Carrot Preserves – An Easy Carrot Cake Jam Recipe

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Have you ever tried carrot cake jam? It’s a warm, sweet, fall-tasting recipe that seems to surprise everyone. It’s a welcome change from your standard berry and pit fruit jam and adds a welcome twist to breakfast. Carrot jam in the middle of winter smeared on hot buttered bread will make you nostalgic for fall with a single bite. It’s a fun recipe to try, especially if you’re a fan of carrot cake.

Is Carrot Cake Jam Hard To Make?

Carrot cake jam is straightforward to make and only takes a few minutes of prep work to get started. There isn’t endless peeling or prepping like other fruit jams, and the whole thing comes together in under 40 minutes.

Read on to see how we make our fall carrot marmalade.

Jars of carrot cake jam resting on a bright white tabletop.

First, Gather Your Ingredients & Tools

For this carrot jam recipe, you will need the following Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups of shredded, grated carrot ( 3-4 medium-sized carrots) *
  • 1 cup of chopped apples (2-3 medium-sized apples) or fresh pears
  • One can of unsweetened crushed pineapple (or 400 ml of fresh pineapple crushed)
  • 1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 6 cups of white granulated sugar **
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp of cloves
  • One box of pectin
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest (optional)

* You can safely substitute peeled ripe pears for apples in this recipe.

** We’ve made this recipe with brown sugar and found it too sweet and off-putting.

Fresh picked carrots, a large red apple, a bowl of pineapple, with spices and certo resting on a bright white tabletop.

You will also need the following tools:

  • 6 250 ml canning jam jars (half-pint jars)
  • Peeler
  • Paring knife
  • Chopping knife and cutting board
  • A large stainless steel pot
  • Boiling water bath canner
  • Canning Funnel
  • Canning Tools
  • Clean Tea Towels
  • Ladle
  • Grater or food processor

Note: We’ve made this easy carrot jam recipe in the past with red carrots, and the color was OUTSTANDING. We have also tried making the jam with purple carrots, and the color was not so outstanding; it turned out very muddy looking.

Colored carrots are often hard to find, even at farmer’s markets, so if you want to make an original carrot cake jam, you can try to grow your carrots.

Learn More: If you decide to grow your carrots, see our guide on how to grow carrots in containers on the porch or front deck, It doesn’t take a lot of work, and fresh carrots are SO good!

A wooden spoon filled with light orange colored carrot jam against a bright white background.

Before you Begin, Be sure to Read Over the Best Practices for Safe Canning.

If you are a beginner or experienced canner who has not checked out the most recent updates to safe canning practices, I highly recommend you check out this guide.

Our recipe for carrot cake jam was adapted from Bernadin’s carrot cake jam conserve recipe.

Here are the basics to get you started:

Fresh Fruit: Choose fresh fruits and vegetables with no blemishes or deterioration.

Clean and sanitize – Wash jars with hot soapy water. Surfaces and tools must also be clean and sanitized.

Lemon Juice – As we mentioned above, use bottled lemon juice only. Fresh lemon juice is not safe for long-term storage of canned goods.

Timings: Process your jars based on the size and your altitude. For higher altitudes, check out this guide.

Follow the recipe as instructed, and do not reduce sugar, acids, or processing time. If the sugar content is too high, check out other resources, like Pomona’s website, for reduced sugar recipes.

Resist the urge to touch the lids, screw bands, and jars after they have been processed and placed to rest.

Do not reuse lids. Twist bands can be reused, but You should not reuse the lids to ensure a safe seal.

clean sanitized mason jar ready to be filled.

Start your water bath canner and Clean Your Jars, Lids, and Prep Area.

First, clean your mason jars and lids. Clean your mason jars in soapy hot water and rinse very well. Set up a steamer rack in a water bath canner or stock. Place the jam jars on the rack and fill the pot with water, enough to cover the jars by at least an inch. Do not allow the mason jars to touch the bottom of the pot. The rapid boiling can cause the glass jars to bounce and crack. 

