Menu Banner

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The #1 Freezer Jam Tip You Need If You Plan to Use Sure-Jell Pectin

Update 4/26/20: If you are using Sure-Jell pectin, be sure to read this post and confirm that the freezer jam recipe printed in your box insert is the same as the one below (keep reading for details). Note: I now use Pomona’s Universal Pectin, click here for reasons why and the recipe for freezer jam using Pomona’s. Also, click here for a Freezer Jam ingredients buying guide for both Sure-Jell and Pomona’s.

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I make freezer jam every year. It’s my favorite kind of jam. We never buy jam at the store. We’re completely spoiled and addicted to freezer jam and I blame my mom.

instructions for making raspberry and strawberry freezer jam from @janemaynard

ANYWAY…most years when I make my many batches of jam, I share a new tip or two on the blog. Far and away the most awesome freezer jam tip I gave was how many berries to buy for making strawberry or raspberry freezer jam. I don’t know what I would do without that post – I use it every year! If you want to read through the rest of the tips, click here – there is a lot of handy info in all those posts.

This year’s tip, however, is CRITICAL to success if you’ve ever tried to replicate what I do. Every year I say the following: “Just buy Sure-Jell pectin and follow the instructions for freezer jam. Works like a charm!” Well, DO NOT DO THAT. This year I cracked open my box of pectin and immediately noticed the directions were different. I did a lot of google searching and discovered that last year Kraft inexplicably changed the directions. They have since fixed the problem, but apparently there are still boxes out there with the wrong directions inside. If you follow the wrong directions (which tell you to mix the sugar with the pectin and water and then boil the three together), your jam will absolutely not turn out. So, I’m going to put the CORRECT directions here on the blog, mostly for my peace of mind. I really don’t want you buying bucket loads of berries only to have your jam bomb on account of me telling you to use the directions in the box. Argh!

Also, lest you think I am a domestic goddess (because I am not), my raspberry jam didn’t come out this year. It’s more like raspberry sauce than jam, but it still tastes like heaven, so whatever.

With that vote of confidence (I swear this recipe works 99.99999% of the time!), here are the instructions for raspberry and strawberry freezer jam!

Raspberry or Strawberry Freezer Jam
Instruction for using Sure-Jell pectin to make raspberry or strawberry freezer jam. If you want to make another kind of jam, the instructions on the inside of the box have a chart indicating the amount of berries and sugar needed. Be sure that you follow the directions below for making the jam, however, as Kraft misprinted the jam technique in 2014.
  • FOR STRAWBERRY JAM: 2 cups crushed strawberries + 4 cups sugar
  • FOR RASPBERRY JAM: 3 cups crushed raspberries + 5¼ cups sugar
  • FOR BOTH KINDS OF JAM: 1 box Sure-Jell Pectin (regular pectin NOT the less/no-sugar pectin)
  • FOR BOTH KINDS OF JAM: ¾ cup cold water
  1. Freezer jam can be stored in any airtight container. Make sure containers are clean and dry.
  2. Crush berries and, using a dry measuring cup, measure the exact amount of prepared fruit into a large bowl.
  3. Measure exact amount of sugar then add to the berries, stirring well. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once berries have been sitting for at least 5 minutes (to time everything properly), mix the pectin and the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat stirring constantly. Once mixture is boiling, boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  5. Add to fruit-sugar mixture and stir constantly for 3 minutes, until sugar is dissolved (a few crystals may remain).
  6. Add to containers, leaving ½" space at the top for expansion when freezing. Cover with lids and let stand for 24 hours. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year. Thaw frozen jam in refrigerator.




  1. 1

    Tell me what you use for containers and is that a re-used former store jam jar in your photo ? Do people have preferences for glass- plastic? I tried Ball green twist top freezer containers and did not like them.

    • so, my favorite (even though it’s plastic and I’m phasing plastic out everywhere else in our life!) is the 2-cup ziploc reusable containers. when they’re frozen you need to be careful not to drop it because it can crack the plastic, but for the most part they are less scary than having glass in the freezer and they stack better. I do keep my bonne maman jars and use those, too, because they stack better than mason jars and they’re SO CUTE. but I actually prefer plastic, even though I hate saying that! 🙂

  2. 2

    I’m so glad you posted this! I have always followed the instructions for the freezer jam in the Sure Jell pectin box… Last year, I noticed that the instructions were different (why did they change them?!!), but I trusted the new instructions. I ended up throwing away all of my apricot jam because none of it turned out! Glad to know it has been fixed.. and that the recipe is here. Thanks 🙂

    • my mom and I were talking about how AWFUL it is that they messed up those instructions – all the people who spent so much money on jam and pectin having to just throw it all away. it makes me a little queasy, honestly! I’m sooooo happy I could help in a small way! 🙂

  3. 3
    Nikki CB

    Your freezer jam is so so good. All this talk is making we want to try making it! I have never tried any sorting of jam-making before. Sounds like I should be glad that I didn’t try for the first time last year! Thanks for all this great info.

