Grape Jam Recipe – Low Sugar and Full Sugar.

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Home-canning this grape jam recipe is easy. Many people love grape jelly, and I do too! Jelly is made from the juice of the fruit, with the goal being a clear sweet Jelly. Jam, however, is made from crushed fruit. Hence, this is grape jam, NOT jelly. 🙂 If you are looking to win at the county fair, search for a clear jelly. If you want jammy goodness for your PBJ’s, go for either one of these jams.

Two jars of lovely red grape jam.

Low sugar or full sugar grape jam options.

I have two grape jam recipes on this page. The first one is a low sugar grape jam, the one below that is full sugar grape jam. And I do mean full! Remember jam is a condiment. According to your preferences, a full sugar variety might be just fine.

Instructions are included with each. They are very similar however… the low sugar version uses commercial pectin which has the benefit of a short cook time and consistent results. The full-sugar version has a longer cook time and relies on the pectin in the grapes.

The gel of homemade jams and jellies depends on the combination of pectin in your fruit combined with the amount of sugar, and sometimes acid in the form of lemon juice. If you try to reduce the sugar in a traditional full-sugar grape jam recipe (like the one at the bottom of this page) it may affect the jel of your product. Sugar is also a preservative so it may affect the shelf life of your product both on the shelf and in the fridge after you open the jar. So… in order to do a low sugar grape jam, I chose to use low sugar pectin so I know I would get a nice gel.

High Hopes – or how to prepare your grapes.

A clump of light purple grapes still on the vine.
Freshly picked grapes in the hand with the vines in the background.

Before we get to the recipes I want to talk to you about what to do to prepare your grapes. And this is for either low sugar or full sugar.

First the skins….

The first thing you are supposed to do is peel your grapes. Well, that didn’t sound like a fun task at all! I have tiny little grapes that grow on my grapevines. Even big grapes it would be tedious.

After you peel the grapes, it is optional to take those skins, chop them and then add them back to the grape pulp. So…. I had high hopes to just skip the skinning part. I’d just leave the skins on and mash them right in with the pulp.

Next the seeds….

However, To make grape jam you also need to remove the seeds. I have seedless grapes so I also had high hopes that I’d be able to skip this step too. Well… NO, apparently even seedless grapes have seeds. They are just much much smaller. I tried leaving them in but when I started mashing them those pesky tiny seeds revealed themselves and I realized it was not going to work.

What I finally did with my grapes

I put my grapes in a pot and smashed it with a potato masher added a cup of water to keep them from sticking and heated it up. That is when I spotted the seeds that I was hoping would make no difference. (Sigh) So my final step was….. running the pulp through this food mill which removed both the seeds and the skin.

If you want to, you can skin your grapes, then run them through the mill to get the seeds out, and then add the skins back into the pulp. I’m not even considering trying to put that skin back with the pulp! Nope nope nope. Plain grape pulp it is and it worked fine.

So now I have my prepared grape pulp. And I can go on with my recipe.

Pointing out grape seeds and skins that the food mill removes.
Running fresh grapes through the crank food mill to remove the skins and seeds.

How to Can Grape Jam: Low Sugar

Low sugar grape jam. These directions come from the Ball Pectin Calculator. if you have not seen this page yet you should check it out.

First gather your canning supplies.

Ingredients for 2 half pint jars. (double or triple recipe according to how many jars you want to make)

  • 1 1/3 cup grape pulp
  • 1/3 cup fruit juice or water (I used water).
  • 1 1/2 T low sugar pectin,
  • up to 1/2 cup sugar. (I used the 1/2 cup)

Combine the pulp, fruit juice or water, and pectin in a large saucepot. Bring to a full rolling boil. add in the sugar, stir and bring back to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute.

Sharon holding a plastic container of Ball pectin.
Sharon stirring a boiling pot of grape jam.
Grape jam cooking in a pot.

This is the nice thing about using a commercial pectin. There is no long boil time, no wondering if you’ve reached the gelling point. The pectin and 1 minute hard boil takes care of it.

Turn off the heat and fill hot jars leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of your jars clean and place the lids and bands on the jar finger tight. The jars are now ready to go in the canner.

Ladling jam into a prepared jar through a canning funnel.
Putting the flat lid on the jar using the magnetic lid lifting tool.
Tightening the screwband on a jar filled with grape jam.

If you are not familiar with how to fill your jars and process them in a water bath canner, be sure and check this page. Waterbath Canning, You’ll find specific step by step instruction on how the canner works and filling your jars.

Process in a water bath canner.

