Simple Recipe for Lime Marmalade Anyone Can Make

lime marmalade o toast on blue green dish with fresh limes

Do you have lots off fresh limes to use up? Have you been thinking about making lime marmalade but think it’s too complicated? Worried about sterilising jars or getting the setting temperature right? Then you need this really simple recipe for lime marmalade. This small batch marmalade recipe makes just the right amount and doesn’t need any fancy equipment. It’s much easier than you think! And you’ll have the most delicious, tangy and tart homemade lime marmalade to show for it.

lime marmalade on toast with text "simple recipe for lime marmalade anyone can make"

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Best limes for marmalade

My favourite type of lime for making marmalade is a Tahitian lime (Persian or Bearss lime). But really that’s just because I grow so many of them at home. These are actually a cross between a Mexican or Key lime and a lemon. As you can see in the photos below, when these limes are very ripe they are quite yellow in colour. I promise that they are still limes (and taste more lime than lemon)!

You can also use Mexican (Key) limes for this marmalade recipe. Makrut (Kaffir) limes will also work, but they won’t have quite as much juice.

Just 3 ingredients

This simple lime marmalade recipe only needs 3 ingredients:

  • 500g (1.1lb) whole fresh limes
  • 1 litre (33.8 fl oz) of water
  • 850g (1lb 14oz) caster sugar

As this is a small batch recipe, these quantities will make about 1 litre (approximately 5 jars) of marmalade. If you would like to make a bigger batch, you can easily double the recipe.

Jars and equipment

Again, you’ve probably seen people make jam with fancy preserve jars with rubber seals. And needing a thermometer to test when the jam reaches the right setting point. I like to keep things much simpler!

For this recipe you’ll need about 5 small jars (200ml or 8oz size), or equivalent. While you could buy new mason style jam jars with metal lids, you can also just use other used jars you’ve collected. As long as they have a well fitting screw tight lid that can be sterilised (metal or plastic). Otherwise you can use clear cellophane jam covers and rubber bands in place of a lid.

The only other equipment you’ll need is a chopping board and a sharp knife, a citrus juicer, measuring jug and a spoon. (You can use any citrus juicer or citrus press, as long as you collect the juicer – see our tips on the best types of citrus juicer).

Sterilising jars

When making marmalade at home, it’s really important to sterilise your jars first. Otherwise you risk bacteria in the jars ruining all your hard work with mouldy marmalade.

Sterilising jam jars doesn’t have to be complicated. They just need to be very clean and well dried.

I actually just run my jars and metal lids through a hot wash in the dishwasher. If they aren’t quiet dry afterwards I’ll pop them on a tray in a warm oven (110C) for about to 15 minutes to finish off.

If you don’t have a dishwasher, give your jars a good clean in hot soapy water instead. Then rinse well and place in the oven (as above) to dry.

For any lids with rubber seals or plastic, you can boil them in boiling water for 15 minutes and then air dry instead of using the dishwasher/oven.

Method

Lime marmalade is very easy to make, but does take a little organisation and patience.

numbered steps for making lime marmalade with images of soaking, simmering and boiling

Preparing the limes in advance

Wash the limes well to ensure that the skins are clean.

Cut the limes in half and juice each half using a citrus juicer. Save the juice and any fresh pulp in a jug, cover well and store in the fridge. (As a guide, you should end up with about 1 cup or 250ml of fresh lime juice.)

After juicing, place the lime halves in a large bowl and cover with warm water. Leave to soak for around 8 hours (overnight works well) to soften. (See Image 1 above)

Cooking the marmalade

Drain the lime halves. Using a sharp knife, cut each lime half in half again. Also remove any left over stems, hard ends or blemishes. (See Image 2 above). Then carefully cut each lime segment into thin (2mm thick) slices.

Place the limes rind in a large, heavy bottom saucepan together with the retained lime juice and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to medium heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour to soften the lime rinds. (See Image 3 above)

Add the caster sugar and continue to heat on medium, stirring regularly, until the sugar has dissolved (about 10-15 minutes).

Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to boil, stirring regularly, for 45 minutes to an hour or until the marmalade passes the setting test (below). During boiling you can use a slotted spoon to remove any frothy white material that forms on the surface of the marmalade mixture. (See Image 4 above)

When is the marmalade ready?

