How to Make Berry Jam

Easy Homemade Berry Jam Recipe

January 29, 2019


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Learn how to make berry jam in no time! Here’s a quick and easy berry jam recipe with just two ingredients. Importantly, this simple jam has that naturally delicious, flavor-packed taste that all jam lovers crave.

How to Make Berry Jam

For this home-style recipe, you simply need equal parts berries and sugar. Skip the fruit pectin. Though it helps jam solidify, it can also dilute the natural flavor of the fruit. You may need to cook the fruit a bit longer, but it’s worth it for that old-fashioned taste.

For making this jam, any soft fruit will do, including raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, or even rhubarb.

We like to use boysenberries grown in our community garden. I love the intense flavor of the boysenberry—which resembles a red blackberry (and is in fact a cross of several types of berries). Another favorite is classic strawberry jam, especially with fresh-picked strawberries. Extra points if you grow your own!


The berries were frozen last season and we had to make room in the freezer for this year’s crop. In fact, we made this jam right in the old garden shed, with an electric kettle and single burner stove; I’d run out to the garden faucet to fill up bottles with fresh water!

Note: This recipe does not involve processing with a hot water bath as you would with a larger (or commercial) canning project. We are, however, placing the jars and lids in a pot with boiling hot water (while the berries cook). If you are concerned with safety, just pop your homemade jam in the fridge.

This is a small-batch recipe that is meant to be quick and easy—any time you have some berries on hand from the garden or market or a day of berry picking!

Jam Ingredients and Materials

  • The night before, defrost fresh berries if they’re frozen. (If you have a blueberry bush or love to have blueberries around, you can freeze your blueberries and use them in jam whenever you want!)
  • Put a small plate (on its own) in the freezer to chill.
  • Have clean glass jars and lids on hand. We used small jars to sell at a school fair.
  • We had about 4 pounds of berries and used almost the same amount of sugar.

If you don’t want to make such a large batch, use the following recipe, which measures by cups:

  • 4 cups berries
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • YIELD: Makes 4 cups.

Note: You can use one-third less sugar, but you need sugar for the jam to gel properly.

Directions: How to Make Jam

  • Put the clean berries in a large stainless steel pot. Bring to a full, steady boil over high heat until the berries reduce and there aren’t any large lumps left. There is no need to include water while boiling, as the berries have plenty of moisture themselves. Stir consistently.


  • Weigh the sugar and add to the berries or add the measured sugar in a steady stream. Keep stirring until sugar is dissolved. Tip: If you feel the bottom of the pot and it’s “crunchy” with sugar, then it’s not ready.


  • Now bring the mixture to a rolling, bubbling boil on the highest heat. Add a thermometer, if you have one, to ensure that the temperature is as far above boiling point as possible. Some cooking thermometers have a “jam” marking.


  • While the jam is cooking, sterilize the glass jars and lids in boiling water.
  • Tip: To determine when the jam is ready, do the “wrinkle test.” Take the cold plate out of the freezer and spoon a teaspoon of berry liquid on the plate. Push your finger against the liquid. Is it thick enough to wrinkle? If so, the cooked jam has reached a setting point.


  • Remove the berry sauce from the heat. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour the cooked berry mix into your hot sterilized jars.


  • Place the lids on the jars at once and twist them tightly. You should hear the heat cause the jar to “snap” or seal. If you don’t hear the pop, definitely put the jar in the refrigerator and not in the cupboard.
  • Note: USDA guidelines for food safety recommend a boiling water bath for high-acid foods. If you are going to store the jam for a longer period, it’s advisable to put the jars through a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. This recipe is for jam that you’ll be eating soon!


After making this jam, I was given two jars to take home! The next morning, we were ready to spread pure boysenberry goodness on our morning toast. Do you think my taste tester liked the homemade jam?


For more canning and jam-making tips and recipes, see How to Make Jams and Preserves. Also see our Canning and Pickling Article Library and our Pickles and Preserves Recipes page to find many more great jam recipes!

Do you make jam at home? Share your tips in the comments below!

About This Blog

Here at the Almanac, we love to cook, bake, grill, roast, and eat! We'll show you how to make some delicious recipes.

Reader Comments

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How do you adjust the sugar when straining the seeds put of the pulp?

how to make berry jam

Hi, Sherry. In our recipe, we do not strain the seeds. We hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do!

mmmm, looks delicious!

Thank you for posting! Your recipe and tips are very clear, and I can’t wait to make some more jam this weekend. I have made a few batches of jam lately and have always found the recipes to be missing something, often it’s how to tell when the jam is ready, your tips on how to tell are easy to incorporate into my jam making adventures. I have also had to substitute quantities and some ingredients at times so it’s great to have this recipe available with handy notes and tips every step of the way through the process. I especially like the tip about adding less sugar as I have found many of my jams to be too sweet, I will be trying this to see if the current recipe I follow still works, I can see from some other commenters they have done this with success. I am still an amateur jam maker, so I like to see blogs such as yours that are informative and inspiring, thanks again.


