Accidentally Cooking

Documenting my mistakes in the garden, kitchen and pantry

Caramel Apple Jam

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In two previous posts I’ve mentioned Caramel Apple Jam but never posted the recipe myself. I borrowed this recipe from another blog, and made a few minor adaptations for my own needs [1]. This year I’ve made two batches of it, because it was so popular.

Caramel Apple Jam

  • 5.5 Cups prepared Apple Sauce
  • 3.5 Cups Sugar
  • 0.5 Cups water
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Vanilla Extract (to taste)

Prepare the apple sauce ahead of time. Basically follow the recipe for apple butter, but stop cooking it before it turns brown and gets thick.

In a large stock pot, add the water and the lemon juice. Pour in 2 cups of sugar, slowly and evenly. DO NOT STIR. You’re making a “wet caramel”. In the wet method, caramel and water are cooked together. As the water evaporates, the boiling point of the mixture increases. Eventually, the sugar starts to caramelize, without much fear of burning.

Bring the sugar/water mixture to a boil over medium or medium-low heat. Boil it, without stirring, until the mixture starts to turn to a caramel-brown color.

When you’re ready, add the apple sauce. WARNING: There will be some spluttering. The sugar/water mixture is boiling at a higher temperature than plain water. Adding the apple sauce will change that ratio, decrease the boiling point again, and things will get a little violent. Keep your face away from the opening while you stir to mix.

Add the remaining sugar and the vanilla extract. I used my own homemade vanilla, about 2 Tbsp of it.

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is thicker. Since it’s hot, it will thicken up even more when it’s cool, so don’t go crazy.

To preserve this jam, put it into prepared half-pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.


I made this jam last year, and it was very well received. In fact, it was one of the most requested repeat recipes I’ve ever had. A jam with caramel AND apples? It’s a no-brainer.


Last year I commented that the jam was a little too sweet. I was planning to decrease the amount of sugar, but then I remembered that this is a pectin-free recipe and I couldn’t decrease the sugar without changing the consistency. So I didn’t change a thing.

I had thought about adding a bit of sea salt to the mix, but my wife isn’t a fan of the whole “salted caramel” craze so I didn’t do that either. Next time, maybe.

I made two batches this year. The first batch went perfectly but the second batch had some issues with the caramel. For some reason the sugar wasn’t caramelizing as well as it had previously, with sugar crystals floating around on the top of the bubbling mixture. I had to stir it in, which I haven’t had to do before. When I added the apple sauce the caramel hardened into a large clump. Luckily, during the boiling period, the caramel clump dissolved and the final product turned out the same as always.

All three batches I’ve made of this jam have produced almost exactly 7 half-pint jars of jam, sometimes with almost enough left over for a small quarter-pint jar.


  1. Her recipe calls for using a vanilla bean, mixed in with the sugar to make vanilla sugar instead of vanilla extract. She also calls for some rum to be added at the end to finish it. I didn’t have rum or vanilla beans, so I used some of my homemade vanilla extract (which is vodka-based) instead. Otherwise, I kept the recipe almost identical because I wanted to get the right consistency.

Author: Andrew Whitworth

I'm a software engineer from Philadelphia PA. Sometimes I like to go out to my garden, or step into my kitchen and make a really big mess of things.

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