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Small Batch Cranberry Jam

Easy homemade cranberry jam recipe that can be ready in less than 15 minutes. Made with 1 cup of cranberries and a few simple ingredients. This sweet and tart jam cooks quickly and is delicious with toast or biscuits, it’s the perfect addition to a cheese board, and heavenly when spooned over creamy desserts.

An overhead view of a jar of cranberry jam with a spoon on a metal tray with scattered cranberries and a white cloth napkin

Tart cranberries, a touch of sugar, and a splash of orange juice come together beautifully in this delightful cranberry jam. This jam takes just minutes to make and is perfect to enjoy on your holiday table or to package in a little jar to give as a gift.

You’ll find the flavor of this cranberry jam to be perfectly balanced – not too tart and not too sweet. It’s the perfect topping to spoon over ice cream or other creamy desserts.

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The gorgeously vibrant red color is absolutely perfect for the holidays.

Panna cotta topped with cranberry jam and whipped cream plated next to a red cloth napkin

Cranberry Jam

I didn’t set out to make cranberry jam. I was actually trying to make a dessert-style cranberry sauce or cranberry coulis which I wanted to use as a drizzle for a panna cotta I was making.

It’s funny how some recipes come together. I can have an idea of which way I want the recipe to go, but it doesn’t always work out the way I had planned. In this case, I’m actually thrilled with how the cranberry jam turned out.

As I started to cook the cranberries, they did indeed break down and form a liquid which we spooned over our dessert. But, as the cranberry sauce cooled, it thickened. As it did, I had the idea that it would be wonderful to enjoy as jam.

Cranberries and sugar in a pot on a wooden trivet


This cranberry jam is reminiscent of a refrigerator jam. There’s no pectin added and there are just a few simple ingredients needed.

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

For this small batch jam recipe, you will need:

  • cranberries
  • sugar
  • orange juice
  • orange zest
  • water
  • ground cinnamon

How To Make Cranberry Jam

As with refrigerator jam, the ingredients are added to a pot and cooked on the stove until the fruit softens.

As the mixture cools, it naturally thickens to a more jam-like consistency.

Cranberry jam in a pot on a wooden trivet

How Long Will Cranberry Jam Last?

Cranberry jam will keep in the refrigerator for three weeks. You can freeze jam by pouring the cooled jam into a clean jar with a lid. It will keep for up to a year in the freezer.

How Do I Use Cranberry Jam?

An closeup of a jar of cranberry jam with a spoon

How To Freeze Cranberries

If you’re wondering what to do with leftover cranberries, you might want to freeze them.

This cranberry jam recipe is a small batch recipe. You will only need about a cup of fresh cranberries, which makes it an ideal recipe to use if you have cranberries left over from another recipe.

To freeze cranberries:

  1. Rinse the cranberries under cool running water and drain in a colander. Sort through the cranberries and pick out any that are mushy or green. Throw those away.
  2. Dry the cranberries with a clean dish towel.
  3. Spread the cranberries out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours. Transfer the frozen cranberries to freezer bags or containers, seal or cover, and immediately put back in the freezer. They will keep in the freezer for up to 1 year.

What Is The Difference Between Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Jam?

Cranberry sauce is thicker than cranberry jam. Cranberry jam is also sweeter than cranberry sauce.

For this small batch cranberry jam recipe, I use a 1-quart saucepan. For best results, use a pan of similar size.

If you would like additional information on the dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

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cranberry jam | one dish kitchen

Small Batch Cranberry Jam

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cool: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Breakfast/Snack, Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keywords: cranberry, jam
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 36kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk


  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Place all of the ingredients in a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer; stirring occasionally, continue cooking until the cranberries are tender and pop open, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and cool before transferring to a jar or bowl.
  • Enjoy when cool.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 36kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 33IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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