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Orange Marmalade



A marmalade made with oranges peels in a small jar with a spoon.
Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Liberty Fennell

From David Lebovitz’s 2010 cookbook, Ready for Dessert, comes this easy orange marmalade recipe with a genius juicing method. By squeezing cut oranges over a mesh strainer, Lebovitz preserves the valuable seeds. He wraps them in cheesecloth and adds to the mixture of boiling water, sugar, and citrus—pith and all—on the stovetop, then simmers and steeps them overnight. Seeds contain a natural pectin that helps homemade marmalade set without thickeners like cornstarch. A very sharp serrated knife is the best tool for thinly slicing the oranges, which can be squishy and unwieldy after being juiced. Cognac or whiskey provides round, toasty flavors that complement the sweet-tart orange marmalade, but you can also use bourbon, dark rum, gin—or leave the booze out altogether.

Don’t ladle your homemade orange marmalade into whatever pint jars you have lying around, however: Dedicated canning jars are key. Use sterilized mason jars that can withstand high heat. Lebovitz’s recipe results in 8 jars of marmalade that will keep in your fridge for at least 6 months; if you want to preserve them via water bath, follow the canning instructions here.

Lebovitz’s marmalade recipe is primarily made from Seville oranges, but any sour orange variety can take their place. He incorporates single navel oranges for balanced sweetness. For the latter, you can swap in a Cara Cara orange, tangerine, a couple of clementines, or another sweet citrus fruit if you’ve already got them on hand.

This recipe was adapted for style from ‘Ready for Dessert’ by David Lebovitz. Buy the full book on Amazon.

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    1 hour 10 minutes plus overnight rest

  • Yield

    Makes eight ½-pint jars (8 cups)


6 Seville oranges or other sour oranges (2 lb./1 kg total weight), preferably organic, halved
1 navel orange, preferably organic, halved
Pinch of kosher or canning salt
8 cups (1.6 kg) sugar
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) cognac or whiskey (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Squeeze the juice and seeds from 6 Seville or other sour oranges, halved and 1 navel orange, preferably organic, halved into a mesh strainer set over a small bowl. After all the oranges have been squeezed, place seeds on a piece of cheesecloth, gather up the sides, and tie securely. Cut each rind in half and then slice as thinly as possible.

    Step 2

    Put the orange slices in a large pot or a Dutch oven. Add the reserved orange juice and bag of seeds, a pinch of kosher or canning salt, and 10 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand overnight at room temperature.

    Step 3

    The next day, stir in 8 cups (1.6 kg) sugar and set the pot over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then decrease the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture is not burning on the bottom, until the marmalade reaches the jelling point (220°F on an instant-read or candy thermometer; or use the wrinkle test to judge when it’s done by spooning a drop of the marmalade onto a small plate that’s been chilled in the freezer and pushing it with your finger—if the marmalade wrinkles, it’s ready, if it’s still syrupy, keep boiling). If white scum occasionally rises to the top, skim it off with a large spoon.

    Step 4

    Stir in 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) cognac or whiskey (if using) and, using a pair of tongs, remove the bag of seeds, squeezing with the tongs to extract as much marmalade from it as possible. Ladle the hot marmalade into clean jars. Wipe rims clean with a damp cloth, cover tightly, let cool, and refrigerate.

    Do Ahead: Marmalade can be made 6 months in advance and stored in the refrigerator. After opening, consume within 1 month.

    Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Liberty Fennell

    Editor’s note: This marmalade recipe was first printed online in December 2011.

Cover of David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert featuring plates of cookies and a glass of milk.
Reprinted with permission from Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes, copyright 2010 by David Lebovitz. Published by Ten Speed Press. All Rights Reserved. Buy the full book at Amazon or Bookshop.
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