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Thick-Cut Orange Marmalade

Scott Phillips

Yield: Makes 7 to 8 half-pints

Though the main flavor of this marmalade is orange, the addition of some lemons makes it less cloyingly sweet. You’ll notice there’s no added pectin; it comes from the skin and seeds of the fruit.


  • 2 lb. navel oranges (about 5 medium)
  • 1 lb. lemons (about 3 large)
  • 6 cups filtered or spring water
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. distilled white vinegar (optional)

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per 1 Tbs.
  • Calories (kcal) : 35
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 0
  • Fat (g): 0
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 0
  • Carbohydrates (g): 9
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 0


Prepare the fruit

  • Wash the fruit in warm, soapy water, rinse, and dry well. Using a very sharp knife, cut both ends off the fruit. Cut each fruit lengthwise into 6 to 8 wedges. Lay each wedge on its side and cut the white center strip of membrane away from the fruit. Remove and reserve any seeds. Cut each wedge crosswise into slices that are no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  • Put the sliced fruit in a bowl or container that will fit in your refrigerator and cover with the filtered water. Tie the reserved seeds into a square of cheesecloth and add it to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

Make the marmalade

  • Put 2 small plates in the freezer (they are for testing doneness later).
  • Transfer the fruit, seed bundle, and all of the liquid to a wide 8-quart pot. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and boil vigorously, stirring often, until the mixture is between 217°F and 220°F, about 45 minutes more. To test for doneness, spread a small spoonful of the marmalade in the center of one of the frozen plates. Let it sit for a minute and then push your finger through the marmalade; you’re looking for it to wrinkle and not flood back in to fill the gap. If it’s too loose, cook for 5 to 10 minutes more and test again.
  • Remove the cheesecloth bundle and squeeze it well with a pair of tongs over the pot. Stir the marmalade to distribute the slivers of rind evenly throughout.

Process the marmalade

  • Fit a large pot with a low rack on which the jars will sit. Fill the pot with enough tap water to cover the jars by about 1 inch, add the vinegar, and bring to a boil.
  • Ladle the warm marmalade into clean, warm 8-oz. (half-pint) jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel and cover with the lids, tightening until the rings just meet resistance. Using a sturdy pair of tongs or a jar lifter, lower the jars into the pot and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the pot and place them on a folded kitchen towel. Let sit undisturbed for at least 1 hour to allow the jars to seal (you will hear popping noises, the sign of a good seal). Check the seals by gently pushing down on the lids; they should be firm and slightly concave. A well-sealed jar has no wiggle in the lid.

Make Ahead Tips

Once processed, sealed jars are shelf-stable for up to 1 year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within 1 month.

Cardamom-Orange Marmalade: Crush 1 Tbs. green cardamom pods and add them to the cheesecloth bundle.

Honey-Ginger Orange Marmalade: Peel and coarsely chop a 2-inch length of fresh ginger, and add it to the cheesecloth bundle. Reduce the sugar to 3 cups, and add 1-1/2 cups honey.

Holiday-Spice Marmalade: Add 2 crushed cinnamon sticks and 1 tsp. whole cloves to the cheesecloth bundle.

Three-Citrus Marmalade: Replace 1 lb. of oranges with 1 lb. of grapefruit.


The vinegar in the canning pot prevents minerals in the water from leaving harmless but ugly deposits on your canning pot or jars. It’s optional, but I always add some as a precaution.The rack you use just needs to elevate the jars from the bottom of the pot. I use a silicone trivet, but any round heatproof rack, collection of old canning jar rings, or even a hand towel will work.

The jars and lids do not need to be sterilized beforehand but should be clean and warm.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • N2Swaynes | 01/23/2015

    This is not an American-style sweet marmalade, it is a style called "bitter orange marmalade". The rind contained in it makes it bitter and the jam (juice) portion makes it sweet. This sort of marmalade is very popular outside of the US but the style is just not that well known here. I like it on top of a crunchy piece of bread with something creamy (goat cheese, cream cheese), and I also use it in recipes when it calls for orange jam. -- I made the "spice" version and loved it. When (not if) I make it again, I will cut the rind off of approx 1/3 of the oranges because I want slightly less rind in my overall marmalade. (In case you wonder: the rind is soft and edible.) -- I boiled my jars in a giant canning cooker (from the hardware store) outside on the back porch on a gas flame. -- I made three batches of this for Christmas gifts with good results and comments.

  • Beckygc | 12/16/2014

    I had great plans to make this Marmelade, in my beautiful Weck jars, as Christmas presents. Thought the use of naval oranges and the whole slice was strange, because good Marmelade is usually made with Seville oranges, pith removed, but thought maybe the soaking and cooking would remove the bitterness. I was wrong! The Marmelade has a very unpleasant bitter pithy taste, can't get rid of that taste in my mouth. Not worthy of presents or my weck jars, don't know that I can even use it, it is so bitter, very disappointed.

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