Mom’s Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam (only 5 ingredients!)

When we were growing up, I don’t ever remember having store-bought jam. My mom would whip out a million batches of this jam every summer and we would eat it year-round. After I moved out, I remember sneaking jars of jam out of the freezer so that I could take it to college. I still remember having to buy my first jar of store-bought jam after I got married and being so disappointed in myself for not making my own jam. Well, after 8 years of marriage, I am happy to announce that I finally made my own . . . and I don’t know what took me so long!! It was seriously so easy . . . and my husband RAVES about it. He now thinks I am a domestic goddess. This recipe is for MCP pectin only.  We’ve tried the other pectins and it turns out runny.

If you have ever wanted to try homemade jam, I promise that this recipe is simple and fail-proof!

Mom’s Strawberry Freezer Jam 
(from Grandma A’s recipe book)

3 pounds of strawberries (I used three 16 oz containers)*
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 box MCP pectin (must be MCP pectin)
1 cup light corn syrup (Karo Syrup)
4 cups sugar

*My mom always uses this recipe for peach jam, apricot jam, and raspberry jam. They are all just as delicious! Just substitute whatever fruit you want for the strawberries.


Wash and cut the tops off all the strawberries. Place in a large bowl.
Mash the strawberries (I used a good ol’ potato masher and it works great!). If you like chunky jam, leave more chunks. Remember that the strawberries will continue to break down even more as you add other ingredients.
Add 1/4 cup lemon juice. Slowly add the package of pectin (I would add a 1/3 of the package at a time and mix it in really well before adding the next 1/3). Stir until all mixed in (the picture shows right after I added lemon juice, which is why it looks so juicy). Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Stir in 1 cup light corn syrup. Stir in sugar- 1 cup at time. Mix in VERY well between each cup of sugar.
Place large bowl in microwave and microwave for 4-5 minutes (uncovered), until it starts to bubble around the edges.
Stir it and pour into jars or plastic freezer containers (I was able to get 4 1/2 (16 oz) containers of jam from this batch). Leave jam sitting out at room temperature for 1-2 hours to let it cool down before putting it in the freezer.
This jam tastes amazing on hot bread . . . and makes a great gift for friends and neighbors!
Want some delicious bread recipes to put this jam on?
Check these out:
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  1. says

    Camille, this sounds delicious and I want to try it. I have not had very good luck with freezer jams, always turn out runny. I use the pectin that is specifically for freezer jams. Your recipe does not state which pectin to use. Please clarify if you use just the regular pectin or the one for freezer jams. I have never seen a recipe quite like this one. Adding the corn syrup is definitely different. As well as the cooking time in the microwave. Please clarify the type of pectin. Thank you. Enjoy the blog and have made many of the recipes.

    • says

      Hi Carol! I just use regular fruit pectin, not the freezer kind. It does say on the box that it is specifically for homemade jams and jellies (at least on the MCP box it does). I wonder if the corn syrup and mircowaving help make it not runny? It really is not runny at all. I hope that it works for you!

    • says

      Thanks for your reply. I will try this soon. Am hopeful it will not be runny. I have never heard of MCP brand. We have Sure Gel and Ball where I live. I’ll let you know how it turns out! My grandchildren love my fresh strawberry jam, runny or not, but I would like for the consistency to be right. Occasionally it will turn out right and I have often wondered if my pectin box was old–or somehow not working when it is runny–but it happens too often for that to be the cause. I follow the directions precisely! Frustrating.

    • says

      Well, I tried it yesterday and it was still very soft last night and checking this morning, it is still very soft/runny–left it on the counter for 24 hours per SureGel instructions. Not firm at all. I followed the instructions precisely, using the exact measurements given, nothing substituted or different at all. Used Sure Gel as I have never seen or heard of MCP. I think it is even runnier than the regular freezer jam I have made using the pectin specifically for freezer jam from Sure Gel. I’m at a loss to understand what I am doing wrong. I will research the problem with Google and see if I can find any answers. I’m now wondering if I can pour all the jam back into a bowl and add more pectin……thank goodness my grandchildren all like it runny or not! But I am very frustrated! I hope others who try this recipe will post their outcome.