  4. 4

    The apricots look deilicous! I love making jam and rarely use pectin. I tried making jelly for the first time yesterday (red and black currant), using pectin and it has not set as thickly as I would like. I guess I have the opposite problem. Keep trying it will still taste better than store bought, even if it isn’t as thick as you would like!

  5. 5

    I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to see your post on freezer jam. About 13 years ago my mom and I made a large batch of strawberry freezer jam using the “no fail” directions in the box of sure-jell. Needless to say it didn’t set up. My mom tried again a few years later with the same results. After seeing all the pins on Pinterest and how easy everyone claimed it was I decided to try one more time. I had some sure-jell hiding in my cabinet that had not expired so off to the store to buy the berries and containers. I bought the ziploc containers (before I read your post lol) and started my research… I found your recipe and so far so good!!! Can’t wait to make a pan of biscuits to try my jam!

    • great minds think alike – those ziploc containers are so good for this project! 🙂

      I am SO happy that this helped and your jam came out. yippee!

    • Daleanna

      3 pints. Not 3cups raspberries to 5 1/2 cup sugar. Please make a note of this.
      The recipe up top says 3cups!

    • Hello Deleanna!

      The recipe is written correctly – it is 3 cups CRUSHED berries, which is correct with 5 1/4 cup jam (I just made it yesterday in fact!). the key word is crushed!

      also the article I link to early in the post for the amount of berries is helpful for figuring out how many raspberries you need to get the 3 cups crushed.

      thank you! 🙂

  6. 6

    Soooo mad about sure jell. They posted a so called fix. It didn’t work!

    • I STILL can’t believe they messed up the instructions – it is infuriating! I keep thinking about all that wasted fruit out there from people following the botched directions. CRAZYTOWN. be sure to follow the directions I list above!

  7. 7

    So I just picked 20 cups of fresh whole raspberries how do I know how much that will be crushed? Can u please help me? Thank you this is first time I have ever made freezer jam

  8. 8

    I can’t eat seeds, so am looking for a recipe for blackberry jelly made for the freezer? Anyone know the proportions of juice to sugar?

    • Hi Ginny – when you buy the pectin, there will be charts inside for the amount of fruit/juice you need for jam or jelly. just follow those amounts in the package! (they have jelly and jam instructions)

  9. 9

    How depressing… I just made freezer jam for the first time tonight using all the berries I picked from our wild vines this year. No money was wasted, but thinking of all of the time and sweat I poured into this, the poison ivy and mosquito bites I acquired, and the pride I felt having picked each and every berry that went into it is making me very sad. I guess I have to wait an entire year to do it again! Is there anything I can do to fix what I made tonight? If not, can I still eat it…er…I mean DRINK it? Haha!

    • Kris

      If it’s too thin for jam, use it on ice cream or pancakes.

    • KIF – I’m depressed for you and my stomach feels sick thinking about your beautiful berries!

      There are instructions in the pectin box for “fixing” the batch, but I tried that once with a failed batch and it didn’t do anything.

      BUT…Kris is on to something! I’ve only had two batches over these many years not set, and both of them I was like, “what are we going to do with this?!” and then we ended up eating all of it! we used it on toast and on pancakes/waffles/french toast. Also yummy on yogurt and maybe even ice cream! 🙂

  10. 10

    I have always just followed the box directions. So glad I didn’t this year. My question to you is. I am trying to make the low sugar freezer jam. Is it correct on the box? If not how do I adjust from the sugar amount you have listed. Many thanks!

  11. 11

    I have made freezer jelly for years and last year I followed the directions and my jelly did not set. I just made some the other day and when trying to find the directions on the paper I couldn’t seem to find the one my Mom and I always used. It was very simple but I never remember the exact amount of sugar and berries. We always just used crushed berries and sugar and then let that come to full rolling boil then put the Certo in and wait for it to come to full rolling boil and time for 1min then pour in the jars. It doesn’t work. I used 5 cups of crushed strawberries and 7 cups of sugar. Help!!

