Try this homemade marmalade, then check out our grapefruit marmalade, marmalade cake, marmalade chicken and more marmalade recipes.

Traditionally, marmalade is made with the intensely zesty, bitter oranges from Seville, which are in season in a brief window from mid-December to mid-February. When buying, make sure the skin feels oily – a fingernail dragged along the skin should burst the surface, releasing an orange zest aroma. The rules, however – as with jam-making – remain the same, so feel free to experiment with whatever kind of citrus fruit marmalade you like.

How to make the perfect marmalade

How do you make marmalade sweet?

If you’ve ever bitten on seville orange peel, you’ll know how intensely bitter it is. The first boil in this process removes that excess bitterness. It also extracts pectin from the fruit and then concentrates it as the water reduces.

How do you get the right marmalade consistency?

Pectin is naturally found in the cell walls of plants and fruits, and has been used as a thickening agent for centuries. A high concentration of it is found in the piths and pips of citrus fruits, which is why it’s traditional to boil the pips wrapped in muslin, before squeezing out as much of the pectin as possible.

What type of sugar should you use to make marmalade?

The sugar draws the water away from the pectin, forcing the pectin strands to begin to knit together. After a rapid boil the sugar thickens and the pectin reforms into a gel consistency.

Combining two kinds of sugar means that the high levels of pectin in the preserving sugar are complemented with a hint of caramel sweetness from the golden caster sugar.

How do you sterilise a jar for marmalade?

Once fruit has been turned into marmalade and put into a jar, it will keep, sealed, for up to six months. However, this is only the case if the jars are completely sterile. If any bacteria gets into the jar, it will shorten the marmalade’s lifespan considerably. To sterilise the jars, wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water, rinse well, then put in an oven at 120C/fan 100C/gas ½ for 10-15 minutes until piping hot.

Marmalade recipe


  • 1kg Seville oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 1.5kg jam sugar


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 120C/fan 100C/gas ½. Wash six jam jars with warm soapy water then put into the oven for 45 minutes to sterilise. Cut the oranges and two of the lemons in half, then squeeze really well to remove as much juice and flesh as possible. Pour this into a large pan, catching any pith or pips in a sieve. Transfer these into a muslin cloth.

  • STEP 2

    Cut the orange and lemon halves into quarters then remove all of the thick pith, putting this into the muslin too. Shred the peel into 2mm-thick slices, then put into the pan. Tie the muslin up tight and add to the pan with 2 litres of water. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for 2 hours until the peel is very soft. Remove the muslin bag into a bowl and allow to cool, then squeeze it back into the pan, trying to get every last drop out.

  • STEP 3

    Put a plate into the freezer and add the sugar to the pan. Simmer the marmalade for 20-25 minutes or until thickened, stirring regularly and also skimming any scum off the surface. Put a teaspoonful onto the frozen plate then leave for a minute. When the marmalade is ready it will form a skin and wrinkle when touched with your finger. If it doesn’t pass the wrinkle test, keep boiling and test again after another 15 minutes. Juice the remaining lemon and stir into the marmalade. Divide between the jars and seal the lids. Kept in a cool, dark place and left unopened it will last for six months. Once opened, keep in the fridge and use within one month.

*This recipe is gluten free according to industry standards

Check out more delicious marmalade recipes

orange marmalade slump cake


Adam Bush Chef Portrait
Adam BushDeputy food editor

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