Lemon marmalade

Lemon marmalade

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(12 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs Plus cooling

A challenge

Makes 6 x 450ml jars
Homemade marmalade needn't be hard work - this simple method cooks lemons whole to start, saving time and effort

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving (15g)

  • kcal40
  • fat0g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs10g
  • sugars10g
  • fibre0g
  • protein0g
  • salt0g
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  • 1kg unwaxed lemon
  • 2kg granulated sugar


  1. Chill a saucer in the freezer, ready for checking the setting point of your jam. Wash the lemons and remove the top ‘button’ which would have been attached to the stalk. Put the lemons in a large saucepan with 2.5 litres water. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and simmer for 2½ hrs or until the lemon skins are lovely and tender, and can be pierced easily with a fork.

  2. When the lemons are cool enough to handle, remove from the saucepan. Measure the cooking liquid – you’ll need 1.5 litres in total. If you don’t quite have this, make up the difference with water. If you have too much liquid, bring to the boil and reduce to the required amount.

  3. Halve the lemons and remove the pips – reserving the pips and any lemon juice that oozes out during the process. Cut the lemon peel and flesh into strips, as thick or thin as you like. Put all of this, including any juices, back into the pan. Put the pips in a small piece of muslin and tie up with string. Add this to the pan, as the pips will aid the setting process of the jam.

  4. Add the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring until it has completely dissolved. Boil rapidly for about 20 mins until setting point is reached. Test the setting point by dropping a little marmalade onto the chilled saucer, allowing it to cool for 1 min, then pushing gently with your finger. If the marmalade crinkles, the setting point is reached; if not, continue to boil and check again in a few mins.

  5. Leave to cool for 10-15 mins (this will prevent the lemon shreds sinking to the bottoms of the jars), remove the muslin bag, then gently stir in one direction to disperse any scum (small air bubbles on the surface). Pour jam into warm sterilised jars and seal straight away.

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Comments, questions and tips

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29th Jun, 2016
Made this yesterday using 3 kilos of lemons and 2 kilos of sugar. Reboiled a couple of times and the marmalade has set nicely. Tastes good and lemony and the zest has a nice bite without being chewy. Lets see in a few weeks if it keeps given the low sugar content.
29th Dec, 2015
Have made quite a few batches now. Small jars of strong, bitter marmalade make wonderful presents. For my own use, I have simplified the recipe a bit. Please comment if you have any tips. Start with one or two unwaxed lemons. Weigh on a scale and cut in 2,5 cm rings (or one inch). Boil in water for an 1,5 hours on low heat. Turn off the heat and let it rest over night. Next morning, sift the liquid, cut the peel from the rings and make beautiful little strips. Add sugar to the remaining liquid, 1,5 times the weight of the lemons, add the peel strips. Boil until the volume is 1,5 times the weight of the lemons (300g should create 450ml or 450g).
25th Oct, 2015
I have made this twice now and it's a really tasty marmalade. However, the rind is a bit hard for my liking so I think I'll try a different recipe next time.
12th Jul, 2015
I used home grown lemons. The 2 and a 1/2 cooking time was too long. My lemons had split and were going mushy. I'll try an hour next time. 2.5 litres of water for cooking left me with 2.5 litres of water and lemon mix so I spent a lot of time reducing the liquid as I didn't want to lose any of the lemony goodness. Enough liquid to cover the fruit would be fine. And I put in less sugar as I wanted a lemony (zingy) marmalade.
8th Jul, 2015
I have made this 3 times now, people keep comming back for more jars, it is lovely, just the right combinatination of sweet and sour
18th Dec, 2013
I made this marmalade to give as a Christmas present and I love it. Easy to make, I used gorgeous Sicilian lemons and the flavour is fantastic!
4th Oct, 2013
My post should have five stars not the one shown.x
4th Oct, 2013
We have summer home in Spain with a wonderful lemon tree in the courtyard so finding wonderful but simple recipes for the fruit is essential. I have made this recipe lots of times with no problems at all, today a friend called in with a kilo of fresh limes.....so waste not want not I tried them instead of lemons, FANTASTIC, but poach the limes slowly as the skin is much tougher really make sure the rind is very soft before adding the sugar, as the sugar tends to make the rinds hard again. A sharp tangy breakfast treat.
12th Jul, 2013
I've made this several times now, usually with the Seville oranges from my own tree. I add a tsp of mixed spice towards the end of the cooking time. (In memory of a lovely breakfast in Normandy a few years ago.) But I have also tried mixed citrus fruits. The marmalade always disappears very quickly. I agree with those who say that the fruit is soft after 1-1 1/2 hours. I also prefer to make half a recipe at a time.
11th Jul, 2013
Found this a very soft set but it's absolutely delicious.


Irish Girl
23rd Jul, 2016
Could you use grapefruit instead of lemons. I have a huge grapefruit tree and love grapefruit marmalade
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Aug, 2016
Hi there, we haven't tested this recipe with grapefruit so can't guarantee the results.  If you have a lot of grapefruits, perhaps you could try making a half batch and letting us know how you get on! We have some jam making tips here too:http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-tips-preserving-fruitHope that helps! 
20th Oct, 2014
How far in advance of christmas can I make this and how long does it keep please?
29th Dec, 2015
Keeps opened for many months in the fridge. Tastes well after 5 months.
goodfoodteam's picture
7th Nov, 2014
Hi there thanks for your question, if you sterilise the jars this will keep unopened in a cool dark place for a year or so.
28th Jul, 2014
2 Questions please... How do you know they are none waxed lemons? Presumably you can make Lemon Jelly Marmalade by straining pulp/skin? Before returning with sugar - Maybe putting contents in a bag? Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
4th Aug, 2014
Yes you can turn it into jelly if you strain out the skin afterwards. Also, your supermarket or greengrocer will be able to tell you if the lemons are waxed or not, thanks.
5th May, 2014
I tried this recipe, but in the end the marmalade tasted damn bitter, does the bitterness tone down once you keep in the jar?
goodfoodteam's picture
13th May, 2014
Hi there. This marmalade will be slightly bitter in taste due to the nature of the ingredients. It will sweeten slightly as it ages though. Thanks.
23rd Feb, 2014
I have just attempted to make the lemon marmalade. I used 2 kilos of lemons and 4 kilos of sugar. I boiled the lemons for only an hour as they almost fell to pieces. I followed all the instructions but my marmalade is too watery and won't set. I only used one and a half liters of water . I've boiled it for almost an hour. How can I save it?


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