Vanilla Cantaloupe Jam Recipe

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After freezing a ton of cantaloupe, and eating as much fresh as we dared, I also wanted to preserve some for future use in a way that didn’t require freezing.  I decided to make jam–some with cinnamon and some with vanilla.  I made the vanilla jam first, and my family gobbled it up!

We like it best on homemade croissants, and honestly I think I like it better warmed, but straight from the pantry isn’t bad either.

You will need:

  • 6 Cups small pieces & chunks of cantaloupe
  • 4 Cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 5 Tablespoons powdered pectin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cooking & Canning items:


Always pick your firmest ripest cantaloupe for jams.  Put cantaloupe in a large pot, pour sugar evenly over it, and dump lemon juice on top.

I find that pre-measuring the pectin and setting it aside in a small bowl ready to use works best.

After you have all of your ingredients prepared and ready to go, move on to preparing your jars, lids and rings.  (I follow the guidelines outlined in my Ball Blue Book.)  Also have your water bath canner prepared.

While your jars, lids, and rings are getting ready, move back to your large pot and start your cantaloupe mixture over medium high heat.  Bring it to a rolling boil while stirring constantly for 10-15 minutes.  (A rolling boil is one that cannot be stirred down.)  Evenly stir in your pectin, and bring back to a boil.

I stir rapidly for awhile at this point, pulling the spoon up often to test for thickness.  Most canning books will tell you to do this for one minute at this stage.  I have taken 20 minutes to get to the right jelling thickness.

Once your desired thickness is reached, turn off your heat source.  Stir in your vanilla extract and salt until well mixed.

Using a funnel and a ladle, scoop your jam into your hot prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use your plastic stick to remove any bubbles, and carefully clean the rims with a clean cloth.  Place your lid (or two piece reusable Tattler lids like I use) on the top and place your prepared ring on.

When all are prepared, use your grabber to place each jar carefully into your pre-warmed water bath and bring to a rolling boil.  (Be sure to use your water bath canner according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Mine calls for 2 inches of water to cover the tops of the jars.)

Process for 10 minutes plus your adjustment for altitude once you reach a boil.


Altitude                                                          Increase Processing Time

1001-3000 ft                                                          5 minutes

3001-6000                                                            10 minutes

6001-8000                                                            15 minutes

8001-10000                                                        20 minutes

For just under 6000 feet, we process ours for 20 minutes.


Once your processing time is up, carefully remove your water bath canner from the heat and allow to cool down.  Then carefully remove the lid.  After 20 minutes or so, use your grabber to pull the jars out of your hot water and place on a protected surface (I use a dry towel).  Allow to cool over night.

In the morning, remove your rings and check for seal.  Clean all of your jars and rings and allow to dry again.

Any jars not sealed should be put into the refrigerator and used in the next week.

What do you do with a bumper crop of cantaloupe? Make vanilla cantaloupe jam of course!

A quick note:  Only you can be responsible for the food you prepare for your family, just as only I can be responsible for the food I prepare for my family. Always follow all manufacturer’s guidelines.  You are encouraged to use pH testers, and also know that substituting any ingredients affects the pH and affects the need for lemon juice and/or processing times.  I am not a professional “canner” and take no responsibility for your technique.  I follow guidelines outlined in the Ball Blue Book, and I encourage you to as well.



  1. Sounds tasty.

  2. This is a recipe I will have to try! It sounds so unique! Stopping by and loving your blog! Thanks for sharing your world with us!

  3. Interesting! Never thought about using cantaloupe to make jam. Def going to give this a try. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. I have never heard of cantaloupe jam! Good to know as we do grow it also! Thank you for sharing this recipe 🙂

  5. I have a bumper crop of cantaloupe this year, so was very happy to find this recipe. Will definitely be trying this in the next couple of days. Will let you know my results! Thank you so much for this recipe.

  6. Ok, just made my first batch of vanilla cantaloupe jam and it turned out wonderful! I’m ready to move on and make the cinnamon cantaloupe jam. Can you please tell me how much cinnamon you use, and do you simply add it to the vanilla recipe, or do you substitute the cinnamon for the vanilla? How much cinnamon do you use? Do you also use the salt in the cinnamon cantaloupe jam? Thanks again!

    • Brigitte–I’m so glad you enjoyed it! We enjoyed it so much that I never got around to making a cinnamon version 🙁 . When I do it next year, I don’t think I’ll add the vanilla or the salt. Once I find the right recipe, I’ll have to go down and work with the local extension office to make sure it’s safe for canning. For that reason, I don’t really feel as though I can advise you on any recipe specifics at this time, I’m sorry.
      This year, the family requested more of the vanilla flavored, but I really want to do the cinnamon next year.

  7. Could you tell me please about how many jars this make. Excuse me if I overlooked it. Thanks

  8. Tried this recipe it took a long time to set and it got really dark. Hmm will have to wait and see on flavor.

  9. I made this recipe today. It yielded 4 half pints of jam. The taste, color, and set are all very good, but I’m thinking of making another batch and reducing the amount of vanilla and salt. I would like to take it to the state fair this fall and they are very big on tasting the fruit itself. I thought the vanilla—while very good— overwhelmed the canteloupe flavor. Great recipe!

    • Good luck at the fair Lisa–I’ve got a blue ribbon on this one in the past, so hopefully it will work for you as well.

      • Thank you and congrats on your blue ribbon. I made the second batch today and left out the salt and vanilla entirely. I think this version tastes better. It’s brighter and tastes like canteloupe. However, the I didn’t get even suspension of fruit in the jars like I did with the first batch. It all rose to the top. So although the taste is state fair worthy, the presentation probably isn’t. But we will enjoy it and it was good use of our garden cantaloupes!

        • Thank you for letting us know Lisa. I think there are probably a lot of people who read this and wonder what it would be like to alter the recipe, and now they have the answer. I appreciate that.

  10. I just made this recipe using Splenda. I was a little disappointed that it only made 2 half pints of jam, but it sure does taste good!

  11. I just finished with my batch and I had a little extra so I was able to taste a sample!!!!! Omgosh So good!! I cant wait to share my jam with friends and family

  12. I love the recipe however mine never set. I doubled the pectin with no luck. It is more a syrup than ham. Any suggestions?

  13. I’m not sure I’d be canning that. I think freezing would be safer. You should only water bath foods that are high in acid, and cantaloupe is very low acid with a ph around 6.5 or even higher. The ph of green beans is about 5.7, of beef is about 6.5 and both of those require pressure canning. The cut off for safe canning is listed as ph of 4.6 or lower. Ph is measured on a logarithmic scale which means that each number is 10 times, as in a ph of 4 is 10 times more acidic than a ph of 5, and 100 time more acidic than a ph of 6. I know you have lemon juice added but I doubt it is enough to bring the ph down to safe canning levels. The recipe from Ball calls for 3/4 cup bottled lemon juice for the flesh for about 2 large melons. Don’t want to discourage your jam making, but you might check out the safety of this recipe. Feel free to Email me if you feel the need to tell me to mind my own business. Wishing you well, and happy canning.

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