Think maybe it should say 'start cooking from a low to medium heat bringing it up to boil. Cuz I did it on a high heat and cost me one burnt finger,black as spades saucepan and basically blackberry toffee oh and a ruined sieve lol

Sweet! Yikes...

I loved this recipe. The pictures are a great addition. I made it twice. The first time I used 6 cups of blackberries to 3 cups sugar. The flavor was really good, even with me cooking it too long. It jelled a little too well! The second time I used 9 cups of blackberries to 3 3/4 cups of sugar. It has set up beautifully. Still quite sweet for my taste. I will definitely use this again and keep tinkering until I get it to the sweetness level I like.

PS--To the person who said this won't set up by adjusting the sugar, it does. Very well. Enjoy making jams!!!

Strawberry Jam

i used 1 cup sugar to your 3.4 cup for my 4 cup jam is that all right? so help Like it sweeter. Please reply. Thanks

easy berry jam

Hi! I haven’t tried changing the amount of sugar but a little extra or a little less shouldn’t make a difference. Sugar is what makes it gel though, so you’ll probably need at least half of that amount. Let us know how it works and enjoy!

Making Jam

Love it! This is exactly the way I make various jams from home grown or market bought fruits and berries; raspberry, blueberry, peach, fig etc. Works every time

Sour 'Ornamental Cherries'

I have 2 trees with so-called 'ornamental' cherries - very sour/bitter. Is there any recipe to use for such fruit? It seems like such a waste to not harvest and preserve these lovely looking cherries.


Most ornamental cherries are safe to eat.  The fruit tends to be bitter so it is indeed best used in jams and jellies.

Regarding a great jam recipe

This is the best recipe for jam I have ever found.You give simple step by step instructions which are so easy to follow which leaves no room for error.A big THANKYOU..........

Sugar in the jams

Great article and I can't wait to dive in with the jam making. I just wanted to ask if switching regular sugar to actual cane sugar would affect anything ? Would the ratio still be the same or would it differ ?

making jam

The Editors's picture

We haven’t tried it, but generally there isn’t enough of a significant distinction to make a difference between natural cane sugar and conventional granulated sugar in most recipes.

Blackberry Jam

Made this jam turned out perfect!!!! Will never use another recipe for Jam. I added a little lemon juice to cut the sweetness....

I am so glad I found your

I am so glad I found your page. I used to make Jam and Jelly this way, except I put wax on the top before I put the cap on. I hadn't made Jam for at least 20 years and when I went to look up recipes they all said to boil in a water bath. I never had trouble with spoilage doing it my/your way in the past but was hesitant to make it the way I used to. I had kept some Jellies and chutney for almost a year. thank you for giving me the confidence to make jam the way I used to!

Mixed berries?

Can you use mixed berries for the jam? I have some blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries in the freezer and was wondering if I could mix them to make a mixed berry jam with this recipe.

Mixed Berry Jam

The Editors's picture

Absolutely! For this recipe, you can certainly mix the berries if you wish. Let us know how it tastes!

Peach jam or preserves

Do I peel peaches? Or can I just put them in blender

Peach Jam

People have different options on this. Some believe a jam should include peach skins, but also do wash the “fuzzy” outer skin very thoroughly. If you’re using a blender or food processor, the peaches should get finely chopped though I haven’t tried this.
Others feel a jam should have the skin. If you don’t want any skin or stringiness, I’d peel. To remove the skins easily, dip the fruit in boiling water for about 1 to 2 minutes and then into cold water. 

It Worked!

I am sitting here eating a (small) piece of pound cake with blackberry preserves! And it is Not running down the sides and onto my (white) blouse!!!!!
YOU are a Rockstar!

My 80-yr old neighbor said it couldn't be Dobe w/out pectin!

HorseHockey! It is The Best!!! Thank you soooooo much!!

Tahlequah OK

Why, I can’t stop smiling!

Why, I can’t stop smiling! Sounds delicious. Glad you enjoyed (and didn’t stain your white top)!

Boiling water?

I'm a beginner, so pardon my lack of knowledge on this, but when boiling the berries how much water do I need, or is any water involved in boing the berries?

making berry jam

Hi Lee, We don’t use any water boiling the berries; there’s already a lot of moisture in the berries.

I hope I will make it right.

I hope I will make it right. My berries are high over several Junipers. They haven't been spray with anything, just rain. Should I deep wash them before cooking and how dried should they be if I wash them ?

Yes, you should wash the

Yes, you should wash the fruit in plain cold water right before you use it. Pick off stems and leaves. 

Is there another way of

Is there another way of figuring out the berry/sugar ratio other than by weight. We do not have a way of figuring out weight in the kitchen or house. I've heard the "a cup of sugar for every cup of berries". Is there any truth behind this? Thank you!

For every cup of fruit you

Yes, it's usual equal (berries to sugar). The sugar is needed for the jam to gel. You can use less sugar. For every cup of fruit you use, you can add 3/4 cup of sugar.

