Easy Christmas Jam – without pectin!

Easy Christmas Jam is a cranberry and apple jam, flavoured with orange and mixed spice (without pectin). Enjoy this wonderful jam at tea time as a spread or like cranberry sauce along with roast turkey.

Christmas Jam with close up of string bow on front or jar.

Making Easy Christmas Jam couldn’t be quicker or simpler as there is no muslin bag needed to be filled up with spices nor pectin to be added. Plus, you only need one punnet of cranberries as the addition of apple makes them go further.

How this Easy Christmas Jam evolved!

I have to admit I’ve only ever had commercially made Christmas Jam before which I wasn’t a fan of as found them heavy going due to the wine or port in them.

So, after buying a punnet (box) of cranberries on a whim the other day I decided it was time to make a Christmas Jam that was lighter than the ones I’d had.

Also, at the back of my mind was a conversation I’d had with my son about the cranberry sauce I’d made for our Christmas dinner last year (a first). It was hot, slightly tart and went down like a lead balloon here.

I think, after years of serving sweet Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce or Jelly, the leap to homemade Cranberry Sauce which is an altogether different beast, was just too much!

Hence, my son asked if I could make something more like the commercial cranberry sauce/jelly. I’ll admit I was just aiming for jam in this recipe but it works perfectly as jam or a cranberry sauce/jelly.

I’d only ever made cranberries into Cranberry Curd before but was totally blown away with the flavour of this spiced cranberry jam. I may just have had some with cheese and biscuits!

The apple brings a freshness to the jam, the orange juice and zest a subtle hint of citrus and the mixed spice a lovely Christmassy flavour. If you’re not a fan of mixed spice you can just leave out.

Easy Christmas Jam in a jar with teaspoon in moody festive setting.


What are the Ingredients in Easy Christmas Jam?

  • 1 punnet (box) of cranberries
  • 2 – 3 cooking apples
  • 1 – 2 oranges (zest & juice)
  • ¼ teaspoon mixed spice (which is a blend of ground cinnamon, coriander, caraway, nutmeg, ginger and cloves)
  • 600 g Granulated sugar

Christmas Jam in a festive scene with tealight holders.

How do you make this jam?

  • Begin by rinsing cranberries and juicing/zesting 1 to 2 oranges (see recipe below for exact instructions)
  • Peel, core and finely slice the apple. (Weigh as you go along to get the correct weight).
  • Add the cranberries, apple slices, mixed spice, orange juice and zest to a preserving pan (or similar) with a tight-fitting lid.
  • On a low heat (with lid on), simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the apple has softened and all the cranberries have popped.
  • Lower the heat, stir in the sugar and break down the apple slices with the back of a spoon. (Do not simmer)!
  • Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Bring to a rolling boil and time for 5 minutes (or until 104°C is reached on a digital thermometer), then remove from heat.
  • To test for set, place a few drops of jam on a chilled saucer and return to fridge for 30 seconds.
  • Push you finger through the jam which shouldn’t be watery anymore but gel like and form a crinkle.
  • If jam hasn’t reached setting point, bring back to a rolling boil and time for another minute and repeat test until ready.
  • Pot up immediately into hot jars (a jam funnel is really handy) and clip or screw on lids.

Christmas Jam in Weck jar with teaspoon with festive lights and decor.

Why is there no added pectin or lemon juice in this jam recipe?

Cranberries and cooking apples are naturally rich in pectin and acid so there is no need for any additional pectin or lemon juice to help with the gel formation.

Landscape overhead shot of Christmas Jam looking into jar.

What does Christmas Jam go with?

  • Easy Christmas Jam goes with so many foods!
  • Enjoy on toast, scones, croissant, bread etc.
  • Serve like cranberry sauce/jelly along with your festive roast turkey dinner.
  • Warm it through and served with a nut roast.
  • Serve with your cheeseboard or melted Camembert!
  • Any recipe that calls for cranberry sauce/jelly as an ingredient.

Overhead shot of Easy Christmas Jam looking into jar.

Recipes that go well with Christmas Jam!

Any dish that you would serve with cranberry sauce or jelly, will go well with this jam!

Nut Roast (vegan & gluten-free) angled view.

Nut Roast (vegan & gluten free)

Recipes you could use this jam in!

Brie & Cranberry Tear & Share Wreath - Fab Food 4 All #Brie #Cranberry #Christmas #Buffet #PuffPastry #CheeseStraws

Brie & Cranberry Tear n Share Wreath

More Preserves for Holiday Gifting

Christmas Jam is the perfect festive gift. Here are some more preserves that would also make great gifts:

Cranberry Curd

I think you’ll love my Easy Christmas Jam recipe as it’s so versatile, fruity and delicious!

Do leave a comment or share your creations with me over on Instagram or any other social media, I’m on all of them! Just tag @FabFood4All and I’ll get notified!

Pin for later!

Easy Christmas Jam - Pinterest image.

Easy Christmas Jam

Easy Christmas Jam is a cranberry and apple jam, flavoured with orange and mixed spice (without pectin). Enjoy at tea time as a spread or as a condiment with roast turkey, cheese etc. Perfect for gifting!

Keyword jam, preserve, quick
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes


  • 300 g cranberries
  • 300 g cooking apples Bramley apples, weight when peeled, cored & quartered
  • 150 ml freshly squeezed orange juice from 1 – 2 oranges
  • 2 teaspoon grated orange zest from 1 – 2 oranges
  • ¼ teaspoon mixed spice optional
  • 600 g granulated sugar


  • Thinly slice the apple quarters (from top to bottom).

  • Place in a preserving pan (or similar) with cranberries, orange juice, orange zest and mixed spice.

  • Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and gently simmer for about 10 minutes or until apple is softened and cranberries have all popped.

  • Lower the heat, add the sugar and stir until dissolved, whilst breaking up the apple with the back of a wooden spoon.

  • Bring the pan to a rolling boil on a high heat and time for 5 minutes (or until 104°C is reached on a digital or jam thermometer) stirring continuously then remove from heat.

  • Test for set by pouring a few drops of jam onto a chilled saucer, then put in fridge for 30 seconds.

  • Push a finger through the jam which should no longer be watery and form a gel like crinkle. (Harder to see in this jam as it’s so fruity but you’ll know if it’s standing upright on the plate).

  • Pot up immediately into hot jars (using a ladle and jam funnel if you have one) and screw or clip on lids whilst jam is still hot.

  • Jam is ready to serve once cool.

  • Store in a cool, dry, dark place and once open in the fridge (use within a few months). For best quality and colour eat within 12 months but will be safe to eat for years.


Place 2 saucers/small plates in the freezer.
Sterilise 4 x 220 ml jars by washing in hot soapy water (or take straight from dishwasher), fill with boiling water, empty and then place in oven for 20 minutes at 140°C where you leave them until the jam is ready. Washed lids should be sterilised with boiling water and then left to drain (if still wet place in oven once you’ve turned the heat off and run with just the fan for a few minutes).

#Easy #Christmas #Jam #pectin

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