sugar-free Orange marmalade

Citrus Marmalade Recipe with Sweetening Variations

Citrus Marmalade

Citrus marmalade

I was determined to make a sugar-free version, or at least a very reduced sugar version, and end up with a citrus marmalade I could enjoy more often.

I found that quite challenging. And it took a lot of tinkering. I wanted to reconcile at all costs my love for all things jam and preserves with my very moderate sugar consumption. While I find it very hard to swear off all sugar (life without an occasional cookie or ice cream scoop would not be worth living!), I like to use my modest sugar allowance as judiciously as I possibly can. I thought, if I could pull off a great Sugar-free jam of some sort, I could go back to slathering it on whole grain toast, with a layer of peanut or almond butter, and call it lunch: one of my favorite treats. Just like in my young care-free lean years when diet was a dirty word!
So I tinkered until I dropped.

My Sugar-Free Marmalade was an Instant Hit

Reduced sugar citrus marmalade

This is my most recent batch. This hit came after much trial and error. In fact it drove me a little nuts. I hated the drab and lackluster color I kept getting without any sugar, even though the flavor was terrific. It was missing the pristine sheen of sugar-based preserves, and frankly it was none too inviting. If Mind Over Matter didn’t work for me, the artisan, how on earth would it work for anyone? We all know our eyes eat first, and my eyes were not having any of it, thank you very much!

What do I mean by Sugar-Free Citrus Marmalade?

I resolutely distance myself from the Splenda crowd, sorry. So no, not going there. Rather, I experimented with natural sweeteners that had a much more respectable pedigree:  Erythritol was the winner, hands down, not just for its perfect flavor but for its nutritional profile (read the info in the link). In fact I love it so much I always make sure I have it on hand. No objectionable taste whatsoever; I have been using it with increasing confidence in cookies, muffins, even chocolate cake! You will enjoy dessert more often now!

Reduced Sugar Citrus Marmalade

I have a whole chapter on all-fruit jams in my book, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.  But I wanted to streamline the recipe further, and I am mighty pleased with my results. The color and the sheen was perfect when I used two parts erythritol and one part sugar. Just to keep the math clear: that is a third of the sugar used in all-sugar preserves. A bargain, don’t you think?

The choice of a pot is important:

It must be non reactive: stainless steel. And your mixture must be as shallow as possible. This means choose a pot with a broad bottom.

OK. Watch out for berry jam and apricot jam next.

Now that I got the hang of it with sugar-free orange marmalade, the rest is easy!

I am using using about 2/3 oranges and 1/3 lemons, but you can use all oranges. You can even use 1/3 orange, 1/3 grapefruit, and 1/3 lemon.

Regular Sugar Citrus Marmalade

It goes without saying that, if you don’t mind the sugar (Lucky you!), you can use sugar, in the exact same proportions as erythritol.

Pomona Fruit Pectin

That is my great favorite pectin. It is pure, that’s why! Plus it works beautifully without the presence of sugar. Inexpensive and easy to find; I always get it online.

It freezes very well!

So don’t divide the recipe. Freeze! Some friends would be delighted to be gifted a jar. Just sayin’!


  • 8 cups orange juice marked "lots of pulp"
  • 4 large thick-skinned navel oranges (if you are more adventurous, use 3 navel oranges and 1 pink grapefruit), skin and all
  • 4 large thick-skinned lemons, skin and all


  • 1/4 cup Pomona Pure Pectin
  • 3 cups erythritol OR 3 cups sugar, if you don’t mind an all-sugar marmalade. My favorite is 2 cups erythritol and 1 cup sugar, and this is the ratio I recommend
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice



In a heavy broad bottom stainless steel pot, bring the juice to a boil.

Wash the fruit thoroughly, quarter it, and remove any seeds. Shred the fruit in a food processor (use the shredding blade), and add to the pot. When it comes to a boil again, reduce the flame to medium low, and cook uncovered about 1 hour, stirring often to prevent scorching. The mixture will start thickening.

Put a little of the cooked fruit in a bowl, and mix the pectin into it throughly. Return to the pot, and add the sugar and  the lemon juice, and cook just a few more minutes.

You will end up with about 6 pints. Store in glass jars.

20 replies
  1. Paul
    Paul says:

    Can the marmelade be conserved in a cool, dark space without being deep frozen? If so, for how long? Or does the lack of sugar make it impossible to conserve for a longer period at a normal temperature. Thanks to clarify, Paul

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Paul ooohhhh I wouldn’t do that. Even preserves made sugar will in time start breaking down. And home kitchens are not equipped for such rigorous food preservation.
      This is not a commercial size batch, plus the fact that is has no sugar will encourage you to use more of it. So save those few pints in the freezer and take them out as needed.

  2. Susan Beard
    Susan Beard says:

    Don’t want to use any artificial sweeteners as I do not want to keep tasting sugary things as I want to train my palate not to expect sweetness. Can I dispense with the erythritol. adding a little honey if needed?

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Susan, you will use sugar, in equal parts. I don’t think honey will get you the right texture.
      I am still experimenting with preserves. Erythritol is on the list of better sweeteners, and is natural. Read about it, I think you will like several aspects of it.

  3. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Have you used an electric pressure cooker to make this? Also, do you have any suggestions to make this without the orange juice? Looking for more low carb even thought oranges are not a Keto friendly fruit, with it being sugar free, I could indulge occasionally but not with the juice added!

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Jana Fantastic, and much more often on hand that good brand pectin.
      Questions for you:
      – Did you use chia ground or whole seeds?
      – At what point did you add the chia seeds
      – Did you first soak them?

  4. Terry
    Terry says:

    I was wondering if you think this can be water bathed canned for shelf storage? The acidity level should be high enough, oranges with the added lemon.

  5. Michael Woolgar
    Michael Woolgar says:

    Thanks for the recipe – I am going to try it as soon as all the ingredients are found – we live in South America where not everything is readily available. Pardon the silly question, but I presume the fruit (oranges and lemons) are put in the food processor complete with rinds and all? How fine should they be ground? Your comments will be greatly appreciated, please, as I love orange marmalade and Stute diabetic marmalade is quite expensive when available.

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Hi Michael, you ave some good questions, so I went back to my post to make certain it is all clear, andmake some tweaks where needed.
      Yes, the whole fruit, skin and all.
      Use the shredding bade of the food processor, not the chopping blade.

  6. Ileana Keszey
    Ileana Keszey says:

    Thank you for your orange marmalade recipe. I’m looking for a sugar free kumquat marmalade recipe. Can you help me please.
    Best regards,

  7. Carol Stevenot
    Carol Stevenot says:

    I wish to make marmalade for my son. He already has a strike against him as he has Type 2 so must limit the sweet fruit spread to start with. Your recipe for marmalade sounds great but therein lies his Strike Two. He goes into anaphylactic shock with one bite of baking containing sunflower oil (let alone seeds). Did you have success with any other combination that would come a close second to this marmalade recipe? Thanks so much. Carol


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