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Elevate your holiday table and everyday breakfast with this simple, easy-to-make small batch Cranberry Jam. With just a few ingredients and less than 15 minutes, you can whip up this incredibly delicious homemade jam that’s bursting with tartness and sweetness in perfect harmony.

Don’t let leftover cranberries go to waste! Whip up a single serving of our tangy Cranberry Jam, and then bake some delightful Cranberry and Orange Scones, or simmer a small pot of classic Cranberry Sauce. These recipes are a breeze to make and perfect for enjoying the burst of cranberry flavors in a variety of ways, all portioned just for you.

When planning a “Thanksgiving for Two,” this cranberry jam would be a perfect complement to your menu and if you’ve got any leftover jam, consider using it in a few Thanksgiving Sliders!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Fast and Pectin-Free: This jam comes together in less than 15 minutes, making it ideal for spur-of-the-moment cooking. Plus, cranberries naturally contain pectin, so there’s no need to add any to achieve the perfect gel-like consistency.
  • Simple: No complicated techniques or fancy equipment needed.
  • Versatile: Great on toast, in desserts, or as a part of a cheese board.
  • Balanced Flavor: The mix of tart cranberries and sweet sugar, along with a splash of orange juice, offers a perfectly balanced flavor profile.
  • Adaptable: Easily double or triple this Christmas jam recipe to make extra batches for gifting or storing.

Ingredients

ingredients needed for making cranberry jam on a brown table.

For complete measurements and step-by-step instructions, please scroll to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

  • Cranberries: Opt for either fresh or frozen cranberries that have been thawed. These vibrant berries are nutrient-packed, offering a wealth of vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, and manganese, along with valuable antioxidants.
  • Sugar: Given the natural tartness of cranberries, granulated sugar is the go-to choice to balance out the flavors.
  • Orange Juice & Zest: This recipe calls for a mere 4 tablespoons of orange juice, which can be freshly squeezed from a small orange. The same orange can provide the zest, adding another layer of citrus complexity to your jam.
  • Water: No special notes here, just good ol’ H2O to help with the consistency.
  • Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon is the default, but if you prefer a more potent spice kick, feel free to add a cinnamon stick to the cranberries as they cook.
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How To Make Cranberry Jam

These photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a small batch of pectin-free cranberry jam. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Place all of the ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.

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

Cranberries and sugar in a pot on a wooden trivet.
  1. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently 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.

Serving Suggestions

Let’s talk versatility because this cranberry jam truly shines in so many mealtime settings. While it’s dreamy on morning toast, the potential applications are virtually endless. From breakfast spreads to elegant desserts, you’ll find numerous ways to incorporate this jam into your meals.

  • Biscuits: Slather a generous layer of this jam on freshly baked biscuits or scones for an instant flavor boost.
  • Brunch Staple: Make your morning extra special by using it as a topping on pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
  • Oatmeal Elevator: Stir a spoonful into your morning oatmeal for a dash of sweetness and a pop of color.
  • Charcuterie Champion: Serve alongside a variety of crackers on a charcuterie tray or cheese board for a gourmet experience.
  • Dessert Dynamite: Use the jam to top off cheesecake, pound cake, or custard, adding both flavor and a vibrant splash of color.
  • Savory Twist: Believe it or not, this jam pairs wonderfully when spooned over pork tenderloin, adding a sweet-tart contrast.
  • Gift of Gourmet: Package this homemade jam in a cute jar adorned with a ribbon, and you’ve got yourself a heartfelt, homemade gift.
  • Thumbprint Cookies: Add a dollop of this homemade jam to a small batch of these delightful treats.

Expert Tips

  • Quality Cranberries: Whether you choose fresh or frozen, make sure to opt for high-quality cranberries for the best flavor and nutritional benefits.
  • Stirring is Key: Frequent stirring while cooking prevents the jam from sticking to the pan or burning, ensuring a smooth texture.
  • Adjust Sugar to Taste: The sweetness level is flexible. Taste as you go and adjust the granulated sugar to strike the perfect balance with the tart cranberries.
  • Cool Before Storing: Let the jam cool to room temperature before transferring it to a jar. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools down.
  • Zest with Care: When zesting the orange, avoid the white pith beneath the skin, as it can introduce bitterness to your jam.
  • Storage Solutions: Keep the jam in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Proper storage extends the life of your homemade delight.
  • Double or Triple with Ease: This recipe scales up effortlessly. If you’re planning to gift this jam or serve it at a larger gathering, simply double or triple the ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will cranberry jam last in the fridge?

Cranberry jam will keep in the refrigerator for two 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.

What sets cranberry jam apart from cranberry sauce?

While both are cranberry-based spreads, they differ in texture and sweetness. Cranberry jam tends to have a smoother, more spreadable consistency compared to the thicker cranberry sauce. Moreover, jam typically includes a higher sugar content, making it sweeter. Cranberry sauce, often served with savory dishes, leans more towards the tart side and may include other flavorings like herbs and spices.

Is cranberry jam vegan?

Indeed, it’s naturally vegan.

An closeup of a jar of cranberry jam with a spoon.

How To Freeze Leftover Cranberries

Got extra cranberries and not sure what to do with them? Freezing is a fantastic option. This cranberry jam recipe is small batch, requiring just about a cup of cranberries, making it perfect for using up any leftover berries from another culinary project.

Freezing Steps:

  • Rinse and Drain: Clean the cranberries under cold running water and let them drain in a colander. Discard any that are mushy or green.
  • Towel Dry: Pat the cranberries dry using a clean dish towel to remove excess moisture.
  • Pre-Freeze: Arrange the cranberries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Freeze for a minimum of two hours to ensure they are thoroughly frozen.
  • Storage: Move the pre-frozen cranberries into freezer-safe bags or containers. Seal them tightly and return them to the freezer promptly.

Stored this way, your cranberries will keep their quality for up to a year, allowing you to enjoy homemade cranberry jam whenever the craving strikes.

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

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

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.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it.


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Small Batch Cranberry Jam

4.93 from 26 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Cool: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Easy homemade cranberry jam recipe that can be ready in less than 15 minutes. Just a few ingredients necessary! This sweet and tart jam cooks quickly and is delicious spread on toast or biscuits, added to a cheese board, or spooned over creamy desserts.

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon orange zest
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions 

  • 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 frequently, 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.

Notes

  • Quality Cranberries: Whether you choose fresh or frozen, make sure to opt for high-quality cranberries for the best flavor and nutritional benefits.
  • Stirring is Key: Frequent stirring while cooking prevents the jam from sticking to the pan or burning, ensuring a smooth texture.
  • Adjust Sugar to Taste: The sweetness level is flexible. Taste as you go and adjust the granulated sugar to strike the perfect balance with the tart cranberries.
  • Cool Before Storing: Let the jam cool to room temperature before transferring it to a jar. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools down.
  • Zest with Care: When zesting the orange, avoid the white pith beneath the skin, as it can introduce bitterness to your jam.
  • Storage Solutions: Keep the jam in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Proper storage extends the life of your homemade delight.
  • Double or Triple with Ease: This recipe scales up effortlessly. If you’re planning to gift this jam or serve it at a larger gathering, simply double or triple the ingredients.

Nutrition

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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I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

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