    • Hi Sandy!

      A few questions for you:
      – Just to confirm, you used the correct directions for making the jam, not the mis-printed directions that show up in some boxes, right?
      – For freezer jam, I do not cook the berries or sugar – the only thing that is cooked is the pectin in the water. (See the directions above.) Was your process different than that? It sounds like it was…
      – As per the instructions above, for strawberry jam you need 2:1 sugar:berries, so for 5 cups of strawberries you need 10 cups of sugar, with the original sugar recipe pectin. I made raspberry this weekend and had accidentally doubled the amount of berries – the jam would not set, even after adding more pectin. When we finally figured out what was wrong, I knew I had the correct amount of pectin (because I had doubled the pectin when doing the “save” and adding more), so I added the missing sugar and the jam started to gel almost immediately. If you don’t have enough sugar then the pectin will not activate. Based on you saying 5 cups of crushed strawberries and 7 cups of sugar, I think for sure you don’t have enough sugar in there. I think the first thing you should try would be to simply add 3 more cups of sugar and stir and stir and stir – you want most or all of the sugar crystals to be dissolved. If lack of sugar is the problem, the jam should start to set once that additional sugar is added.

      The directions and proportions that I have listed in this blog post work – since you can’t find your old recipe, I would follow that in the future! 🙂 Make sure you are using original pectin that uses sugar in the recipe, that’s what theses directions are for. One box of sure-jell pectin is equal to 6 tablespoons of powdered pectin in a container (in case you buy it that way instead).

      Hope this is helpful and feel free to reply with answers to my questions above or send more questions 🙂

    • Sandy

      Well the directions in the past was always to put the berries and sugar in and a tbs of butter. Wait for it to come to a complete boil and then add the certo. Wait until it comes to rolling boil and time 1 min. Pour in jars and wait for it to cool down then freeze it.
      I talked to my aunt and that is what she said too. Those directions are not think the box anymore.

    • Hi Sandy!

      So, I am definitely unfamiliar with that particular recipe and the pectin that I use (and that my mom always used) always has the directions I have in this blog post for freezer jam. Such a bummer those directions have disappeared on you! What a drag!

      If you are looking for a new way to do freezer jam, this recipe in this blog post makes delicious, fresh-tasting jam and it’s probably easier than the older recipe you and your aunt have always used. I know it’s a bummer to leave behind something you always loved, though!

      Hope this has been even a little bit helpful! 🙂

  12. 12

    My jam this year did not turn out clear but has a milky look to it do you know why???

  13. 13
    Helen Gengler

    I just made the strawberry freezer jam today and followed the directions. My jam is way to sweet; it is gritty with sugar. I did double the recipe; maybe that is my problem. Can I unjar it, heat it to melt the sugar and add more berries to unsweeten it a bit?

    • Hi Helen!

      First off, I just want to confirm that you are making freezer jam. If it’s cooked jam, I don’t know anything about that as I’ve only ever done freezer! 🙂

      Generally the sugar should be all or mostly dissolved by the end of the stirring phase, but sometimes there will still be crystals – which should work themselves out in that 24 hour rest period before you put the jam in the fridge or freezer. If, at the end of that rest period it is still gritty, I don’t know what to say! The problem is that the ratio of sugar to berries is very important to the pectin and the gelling process. I think adding more berries quite frankly will mess up the gel. So, basically I don’t have a fix! So sorry!

      Sure-Jell also makes a pectin for a lower-sugar recipe, so maybe next time try using that pectin.

      I feel like I’m not being super helpful! ugh!

    • just for anyone else reading the comment for help…helen and I emailed a bit, the jam that was gritty for her was the remnant jam – she had just put it directly in the fridge after making it. however, all of the jam she had sitting out for the 24 hours was completely fine, with no crystals. phew and yay!

  14. 14
    Beverly Campbell

    I didn’t notice what the date was on the boxes of Sure Gel. I have a box with 7 April 2019. Hope this is right as I plan on making it either today or tomorrow.

    • I imagine the directions in your box are most likely the correct ones – just make sure the technique matches what I have typed up here and if it doesn’t match, use this recipe! 🙂

  15. 15

    We planted raspberry bushes a couple months ago and I’m looking forward to making jam. Can you use glass jars for freezer jam?

