Easy to make Mandarin Orange Jam recipe using quick jam making method. The perfect alternative to a traditional orange marmalade, this jam is great on toast or to swirl into breakfast porridge, on top of pancakes or to sweeten your tea with.
I always make citrus marmalades in the winter, but when the Seville Oranges are out of season, I know I can make this amazing jam using mandarin oranges (or mandarines if you like) any time of the year.
Why I make this mandarin orange jam
- super easy to make
- can be made any time of the year
- very quick method & much easier than the traditional marmalade making method
- much lower on sugar than traditional marmalade recipes
- slightly runnier consistency – perfect for pancakes, toast or greek yoghurt etc
- Tangerine Marmalade (all in one easy method) >>
- Orange & Lime Marmalade (traditional method) >>
- Traditional Seville Oranges Marmalade >>
Notes on ingredients
Mandarin oranges, also known as mandarins or mandarines, are small citrus tree fruits that are small, easy-to-peel, usually without pips and also have a lovely sweet flavour.
If you don’t have mandarins, you can also use clementines, tangerines, and satsumas as these have very similar taste. You can also use some of the easy to peel citrus fruits from my seville oranges substitute list.
Water or orange juice
You’ll only need enough water or orange to juice to make sure that the jam mixture won’t stick to the saucepan and won’t start to burn. If you have orange juice (or apple juice) it will give you more flavour than water, but water is absolutely fine too.
I always use white granulated sugar with this recipe as the mandarins have quite a subtle flavour and darker sugars will interfere with the flavour. You don’t need to use any kind of special preserving sugar with this recipe a regular white sugar is perfect for this recipe. You can also use caster sugar, but it’s more expensive than granulated sugar, so I don’t tend to use it.
I like that this mandarin jam recipe is lower in sugar than other recipes, because it just confirms my little theory that marmalade can be actually good for you.
Mandarin Oranges together with the sugar can have quite a bland flavour on their own, but I find that a little bit of lemon juice does help to round the flavour. You could also use lime if you want to, but it will change the flavour quite a lot (will be much sharper jam).
The flavouring for this mandarin jam recipe is completely optional, but I always add some spice, like cinnamon or ground ginger or mixed spice mix to enhance the mandarin flavour. I sometimes also add vanilla essence or spice the jam with extra whisky, gin or rum.
How to test your jam to see that it’s ready
Test the mandarin jam by putting a tea spoon full of jam on to a cold plate (which has been in the fridge for few hours). Leave it for a minute and try to slide your finger across the jam to see whether it will wrinkle.
If it has a bit of a skin on the top and looks firm, then you are ready to go. If the jam is stil runny, add more heat and boil for another 5 minutes. Then do the test again.
I always do this ‘wrinkle test’ to make sure that my jam and marmalade sets perfectly.
How to achieve a clear jam
I always recommend this method as part of my marmalade making tips, because it can be quite tricky to get a clear marmalade or jam. Sometimes you might end up with air bubbles and so called ‘scum’ on top of your jam as you finish boiling it. To disperse this (as the scum/air bubbles are not particularly pretty when they set in the jam jar), wait for the marmalade to cool down a little before potting up.
A teaspoon (or so) of dairy butter added to the marmalade as you take the saucepan off the heat also helps as well as simply scooping out the excess scum and throwing it away.
FRUIT CURD RECIPES
How to prepare jam jars
If you want your Mandarine Orange Jam to last a long time, don’t skip this step! First of all wash your jam jars thoroughly with a washing up liquid to get rid of any dirt. Don’t worry about drying them. Just leave them to drip dry on a clean kitchen towel or a dish rack.
Heat your oven to about 100 C (about 180 F – gas mark 1-2) and place the jam jars on a clean baking tray (facing up). Put in to the oven about 10 minutes before you are ready to pot the marmalade, which is about the time that you start to boil your marmalade after the sugar has dissolved.
When you are ready to pot your jam take out the tray from the oven (keeping the jam jars on), fill with your jam, seal with lids, wipe and leave to cool down completely.
This process sterilises the glass jam jars, getting rid of any potential bacteria, which could be harmful later on and develop into the mould.
I also find that this is this a great way to make sure that the hot jam doesn’t get poured into a cold glass, as this might be too much of a shock and shatter the glass.
Mandarin Orange Jam Storage & Shelf Life
This mandarin jam, if stored correctly, will last for a minimum of 12 months. Once opened, I always keep my jam in the fridge and ideally eat it within 2 weeks. It will last longer, but you might start getting mould or bacteria growing inside, so you need to double check that your jam is safe to eat, if you keep it for longer than 2 weeks in the fridge.
PIN THIS RECIPE TO KEEP FOR LATER
Mandarin Orange Jam
- sieve or strainer
- large saucepan
- 4 medium size jam jars & lids
- 3 lbs mandarin oranges
- 1/4 cup water or orange juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 lemons juice from 2 lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or ground ginger (or other spices)
- 1 teaspoon whisky optional (or rum or vanilla extract)
- Peel the mandarin oranges and cut them in smaller pieces to make them smaller.
- Add the mandarin oranges into large saucepan and add water (about 1/3 cup of water or orange juice, but only enough, so that the mandarins won't catch on to the saucepan and burn). Bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mandarins soften.
- Pour the soft mandarins through a sieve into a large bowl (be careful as the jam mixture will be hot) and press down as much liquid as you can. Return the jam mixture back to the saucepan. Discard the mandarin pulp.
- Add the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon or other spices (if using).
- Let the sugar dissolve on a low heat first and then bring to boil and carry on simmering gently over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Stir very slowly as the jam mixture boils. If you get a lot of foam on the top, just stir the top or blow on the top to disperse the bubbles.
- After 20 minutes or so, the jam mixture will start to thicken. Check the mandarin jam by putting a little bit on a spoon, placing it in the fridge and if the jam mixture sets and it's fairly firm, the rest of the mixture is ready too. If the jam mixture is still runny, carry on simmering for another 5 minutes and then repeat the test again.
- If using any extra flavouring, such as whisky, rum or vanilla essence, add it just before you are ready to pour the jam into the jam jars.
- When the jam is ready, pour it carefully into your prepared jam jars and screw the lids on straightaway. Leave to cool down in the room temperature first.
- Your mandarin orange jam will last good 12 months. Once opened, keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
This recipe was originally written on 29 December 2023 and last tested and updated on 29 December 2023