pears. I was looking for a recipe for spiced pear jam, and came across your website, but didn’t have vanilla beans. I was interested in what I was reading though, so I came back to check it out now that I am finished canning for the day. I think this recipe for spiced cranberry jam sounds really interesting. I have been seeing cranberries in the store this week and have been thinking I should start making Christmas Jams. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I love canning and love to learn from others who share the passion!

  39. I made cranberry jelly or I should say I tried but it wouldn’t set up.I put hot peppers in it ,could that be the trouble?

  40. This sounds intriguing 🙂 My question is, is there a substitute for the apple cider? For example, would apple juice work instead?

  41. I put in a few squirts of Maple Syrup as I wanted this to be sweeter and used the immersion blender. Came out amazing. I think I canned it a little runny as I didn’t want the jam to be too think. Right, it’s August but I froze cranberries last winter to make something like this Came out really good, thanks.

  42. I work at an organic market and we just received our local farm produce. I picked up some fresh young ginger and turmeric today. While I was preparing the ingredients for this recipe I grated the young turmeric instead of the ginger. What a happy accident! I also added ground allspice and nutmeg along with the cinnamon and ground cloves. I am very happy with the results. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  43. Hi, could I substitute the spices and use jalapeños? I’ve been searching for a cranberry jalapeño canned jam recipe and found yours and thought I might be able to use this recipe.
    Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.
    Thank you.

  44. Quick question- Using your recipe without the powdered spices, could I use crystalized ginger in this recipe? Thinking if I chop it small enough it would still be safe as the crystalized ginger is already shelf stable? Am I ok to do so?

    • That change would turn it into more of a conserve than a true jam, but there’s no safety reason why you couldn’t do it.

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