Bring the water to a full boil and boil the jam jars for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs when the jam is ready to be poured.

carrot cake jam resting on a spoon on top of a half empty jam jar.

Clean Peel, and Prepare the Apples and Carrots

Clean the peel of the carrots and finely grate 1.5 cups and set aside. You should only need 1-2 large or 2-3 medium-sized carrots to get 1.5 cups.

Clean and peel the apples and finely chop 1 cup and set aside. Choose a semi-sweet crisp apple like gala or honey crisp.

Measure out the spices and set them aside. If you do not care for cloves or nutmeg, feel free to leave them out, but the spice blend for this recipe is pretty good and is not over powering; it adds a slight warmth to the jam.

diced and chopped fresh apple on a rustic wooden board.

Add all of the ingredients, except the sugar, to a large pot and bring to a slow boil for 20 minutes.

Add the grated carrots, canned pineapple, chopped carrots, spices, lemon zest, and pectin to your large stainless steel pot and bring to a low boil.

Low Boil The Ingredients for 20 minutes before adding the pectin.

Once the mixture has slow-cooked for 20 minutes on medium heat, add all the sugar and stir. Bring the mixture up to a hard rolling boil for one full minute stirring occasionally. Remove from heat after 1 minute.

Ingredients bubbling and cooking inside of a pot.

Process The Jars of Jelly For 10 Full Minutes

Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the hot jam to within 1/4-inch of the top of hot sterilized jars using a ladle and funnel.

Remove air bubbles with a non-metal utensil.

Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth—Center lids and screw bands on each jar and twist until finger tight. Do not fill to the top of the jar, or you will not get a seal. Process the jars in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes. 

Adjust processing time for altitude. 

Remove jars from the canner and rest on a clean cloth or cooling rack. Let the jam rest undisturbed at room temperature for 1-2 days to let it entirely set up.

Once cooled, be sure to test the lids. Use your finger and press down on the middle of the lid. If there is any give and the lid pops back up, you do not have a proper seal. You can keep these jars in your fridge for up to two weeks, but You cannot use them for long-term storage. 

A jar of carrot preserves on a white countertop.  A spoon of jelly is resting on the surface.

Label and Store Your Carrot Cake Jam in a Cool, Dark Location for up to 12 Months

Be sure to label your carrot jam with the date. If stored properly in a cool dark location, your jam will be safe to eat for up to one year.

We like to make our carrot jam in 250 ml jars because it’s only the two of us, and it takes a bit to get through a jar. However, open jars will stay fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks, so consider what size jar to use.

I can say that this is a very welcome treat for guests during the holidays. I haven’t met anyone yet who didn’t seem intrigued by the jar on the table at breakfast. It also makes a wonderful gift.

Jars of carrot jam resting on a countertop.

How to Enjoy Your Carrot Jam

Carrot cake jam is terrific on fresh-baked bread, warm bagels with cream cheese, or thinned to be used as a very original cheesecake topping. It goes great with cinnamon raisin toast or added as a dollop to warm oatmeal.

A jar, and bowl filled with carrot jam.


Can I Substitute brown for white sugar in this jam?

I’d only replace a portion of the white with brown. We tried making this recipe with all brown, but it had a very overpowering sweet taste. 50/50 would be best if you want to use brown sugar.

Can I use a sugar substitute?

For this carrot jam, no, you will need to use sugar. However, if you want a sugar substitute, I recommend using pectin made explicitly for low-to-no sugar jams like Pomona’s, and follow their directions accordingly.

Can I use larger jars?

Yes, you can use pint jars (500 ml) for your jam, but be sure to process the jars for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude.

What does carrot jam taste like? 

Carrot jam has all the warm spices and tastes of a homemade carrot cake. It’s sweet, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Much like a carrot cake, the spices take the lead, and the recipe tastes great with cream cheese. The jam is absolutely delicious.

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