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Orange Lemon Marmalade

Bright and citrus-filled, homemade orange lemon marmalade will brighten any winter’s morning. With a bit of preparation now, you can easily make and preserve this orange marmalade then enjoy it in the months to come.

Glass jar filled with orange lemon marmalade on a marble table with orange slices nearby

What is marmalade?

Marmalade is a preserve- similar to a jam or jelly– that is made with citrus. Oranges are a popular choice of citrus to use for marmalade. Lemons and grapefruit are also good options. Marmalade is made by cooking the fruit and the rind together.  Sugar is added and the mixture is cooked down to a jelly-like consistency.

How do you make orange lemon marmalade?

Making marmalade is a two day process. On day one you prepare the fruit and on day two you add the sugar and cook the fruit.

  1. On day one prepare the fruit. Separate the peel, the pith, cut the fruit into small pieces and remove the seeds.
  2. Put the seeds and any pith in a cheesecloth and secure tightly.
  3. Let everything sit in a deep saucepan overnight. Place the cheesecloth in the container as well and submerge in the fruit and liquid.
  4. On day two bring the mixture to a boil and let the peel soften for 20-30 minutes. Afterwards remove the cheesecloth bundle.
  5. Add the sugar and stir continuously until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook the mixture until the orange lemon marmalade is at its gelling point.
  6. Ladle the marmalade into clean jars. Process with the boiling canner method if desired or store in the refrigerator.

What recipe is best for making marmalade?

I’ve found the most success with canning using recipes from Ball’s Blue Book of Preserving.  This recipe is their Orange Lemon Marmalade.

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slices or oranges and lemons on marble surface

Whether you pick your fruit fresh from a backyard tree (oh, I am so jealous!) or if you buy Costco-sized bags of lemons and of oranges, you can capture the freshness of winter citrus and bottle it up in a mason jar. Making marmalade is not a quick process but the hands-on time working is minimal. Plan ahead and let your house smell of that clean, citrus aroma as you go.

Please note that these are the ingredients listed in the Blue Book as referenced, though I have added my own directions to share how I proceeded in my kitchen with a bit more detail than is given in the Blue Book of Preserving.  (yields about 6 half pints)

Yield: 6 half pints

Orange Lemon Marmalade

Jar filled with orange lemon marmalade

Making homemade marmalade orange lemon is a two-day process. You can use a boiling water canner to can the marmalade or simply place it into mason jars that you keep in the refrigerator.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours
Additional Time 10 hours
Total Time 13 hours


  • 4 or 5 large oranges
  • 4 or 5 large lemons
  • 1 1/2 quarts water
  • Sugar (amount determined by amount of fruit mixture after initial steps)
  • a piece of cheesecloth


DAY ONE (about 30 minutes)

  1. First work on the peel: I use a carrot peeler to take a thin layer of peel off the oranges and lemons. You do not want the pith—the white layer just below the peel. The pith has pectin and will be used later but do your best to keep it separate from the peel. You should have about 3 cups of orange peel and 2 1/2 to 3 cups of lemon peel. Slice it thinly. Reserve any pith that has come off the fruit.
  2. Now slice the fruit and remove the seeds. Take off the layer of pith if it is thick. Set it aside with the seeds. Wrap the seeds and pith in the cheesecloth and secure tightly.
  3. Use a food processor to break down the oranges and lemons. Pulse until the mixture is in small bits. The fruit will continue to break down when you cook it and marmalade is often a chunky mixture.
  4. Place the water, all of the processed fruit, the peels, and the cheesecloth containing the pith and seeds into a large pot. Let this mixture sit overnight (not refrigerated). Note that you do not add the sugar until Day Two.

DAY TWO (60-90 minutes)

  1. Bring the fruit mixture to a boil and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the peel is tender. Remove from the heat and discard the cheesecloth bundle.
  2. Measure the fruit and liquid. Add 1 cup sugar for each cup of fruit mixture (yes, this will be a lot of sugar). Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Continue stirring as the mixture comes to the gelling point. The mixture will thicken, keep stirring. Perform a gel-test to see if the marmalade is ready for canning. Take a tablespoon of the marmalade and place it in the freezer for a few minutes on a very cold plate. After a few minutes, if the marmalade wrinkles when you push it slightly then it has reached the gelling point.
  3. Ladle the hot marmalade into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in a boiling-water canner. Alternatively, place the marmalade in the refrigerator if you do not wish to preserve it in a canner.