You’ve probably heard about the ‘science’ of getting jams and marmalades to set properly. Ensuring the fruit has enough pectin and getting the setting temperature right by testing with a thermometer. Fortunately there is a really simple way to test if your lime marmalade is ready and will set properly. It hasn’t failed me yet.

Marmalade setting test showing lime marmalade on plate that is has gelled

Just take a small plate and pop it in the fridge until it is quite cool. Once your marmalade has been boiling away for the required time, take a small amount on a spoon and place it on the cold plate. Tip the plate gently and see if the marmalade runs, or if it ‘gels’. If it runs on the plate, you’ll need to boil it for a little longer. Another way to check is to run your finger through the middle of the marmalade on the plate (when it is cool enough!). If the marmalade easily runs back to cover the line you made with your finger, it needs to cook longer. (If in doubt, cooking it a little too long is better than not long enough).

Storing marmalade

Once your marmalade is ready, transfer into the clean and sterilised jars. You can use a funnel or if you have wide neck jars, just spoon it in. Secure the lids tightly. Once the jars are cool enough to handle, wipe down the outside to remove any sticky marmalade spills.

Your lime marmalade is now ready to enjoy or to store for later. Properly sealed jars can be stored unopened in a cool place for up to a year. Once opened, store in the fridge.

More things to do with limes

So you’ve made marmalade and still have limes left over? Why not make our recipe for small batch preserved limes, or try freezing some for later. Or check out our list of ideas for using up lots of limes.

And if you haven’t already got your own lime tree, why not try your hand at growing a Tahitian lime tree in a pot.

Or for more citrus recipes, including other unique marmalade recipes, have a look at our recipe collection.

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lime marmalade in jar with fresh limes and spread on toast

Simple Recipe for Lime Marmalade Anyone Can Make

Elise
Easy 3 ingredient tart and tangy lime marmalade.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Australian, British
Servings 1 litre
Calories 49 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 citrus juicer
  • 1 jug
  • 1 large heavy based saucepan with lid
  • 1 spoon
  • 5 jam jars (250ml/8 fl oz)

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g (1.1 lb) fresh limes
  • 1 litre (33.8 fl oz) cold water
  • 850 g (1lb 14oz) caster sugar

Instructions
 

  • Wash the limes well to ensure that the skins are clean.
  • Cut the limes in half and juice each half using a citrus juicer. Save the juice and any fresh pulp in a jug, cover well and store in the fridge. (As a guide, you should end up with about 1 cup or 250ml of fresh lime juice.)
  • After juicing, place the lime halves in a large bowl and cover with warm water. Leave to soak for around 8 hours (overnight works well) to soften.
  • Drain the lime halves. Using a sharp knife, cut each lime half in half again. Also remove any left over stems, hard ends or blemishes. Then carefully cut each lime segment into thin (2mm thick) slices.
  • Place the limes rind in a large, heavy bottom saucepan together with the retained lime juice and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to medium heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour to soften the lime rinds.
  • Add the caster sugar and continue to heat on medium, stirring regularly, until the sugar has dissolved (about 10-15 minutes).
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to boil, stirring regularly, for 45 minutes to an hour or until the marmalade passes the setting test (below) During boiling you can use a slotted spoon to remove any frothy white material that forms on the surface of the marmalade mixture.
  • To test if marmalade is ready to set: Place a small spoon of marmalade onto a cold plate. Tip the plate gently and see if the marmalade runs, or if it 'gels'. If it runs on the plate, you'll need to boil it for a little longer. Another way to check is to run your finger through the middle of the marmalade on the plate (when it is cool enough). If the marmalade easily runs back to cover the line you made with your finger, it needs to cook longer. (If in doubt, cooking it a little too long is better than not long enough).
  • Once your marmalade is ready, transfer into the clean and sterilised jars. You can use a funnel or if you have wide neck jars, just spoon it in. Secure the lids tightly. Once the jars are cool enough to handle, wipe down the outside to remove any sticky marmalade spills.

Notes

This small batch recipe makes about 1 litre of marmalade. This equals about 5 small (200ml or 8 fl oz) jars. 
Properly sealed jars of marmalade can be stored unopened in a cool place for up to a year. Once opened, marmalade should be refrigerated until used. 
For tips on sterilising jars for marmalade, see the full recipe post.
Approximate calories are for a 1 Tablespoon serve of marmalade. 
Keyword breakfast, citrus, jam, lime, marmalade

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