This is the best strawberry jam recipe! It’s a quick and easy recipe that leaves you with lots of jam to enjoy.
I have always loved strawberry fruit jam and strawberry preserves but usually only got it from the grocery store. We occasionally get homemade jam from my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law that is so delicious so I thought, why not make my own jam?
Having an easy strawberry jam recipe is a great way to use up all the ripe strawberries during strawberry season. One of my favorite seasons!
Going strawberry picking can be a super fun way to get some really delicious berries and include the family too.
The best time (in my area) to go strawberry picking is late Spring and early Summer. You can also usually find some really nice berries at your local farmers market.
This small batch strawberry jam is one of the best things to have stashed in your fridge.
With a few simple ingredients you can have the best strawberry jam and hopefully have a new favorite recipe too!
Is strawberry jam better with or without pectin?
That is a question that is ultimately up to you. Of course there are many opinions on adding pectin to your jams and foods. Pectin helps your jam thicken faster with less cooking, essentially adding to a fresher berry taste.
In The Best Strawberry Jam Recipe I do not use pectin. Mainly because it’s something I never have on hand and personally for me, it’s easier not to use it. It makes the recipe more relatable and easy for home cooks.
I prefer to thicken my jam with either just the sugar and lemon juice or with a little cornstarch. The end result is similar and I didn’t have to go out of my way to buy and use pectin.
What is pectin?
Pectin is a naturally produced preservative, often used in jams and jellies. Jams and jellies don’t have that “gel” consistency without it.
Pectin is a starch that is naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. Combining it with sugar and acid gives it the thickening ability once cooled.
There are different varieties and uses for pectin. Information about pectin is from The Spruce Eats article, take a look for more in depth information on pectin.
How to thicken strawberry jam without pectin
Strawberries contain a low amount of natural pectin. Which means they will need some outside help to thicken into a jam. Without using any added pectin, there are a few ways to thicken The Best Strawberry Jam recipe:
- Sugar – Sugar will help sweeten your jam but it also helps thicken it. The sugar binds to the water in the fruit and thickens the liquid
- Lemon Juice – Lemon juice is great for flavor because it adds that bright acidic taste to all that sugar but it also helps your jam thicken. Lemons contain high amounts of pectin. Adding lemon juice and lemon zest aids in the thickening of the best strawberry jam. Although, most of the pectin is in the peel of the lemon so if you’d like you can add the lemon peel into your sauce pot while boiling the jam then remove it at the end
- Cornstarch – If your jam isn’t as thick as you’d like it after 15-20 minutes of boiling, keep in mind that it will thicken more as it cools. You can also add a “slurry” to help thicken it. A slurry is a mixture of equal parts cornstarch and cold water. Prepare the slurry then set it aside. I like to transfer the jam mixture to a bowl on the counter then using a ladle remove about 8oz-12oz of the liquid from it, pouring it back into your sauce pot. Bring the liquid to a boil then whisk in the slurry. Continue whisking at a boil for 10 seconds. If you don’t boil it, the cornstarch won’t fully activate and thicken properly. Whisk the thickened liquid into the best strawberry jam recipe and let cool
Ingredients in The Best Strawberry Jam
- Fresh Strawberries – I use fresh strawberries for this recipe, I have not tested it with frozen
- Granulated Sugar – Sugar helps to sweeten and thicken this strawberry jam
- Brown Sugar – I like the taste of a little brown sugar in my jam
- Lemon Juice – I like fresh lemons for my juice
- Lemon Zest – Lemon zest adds a little more brightness and flavor plus extra natural fruit pectin
- Kosher Salt – As with everything, I like to add a little salt to boost the flavors
- Cornstarch – This is optional. If the jam isn’t as thick as you’d like you can add in a slurry to help thicken the jam seamlessly
Easy Tips for The Best Strawberry Jam Recipe
- Pay attention to the cooking time while making this strawberry jam recipe. You want to cook it long enough that it will thicken but you don’t want to cook too long
- STIR FREQUENTLY while cooking. You need to keep the strawberry jam cooking at a medium heat – high heat but that means you have to stir a lot so it doesn’t burn
- You can use whole fruit or cut the fresh berries in half for a chunkier jam. That is the way I do it
- If you like your jam a little less chunky, you can use a potato masher to smash the strawberries a bit while you’re cooking them
- Resist the temptation to use less sugar. The amount of sugar in this recipe is needed to help it thicken. It’s also a good balance between sweetness and the amount of lemon in the recipe
- To have some strawberry freezer jam on hand you can use smaller jars and store a little jam in the freezer. Just thaw it out in the fridge over night or on the counter for a few hours. It will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months
- Let the best strawberry jam cool completely before storing it in a jar in the fridge
You really don’t need much equipment to make The Best Strawberry Jam Recipe. Here are the few things you’ll need:
- Cutting Board – You’ll need a cutting board to cut the strawberries. If your berries are very small then you may not want to cut them. My two favorite boards are a white board with grips and this wooden block
- Sharp Knife – Using a sharp knife is one of the most important things you can do in the kitchen, in my opinion
- Sauce Pot – I use a medium sauce pot for this recipe
- Rubber Spatula – This strawberry jam recipe needs to be stirred frequently during the cooking process. I prefer a rubber spatula over a wooden spoon to make sure you’re able to get in the corners and really get everything up off the bottom and sides of the pan
- Mason Jars – A mason jar or something similar is great for storing jam. This recipe doesn’t actually can the jam so feel free to use an airtight container as well. The jam will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks
How to store The Best Strawberry Jam Recipe
Storing the best strawberry jam is easy. You’ll want to let it full cool before putting a lid on it. You can cool the jam by leaving it on the counter top (which will take awhile), placing it in a bowl inside the fridge uncovered or by putting it in an ice bath.