Recipe ingredients from the Ball's Blue Book of Preserving

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 tablespoon

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 7Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

This data is provided by Nutritionix and is an estimate only.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Overhead of orange lemon marmalade

What if your marmalade doesn’t set?

I’ve found that marmalade sometimes takes a few days to set. Don’t be discouraged if your orange lemon marmalade is loose. Wait a few days before you decide to re-process it or simply enjoy it as it is. Some batches of marmalade I’ve made have gelled perfectly, others have not done the same. It’s like a science experience—learn as you go!

Do I need to use pectin for marmalade?

Pectin is a natural substance found in many berries and fruits. Levels of pectin vary depending on the specific fruit. Oranges tend to have a lot of pectin; therefore you should not need to add additional store-bought pectin to your marmalade recipes.

Add a label to your jar of marmalade!

Did you know that I have a FREE Printables library? I love sharing labels that you can download and print yourself. When you are making jams, jellies, and marmalades, it is so nice to add a personal touch.

Access is free to my email subscribers. Join the growing number of email subscribers by using the form below. You’ll love this label for your homemade marmalade!

 Tools you’ll need for this recipe:

Here is a great post that shares the basic supplies you’ll need for canning. 

Find great recipes in Ball Blue Book of Preserving

Make water bath canning a breeze with Ball Waterbath Canner with Rack

Store your marmalade in Ball Mason Jars, half pints

Water bath canning: Processing your cooked marmalade in the water bath canning method is a great way to process your jars of marmalade so that they can be stored at room temperature and won’t need refrigeration for long term storage.

First, you’ll need to sterilize your jars for canning and then you’ll process the marmalade in the water bath canner.

If you are at altitude, follow the adjustments listed on this infographic and read more about high altitude canning here.

Infographic for water bath canning adjustments at altitude

Pin this citrus marmalade on Pinterest!

Pinterest image with orange marmalade and printable marmalade label

Post originally published October 2012; updated February 2018. 

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Here are more homemade jam, marmalade and preserves recipes that you’ll love!

Photography Growth

Here are my Photos from October 2012; I remember really liking how the light was coming in from the right-hand side when I took these. There was plenty of room for improvement. Are you working on improving your food photography as well? Read more here about the tools I’ve used on my journey to learn photography.

Orange lemon marmalade in a mason jar on burlap cloth
five jars of orange lemon marmalade
Chocolate pudding pie with piped whipped cream topping
Chocolate Pudding Pie
Lemon Curd in the microwave
Lemon Curd in the Microwave

Michelle Ford

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

When making your orange lemon marmalade can you just turn them over for a while then turn them upright and wait for it to seal itself by the ping sound instead of water bath

Holly Baker

Friday 30th of October 2020

US Food Safety guidelines don't recommend this method. Even if you hear the lids 'pop' you haven't safely processed the contents unless you use the water bath canning method. (or another approved canning method)


Friday 7th of August 2020

This marmalade is amazing..... It barely needed 20 minutes to boil with the sugar. and was almost jelling in the pan! As the fruit mixture looked too chunky after boiling and seemed to have lots of pith floating in it, I ended up sieving it and adding back the orange peel strips. But it obviously had loads of pectin in it to set so effortlessly.

Holly Baker

Friday 7th of August 2020

So glad to hear about your experience! Thanks for your comment.


Thursday 26th of March 2020

UK, how did the whiskey & ginger work out for you? How much did you use of each & when did you add them. This is my 1st attempt at Marmalade. Wish me luck!

Sue Simpson

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

UK calling. Was totally sceptical about this recipie as I thought it would be over cloudy. Wrong! This marmalade has real substance and I found it easy to tweek. As we speak, second load coming to the boil but this time its ginger and whiskey to the mix.

Holly Baker

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

So glad it worked well for you!


Thursday 1st of August 2019

Well, I made it! First attempt ever at marmalade or water bath canning! It is very dark; maybe I cooked it too long? The leftover in the pot was tasty so I am hoping it is ok? I wasn’t expecting such a large amount of pith, should I have put all of it in the cheesecloth or just some of it? It was about a large grapefruit sized ball...

Holly Baker

Friday 30th of August 2019

I hope it turned out really well!