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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 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

You'll always find a bag of cranberries in my refrigerator during the fall and winter months. In fact, I will often freeze any that I have left to use in recipes like this cranberry jam throughout the year.

Cranberry jam is so easy to make. It is a delicious spread made with just a few ingredients and can be ready in minutes. You don't even need any pectin to thicken the jam!

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Why This Recipe Works

  • 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.
  • The gorgeously vibrant red color is absolutely perfect for the holidays.
  • You don't need any fancy equipment to make cranberry jam. It cooks in minutes without any pectin!

What You Need

ingredients needed for making cranberry jam on a brown table.

Ingredient Notes

  • Cranberries: Use fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries. Cranberries are very healthy and are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin E. They are a great source of fiber, manganese and provide antioxidants.
  • Sugar: Cranberries are very tart, I recommend using granulated sugar to counteract the tartness.
  • Orange juice and orange zest: You will only need 4 tablespoons of orange juice in this jam recipe. You could use 1 small orange to squeeze for juice and use the skin for the zest.
  • Water
  • Cinnamon: I use ground cinnamon but you could add a cinnamon stick to the cranberries while they cook for added flavor and spice.

How To Make This Recipe

  • Place all of the ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Cranberries and sugar in a pot on a wooden trivet
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally and cooking until the cranberries are tender and pop open. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes. As the mixture cooks, it naturally thickens to a more jam-like consistency.
Cranberry jam in a pot on a wooden trivet

Frequently Asked Questions

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 6-8 months in the freezer.

How Do I Use Cranberry Jam?

Spread on biscuits or scones.
Topping for pancakes, waffles or french toast.
Add to oatmeal.
Serve with crackers on a charcuterie tray or cheese board.
Use as a topping for cheesecake, pound cake, or custard.
Spoon over pork tenderloin.
Give as a gift.

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.

Expert Tips

  • Cranberry jam should be stored in a covered jar or in an airtight container. It can be kept for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you'd like to make more to give as gifts.
An closeup of a jar of cranberry jam with a spoon

What To Do With Leftover 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.

You may also like to try our Small Batch Cranberry Scones recipe.

panna cotta in a small bowl with cranberry jam spooned over the top.

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.

For examples of the dishes we use, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this cranberry jam or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

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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.


Expert Tips
  • Cranberry jam should be stored in a covered jar or in an airtight container. It can be kept for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you'd like to make more to give as gifts.


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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20 thoughts on “Small Batch Cranberry Jam”

  1. 4 stars
    I don’t necessarily like the chunks of cranberry in this. I am also looking to make cranberry Jam to use as a tenderloin sauce with ginger and rosemary. Which by the way was a hellofresh recipe.

    I’m wondering if you could run the Cranberries through a blender first so it chops them all up and then cook everything. Or should you cook the Jam first per your instructions and then throw the whole mix into the blender for a smoother Jam. Thoughts please thank you

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely lovely! Because I am using it to fill lemon cupcakes, I did slice my fresh cranberries in half before cooking and then pressed the finished jam through a sieve while still warm. The jam thickened beautifully and the taste is spot-on: tart but not too tart. Thanks much for sharing your recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    This was just wonderful! I made a second batch with doubled portions and am giving them as gifts to all my friends who love cheese – this, as you said, will be the perfect complement to that that! Thank you for this!

  4. Haven’t made the jam yet. Looks wonderful. I am interested to know where I might find the beautiful jar used in your blog?

  5. 5 stars
    LOVED THIS Cranberry Jam. It was the perfect amount for the recipe I needed and was easy to make. It turned out with a nice consistency and was delicious – not too sweet. I used it for a pork tenderloin, adding fresh ginger and fresh minced rosemary which gave it a savory touch. I have pinned this recipe and saved it to my phone. I will be making this again and highly recommend it.

      1. I have found freezing things like this in the really small squares is just perfect. each square has a lid that fits tight and holds 1/2 cup.. I keep a supply on hand

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