For an ice bath you can just take a big bowl, fill it with ice and a little bit of water then place the best strawberry jam in a smaller bowl that will fit inside of the large bowl and let it rest on the ice and water. Stir it around every 20 minutes or so to help with the cooling process.
After the best strawberry jam is cooled then you can store it in your preferred container. I like these glass jars for storage. This homemade jam recipe has a shelf life of 14 days in the fridge. It will keep up to 2 months in the freezer.
Can I freeze The Best Strawberry Jam?
Yes, you can! Freezing The Best Strawberry Jam is a great way to keep a stash of it!
After making the jam, let it cool completely. I like to store my jam in smaller glass jars. Fill the jars as close to the top as you can so there’s not much air inside.
Freeze the strawberry jam for up to 2 months.
What to use The Best Strawberry Jam on
If you ask me, this strawberry jam recipe is good on just about anything! But here are a few things you can try:
- Toast with or without butter
- Peanut Butter and Jelly
- Ice Cream – Try a little jam on top of my No Churn Honey Vanilla Ice Cream
- Cinnamon Rolls – I like to smear some on my Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls
- Yogurt parfait
- Baked Brie
- Charcuterie Board
- Stuffed French Toast – One of my favorites!
- Panini or Grilled Cheese
How to make The Best Strawberry Jam Recipe
The best strawberry jam recipe is super simple to make and only uses a handful of ingredients. Cut your strawberries in half or in quarters if they are large. If they are on the smaller side you can leave them whole.
Place the strawberries, granulated sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, zest and kosher salt into a medium sauce pot. Bring the strawberry mixture to a boil over medium heat – high heat while stirring frequently.
A rubber spatula is best for stirring to make sure you are getting all the jam up off the bottom and sides so it does not burn.
Once the strawberry mixture comes to a boil you can reduce the heat slightly but still want it to be boiling for the remainder of the 15-20 minute cooking time. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you are stirring very frequently while the jam cooks.
With all of the sugar in the recipe, it can burn easily. Don’t be tempted to turn it down to low heat to avoid burning because you won’t get the same thickening effect with a low heat.
After the best strawberry jam has boiled for 15-20 minutes you can decide if you want to thicken it with cornstarch or not. I prefer to use a little in mine but if you don’t then the jam will just be a little thinner. Keep in mind once the jam cools to room temperature it will be slightly thicker than it is while hot.
How to get the best results when thickening with cornstarch
When using cornstarch as a thickening agent there are a couple rules you’ll want to follow to get the best results. Here’s what you’ll want to do:
- Make a slurry – To make a slurry you will stir together equal parts cornstarch and cold water. This helps your liquid thicken properly and without lumps
- Use a whisk – When incorporating the slurry into your liquid it’s best to use a whisk. That helps the mixture go in evenly and without lumps
- Bring the liquid to a boil – Cornstarch doesn’t reach full thickening power until it’s at a boiling temperature. Make sure to boil the liquid to fully thicken it
When adding the slurry to my jam recipe, first I pour the jam into a bowl. Then using a ladle I remove about 8oz-12oz of liquid and put it back into the sauce pot. Bring that liquid to a boil then whisk in my slurry. After boiling the slurry for another 10 seconds then I whisk that thickened liquid into the jam.
Let the jam cool to room temperature then put into desired container and refrigerate. It’s even better the next day. Now you have an easy homemade strawberry jam recipe!
This simple strawberry jam is the perfect recipe to make all summer long!
The Best Strawberry Jam Recipe
- 1 medium sauce pot
- 1 sharp knife
- 1 cutting board
- 1 rubber spatula
- 2 glass jars or storage containers
- 2 lbs strawberries hulled and cut in half
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
- zest from half a lemon
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp cold water optional thickener
Making the Strawberry Jam
- Place strawberries, both sugars, lemon juice, zest and salt into a medium sauce pot. Make sure you have extra room at the top because the liquid will boil up
- Cook the strawberry mixture over medium – high heat until it boils, stirring frequently
- Turn the heat down slightly but make sure it is still boiling for the next 15-20 minutes
- Give the pot a stir frequently to make sure it doesn't burn
- Transfer the jam to a bowl and cool it
- If adding cornstarch to thicken the jam then ladle about 8oz-12oz of the liquid back into the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil
- Mix the cornstarch and water together until there are no lumps. Quickly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the boiling liquid. Continue whisking for the next 10 seconds
- Add the thickened liquid back to the jam and mix well. Cool the jam fully before storing in the fridge. Keep for up to 14 days