Easy Homemade Apple Jelly

Every fall, the kids and I go to our local orchard and pick a bushel of apples together. I love making apple pie and apple jelly; inspired by my son, Gabe, who can't live without it. Don't be afraid to make this...I have some tried and true tricks that will make this easy and not to mention, the aromas of apples, cinnamon and cloves, will fill your home and will be a fall memory year-after-year.

For the apples 
5-10 lbs. of apples
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup whole cloves
8 cups water

Straining the apples equipment:
large bowl that can hold your strainer

To make the jelly
Sure gel
6 cups sugar

Jelly jars:
6-7 pint size jars with their lids
Clean your jars with warm/hot water and place on a cookie sheet and put in the oven on 200 degrees to keep warm until ready to fill.

This was our fun day picking our apples for our jelly. Blayne, my youngest, ate them right away...

Picking your apples ensure the freshest apples. Start by washing your apples thoroughly, cutting and quartering (cores, peels and all) your apples and filling a large roasting pan. It does not matter how much you put in. I just fill it up.
Do this in the evening because your apples are going to slowly render overnight and cook down leaving your juice you will need to make your jelly.

Place 2 cinnamon sticks and 1/4 cup of whole cloves into your roaster along with the water and put the lid on. Put in a preheated 200 degree oven overnight. Oh the smells you will smell! Waking up to this is almost as wonderful as the jelly itself.

These are my apples the first thing in the morning after they rendered overnight. It smells sooooo good!
I strained them over cheesecloth, a strainer, and a large bowl. Sweet, aromatic juice...
Cheesecloth is lightly gathered at the top to capture the most of those rendered apple. I let this sit just a bit; about an hour.

These pics above are what it will look like in the morning when you take it out of your oven. Place your strainer in your large bowl in your sink. Put your cheesecloth (enough for a fair amount of overhang) over your large strainer and carefully pour your apple mixture into the strainer. Lightly gather the cheesecloth overhang and squeeze. Not too much because it will make your juice cloudy. Let rest for a couple hours until all juice in rendered.

Now it's time for boiling the juice that was extracted from your apples. Only boil 6 cups of juice at a time. You can either save remaining juice in your fridge in an airtight container for a couple days or in your freezer for a couple months if you don't want to make more than the 6 cups.

Bring your 6 cups of juice up to a boil. You will need 1 cup of sugar per 1 cup of juice. So 6 cups of sugar at a time. Incorporate your pectin powder within your sugar. When just beginning to boil, pour in your sugar/pectin and with a whisk, stir until fully dissolved. Let come to a full, rolling boil, the kind that does not go away  when stirred. Boil for about 6-10 minutes until you pass the *jelled* test.

After about 6-8 minutes, turn down the heat and get beneath the foam with a large stainless steel spoon. Let it fall of the spoon and watch for the last drops to hang from the spoon and when 2 drops come together to form one drop that hangs off. Then you know you've reached it. Turn off the heat.
You are ready to pour into your warmed jars with a funnel and large stainless steel spoon. Slowly pour your jelly into jars, leaving a little room up at the top. Put on the lids and screw top rings. I learned this trick from a wonderful older lady who had been making jams and jellies for years: simply turn your jelly jars (use a towel, it's hot) over onto their tops to seal the lid. Leave for a couple hours until cooled.
Flip over the jars, when cooled and you've got some apple jelly that is sealed to store, give and/or enjoy! This apple jelly has hints of cinnamon and clove and you will even see beautiful flecks of the clove in your jelly. It's wonderful!

*note...if you find that your jelly did not set, you can pour your juice back into your pot and reboil until foamy for another 5 minutes and test again. With the use of the pectin, you shouldn't have this problem, but you may and only takes another try. Remember you will need to lids if you want to seal these for storage.

I have made jelly for years without the use of pectin and have been successful, but it is much more difficult and not worth it to me. This method is almost fail proof.*

Your family and friends will love this jelly. I hope I have inspired you to make it a new fall tradition. From the apple picking to the jelly...it's a memorable time in the kitchen.

Kindly Share The Love »»

Save on Delicious


  1. In the ingredient list you state 8 cups of sugar but later in the instructions you mention a cup of sugar per each cup of juice and to boil 6 cups of juice at a time. I'm confused. Also is that 1 box of pectin (sure gel) per 6 cups of juice?

  2. sorry about that... it is one cup sugar per cup juice. And yes it is a whole box of pectin, per 6 cups juice.

    I will change this all to make sense..Lol.

    Following these new instructions will make some amazing jelly:)

  3. Jenny, I am anonymous from above. I made the jelly or rather I should say that I cooked the apples and then proceeded to screw things up by putting the sugar/pectin in the boiling juice too soon and all at one time. We have the most wonderful apple juice that smells heavenly from the cinnamon and cloves. My sister's cabin smelled heavenly and the roaster pan still in my car days later also smells heavenly but I have juice instead of jelly. When I finally get a few days off in a row I am going to reboil using my candy thermometer and see what happens and seal with new lids.
    Last year I had bought a container of cloves that I thought I would have to list in my "will" there were so many but thanks to your recipe I now have a use for all those cloves. We used Arkansas Black and Crispin apples. Arkansas Black taste yucky but they were fine in the jelly. The non jelly making was a lot of fun and lots of great smells.

  4. Isn't it amazing Anne! I love the aroma, too. It is such a great tradition in our house. We love the whole process: picking the apples, preparing them for the oven for overnight slow cooking...and then, finally, making the jelly. I'm glad you like it and hopefully your batch turns out.

    Keep me posted!

  5. I have a question. I picked my apples fresh and rendered it overnight but my juice is not that lovely golden color...its a really dark color. I tasted it and it tastes fine but it doesn't look pretty. Do you know what it might be???

    1. Hi Desiree! Sorry I didn't get back sooner. Mine renders like that too and once you get it on the stove too with your sugar it will look golden again. Sometimes I notice mine is darker of I've used more cloves and/or cinnamon when it's in the oven overnight. It just seems to take in the spices color. Let me know how your batches turn out! I'm apple picking this weekend and making my apple jelly too :)

  6. The recipe sounds great, but the canning method is not tested as safe. The method you suggested was used long ago and has been proven as unsafe as the old paraffin wax method. Please reconsider using this method and instead employ the VERY SIMPLE method tested safe found on the National Center for Home Food Preservation site. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_home.html

    Might I also suggest you remove that information from you site. By suggesting others use this untested method of canning you are opening yourself up to lawsuits. Should someone follow your instructions, but their food was carrying the botulism spores and they get sick or (heaven forbid) someone dies as a result they will come after you.

  7. I thought you said you made this without pectin, yet in the instructions it says you did use pectin, I'm confused!!

    1. Hi there! You can use pectin for added assurance or you can do without. If this is your first time making apple jelly, add the pectin and follow the instructions above and you should have beautiful apple jelly. Sorry if it was confusing to you...I can't find anywhere where I said I didn't use it but it was in the instructions, but just know that either way, it will work, it's just without the pectin might be trickier and you need to know exactly what to look for on your spoon for the jelly test when ready. Good luck! I loooooved the challenge making apple jelly and have used with pectin and without. Let me know how it turns out. I'd love to hear!

  8. there is nothing wrong with the way she is sealing the jars my grandma did it my mom does it and I do it. It works awesome and it is not a time consuming.


would love to hear from you...