Cranberry Orange Jam (Christmas Jam)

by Hanelore Dumitrache

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Tangy, sweet and spiced cranberry orange jam that’s perfect for Christmas. This easy to make cranberry marmalade takes only 30 minutes to make. Perfect to be used as cake filling, yoghurt topping or eaten with toast.

Cranberry orange jam spread on toast

When you think of winter flavours, cranberries are probably at the top of the list. Its tangy flavour works so well with both sweet and savoury dishes. Cranberry orange jam is the ultimate Christmas jam, with it spiced and warm flavours.

I love all things cranberries, from my Cranberry Christmas Cake, to easy Cranberry Lemon Bars or festive Cranberry Christmas Pie.

Fresh cranberries are only harvested once a year, between mid-September and early November. This makes cranberries hard to come by outside this timeframe, which is why I love making them into jam. Jams are a wonderful way of enjoying those beloved fruit flavours throughout the year. It’s also really handy to store some jars in the pantry when you need an easy cake filling.

Most people tend to shy away from homemade jams and preserves, thinking they’re time consuming to make. I’m here to disprove that and show you how easy and fun jam making can be!  

This recipe is for a small batch of cranberry orange jam and requires very little effort. If stored properly, this Christmas jam will hold for up to one year. You can double or triple the quantities if you have more cranberries and oranges on hand.

Cranberry orange jam on spoon close up

Is this jam or marmalade?

This recipe can be considered both jam and marmalade. Jams are typically made from fruit and sugar, whereas marmalade is made with citrus fruit, peel and juice.

In this recipe we have both cranberries, oranges and a little orange zest. Whatever you choose to call it – jam or marmalade, this Christmas recipe is nevertheless delicious.

The consistency of this cranberry orange jam is a little on the thicker side, but still soft and spreadable. The recipe is perfect for cake fillings, as it’s not too dense or too soft to leak out of the cake.

I like to use this recipe as cake fillings for Christmas recipes, such as my Cranberry Christmas Cake.

Cranberry orange jam in jar with spoon

How to use this jam

I absolutely love jams in all forms and flavours, and this cranberry orange jam takes the cake (pun intended).

There are so many creative ways you can use this jam, and here are some of my favourites:

  • As cake filling, see my recipe for Cranberry Christmas Cake
  • Sweet surprise inside cupcakes
  • Yoghurt and granola topping for a hint of sweetness
  • Crepe or pancake filling or topping
  • On toast, bagels or brioche – I recommend toasting them first and adding a little butter before the jam
  • In salad dressings for Thanksgiving or Christmas
  • For sweet and sour chicken recipes
  • Add a little sweetness to your Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches
  • Drizzled on baked brie
  • Topping for my Old-school Creamy Rice Pudding
  • Dipping sauce for charcuterie boards (especially Christmas themed ones)
  • As glaze on baked goods like babkas, muffins or pastries – such as my Christmas Babka Wreath
  • Filling for puff pastry
Cranberry orange jam as cake filling inside slice of cake

Ingredient round-up

Orange cranberry jam requires very simple ingredients, found in most kitchens. Apart from the fresh cranberries, the other ingredients can be found all year round.

Flatlay image of ingredients

Fresh cranberries – source them when they are in season, between September and November. You can also use frozen cranberries, but they will need thawing and draining of excess liquid.

Oranges – regular sweet oranges are best. You can also use tangerines or clementines. Make sure you peel the oranges properly, as well as remove the white skins on top. Leaving too much of the skin can make the jam taste bitter.

Orange zest – soak the orange in warm water with vinegar beforehand to remove wax and any dirt. Grate the peel using a citrus zester.  

Orange juice – ensure you use freshly squeezed orange juice for best results and flavour. I do not recommend using orange juice made from concentrate or synthetic flavours. I like to use a nifty little orange juicer to make fresh juice with ease.

Sugar – plain granulated sugar works best. Sugar is essential in making jam and preserving the fruit. Do not leave out the sugar or change the quantity dramatically. If you want to make sugar-free cranberry jam, I recommend adding liquid pectin instead.

Spices – a combination of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg gives this cranberry orange jam its Christmassy flavour. You can also use allspice or cloves powder in small quantities for an extra spiced flavour.

How to make cranberry orange jam

Orange cranberry jam takes around 30 minutes to prepare and it’s very easy to prepare. I like to start by prepping all my ingredients, washing the cranberries, soaking the oranges, peeling, juicing and zesting the oranges.

Collage of two images showing boiling cranberries and oranges in saucepan
  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, giving them a good mix to combine all the flavours.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the juices start to boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir every few minutes as the mixture cooks to help crush the fruit and prevent it from burning. The jam will go a little liquid before it starts to harden, so be patient until the mixture thickens.
  3. Pour the jam in sterilised jars when piping hot, all the way to the top. Cover with the lid immediately. The heat inside will seal the jar and make it completely airtight.  

Pro tip: to check if the jam is done, place a thin layer of jam on a plate, then chill in the freezer for 2-3 minutes. If it looks like a gel, it’s ready.

Cranberry orange jam spread on toast

How to store

If stored properly in jars, the cranberry orange marmalade will last for up to 1 year in the pantry. Ensure you pour the jam into jars while piping hot, then seal with a lid immediately. The heat will make the jar airtight, so you can store it at room temperature.

Once opened, the orange cranberry marmalade needs to be stored in the fridge and must be used within one month. Do not consume if the jam has formed mould on top.

Cranberry orange marmalade in small jars

Frequently asked questions

How do you make cranberry jam healthy?

You can make this recipe healthier by reducing the amount of sugar added. However, in the absence of sugar you will need to add extra pectin to help the jam set.

How long does cranberry orange jam last?

If adequately stored, this jam will last for at least 1 year. Once opened, the jar needs to be stored in the fridge and consumed within one month.

How to make cranberry jam without pectin?

This recipe does not require any additional pectin, as long as you use the full amount of sugar indicated. Pectin is only needed if you choose to reduce the sugar.

Cranberry orange jam in jar with spoon

If you enjoyed this recipe, you will love these too:

Cranberry Lemon Bars

Cranberry Christmas Cake

Christmas Cranberry Pie

Japanese Christmas Cake

Christmas Babka Wreath

If you’ve tried this recipe out, please don’t forget to rate and comment on this recipe. I love hearing from you, so feel free to reach out to me on social media as well and tag me in your posts!

Cranberry orange jam spread on toast

Cranberry Orange Jam (Christmas Jam)

Hanelore Dumitrache
Tangy, sweet and spiced cranberry orange jam that’s perfect for Christmas. This easy to make cranberry marmalade takes only 30minutes to make. Perfect to be used as cake filling, yoghurt topping or eaten with toast.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine International
Servings 3 regular jars
Calories 50 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries (450 grams)
  • 2 sweet oranges, medium
  • 1 juice of one orange
  • 1 zest of one orange
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder

Instructions
 

  • Take one orange and wash, zest and juice it. Wash the cranberries. Peel the two oranges, remove all white skins and cut oranges into smaller pieces.
  • Place the cranberries, peeled orange pieces, orange zest, orange juice, sugar and all the spices in a saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low. Stir ever 2-3 minutes to burst the cranberries and prevent it from burning. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the jam thickens.
  • Pour the piping hot jam into sterilised jars, up to the brim. Cover immediately with lid to create an airtight seal.

Notes

  • Nutritional value is estimative and it is calculated per serving (1 serving = 1 tablespoon of jam). 
Keyword christmas jam, cranberry orange jam, cranberry orange marmalade

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