0-6,000 ft – 10 minutes 

Above 6,000 ft – 15 minutes 

Printable Recipe

Low-Sugar Grape Jam

Here's my canning recipe for Low-Sugar Grape Jam.
Print Recipe
Two jars of lovely red grape jam.
Prep Time:1 hour 30 minutes
Processing Pints (adjust for altitude):10 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 40 minutes


  • 1 ⅓ cups Grape Pulp
  • cup Fruit Juice or water (I used water)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon Ball Low-sugar Pectin
  • Up to ½ cup Sugar I used the full 1/2 cup


  • Start by preparing jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.
    See full water bath canning instructions here.  

For a Hot Pack

  • Wash grapes and mash grapes lightly in stockpot.
  • Heat on medium until grapes are soft and juicy.
  • Run grapes through a food mill, removing skins and seeds.
  • Return fruit pulp to the pot and stir in water and pectin.
  • Bring to a full, rolling boil. Add in the sugar. Stir and bring back to a boil.
  • Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Ladle into hot jar, leaving 1/4” headspace.
  • Remove air bubbles, wipe rim clean, and place seal and ring. Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars. Process according to the chart below.  


Processing with a Water Bath Canner
Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the canner.
When all the jars are filled, bring the water in the canner to a boil.  When a boil is reached that is when you’ll start your timing.   Process for the length of time on the chart below.  Adjust for your altitude. 
 After your time is over, turn the heat off remove the lid and allow the canner to rest for about 5 minutes. Then bring your jars up out of the water.  Allow them to rest for another 5 minutes. Then remove the jars and place them a few inches apart on a thick towel to cool completely.  Leave them alone for about 12 hours.  
When they are cooled remove the metal bands, check the seals, label the jars and store them away! 
Processing Times for Water Bath Canner (Hot Pack) 
Altitude – Half Pints and Pints are Processed the Same 
0-6,000 ft – 10 minutes 
Above 6,000 ft – 15 minutes 
Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation
Servings: 2 half pint jars

Full Sugar Grape Jam Recipe

Gather Your Canning Supplies for the Grape Jam Recipe:

Ingredients for Grape Jam:

  • 2 quarts grapes – I used a mixture of concord, red, and white grapes. Prepared as above.
  • 6 cups sugar (yes it is a lot of sugar!)

Start by preparing jars and getting water in your canner heating. (See Water Bath Canning for full directions.)

Combine the pulp you have prepared with 6 cups sugar. Bring to a boil stirring constantly.

Boil rapidly. As jam thickens skim off the foam if necessary. Bring this to your gelling point. This will be 8 degrees above your boiling point. Use a candy thermometer is the easiest way to measure.

If you don’t know your gelling point. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Measure the temperature. Then add 8 degrees, this is your gelling point.

You can also use a cold spoon to scoop a bit of jelly out of the pot. The cold spoon will cool the jam quickly. Tip the spoon to the side and watch as the jam runs off. Is it still drippy? YOu’ll need to boil a little longer. Does it ‘sheet’ off or slide off? It should jel.

Honestly, the thermometer is so much easier!

Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims and place two-piece canning lids. Pack and process according to water bath canning instructions. (Don’t forget to adjust for altitude.)

Processing time for 1/2 pints or pints, no quarts:

  • 0-1,000 feet – 5 minutes.
  • 1,001-6,000 feet – 10 minutes. (If you didn’t sterilize jars, you’ll also need to process for 10 minutes, regardless of your altitude.)
  • 6,000+ feet – 15 minutes.

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Grape Jam Recipe

Page last updated: 2/2/2021

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1 year ago

I am a canner. My husband and I usually make grape and strawberry jam each year. We are pretty comfortable with the canning process and water bath process. Today as we get ready to can our grapes I thought I would look at some helpful ideas for making large batches and came upon your website. It is so easy and helpful! Very complete instructions with helpful hints and so easy to understand for those who have never canned or are new to it. Wish I had seen your site years ago. You do a wonderful job of explaining canning and… Read more »

2 years ago

I just moved to a property that has a beautiful and abundant grape vine. After harvesting all the grapes, I realized that I didn’t really know what to do with them all. I took a canning class years ago, but was always afraid to try it solo. I followed the low sugar recipe here, and had my very first successful solo canning session! Thanks for the clear instructions and simple recipe! I think next time, I’d try with even less sugar (I used the entire half cup and it’s a little sweet for my taste). Very excited to build on… Read more »

2 years ago

So there is no pectin with the full sugar recipe?

Theresa Mizzell
Theresa Mizzell
3 years ago

Have you used a juicer/steamer/cooker to get your juice from your grapes? I would like to know your thoughts.

Eileen Ellison
Eileen Ellison
2 years ago

I Absolutely Love my steamer juicer!!! Makes processing berries and grapes so much easier. And if you mashed the top pot of product a little you ger pulp as well as juice.

1 year ago

We use a steam juicer all the time, and for Concord grapes as well. You get a perfectly clear purple grape JUICE …no pulp! So…. It would be perfect for grape jelly, but wouldn’t work so well to use for jam. e.