    • jealous of your bushes!

      yes, you can definitely use glass jars. you can use any containers, that’s the beauty of freezer jam! I just save containers of all shapes and sizes throughout the year to use 🙂

  16. 16

    Is there a way to make raspberry freezer jam with less sugar, or will it not turn out? Also can you use frozen berries if you thaw them?

    • if you want to do less sugar, you need to buy the low/no sugar pectin – sure jell makes different types of pectin, so make sure you buy the right one. it’s super important to use the exact amount of sugar for each type of pectin or the jam will for sure not set.

      if I have ripe berries and know I don’t have time right now to make the jam, I smash the berries, measure them out for the jam recipe, and then freeze the mashed berries in ziploc bag until I’m ready to make the actual jam. this works great and I think probably better than freezing the berries whole.

      hope this is helpful!

  17. 17
    Jody Wickert

    Hi, I just made strawberry jam and the directions in the box of pectin said, 4 cups berries, 4 cups sugar, no mention of water or heating it and to add lemon juice to the pectin. This sounds really wrong after reading your post. Very confused!

    • Jody, this post is specifically written about the Sure-Jell full sugar powder pectin (see title of the post as well as links and full description in the post). It sounds like you used another type of pectin that uses a different recipe, although you would need to confirm that, I’m just guessing. And it sounds like your jam came out just fine! 🙂 hope this is helpful

  18. 18
    Karen Leibee

    I just made your raspberry freezer jam and didn’t realize I had Less or no sugar Sure Jell pectin. What will happen? Will my freezer jam be too sweet? I’m so upset at myself!! Crossing my fingers it will turn out okay.

    • oh my goodness, I don’t know! I do know the pectin responds pretty dramatically to the sugar….I’m also crossing all of my fingers for you! I doubt it will be too sweet, I just wonder how the gel will go. PLEASE come back and tell me what happens after it sits for 24 hours, I definitely want to know!

  19. 19
    Miho Waldrup

    I am so glad that I found your post. I have been making freezer peach jam for the last 4 years, but never turned out good. Always runny almost syrup or sauce not jam. I changed sugar amount, or tried “fixing recipe”, but it never be set. I tried your method and ta-da! Turned out perfect. It said No/Less sugar sure jell does not work, but I tried anyway. Yes, you are right, it didn’t turn out good. So from now on, I will use regular sure jell pectin and mix sugar with the fruits, not the water and pectin. I am so glad that finally I found the way to make freezer jam. I am so mad to the company who put the wrong direction. Thank you.
    I still eat or give away the unset jam. Taste is still good for yogurt, Ice cream, toast, and etc. 😉

    • you are correct, the runny jam is still good for all that other stuff…but it is ALWAYS a huge disappointment when it doesn’t set! I feel your pain! I’m so so glad you found this post, hope that it makes for successful jamming for you in the future! freezer jam is so wonderful!

  20. 20
    MaryJo Fox

    I spent hours this morning trying to figure out why the instructions were telling me to boil strawberries with pectin!!! Then I found you!! Luckily before I made jam!! In the last few years mine has also been more runny than I would like. Found some other tips on line I thought I would share. 1. Measure fruit AFTER you crush! ( I was doing it after slicing). 2. Drain some of the juice off after crushing, it can be used as part of the water for boiling the pectin. Going to make now…wish me luck!!

    • I am SO SO SO SO HAPPY you found this post before making the jam! yippee! that’s why I wrote it! sending you lots of happy jam vibes and thanks for the two great tips!

  21. 21
    Janice morgan

    Can you let jam set up more than 24 hours, if you are gone a little longer than time to freeze

    • hi janice! yes, I think if you go over a little bit you should be fine, but I would go too long… a few hours shouldn’t matter, though! 🙂

  22. 22

    I’m so bummed – I just made my first batch of freezer jam yesterday, following the Sure-Jell directions, and I’ve since realized the directions were (still) wrong apparently, mixing sugar and pectin with water to boil, and now I’m not sure what to do with my jam… it seems it didn’t really set, though I’m honestly not 100% what that should look like. Any solution for how to fix it?

    • Hi Kelly! oh man, how can there still be boxes out there with the wrong directions? such a bummer. set basically means it’s got a jam consistency.

      one time when I made jam I double the recipe but forgot to double the sugar. SO…I took the messed up jam, added more sugar and pectin and it set miraculously! since the jam is a bust anyway, you could try doing the pectin again and adding more sugar, following the directions like normal but treating your jam as the crushed berries, maybe not putting quite as much sugar in as normal since you already have sugar. I don’t have a scientific answer here, but I think it’s worth playing around with it.

      good luck and let me know how it goes!

