My Jam or Jelly Is Too Thick

If your jam or jelly is too thick, the first question to ask is: Is it spreadable? The Pomona’s jell could be stiffer or firmer than you are used to, but it should be spreadable. If it’s not spreadable, then something went wrong.

The most usual cause for a too firm or rubbery texture with Pomona’s is that you used less fruit than the recipe called for. Our recipes are calculated for mashed fruit. So if you use pieces of fruit or whole berries, you are actually using less fruit than if it were mashed, or cooked to a mash and then measured, and you will get a firmer jell.

MeasuringSpoonsOr you may have used more pectin than the recipe called for. For example, if you used Tablespoons of pectin rather than teaspoons.

Cooking can also affect the amount of fruit you are working with. For example, if you cook the fruit mixture for too long before adding pectin, you could reduce the fruit volume and make the pectin amount too high for the fruit you have left.

It is less likely that your jam would be too firm from overcooking after adding the pectin. Usually if you cook jam made with Pomona’s for too long after adding the pectin, it will de-activate the pectin and you will get a poor jell.

Preserves on bagel

Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves from Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin

If you want to use cut up pieces of fruit or whole berries and suspend them in a jelled syrup, that is what we call a preserve.

Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves, a recipe from our cookbook that is on our website, is an example of how to make a preserve with Pomona’s. You’ll notice that less pectin is used in this recipe for 4 cups of strawberry fruit mixture than for 4 cups of mashed strawberries. There are a couple of other preserve recipes on our website Recipe Page also.

All of this being said, the typical Pomona’s jell is more like a fruit spread than a gloppy high-sugar jam. If you prefer a softer set, you can always use less pectin than called for in our recipes. We would suggest you experiment by using ¼ to ½ teaspoon less pectin than the recipe calls for, or perhaps up to a teaspoon less for recipes that call for 4 teaspoons of pectin. You would keep the calcium water amount the same.

If your jam or jelly didn’t jell, you can learn more about why that might be and how to fix it here.

13 thoughts on “My Jam or Jelly Is Too Thick

  1. I just made a double batch of jalapeño jelly that is too thick and not spreadable. What can I do? I know I can add the jars back to a pan and warm it up but how much liquid do I add and do I add more pectin?

    • Hello Kim,

      Yes, empty your jars back into a pot and add liquid, then heat to just before a boil, and proceed with re-canning and water-bath processing. If you used 4 cups of liquid in your jelly, and you would say that you would like your jelly to be about 1/4 less jelled, you would want to add 1 cup of liquid and NO additional pectin.

  2. I have two triple batches of pepper jelly (25 cups) that I’ve made before with success that is over-jelled. The only things I did different for these batches compared to my successful ones are 1) used frozen & defrosted chopped peppers 2) added the pectin to 4 cups of sugar rather than 1-1/2, but since I had over 5 cups of peppers (measured prior to freezing) I thought that should work. This is a full sugar recipe with a total of 15 cups of sugar per triple batch.

    What do you think caused the over-jelling and is there anything I can do to correct it? I can’t sell them in the condition they are in. Thank you for your help.

    • Hello Denise,

      Thanks so much for choosing Pomona’s Pectin! You can recook your jelly by emptying all your jars back into a pot,adding more liquid, cleaning your jars, and then proceeding proper water bath canning.
      Once you add your jelly back to the pot, add additional liquid, and bring back up to a boil. Turn off heat and proceed with water bath canning.

      If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us: 559-760-0910 or


      • Thank you for your response. Is there any reason I can’t also add some more peppers? Also, would it be wise to heat up the jelly, heat up the liquid/peppers and then add it to the point that the jelly looks like the right consistency and then bring to a boil? Or, is that not a sure bet?

  3. Hi, I used a sugar substitute for myblueberry jam and it turned out grainy and thick mess. I know that I didn’t use enough fruit. Can I salvage it by not adding any additional sugar/juice? Thanks for your help.

    • Hello Tracy,
      I cannot think of any way around adding more liquid if your would like to change the consistency of your jam. If you do not wish to use juice or anymore sweetener, you could choose to add water, but I am not sure how that will turn our taste wise.


  4. What can I do to make it less stiff? Can I empty the jars and add more fruit. I did not chop the sour cherries. I
    And don’t mash very well so I probably need to add fruit. I used 8 cups of fruit and juice and added 4 tsp calcium water and 4 tsp of pectin.
    I’d like to redo it as soon as I hear from you how to do that.
    Thank you. Love your product.

    • Hello Sue,

      Thanks so much for reaching out to us over here at Pomona’s. Sorry to hear that your labor of love for your Cherry Jam did not repay the favor for you!

      Click here for a link to troubleshoot possible reasons why your Jam was too thick.
      Click here for a link for general troubleshooting.

      In order to loosen up your jam a bit I would recommend adding all your jars back into a pot. I would then suggest buying a jar of cherry juice (or any juice you prefer) from the grocery store, boiling 1-2 cups of that juice, then pureeing that juice with 1-2 teaspoons of Pomona’s Pectin for about 1 minute in a blender or food processor.
      Add the, now liquid, pectin-juice into your cherry mixture and bring to a boil. Proceed with your water bath canning process.

      Hope this information provides you with some lovely jam.


      • Thank you Shelby. Your suggestion worked perfectly and the sour cherry juice I used gave it an even richer color. It now is spreadable.
        How nice to get help so quickly. I was in a panic after spending all that time picking and pitting all those cherries.

        • You are so very welcome. Wonderful news!! I am so thrilled for you Sue!
          We loving when our customers are just as smitten with our product as we are.

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