Easy, Beautiful Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe

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This Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipe uses no pectin, just lemons and sugar. It’s like sunshine in a jar, and who doesn’t need that some days?

I’m honestly obsessed with this stuff. I used to eat it every day, but it doesn’t fit into our new low-refined-sugar lifestyle (so fun), so I think it’s going to have to be just a Sunday thing.

People think you’re performing some kind of alchemy in your kitchen when you give them a little jar of homemade jam, so I recommend learning if you haven’t tried it yet. And I guess it is alchemy, or chemistry anyway. I just wish Ball would bring back the adorable gingham lids they used to make (anyone listening?). There are few things that make me as happy as a jar of lemon marmalade with a yellow gingham lid.

If you are interested in making jam, be sure to check out my recipe for Wild Plum Jam!


  • 1 1/2 pounds Meyer lemons (about 6–7)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 5″ x 5″ piece of cheesecloth, and a 6″ piece of string
  • 6 half-pint (8 oz.) jars, or the equivalent (if you want something prettier, check out these Weck tulip jars)

Time needed: 1 day, 1 hour and 30 minutes

Makes roughly 6 half-pint jars.

  1. Wash the lemons

    Since you are going to be cooking the whole fruit, wash the lemons well, scrubbing off any dirt or grime that’s collected in the little pores.

  2. Cut up the lemons, saving the seeds

    Cut each lemon in half, and pick out as many seeds as you can, setting them aside. Then cut each half in half and thinly slice.

  3. Tie up the seeds

    Place all of the seeds you’ve collected in the center of the cheesecloth and tie it into a little package with the string. Cut off any excess cloth or string, and rub off any loose bits of cheesecloth.

  4. Soak the lemon mixture overnight

    Put the lemons, water, and seed package into a large non-reactive pot, cover, and let sit for 24 hours. This will allow the lemons to macerate a bit and the pectin to release.

  5. Simmer the lemons

    Bring your lemons and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer uncovered until the mixture reduces by about half, to about 4 cups or so. This takes a while so I tend to do this while I’m doing other things in the kitchen so I can give it a stir occasionally.

  6. Add the sugar

    Take the seed packet out of the pot. Then add the 4 cups of sugar and keep at a low boil, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam.

    Also, put a small plate in the freezer now for the gel test. You want the plate to get good and cold.

  7. Do a gel test

    You can tell when the marmalade is starting to gel because it gets this kind of tar pit bubbling as it starts to thicken. That’s when you know it’s time to do a gel test: put a teaspoon of marmalade on the cold plate, put the plate back in the freezer for 2 minutes, then take it out and tilt it. If the marmalade runs in drips, it’s not ready yet. If it runs in more of a sheet or a mass, it’s ready. You can see in the photo how the marmalade also has kind of a skin on it, and the surface is wrinkling a bit. These are also signs that it’s ready.

  8. Ladle the marmalade into jars

    Ladle your marmalade into sterilized jars or containers, leaving a 1/4 inch space at the top. Seal with jars with lids.

  9. Seal jars in a water bath

    Fill a large pot about half full of water, place a rack in the bottom, and bring to a boil. (You can use a canning pot for this or just a large stockpot.) Add your jars to the hot bath and make sure that the water covers the lids by at least one inch. Bring the water back to a boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the bath and let cool.

  10. Check the seals and tighten the bands

    Make sure that all of your jars have sealed properly, and finger tighten any bands that need it.

Your marmalade will keep up to a year in a cool dark place. Label your jars with the year so you know when it’s time to get rid of it. Mine never lasts that long. 🙂 Pro tip: if you use round labels on the tops of the jars, like these, then you don’t have to worry about getting them off the jars when you want to reuse them. It’s not as convenient when you’re looking in the cupboard or frig but I’ll give that up to not have to scrub labels off of all my jars.

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    • Hi Anna. You can skip the water bath at the end, but then you would need to refrigerate or freeze it. I’m curious, do you skip it and store the marmalade or jam in the cupboard?

      • Hi! My grandmother never used a water bath on citrus. I grew up in Southern California, and we had every kind of citrus which she made into marmalade. Lime, Meyer lemon, blood orange, and my favorite, kumquat! I don’t use a water bath on citrus either, and have never had any spoil. I store in a cool dark cabinet, but it never lasts more than a year!

  • a couple of questions

    do you take out the seed packet before you add the sugar, or do you leave it in until done?

    and is a years shelf life it? i was just given a bunch of meyer lemons, and thought marmalade would be a great gift for Christmas next year, but maybe not a good idea.

    • I used to leave the seed packet in until the very end, but now I take it out before I add the sugar. Most of the pectin is out after all the soaking and the boiling, and the packet just gets very goopy once the marmalade starts to set.

