The process of making small batch refrigerator jam is incredibly easy, quick, and versatile for any fruit or flavor combination. Use this base recipe to make strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, peach, or other delicious flavors of jam! 

Refrigerator Jam on a Biscuit


Skill Level: Beginner

This simple recipe for refrigerator jam is a template to use for any fruit combination! This recipe works well with both fresh and frozen fruit and makes a small batch meant to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Homemade jam not only elevates your toast game but is delicious topped over yogurt, ice cream, or used as cake filling.

Quick Jam Flavor Ideas

  • Blueberry + Ginger
  • Strawberry + Basil + Lemon
  • Raspberry + Mint
  • Blackberry + Cinnamon
  • Peach + Blueberry
raspberry jam filled in homemade pop tarts
Homemade puff pastry pop tarts filled with raspberry jam

Simple ingredients in homemade jam

Fresh or frozen fruits: Have fun with it! Choose your favorite fruits that are in season or use a combination of fruits. No need to thaw the fruit if using frozen.

Water: The water in this recipe will boil off giving time for the sugar to melt and dissolve before burning.

Granulated sugar: The sugar as well as the liquid from the fruit come together to make a syrup. As the mixture cooks, the moisture begins to evaporate and the sugar syrup will thicken.

Salt: A pinch of salt, although optional, is recommended to balance out the sweetness in the fruit and added sugar.

Lemon Juice: In addition to adding some flavor, the acidity of lemon juice helps the natural pectin released from the fruit to set. This gives it a jammy consistency.

How to make refrigerator jam

Start by preparing the fruits. Rinse them thoroughly and remove the stems and pits. If using larger fruits like strawberries or peaches, slice into smaller chunks. If using smaller fruits like blueberries or raspberries, leave them whole.

fruit, sugar, and other ingredients in saucepan ready to make jam

Place the fruit, lemon juice, sugar, water, and a pinch of salt into a medium saucepan. Stir together and heat on low until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium and let it boil gently.

Mash the larger pieces of fruit with the back of a spoon or potato masher depending on your preference. I like a slightly chunkier jam.

Gently boil for about 20-25 minutes until all of the juices have thickened, stirring occasionally. At first, you’ll notice a lot of bubbles and foam as the water boils off. As it continues to cook, the water will evaporate causing the mixture to thicken.

A good way to test if it’s ready is by spooning a bit of jam onto a plate and freezing it for about 2 minutes. Push the jam around on the plate: if it has a gelatinous jammy consistency, it is ready. If it’s still liquid then continue cooking.

Remove the saucepan from the pan and let cool completely. Transfer the jam to an airtight container and refrigerate.


  • Be careful not to overcook the fruit during this process. The mixture will seem too thin, but will thicken up as it cools.
  • Boiling sugar is incredibly hot. Use caution when stirring to not splatter the mixture.
  • If you want to add fresh herbs into your jam, such as basil, mint, or thyme, do it during the last few minutes of the cooking process to retain their bright flavor.


Refrigerator: Homemade jam made without pectin can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Freezer: When freezing, be sure to leave enough room at the top of the container to allow the jam to expand when frozen. Freeze for up to 3 months. Move to the refrigerator to thaw for at least 2 hours.


Do I need to add pectin?

Pectin is a natural component found in most fruits and plants. Different fruits contain varying levels of pectin. It’s what gives jam its thickness.

Some jam and jelly recipes call for commercial pectin to be added to the fruit mixture before cooking. It helps to speed up the cooking process and will preserve it for longer. There are pros and cons of making jam with commercial pectin but to make a simple jam suitable for home use, I often do without.


Homemade jam can be used in so many different ways besides spreading over toast! I love to make homemade parfaits by combining yogurt, jam, and granola. 

Some other great uses include: cake filling, pop tart filling, swirled into ice cream, topped over warm pancakes, and the star ingredient in nostalgic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.


Jam and jelly are commonly used interchangeably but there are some differences. Jams are made by smashing whole fruits leaving in the seeds and small chunks of fruit. Jellies are made with fruit juices, are entirely smooth and more gelatinous, and don’t contain fruit chunks.


If you enjoyed this recipe, you might like to try these other delicious recipes.

Refrigerator jam on a biscuit
Yield: 1 ½ cups (12 ounces)

Small Batch Refrigerator Jam

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

This recipe is for a small batch of refrigerator jam made without pectin. Use this base recipe to make strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, or other flavors of jam!


  • 448 grams (1 pound) fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, or peaches all work well)
  • 60 grams (¼ cup, 60 milliliters) water
  • 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • large pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice



  1. Prepare the fruit (448 grams / 1 pound) by washing and removing any stems, peels, or pits if applicable. Roughly chop the fruit into large chunks. Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries can all remain whole.

Make the Jam

  1. In a saucepan (at least 2 quarts in size) combine the fruit, water (60 grams (¼ cup), granulated sugar (200 grams/ 1 cup), salt (large pinch), and lemon juice (1 tablespoon) over medium heat. Mash the fruit and sugar with a potato masher, fork, or the back of a large spoon. It does not need to be completely mashed depending on how chunky you like your jam.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20-25 minutes until the juices thicken. At about the halfway point, you may need to turn the heat down to low or medium-low. Keep an eye on it so the bottom doesn't burn.
  3. A good way to test if it's ready is by spooning a bit of jam onto a plate and place it in the freezing it for about 2 minutes. Push the jam around on the plate: if it has a gelatinous jammy consistency, it is ready. If it's still liquid then continue cooking.
  4. Cool completely then store in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 4 months. When freezing, be sure to leave enough room at the top of the container to allow the jam to expand when frozen.

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