The Easiest Homemade Orange Marmalade

9 Sep

This orange marmalade recipe is for those who want a small jar of it to eat up within a week or two, without the rigors of canning and bottling for preserving till eternity. No pectin, no fancy equipment, no complex sterilization of storage jars. Making orange marmalade at home doesn’t get easier than this!

Ever since I’ve started making marmalade in my own kitchen, I wonder that I ever bought it from the market. I get far superior stuff at a fraction of the cost, with hardly any effort. Plus the activity leaves the kitchen smelling wonderful for hours. The bittersweet bite of rind, the real fresh citrus taste, the golden-happy translucence of homemade orange marmalade – there is simply no match for it.

Orange Marmalade

You Need:

(to fill a jar of 3-inch diameter, 4-inch depth)

  • Oranges – 3*
  • Water – 1.5 cups
  • Sugar – 1 cup

*I used sweet orange, the tight-sleeved variety. You can use any other variety of orange for this recipe – increase the amount of sugar if using a sour/bitter orange.

How To Make Orange Marmalade:

Wash the oranges well.

Peel the oranges, discarding the pith (albedo, as the geeks would call it; white part, as the normal people would call it) and seeds, and retain the fleshy part and the rind.

Oranges Cut for Marmalade

[I do it this way:

Peel each orange using a sharp knife, slicing just under the pith. This gives
(1) the fleshy globe of peeled orange
(2) the rind with the pith (and maybe some pulp stuck to it)

From the peeled orange , pry out the pulp and collect it in a bowl. It’s fine if the pulp gets squishy and mushy, everything will get cooked into jellied mass anyway. Discard the membrane and the central column.

If there is pulp stuck on the inner side of the rind, squeeze out the juice from it into the bowl. Now slice away the pith from the rind and keep only the thin orange outer layer. Some recipes use the pith too, but I prefer mine without as pith makes the marmalade too bitter for my taste.]

Grate the rind of half an orange. This can get a little tricky to do, as the rind begins to slip off the fingers after some of the skin has been grated. The good news is, you need not grate every last bit of the rind: if you have about a teaspoon of zest, you have enough. The slippery remains can be thrown away.

Orange Pulp

Slice the pith-less rind of an orange into fine slivers. I use the rind of a single orange only, plus the zest of half an orange, for 3-orange marmalade, but if you like the bitter notes stronger, add more.

In a thick-bottomed pan, add the pulp+juice of oranges, the zest and the rind slivers, along with 1.5 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring regularly. Set to simmer.

Making Orange Marmalade

After 30 minutes of cooking on low heat, stir in a cup of sugar till it dissolves. Continue to simmer till the marmalade has thickened. This will take another 20 minutes or so.

You need not watch over the pan too carefully while it cooks – but be attentive towards the end. Stir regularly at this stage. You need to stop the cooking process at the right time – too early and you get runny marmalade, too late and you get a clunky unspreadable mass.

How will you know that the marmalade is ready? Place a spoonful of hot marmalade on a cool plate. After a minute, the marmalade should show signs of jelling.

[Of the two evils, I prefer runny marmalade to hard. When in doubt, switch the heat off.]

Ladle freshly made orange marmalade into a ceramic or glass jar. Let cool. Refrigerate.

Homemade Orange Marmalade

Enjoy homemade orange marmalade over hot toast or on the side with flatbread. I’ve also discovered that those who run miles away from green tea are willing to have a cupful, if a dollop of orange marmalade is served with the bitter drink.


  • Make sure that whatever equipment you bring in contact with orange marmalade is thoroughly clean and dry. This will help the marmalade stay good longer.

  • The pan in which you did the cooking will have traces of marmalade all over it. Don’t let any of it go to waste! Here’s an idea:

    Pour two cups of hot water into the pan with orange marmalade extract, add 4 crushed cloves. Bring to a boil, then simmer till the drink reduces to half its quantity. A sweet version of orange and clove tea is ready.

25 Responses to “The Easiest Homemade Orange Marmalade”

  1. Rajani September 9, 2014 at 11:54 PM #

    I love orange marmalade and am excited to know that now I can make it myself… Nice pictures for the post..

    • S September 10, 2014 at 12:03 AM #

      Thank you Rajani. Take my word for it – you will love it more when you make it yourself!

  2. Lail | With A Spin September 13, 2014 at 9:42 AM #

    I can already smell the refreshing, citrus aroma while making the marmalade. Easy, delicious, awesomeness.

    • S September 13, 2014 at 4:52 PM #

      Hello Lail, The aroma is a big bonus of home cooking jams and such, isn’t it :-)

  3. Sadhna Grover September 16, 2014 at 11:35 PM #

    Very nice and simple orange marmalade recipe, You have explained very nicely.

    • S September 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM #

      Thank you Sadhna!

  4. Kusum May 3, 2015 at 4:44 PM #

    Hi ,

    i got a delicious bottle of marmalade following your well explained easy recipe !

    Thank you !