  23. 23

    If the sugar did not dissolve how can i fox it

  24. 24

    I made both strawberry and peach frozen jam today and in both the sugar did not dissolve how can i fix this. I used sure jel with the cirrect direction

    • I don’t know for sure, I just follow the directions. When you make freezer jam, you have to let it sit for 24 hours before freezing it. It’s during that time that the jam will gel and any last sugar crystals will dissolve. The recipes require specific amounts of sugar and berries in order to achieve a gel, so I don’t think adding more fruit to try to get the sugar to dissolve will help much. I guess the biggest question is did you let the jam sit for 24 hours and then test it? And I would also maybe see if sure jell has a contact email to see if they have advice! I hope this is helpful!

  25. I made peach freezer jam with Sure Jell and followed instructions perfectly. PeanChes were very juicy and so disappointed it has stood overnight but has not jelled. Can this be saved in anyway? I have made strawberry for years and no problem. Thanks for helpful suggestions

    • I’m not 100% sure. I would definitely comb the FAQs on their website, that has been helpful to me in the past. One time I had jam not jell but it was because I didn’t add enough sugar initially (I had doubled the recipe but hadn’t doubled the sugar), but when I re-did the process (basically just started over, using the failed jam as if it was the smashed fruit in the recipe), the jam jelled (although it was sweeter than normal).

      I made peach once and it definitely didn’t jell in the same way that strawberry does (strawberry does the best job of all the fruits I’ve tried), but it was still a jam consistency.

      I do think sure-jell has instructions (either in the box or on their website) for redoing a batch, so look for that!

  26. 26
    Andrea Wilson

    Hello,… I just want to cry. I did three runs yesterday and none turned out. I also reran one of the batches with another box of Sure Jell and it still didn’t set.
    Mine has not turned out in a few years.
    I don’t want to use sure jell anymore.
    I am heartbroken this was such a tradition in our family.
    Thank you!

  27. 27
    Milli Stelling

    I have a question, not comment. Other than your jam website is wonderful. This year when my husband went to the field to buy strawberries, they were closed. So we had to buy regular chain-store grocery store berries and they are not as juicy. Do I need to adjust the recipe if my 2 cups of crushed berries aren’t as juicy as usual? Thank you.

    • Hi Milli! I have made jam over the years from berries from farms and stores and even when the berries aren’t as soft and juicy, the jam is still great! I think you will be fine still following the recipe as stated, and you’ll find when you crush the berries they’ll get plenty juicy (and all the sugar you add later helps, too!)

      Hope that is helpful! And thanks for the compliment about my site! 🙂

  28. 28
    Carol Thomas

    I am frustrated with SureJel!!! A few years ago I followed the directions for strawberry jam. With every batch I kept going back to the directions for clarification. Thinking the water amount wasn’t correct. For sure it was supposed to be 3/4 cup of water, not 1 cup as those directions stated.
    I tried reaching out to Kraft Co. By email. A couple days later I got what I thought was a reply to my message of dissatisfaction. I had spent over $80 for the berries and ingredients. As we talked it was evident that it was a hacked call. Especially after supposedly talking with someone in accounting who was making fun of me making so many batches.
    Now, today I picked up the 6 package bundle of SureJel. When looking for the instructions inside, there were none. Even after looking in all 6 boxes
    I’m thankful I could Google the recipe.
    Carol Thomas

  29. 29

    Ive literally saved this in an open tab for 2 yrs lol finally Making my first batch this week as my son is allergic to red food dye and natural is expensive and tastes nowhere near as goodbye! my store is out of fresh strawberries, do you think frozen strawberries would work ok? And if so, would you get the whole or sliced frozen strawberries? Thank you so much for your time. This will be so helpful and supply one happy belly with lunch for the school year! <3

  30. 30

    * good..I apologize for the auto correct on my dumb smart phone

  31. 31
    Robyn Hammond

    Oh my goodness! I called the messed up jam “ sauce” !!!! I knew it was wrong but I always follow directions! I have so much “sauce”!!! I can’t believe they made such a mistake ! All of my friends and family love my jelly and kept asking for it! I spent a fortune on jars and lids and strawberries! Shame on them!!!!!

Leave a comment