Peach Freezer Jam
This quick & easy, no-fail Peach Freezer Jam recipe is stuffed with fresh, juicy peaches. Add vanilla beans if desired for an extra special treat!
Our Favorite Peach Jam Recipe!
Every August, we indulge in a box of ripe, juicy, super-sweet peaches. You know, the kind of peaches with juice that drips down your forearm as you’re cutting into them. They’re irresistible. And I can’t help myself, I just gotta make some peach bread and a batch of my family’s favorite no-fail Peach Freezer Jam!
I love to include vanilla beans in this peach jam. It’s a fun reminder of our trip to Seattle a number of summers ago where we enjoyed amazing buttermilk biscuits schmeared with soft butter and spoonfuls of sweet, fragrant peach vanilla bean jam. It was heavenly! I knew I needed to recreate that jam at home.
Whether or not you decide to add vanilla beans to your own batch of jam, this peach freezer jam recipe is super easy to make – you don’t need any fancy equipment and you don’t need to cook the jars of jam in a hot water bath. Yay for quick & easy!
But even better than that is the flavor of freezer jam. Because the fruit isn’t cooked, it tastes brighter, fresher, and just plain more delicious. Like fresh fruit! You are gonna love this peach freezer jam!
What You’ll Need
You only need a few ingredients for this small batch peach jam.
- Peaches – If you want to make homemade peach jam I highly stress to use only the freshest, juiciest, sweetest peaches. It’s just not worth your time to use anything less, as the results are usually less than noteworthy.
- Sugar – Jams are known for including a good amount of sugar, and this peach jam is no exception. But don’t try to cut back the quantity or use a sugar substitute, as freezer jam requires a certain amount of sugar to set properly. If you want to use less sugar, look for a different recipe.
- Lemon juice – Lemon juice contains natural pectin, which helps this jam to set. It also brightens the overall flavor.
- Surejell “original” pectin – Peach jam is known for being fussy when it comes to getting it to set properly. I’ve experimented A LOT and have found that two 1.75-ounce boxes of pectin does the trick. Depending on how juicy the peaches are and how firm of a set I want, I use all or only a portion of the pectin mixture.
- Water – Mix this with the pectin.
- Vanilla bean paste – This is optional. Use your favorite vanilla bean paste or scrape the seeds from half of large, plump vanilla bean.
How to Make Peach Jam
When it comes to peach jam recipes, this is about as easy as it gets. Here’s how to make it!
- Peel and dice juicy, sweet peaches. Measure out exactly 3 cups of diced peaches.
- Remove 1 cup of the diced peaches to a bowl and use a potato masher to break up the peaches, still leaving some small chunks.
- Add diced and mashed peaches to a large microwave-safe bowl, along with the sugar, lemon juice, and (optional) vanilla bean paste.
- Stir everything together. Then stir continuously for 1 minute.
- Place the bowl in the microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave and stir continuously for 1 minute. Repeat by microwaving for 2 minutes and stirring for 1 minute. This will not cook the peaches, only help to dissolve the sugar. You’ll notice the mixture change in appearance from cloudy (from the sugar granules) to translucent once the sugar dissolves.
- Bring water and pectin to a boil on the stovetop. Boil and stir for 1 full minute.
- Immediately add all or part of the pectin mixture to the peach mixture.
- Note: If your peaches are the juiciest peaches ever, add all or most of the hot pectin mixture to the peach mixture. If you like a firm set, use all of the pectin. If you like a bit looser jam, hold out some of the pectin. For the jam in my photos, the peaches were about an “8.5 out of 10” on the juicy peach scale – and I removed and discarded about 1/3 cup of the hot pectin mixture, and added the rest of the pectin mixture to the peaches. This gave me a loose yet slightly firm set, just how I like my jam. If your peaches aren’t quite as juicy and you like a looser set, definitely do not use all of the pectin!
- Stir the peach and pectin mixture continuously for 3 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy. If a few sugar crystals remain, barely detectable, that’s ok.
- Fill jars to within 1/2” of their tops. It’s helpful to use a canning funnel, but not necessary.
- With a damp paper towel, wipe off the top edges of each jar and cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours to fully set.
- Store the jam in the refrigerator or freezer (because this jam does not go through the full canning process).
How to Pick Ripe Peaches
When choosing peaches in the store, look for ones labeled “freestone” (vs “clingstone”) as it’ll be easier to pull the flesh from the pit.
You want peaches that are perfectly ripe when making homemade peach jam. This means they are firm but not hard, and give slightly when you squeeze. Skip any that have bruises, wrinkles, soft spots, or brown spots.
They should be fragrant as well – if they smell noticeably sweet, they’ll more than likely taste sweet too.
When making jam, I like to taste each peach as I slice it. Because a peach that’s sweet and delicious to eat will also be great in jam.
How to Prep the Peaches for This Jam
To prepare the peaches, start by washing them. First things first!
Then, because I will only use peaches that are perfectly ripe and juicy, it’s usually very easy to peel away the peach skin with just a sharp paring knife.
If, however, the skin does not remove easily, you can quickly blanch the peaches in boiling water. Simply bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the peaches in for just 30 seconds then immediately place them in a bowl of ice water. Once they’ve cooled, the skins should just rub off, with barely any effort.
Next slice the peach in half, and then in half again, and remove the pit. Then slice the halves into ¼” slices, both length and width-wise, to create 1/4″ pieces. Alternatively, you could use a veggie chopper to give the peach slices a quick chop, chop, chop!