    • S May 3, 2015 at 4:50 PM #

      Hi Kusum,

      So good to hear that! Enjoy your homemade marmalade :-)

  5. Claire | Sprinkles and Sprouts June 18, 2015 at 7:39 PM #

    I saw this on Delishogram.

    I love marmalade, but I am the only one in my house that does. So simple to make a small batch for the week, love it!

    p.s when I was reading the note about what to do with the marmalade pan, I mentally added the word garlic before cloves. I was sat here thinking, yuck why would anyone drink that!!!! Then I read it again ;-)

    • S June 18, 2015 at 11:26 PM #

      LOL @ cloves. Reminds me of a funny incident. We often add ginger to Indian tea. And we often add a “ginger-garlic paste” to Indian curries. One day my cousin who doesn’t cook much offered to make tea for us, and we enthusiastically agreed. When the tea was ready, we found that he had – assuming they were interchangeable – substituted ginger with garlic! You can imagine what that tea tasted like ;-)

  6. Frances Breen June 30, 2015 at 3:43 AM #

    I’m going to try this today. Picked oranges from friends tree yesterday.
    Thanks for step by step for idiot jam makers like me

    • S June 30, 2015 at 7:53 AM #

      All the best!

  7. Michelle July 28, 2015 at 2:47 AM #

    I found this recipe earlier this morning, by the afternoon I had 2 pint size jars of marmalade ( I doubled the recipe) Thank you so much for an easy and amazing recipe!

    • S July 28, 2015 at 9:11 AM #

      My pleasure Michelle. Enjoy your marmalade!

  8. Rosanna November 27, 2015 at 2:12 AM #

    I am so glad I found your site..Love how simple this is. Can I use clementines?

    • S November 30, 2015 at 6:32 PM #

      Hi Rosanna, I haven’t tried clementines with this recipe, but I’m sure you can. You might have to adjust the quantities according to the size/sweetness of the fruit.

  9. Pamela February 17, 2016 at 4:59 AM #

    Don’t use satumas! I guess you need pectin for those. The syrup will still be great on my homemade biscuits, though.

    I’ll try oranges tomorrow.

    • Pamela February 18, 2016 at 7:34 PM #

      UPDATE: Made a batch of 3 mild oranges (blenderized), with 1/2 cup acidic orange juice, 1/2 cup water, simmered 30 minutes. Added 1/2 cup sugar and previous attempt (blenderized), and simmered 30 minutes,and it still was thin, boiled for 30 more minutes , got better, boiled 30 more minutes, and turned it off hoping for the best.

      It all fit in pint jar, and while it didn’t jell, it is a lovely very thick texture that does pile nicely on a biscuit anyway, and tastes just heavenly, anyway!

      Those mild oranges were all I had, gifted with the satsumas. If you had acidic oranges maybe it would jell, I’ve no idea. We don’t think it’s a pectin issue, we put in lots of peel (no pith)

      Suggestions welcome

      • S February 21, 2016 at 9:29 AM #

        Hi Pamela, This seems quite different from my recipe – I don’t add additional ‘acidic orange juice’ and use more sugar. Glad it tastes nice, anyway!

  10. Ramesh Suri February 20, 2016 at 9:48 PM #

    Made Marmlade as directed got raving comments as good as bought from market Thanks

    • S February 21, 2016 at 9:31 AM #


  11. Angie February 22, 2016 at 2:35 AM #

    Have you tried other citrus fruits like limes and/or lemons? Do you think it would work?

    • S February 23, 2016 at 6:36 PM #

      I have only tried this with oranges. Gut feel says that the proportion of water and sugar needed would be quite different with lime/lemons.

  12. Lesley March 17, 2016 at 4:30 AM #

    I made this today using easy peelers which are a type of Clementine. I used honey instead of sugar ( I use it in all my jams ) and I used 2-3 clemintines for each orange in your recipe. It turned out fabulous! At the end, before all the liquid was gone i gave it a quick blitz with stick blender just to break up the skin and put it back on the heat to finish thickening. It is wonderful, the orangey small when you open the jar is amazing and my son will love it tomorrow for his breakfast ( he is 3yrs and orange marmalade is his “thing” at the moment. I make a lot of hand from frozen fruit I buy and just throw in the pan with flavourings, some fresh lemon or orange juice and honey but I always stayed away from orange marmalade, thanks to you my kids can add that to the list of foods I regularly give them because I can eliminate white sugar and make it myself. Thank you for your recipe, it is wonderful

  13. Lata Bhasin January 8, 2017 at 8:05 AM #

    Making marmalade with mandarin oranges( Chinese oranges. Very sour)
    About 1.5 kg from my tree. Atleast 4 kg yet to ripen. About 2 cups sugar??pls advice.
    Makes delicious lemonade.
    Atleast 4 to 5 ofthese mix in a blender with two tsp sugar. ( or honey later without ice) Add four to 5 leaves mint. Pinch of sugar and mix. Add to glass add water ice and stir well. But it has to be drunk immediately or turns bitter seeds find et al.

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