    • says

      Hi Carol –
      I have tried this recipe twice in the last two weeks – both using a box of sure-gel, measuring carefully etc. and both times it turned out runny and didn’t set up at all. Not sure what we are doing wrong – but just wanted to let you know that you’re not the only one! :)

      Luckily my kids will eat it anyway…

      Good luck on future batches!

  2. says

    I don’t get why it’s called freezer jam…Do you leave it in the freezer and take it out for each use and then put it back in the freezer? Or does it just mean that it can be frozen until you want to use it and then keep it in the fridge like you normally do with jam??? Thanks for the help!

    • says

      I think that it’s called freezer jam because you make it in large batches and store the extra containers that you are not using in the freezer. It tastes amazing when you pull it out of the freezer in the winter because it’s so fresh. :) And yes, keep it in the freezer til you are ready to use it, then you just keep it in the fridge like you normally do with other jam. Hope that helps! :)

    • says

      I am so sorry that it came out runny! I know that sometimes with recipes, the altitude and humidity of where you live play a role in how it turns out (our sister in Missouri always has to adjust the recipes that we make in Utah or California). Anyway, I am not sure how else to thicken it up? I am so sorry!

  3. says

    I made the jam today. It cooked in the microwave for 10 min and never got bubbly around the edges. I took it out anyway but it separated in the jars and yes, it is runny. I used Ball Classic Pectin that comes in a plastic jar. It says 6 Tbsp = 1 box, so that’s how much I used. Hoping it will be thicker after it freezes. If not, I guess it will make good ice cream topping.

  4. Bethany says

    Is MCP pectin made by sure gel? I found it (currently unavailable) on amazon that says MCP pectin and has the sure gel mark in the corner. Any ideas where else I can purchase it?

    • Cyd says

      Not sure where you are, but in Utah we found it at fresh Market and associated food store chains like Bowman’s in Kaysville. Must have MCP in big letters on the box. Even though the boxes are almost identical. Sure gel doesn’t cut it. Good luck finding it.

  5. Patrick Sheehan says

    I am going to make this tomorrow with your recipe from strawberries I picked myself today in Arlington, Washington. I wonder if the reason some folks jam is runny is because they use store bought strawberries from California that are always half white in the middle. Or are they more runny when you use fresh picked that are completely red all the way through.I am sure other parts of the country have good berries too but I just think northwest strawberries have tremendous taste.Thanks I’ll let you know how mine come out as it’s my first time.

  6. Shanna says

    I tried making this on Monday and it is so runny! It tastes delish, which is great, but I’m not sure what I did wrong. I followed the directions to the T, and used the MCP Pectin. Any thoughts?

    I also tried making your orange creamsicle popcorn and it was a hit! Thanks for the fun recipes!!

    • Cyd says

      Not sure what could have gone wrong. Did you drain any extra liquid off of the fruit after mashing it a bit? You will want to drain the liquid. Did it thicken up when it was in the microwave?

  7. Bonnie says

    I finally gave up trying the freezer jam. It is not that hard to make the cooked jam. My first batch of that came out runny, but when I talked to someone at a strawberry farm, they said not to use super ripe berries, and to increase the pectin. It turns out perfect now. I make several batches as soon as we go berry picking. My grandson watches the shelf and reminds me when there is only a couple jars left. Then I make it from the berries I froze. The only problem with the cooked jam is that you have to have the equipment to do it, but it is worth it. Love lots of your other recipes.

  8. Ginger says

    For all of you that wound up with runny jam why don’t you try adding more smashed strawberries. I’ve done this with other things and it thickened it right up. Just a thought….

    This recipe looks good and i LOVE strawberry jam.

  9. Angie says

    So after reading all the posts and looking at my runny, syrupy “jam,” I decided to give it one last-ditch effort. I dumped into a pan all the containers that had been cooling on the counter and cooked the stuff on the stove until it was a nice rolling boil. I then put it back into the containers and it is now setting up and looking more like jam. I couldn’t find MCP pectin, so I had to use another brand. According to the recipe, you HAVE TO USE MCP. For those of you who couldn’t find any (me), cooking it on the stove seems to have made it thicker and saved me from 10 cups of syrup. It tastes divine, so I don’t want to give up!

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