Lemon marmalade

Lemon marmalade

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(23 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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28th Apr, 2020
I have always been a huge marmalade fan ... on toast, in cakes and puddings and off a spoon on rough days! However, three years ago I had a kidney transplant and as a result of the immune suppressant drugs I must take I cannot eat Seville oranges, grapefruit or (oddly) pomegranate . I miss proper marmalade so badly! This recipe has come to my rescue and doesn’t disappoint. The only change I made to the recipe, which I halved, was the addition of 80 ml of gin and the results are sensational! Thank you BBC Good Food, there are plenty more transplant recipient marmalade fans out there like me, for whom this recipe represents a small but significant public service!
28th Mar, 2020
Terrific and easy recipe. I halved the quantities and put lots of pips in a cotton bag and maybe that's why, for the first time, I've got a bright yellow, well set marmalade that tastes good.
Robert Cook
24th Mar, 2019
I'm in Sicily where the lemons are said to be the best in the world (by the Sicilians, amongst others) but bitter jams are not really to the italian taste and the lemon marmalades or jams here are a disaster. I made a batch cut very large a la oxford marmalade and it was sensationally good. However, muslin not needed these days, just pulverise pips in a nutribullet or equivalent and put the whole lot in to get the excellent pectin and no discernible bits to spit out.
Kim Rowswell's picture
Kim Rowswell
20th Dec, 2017
I have made this lemon marmalade today and followed the recipe. Now I have my 6x jars full what do I put on the top of each jar. Also can it be frozen. If so for how long.
Tess R
30th Aug, 2017
Hi I am making this Marmalade currently as we type this, I found that the 2 1/2 hours of simmering the lemons was too much and reduced the liquid to a 1 litre, I add more water and cut the lemons into strips which was a bit chunky so I took out half the rinds and processed them slightly and added everything back to the pot, I also used 1 1/2 kilo's sugar and 1 cup of jam setting sugar. I'll let you know how it all turns out, looks good so far and taste is amazing.
29th Jul, 2017
Lovely easy recipe, I followed the tips of others by quartering lemons and it reduced boiling time by half. Made great use of an excess of beautiful lemons from my back yard tree and a lovely way to spend a sunny Winter afternoon making some delicious marmalade. Will be making another batch, as we eat so much marmalade and will give some as gifts to neighbours.
10th Jun, 2017
A very simple recipe with a great result. I took note of the comments re amount of liquid and cooking time. I halved the liquid and cooked the fruit for just 1hr by which time some of the fruit with thinner skins had started to split and go a bit mushy. I used a combination of lemons and limes given to me by a friend with an abundance of fruit fresh from their trees. I only used about 1.2kg of sugar too. My first batch is nice and tangy. Next time I will increase the sugar slightly.
7th Jun, 2017
Very easy and straight forward. Used half quantity sugar (and have done so before) and it works - and keeps - really well. Delicious, and enjoyed by all who like lemon marmalade here.
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).


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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