Meyer Lemon Marmalade

This Meyer lemon marmalade–made with just three ingredients: lemons, sugar, and water–is a sensational spread for breakfast, brunch, or a surreptitious snack.

Homemade marmalades made with fruit fresh from the farm are the essence of the Italian agriturismo, and nearly every farm makes its own jams and jellies to serve at breakfast. This was one of our favorites. Its unique, slightly bitter aftertaste is delicious on warm bread drizzled with olive oil or smeared with soft butter. It’s also delicious paired with sharp cheese, crackers, and a sparkling white wine.–Matthew Scialabba and Melissa Pellegrino

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

A serving platter with a piece of toast spread with marmalade. A jar of marmalade and knife rest in the background
This Meyer lemon marmalade–made with just three ingredients: lemons, sugar, and water–is a sensational spread for breakfast, brunch, or a surreptitious snack.
Matthew Scialabba and Melissa Pellegrino

Prep 45 mins
Cook 45 mins
Total 1 hr 30 mins
Condiments
Italian
5 / 6 votes
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Ingredients 

  • 7 2 lbs Meyer lemons preferably organic
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

Directions
 

  • Scrub the lemons and trim the ends. Cut 4 lemons into eighths lengthwise (yes, peel and pith and all), remove the seeds, and cut each length crosswise into very thin slices. Set aside.
  • Trim the peel and pith from 2 of the remaining lemons. Hold the peeled lemons over a small bowl and cut the segments free from the membranes, allowing the segments and juice to fall into the bowl and discarding the membranes, peel, and pith.
  • Juice the remaining lemon (you should have about 1/4 cup juice).
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced lemons, return to a boil, and cook to remove some of the bitterness, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the cold water, sugar, and the 1/4 cup lemon juice to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sliced lemons and the lemon segments and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, skim any foam from the surface, and simmer very gently until the mixture breaks down and thickens, 40 to 60 minutes, checking frequently to prevent scorching or overcooking.
  • To test for doneness, chill a small dish in the refrigerator. Drop a small dollop of marmalade on the dish, let it cool briefly, and then run your finger through it. If the mark remains, the marmalade is ready; if it doesn’t, cook the mixture for a few more minutes and retest. Cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Print RecipeBuy the The Southern Italian Farmer's Table cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I LOVE this Meyer lemon marmalade. The preparation is somewhat tedious and a bit messy but the end result is really quite stunning. It took me almost 45 minutes to prepare the lemons and another 45 to 50 minutes for simmering on the stove. The marmalade isn’t only beautiful, it has an amazing lemon flavor. I’ll most certainly use this recipe for the special people in my life.

It’s sometimes the more subtle things in life that truly impact our perceptions and experiences. This simple but decadent Meyer lemon marmalade took me back immediately to dining experiences on the Amalfi Coast and, interestingly, in Normandy, France. Simple to prepare and extremely forgiving, this recipe delivers marmalade to devour! I’ve visions of this marmalade on a variety of breads, paired with other ingredients too, if desired: sprigs of mint, a drizzle of honey, a couple of fresh berries to name a few. With a tight schedule today, I set up my mise en place ahead of time so that I could stir and observe the marmalade during the cooking process. Unexpectedly my son’s event ended early, when the marmalade was just beginning to thicken. I’d no choice but to turn off the heat, put a lid on the saucepan, and pick up my son. Fifty minutes later I finished the cooking, and voila—the marmalade is superb. I used 7 large lemons, which added up to about 2 1/3 pounds (along with the stated 1 cup of water and 2 cups of sugar), and yielded almost double the 1 1/2 cups stated. I wasn’t sure what the definition of “thin” was in step 1. I guessed <1/4 inch. Might be helpful to know if the sliced lemons should be as thin as possible or perhaps a 1/8-1/4-inch thickness. I assumed in step 5 that I should simmer the mixture in an uncovered saucepan to prevent steaming/condensation during cooking. The test for doneness was worded well.

I’ve two Meyer lemon trees in the backyard, with plenty of fruit still on them, so this was the perfect recipe to try out. The outcome exceeded my expectations. Think yellow-colored orange marmalade, just a tiny bit more bitter. I tried it on bread with cottage cheese—just blew my mind. The recipe is very well written; the hands-on and cooking times are pretty accurate. Yield is 2 cups instead of the stated 1 1/2 cups. I had to adjust the cooking time a little bit to 70 minutes instead of the stated 40 to 60 minutes. I removed some of the white pith running inside the lemons when I cut them into slices, which wasn’t noted in the recipe. The only thing not absolutely clear was the appropriate thickness of the slices; it stated “thin.” I cut the lemons into 2-millimeter slices, which worked very well for me. All things considered, a nice recipe very worth the labor and time.

This marmalade isn’t just unique, it’s delicious. The preparation is a bit time-consuming, but it’s worth the time. I halved the recipe because I purchased only 1 pound of lemons (which I now really regret.) I divided the lemon prep in proportion to the full recipe. The stated yield was correct, about 3/4 cup for the halved recipe. I also adjusted the cooking time. One way to speed up the prep, if you have a good chef’s knife, is to line up three 1/8 slices of the lemons side by side and cut them crosswise into thin slices all at once. Beats doing them one by one. It’s very important to carefully watch the simmering mixture, as it can easily scorch or overcook, as the author points out. If the marmalade thickens too much after it cools, a little water or a little more lemon juice and a few seconds in the microwave will help get it to a nice, spreadable consistency. This marmalade was delicious on buttered toast with some slices of sharp Cheddar cheese.

Originally published October 28, 2017

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was given these lemons with no idea how to use them. So they sat patiently waiting in the fridge. Eventually I searched for 1/2 lemon 1/2 orange information and found the Meyer Lemon! I then set to work preparing this wonderfully simple marmalade recipe for Meyer Lemons. It is totally yummy on hot buttered toast, thank you:).

    1. I’m delighted that this worked out so well for you, Sally. It really is like a little ray of sunshine on toast, isn’t it?

  2. I would like to add vanilla beans scraped from the pod, along with the pod (to remove later). Would I add this in Step 5? Thank you.

    1. Hi CC, I just whipped up a batch of this marmalade and think the addition of vanilla could be quite lovely. I would add it in step 5. Please let us know how it turns out.

    1. Hi, Richard! If you use a jar that is 8-oz or less, and pack them hot, 10 minutes in a water bath will do the trick.

  3. I have thyme growing like crazy in my garden right now, and lemon + thyme always sounds like such a good idea to me. Do you suppose it’d be a good addition to this marmalade? If so, how would you suggest adding it? (making it into a sort of tea? throwing a few springs directly into the second boil?)

    1. ariadne, I would add it in step 5, but make sure to wrap the thyme in cheesecloth so that you don’t have fish through the mixture to pick out the leaves and stems. And you don’t want to can the herbs with the jam; they can discolor.

  4. 5 stars
    I had 1 pound of Meyer lemons in the fridge and an impending visit to my marmalade-loving dad. Figured I’d throw a half recipe of this together and hope for the best, though I’ve never had great success with marmalade making. Much to my delight, this turned out great. The half recipe made one half-pint jar. Will be making a full batch next time!

    1. Angelene, magnificent to hear! First of all, I envy you the luxury of having had a pound of Meyer lemons—-that’s my kind of fridge contents! And I love that you’ll be returning to the recipe again and again for more. Many kind thanks for taking the time to let us know how well it worked for you…

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