Skip to main content

Old-Fashioned Raspberry Jam



A jar of raspberry jam next to a plate of toast.
Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne

This homemade raspberry jam recipe has no lemon juice, pectin, or other add-ins, just the berries and sugar. Adding pectin “necessitates more sugar,” says Eleanor Topp, author of The Complete Book of Year-Round Small-Batch Preserving. And using more sugar “dilutes the natural flavor of the fruit.” She also notes that while not adding pectin requires more careful cooking, the result is an intensely fruity spread that tastes like summer, no matter when you open the jar. With nothing to hide behind, the quality of the fruit is paramount, so make this recipe when fresh raspberries are at their peak—otherwise, look to the freezer aisle since frozen raspberries are picked at their ripest and flash-frozen. While it may be tempting to use even less sugar, don’t. Using the right amount of sugar ensures the finished product is safe to preserve.

If you’re new to jam-making, you’ll need to pick up a few essentials, like glass jars, canning tongs, wooden spoons, and a wide-mouth funnel. Be sure to wear an old long-sleeve shirt that will protect your arms from hot jam splatters. If you’d rather not preserve your jam in a water bath, you can easily halve or quarter the recipe and store the finished jam in your fridge for about 3 weeks.

Whichever way you go, the efforts are worth the payoff. You’ll thank yourself come wintertime when you slick this onto scones for brunch, use it in the ultimate PB&J, dollop a spoonful on ice cream, or serve it with cheese and crackers for a holiday appetizer.

This recipe was adapted for style from ‘The Complete Book of Year-Round Small-Batch Preserving’ by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. Buy the full book on Amazon.

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    20 minutes plus canning time

  • Yield

    Makes 4 cups (1 L)


4 cups (800 g) granulated sugar
4 cups (480 g) raspberries


  1. Step 1

    Partially fill a boiling-water canner with hot water. Place four 8-oz. canning jars in the canner (if you have a smaller canner, do this in batches). Have a kettle with boiling water handy to top up the water level in the canner after you have put in the jars. Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Boil for at least 10 minutes to sterilize jars. Remove jars from canner with jar tongs and transfer upside down to a wire rack.

    Note: To make a small boiling-water canner, tie several screw bands together with string or use a small round wire rack in the bottom of a large covered Dutch oven. Be sure the pan is high enough for 2" (5 cm) of water to cover the jars when they are sitting on the rack.

    Step 2

    Place 4 cups (800 g) granulated sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan and warm in a 250°F (120°C) oven for 15 minutes. (Warm sugar dissolves better.)

    Step 3

    Place 4 cups (480 g) raspberries in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, mashing berries with a potato masher as they heat. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add warm sugar, return to a boil until the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes.

    Step 4

    To determine if jam is done, dip a chilled metal spoon into the hot fruit mixture; immediately lift it out and away from the steam and turn it horizontally. At the beginning of the cooking process, the liquid will drip off in light, syrupy drops. Try again a minute or two later—the drops will be heavier. The jam is done when the drops are very thick and two run together before falling off the spoon. Approximately 5 minutes before you are ready to fill the jars, place lids in hot or boiling water according to manufacturer's directions.

    Step 5

    Ladle jam into hot sterilized jars to within ½" (1 cm) of top rim (headspace). To remove trapped air bubbles, slide a clean small wooden or plastic spatula between glass and jam; readjust the headspace to ½" (1 cm). Wipe the jar rim to remove any stickiness. Center lid on jar; apply screw band just until fingertip tight.

    Step 6

    Place jars in canner and adjust water level to cover jars by 1–2” (2.5–5 cm). Cover canner and return water to boil. Begin timing when water returns to a boil. Process for 5 minutes.

    Step 7

    Remove jars from canner to a surface covered with newspapers or with several layers of paper towels and cool at room temperature for 24 hours. Check jar seals (sealed lids turn downward). Label jars with contents and date and store in a cool, dark place.

    Editor's note: This raspberry jam recipe was first printed on Epicurious in May 2006. Head this way for more of our best raspberry recipes

Image may contain: Plant, Food, Jam, Fruit, and Jar
From The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Eleanor Topp and Margaret Howard © 2001. Reprinted with permission from Firefly Books Ltd. Buy the full book at Amazon or Thrift Books.
Sign In or Subscribe
to leave a Rating or Review

How would you rate Old-Fashioned Raspberry Jam?

Leave a Review

Reviews (110)

Back to TopTriangle
  • first recipe I tried on here it was easy and tastes great, first jam I've ever made! THX

    • sssteph3000

    • wa state

    • 7/20/2005

  • excellent and easy!

    • Anonymous

    • central, TX

    • 8/3/2005

  • Wonderful recipe, and easy to make! Would 100% make it again.

    • Anonymous

    • New Haven, CT

    • 9/7/2005

  • I had never made jam before, but this was FANTASTIC. My mother helped me and said she'd had lots of problems getting jam to set by adjusting the sugar in recipes with pectin. We did this and the jam started to set within minutes of starting to cool. It was so easy and tastes delicious...Just like the fruit. We also tried raspberry strawberry and blackberry always with the same ratio. Perfect. No need to buy store jam again.

    • rhodap

    • Northville, MI

    • 9/11/2005

  • great!!! Just like Grandma's. I did have a tough time figuring out how long to process preserves once jars are filled and in water. Wish that was clearer.

    • lmonti

    • barrington, ri

    • 9/14/2005

  • Heavenly flavor. I usually make strawberry jam with just sugar and berries and this was even better! Obviously you have to cook it longer than it says to but it is worth it. Also warming the sugar is not recommended- it forms a crust and is hard to get in the pot. I used fresh picked berries and the taste was fabulous. I will definitely make this again next year, but not warm the sugar (believe me it will dissolve just fine). I wish I had a lot more.

    • tamaraann1

    • Minnesota

    • 7/11/2007

  • This is fantasic! This year was my first time making jam or jelly. Recipe was easy to follow and make. Followed the recipe, jam set up right away. Excellent flavor. We have had guests over and they love it -- they went home with some!

    • sadee55

    • 7/21/2007

See Related Recipes and Cooking Tips

Read More
Wait to make this tomato-watermelon gazpacho until it’s the scorching second half of summer when your farmers market is bursting with juicy tomatoes.
Thin slices of summer squash are rolled up with cool, creamy ricotta and herbs for an Italian-inspired bite that guests can pop into their mouths.
A fast and easy marinade, tangy pickled onions, and tender seared fillets make these fish tacos a weeknight favorite.
These air-fryer turkey cutlets are breaded in stuffing mix, but you can easily swap in Italian-seasoned dried bread crumbs, corn flakes, or crackers.
A salty peanut butter-filled pretzel crust paired with a sweet, creamy peanut butter filling makes for an abundance of peanut butter delight.
This vegan bánh mì is layered with marinated tofu and seitan flavored with char siu seasoning mix, plus a bean-based vegan pâté.
This simple recipe—a seriously good celebration of high summer—deserves the very best tomatoes you can find.
Known as one of the mother sauces of African cuisine, mafé can be paired with chicken, fish, vegetables, rice, or pretty much whatever you want.