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

This recipe has changed because MCP Pectin has changed it's formula. The recipe for this strawberry freezer jam no longer contains corn syrup as one of it's ingredients. Follow the new directions below for a tasty jam your family will love.

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!


Serves: 7 cups

Mom's Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam

45 minPrep Time

45 minTotal Time

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  • 3 1/4 cups crushed strawberries*
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 box MCP pectin (must be MCP pectin)
  • 4 1/2 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.


  1. Wash and cut the tops off all the strawberries. Place in a large bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. Place the crushed strawberries in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add in the lemon juice.
  5. Then stir in the MCP pectin into the berries. Set aside and let set for 30 minutes. Stir about every 5 minutes to dissolve the pectin.
  6. After 30 minutes stir in the sugar gradually. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and an no longer grainy.
  7. Pour jam into prepared containers. Leave about 1/2 inch at the top for expansion during freezing. Cover with lids.
  8. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours or until set.
  9. Then place in the freezer.


This recipe has been changed because MCP pectin has changed over the years. We used to follow the recipe that had Karo syrup in it. That recipe no longer works with this pectin. The result is runny jam. But this new revised recipe seems to work well.

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54 Responses to “Mom’s Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam (only 5 ingredients!)”

  1. 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.
    • 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!
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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. 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!
    • 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! :)
  3. 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.
    • 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.
  4. Patrick Sheehan
    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.
  5. 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!!
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. Kimberly Barker
    I picked fresh raspberries on Tuesday and followed this recipe exactly last night. I live in northern UT and used the MCP pectin. All the containers went in the freezer except one. The one in the fridge is still runny as of this morning. Any ideas on how to thicken it up? Could I put this fridge container in the microwave to "cook" a little more? I did read a comment about draining the liquid after mashing, I don't recall reading that anywhere in the recipe. Was I supposed to do that?
  9. Madilyn Pitcher
    I've used the older version of the MCP pectin recipe that uses corn syrup for years and it taste so much better. The new recipes do not taste the same. The original recipe calls for 3 1/4 cups crushed fruit. Your recipe calls for 3 lbs. of fruit. The rest of the recipe is the basically same except the original calls for 4 1/2 cups sugar and yours calls for 4 cups sugar. That may be why the jam is not setting up. You also let the jam sit at room temperature for 24 hours before you freeze it. Hope this helps.
    • Hi Madilyn. I went in and changed the recipe according to the new directions on the MCP package. MCP has changed over the years and the old recipe with Karo syrup no longer works. It turns out very runny. We have made the jam on the newer MCP package and it thickens up well. I have to agree with you, the corn syrup recipe tasted a little better.
  10. I’ve always used MCP. Sometimes it sets and sometimes it doesn’t. I made 2 batches of strawberry jam last night with the exact same ingredients (frozen berries work just fine). One set up and the other didn’t-go figure. The MCP website says that if it doesn’t set up pour your jam back into a bowl, add another pkg. of MCP pectin, add 1 cup sugar and stir every 5 minutes for 30 minutes. Worked like a champ!

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