      Technically marmalade only lasts a year. I would eat my marmalade that was more than a year old (though it never lasts that long), but I don’t think I’d give it to anyone else. Make it and give it as a gift in January! Everyone loves an unexpected treat.

    • Lucky you! So no, you can’t double the recipe in the same pot. The chemistry of marmalade (or jam) gelling is pretty finicky and you can throw it off just by doubling the ingredients. However, I almost always do two batches in separate pots at the same time — it’s only a little bit more work.

    • I don’t think you can, unfortunately, because they aren’t as sweet as the Meyers. (Meyers are actually a lemon crossed with a mandarin orange!) Maybe you could do half Ponderosa and half mandarins? But that would be an experiment for sure! I’m thinking maybe the skin is too thick on the Ponderosa though… that’s a lot of bitterness to contend with.

  • Hi, My marmalade is bitter; it tastes like lemon seeds. What did I do wrong? I’d try it again if I could eliminate the bitter taste!

    • Oh no! That happened to me once because I thought I was using Meyer Lemons, but they were another kind, maybe Eureka, that aren’t as sweet. Be sure to taste the lemons before you buy or prep them to be sure they are very sweet (but still lemony).

  • I am always looking for ways, to use my Meyer Lemons. I am anxious to try this recipe. My question, if I freeze the marmalade, how long should I keep it in the freezer. Another way, I use Meyer lemons, , is to sun dry them, just like I do with cherry tomatoes. Slice smaller lemons, thinly, sprinkle with sugar. Great in tea, or even water, Thanks!

  • If I start the soaking process with 4 cups of water, and subsequently boil the mixture until it reduces to 4 cups do you add more water before cooking? My guess is I will be left with 4 cups after sugar has been added. Just want to make sure.

    • No, do not add more water at any point other than when you start the soaking process. I don’t really understand your comment that you will be left with 4 cups after the sugar is added. You should have about 4 cups of cooked lemons and water, then you add the sugar which adds quite a bit of volume, and you should have 40-50 ounces (5-6 cups) of marmalade after it gels.

  • I had the same question about starting with 4 cups of water to soak then…
    “Bring your lemons and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer uncovered until the mixture reduces by about half, to about 4 cups or so”

    By the last answer above it seems that the sugar will add enough volume to yield four cups of marmalade after reduced by half?

    Thanks in advance

    • Here’s how it goes:
      • Lemons + water = about 8 cups
      • Reduce down to about 4 cups
      • Add 4 cups of sugar
      • Cook until it gels
      • Yield is 5-6 cups of marmalade

  • I’m wondering how much lemon is actually there ? Meaning how many cups of lemon does 6 pounds make? I Have a tree and lemons come in all sizes and if you don’t have a kitchen scale it hard to know what the weight is. Thank you

  • Great recipe! Have you ever tried it with a Keto-ok’d sweetener.? I want to help out my daughter.
    I also make microwaved Meyer lemon curd. Delicious!

  • I live in Nebraska and never see meyer’s lemons in the store. A friend brought some back from Arizona or California and I have a precious few to work with so I thought I’d make your amazing looking lemon marmalade. Something happened to stress me out and I put sugar in with the lemons and the seed packet. Is my marmalade doomed? I guess I have nothing to lose by trying to let the lemons sit in sugar water and go from there I don’t have enough for another batch, so I’m very hopeful

  • I made this today. It’s delicious. Lemon marmalade is always a little bitter but so good as a spread. I’ve made kumquat marmalade in the past and that’s so tedious. I’m going to try this recipe with oranges. Should work the same.

  • My tree has produced hundreds of Meyers lemons for several years. I decided I would try this recipe to share my bounty. A good lesson learned! Mine have way too much pith causing it to be bitter. I may try again sometime but will be sure to handle the cutting up part with this in mind. Thanks for a good learning experience.

  • I think your lemon marmalade looks wonderful! My question is: Do you make Orange Marmalade using the same recipe? And what are Meyers lemons?

    • I have made orange marmalade but not with this recipe. Meyer lemons are thought to be a naturally-occurring hybrid between a more typical lemon like a Eureka, and a mandarin orange. They are much sweeter than a typical lemon.

  • True confession: I had nice lemons that were not Meyer. Used them and followed directions except did not soak seeds. Took a long time for the set and the final product is weird/bitter/ earthy. Is there anything I can do to convert all this work into something more useful/palatable? I thought of adding ginger and did add 2 cloves and a tiny dash of kojetce cinnamon to two 8oz jars. Days of work on my feet for a valuable lesson? Tell me it’s salvageable? Suggestions?

    • My suggestion is to use it on or in something that is also sweet, like a thumbprint cookies. You can counteract bitterness with sweetness. But you also said weird and earthy? I don’t know what to tell you about that. If it is really weird then it is just a lesson learned?

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