Why Does Peach Freezer Jam Sometimes Not Set?
Peach freezer jam is super easy to make, but sometimes it can be a little tricky to get a firmer set. This is because peaches are very juicy and have a low amount of natural pectin. So even though you’ll find peach jam recipes that use pectin, it’s often not enough to give the jam a good set.
I’ve been experimenting with this for awhile now and have been super happy with the results I get when using more than the recommended amount of pectin (as suggested by SureJell’s peach freezer jam recipe).
So basically, I double the amount of pectin, which means I use 2 boxes…even though I don’t always add all of it to my jam. There’s no exact science to my method – but if my peaches are the juiciest peaches ever, I will use all of the pectin. And when the peaches are not quite that juicy, I scale back on the pectin. But I always use more than 1 box of pectin!
Another point to mention is to make sure that the sugar is fully dissolved. This will help the pectin bond more readily with the sweetened peach mixture.
Can I Use Less Sugar?
Do not adjust the amount of sugar when making freezer jam recipes. This can cause the jam to not set properly. Even though freezer jam recipes normally use a good amount of sugar, in reality, most people don’t use that much jam when they sit down to enjoy some on a piece of toast.
How to Use This Jam
There are so many ways to serve fresh peach jam – for breakfast, snacks, and dessert!
It’s wonderful spooned over yogurt or vanilla ice cream, spread on steaming yeasted waffles, pancakes, or popovers, and, of course, on toast, an English muffin, or a biscuit in the morning. We also like to spoon the jam over a log of goat cheese and eat it with crackers.
And this jam makes a great gift! Just be sure to let the recipient know that this is freezer jam and should be stored in the fridge or freezer.
More Peach Recipes
- Peach Pie – my mom’s recipe, my favorite pie in the world!
- Peach Cake – super simple, so dang good!
- Almond Peach Squares
- Peach Streusel Coffee Cake
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- 3 cups peeled and diced (¼" or smaller) fresh, ripe peaches (from 4 to 5 medium to large peaches)
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from half of a large plump vanilla bean
- ½ cup water
- 2 boxes (1.75 ounces each) SURE-JELL "original" fruit pectin
- Wash 7 half-pint (1 cup) jars and lids with hot water and dish soap. Rinse and dry thoroughly, and then set aside.
- Add exactly 3 cups of diced peaches to a large microwave-safe bowl. Remove 1 cup of the diced peaches to a smaller bowl and use a potato masher to crush the peaches into smaller bits. Add crushed peaches back to the large bowl of peaches.
- Add sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla bean paste to bowl of peaches and stir continuously for 1 minute.
- Place the bowl in the microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave and stir continuously for 1 minute. Repeat by microwaving for 2 minutes and stirring for 1 minute. Each time you do this, the sugar will dissolve more and more. Taste test to see if the sugar has dissolved. If it is only slightly grainy, you're ready for the next step. If it's still pretty grainy, microwave for another 2 minutes and stir for 1 minute. This process will not cook the peaches, only help to dissolve the sugar. You'll notice the mixture change in appearance from cloudy (from the sugar granules) to translucent once the sugar dissolves.
- In a medium saucepan over high heat, stir together water and pectin. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 full minute, adjusting the heat if necessary so it doesn't boil over. Then immediately add all or part of the pectin mixture to the peach mixture - be sure to read the Pectin Quantity note below! Stir continuously for 3 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy. If a few sugar crystals remain, barely detectable, that's ok.
- Fill jars to within 1/2'' of their tops. With a damp paper towel, wipe off the top edges of each jar and cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Because this jam does not go through the full canning process, it must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Pectin Quantity: If your peaches are the juiciest peaches ever, add all or most of the hot pectin mixture to the peach mixture. If you like a firm set, use all of the pectin. If you like a bit looser jam, hold out some of the pectin. For the jam in my photos, the peaches were about an "8.5" out of "10" on the juicy peach scale - and I removed and discarded about 1/3 cup of the pectin mixture, and added the rest of the pectin mixture to the peaches. This gave me a loose yet slightly firm set, just how I like my jam. If your peaches aren't quite as juicy and you like a looser set, definitely do not use all of the pectin!
Storage: Refrigerator for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 1 year. Thaw frozen jars of jam in the refrigerator before using.
See more tips for peach freezer jam in the post.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 50 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Where the Inspiration for This Jam Came From
My family became quite smitten with Tom Douglas‘ restaurant and bakery menus during our week in the Pacific Northwest.
On the morning of the 4th of July, Serious Pie & Biscuit (now called Serious Pie, sadly it looks like they no longer make biscuits) was buzzing with a holiday breakfast crowd. My individual cast iron dish of eggs with spinach, pesto, and feta was sublime. And those buttermilk biscuits were some kind of amazing, just the perfect canvas for shmearing on some soft butter and a big sweetened-just-right spoonful of their peach vanilla jam – that meal is where the inspiration for this peach vanilla jam came from!
We ate in the upper loft space that morning, which afforded a fabulous view of the kitchen and bakery below. This bakery is where the magic happens for all of Tom Douglas’ restaurants.
And Tom Douglas’ Dahlia Bakery. Again, not to be missed. I had to try the peanut butter sandwich cookies I had heard so much about. They were perfectly peanut buttery. And just plain buttery! And I gave in to my second helping of their famous triple coconut cream pie (also served at Serious Pie & Biscuit), happy to find them in mini portions here at the bakery. Yum!!
This post was first published in 2014 and then updated in 2022.