Homemade Orange Marmalade

Orange marmalade spread thickly on a slice of toast

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 105 mins
Servings: 96 servings
Yield: 3 pints
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
60 Calories
0g Fat
15g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 96
Amount per serving
Calories 60
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 14mg 70%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 39mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Marmalade is similar to jam or jelly but is typically made with a type of citrus. It usually includes fruit peel, which gives the condiment an aromatic bitterness. The most popular versions are made with fruits like orange, kumquat, and grapefruit. This homemade orange marmalade is a wonderful combination of sweet and bitter, and fills your kitchen with an addictive aroma, leaving you with jars full of orange deliciousness that will keep for weeks. Slather it on toast, biscuits, or muffins, or use it to fill layers of a cake or thumbprint cookies.

Many traditional marmalade recipes call for removing all the peel, boiling it once or twice, and then separating the zest from the pith. That method can be messier, more complicated, and less flavorful than simply carefully zesting the fruit, removing the pith, and then cutting out sections of oranges. This recipe takes a little time, but it's relatively foolproof and will yield delicious results.


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"This marmalade is sweet, not bitter, and full of texture with the peels and orange sections. It is made without the bitter pith. There is a bit of hands-on work involved with peeling and sectioning the oranges, but it isn't difficult, and the results are well worth it. Warning: it is addictive!" —Diana Rattray

Homemade Orange Marmalade Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 5 pounds ripe oranges

  • 4 cups water

  • 6 cups sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for orange marmalade recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Wash and dry the oranges. Using a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife, remove the brightly colored zest—and only the brightly colored zest—from the oranges. Be sure to leave behind any and all of the white pith directly underneath as it is very bitter.

    Thin layer of zest removed from oranges with a vegetable peeler and piled up on wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Chop the zest. Keep bigger pieces for a chunkier marmalade, and ribbon-like strips for a more spreadable result. Set the zest aside.

    Orange zest chopped finely into ribbon-like strips on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Cut the ends off the zested oranges and then, working with one orange at a time, cut off the thick white pith from around each orange. Discard the ends and white pith.

    Zested oranges with the ends cut off placed on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, hold a fully peeled orange and use a sharp knife to cut out each segment between the membranes that hold the sections together.

    Oranges without the pith being segmented with a knife over a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Once you've cut out all the fruit, squeeze any juice out of the membranes into the bowl of segmented fruit. Set the membrane aside, along with any seeds (the pectin in these will help "set" the marmalade later).

    Orange segments and juice from the membranes combined in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Combine the zest, fruit, juice, water, and sugar in a large, heavy pot and bring to a boil. Stir just until the sugar dissolves, then stop stirring.

    Orange juice, segments, zest, sugar, and water combined in a cooking pot

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Meanwhile, lay a double layer of cheesecloth in a medium bowl and put the membranes and seeds on top. Lift up the corners and tie the cheesecloth into a bag to hold the membranes and seeds.

    Orange membranes and seeds placed in a bowl lined with double cheesecloth

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. Add this "pectin bag" to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Place a couple of small plates in the freezer to chill.

    Cheesecloth bag with orange membranes added to cooking pot with marmalade mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  10. Meanwhile, bring the marmalade to 220 F and hold it there for 5 minutes. Be patient, this can take quite a while. Do not stir.

    Marmalade with cheesecloth pectin bag boiling and forming some foam in a cooking pot

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  11. Put a dollop of the mixture on a chilled plate. Swirl the plate to spread the mixture a bit and drag a spoon through the mixture. If the marmalade is set, the spoon will leave a trail, and you'll still be able to see the plate where you dragged the spoon.

    Small amount of marmalade spread with a spoon on a small plate

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  12. Remove the pectin bag, squeezing any marmalade out and back into the pot, and discard the bag. Take the marmalade off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Set up 3 clean pint jars with sealable lids (if canning, they should be hot and sterilized) next to the pot.

    Cooked translucent orange marmalade in a cooking pot and the cheesecloth bag removed

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  13. Stir the marmalade to distribute the zest evenly in the mixture. Use a ladle to transfer the marmalade into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of each jar. Put the lids on the jars and refrigerate, or you can proceed with canning.

    Orange marmalade filled into glass jar with a metal ladle

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Canning the Marmalade

If you are canning the marmalade, you can place a canning kettle full of water on to boil at the same time as you wait for the marmalade to reach a boil. When the canning kettle water reaches a simmer, sterilize the jars and lids for 5 minutes. Turn it up to a boil and follow the sterilization process. Then fill the jars with the marmalade and place the lids on the jars. Use a jar rack, if you have one, to lower the filled jars into the boiling water in the canning kettle. Make sure there is at least an inch of water over the jars. Boil for 10 minutes, lift the jars out of the water, and let cool.

How to Store

  • If you did not sterilize and process the jars in a canner, the marmalade will keep in the refrigerator for four weeks.
  • If the jars are processed in a water bath canner, they will be shelf-stable and will keep for up to a year, unopened.

Is Marmalade Healthier Than Jam?

There is not a huge difference between marmalade and jam health-wise, but marmalade does tend to contain a greater amount of sugar. If you are watching your sugar intake, you may want to stick with low-sugar jams and jellies.