Can I use different fruits if

Can I use different fruits if the berries are not in season. If so which ones can I use

Absolutely! As mentioned

The Editors's picture

Absolutely! As mentioned above, any soft fruit will work with this jam recipe, including raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, or rhubarb.

I am always afraid to try

I am always afraid to try putting anything up (as my aunts used to say) as I don't have the equipment. NOW I have no excuse! This looks so easy!!
Side note - Catherine, I shared this page to Pinterest and it was so easy!! Worked like a charm! Great website work!

Many thanks for the kind

Many thanks for the kind words and smile, Tensie. Happy to hear you found the jam recipes so easy—and appreciate the Pinterest share, too! 

How does one remove the

How does one remove the seeds? Do you puree the berries first then strain it through a fine mesh or cheesecloth or wait until cooked and do it? I have recipes requiring seedless berry jams and also relatives with false teeth who complain the seeds get under their dental plates. I'd like to try using homemade jam in those recipes instead of boughten seedless jam to avoid the extra chemicals used in commercial products.

I'd suggest trying cheese

I'd suggest trying cheese cloth. You'd want to cook the berries and sugar first, let the mixture cool so it can be handled, and then press it through a cheese cloth-lined bowl. This should catch most of the seeds, though not all. 

I have used a food mill to

I have used a food mill to remove the majority of the seeds. I rinsed my freshly picked blackberries first. Then I placed them in a small sauce pan with a little bit of apple juice and heated to just before a boil. Removed from heat and placed in my hand crank food mill a small amount at a time and processed them this way. What i ended up with was a nearly seedless end product already mashed and ready for this recipe.

Is very easy to stain out the

Is very easy to stain out the seeds by pressing the cooked, crushed berries through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the seeds and return the seedless pulp to the pot, then add the sugar and continue with the recipe. If you strain the seeds after adding the sugar do it right away, before the jam has thickened, then return it to the heat and cook it until it sets.

Totally the way my Gramma

Totally the way my Gramma Siemen and I used to make berry jam. We used to do the works: Pick the berries to make the batch. Any berry you have access to is good as they all process the same. The only difference is I have made this using fresh peaches. I used very ripe ones, and decreased the sugar by 1/4. Just follow the above recipe, and you can't go wrong.

Thanks, Theresa. I'll try

Thanks, Theresa. I'll try cutting the sugar by 1/4 next time! Peaches sound divine.

Is there a way to do this

Is there a way to do this without sugar? Will the fruit set up without sugar, can I add honey or stevia later? Thanks.

Yes, you can substitute sugar

Yes, you can substitute sugar with Stevia or a half-and-half mix, however, you probably need to add a no-sugar pectin as an ingredient to help it set well. Only real sugars (honey, sugar, and fruit juice) give a firm set and also strong flavor (versus bland). Honey sounds like a great idea; you can use the equivalent amount. We haven't tried the recipe this way; if you do, let us know how it turns out!

I have oodles of blackberry

I have oodles of blackberry bushes in my back yard. I usually make wild blackberry pies every year but you've piqued my interest! When my berries are all ripened up, I'm making some wild blackberry jam with this recipe! Thank you, kindly.

Why does this not need to be

Why does this not need to be water bath processed?

USDA guidelines are for food

USDA guidelines are for food safety and recommend a boiling water bath for high-acid foods or pressure canning for low-acid foods. If you are going to store the jam for a longer period, it's advisable to put the jars through a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.



Water bath timing

You also need to let people know to adjust for altitude. Recipes are given for sea level. It is a safety issue.

How long will it keep on the

How long will it keep on the shelf .

We've kept our jars up to 6

We've kept our jars up to 6 months without problem as the lids are airtight and "snap" when sealed.
However, if you don't hear that "snap" or you are concerned, just keep in fridge for 1 month. Make it and enjoy it right away!
Another way to store the jam is to freeze it in freezer bags or containers.

Sugar content

How important is the sugar in the preserving process? I started decreasing the sugar in my jams a few years ago and I'm down to only 1 cup per 4 cups of sweet fruit. Everyone loves them and still no pectin. But I'm still doing a water bath and I add 1 t of lemon juice per cup of fruit. My small jars always snap seal when lidded. Can I avoid the water bath with less sugar?

Are the berries being cooked

Are the berries being cooked in a double boiler to avoid scorching?

Nope. The pot used in his

Nope. The pot used in his picture is all that was used and there were no issues. We'd advise using a large, wide-based pan so that the berries will be ready faster.

That certainly looks

That certainly looks yummy....I'll have to give it a try. I've always used pectin but I think this sounds better!

Very nice article Catherine.

Very nice article Catherine. If I get ambitious I may try this. Hope you and your family are enjoying your new home. Next time you come back to Peterborough, let's meet up at Harlows for a beer!

Thank you, Peter. Good to

Thank you, Peter. Good to hear from you on my blog. Go berry picking at Rosaly's farm, grab some sugar, and you're all set to make this jam recipe! I'll be back for peak foliage near Columbus Day and would love to meet up at Harlows! Take care, Catherine


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