This unique French Apple Jam is easy to make, has a gorgeous golden color, a fresh apple flavor, a chunky texture, and a surprise hint of spice from the cardamom.

European style jam!

This fabulous jam is worlds away from apple pie filling.  It’s so delicious and versatile that I’m surprised you don’t see it more often.  This is a small batch, with just a handful of apples, and the quick process won’t overwhelm your kitchen or take all afternoon.  I got two big pints of it, and we’ve been spreading it on toast all week.  If you want a real treat, get yourselves some warm croissants to go with it.  I’m already dreaming up ways to bake it into something fabulous…

apples for apple jam

There are so many apples available right now, and you can really use any variety you like.  I mixed Granny Smith and Honeycrisp.  If you have local apples, all the better.  But be aware that other varieties may behave differently when cooked.   Mine retained their shape and color well, and they’re pretty commonly available in stores.  All apples have a lot of natural pectin, which  helps to thicken the jam as it cooks.  I used a little powdered pectin as insurance, but you can leave that out if you don’t have any, you may just have to boil the jam a little longer.  Be sure not to skip the lemon juice, though, because that helps prevent the apples from turning brown.

making apple jam

Rather than go with the obvious choice of cinnamon to spice up this jam, I used cardamom pods, lightly crushed to release their little black seeds.  The result is subtle and keeps the flavor from reading as ‘apple pie’.  If you want to use a mix of fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove, that would be nice, too, just don’t overdo it.

cooking French apple jam

The French have a more easygoing attitude toward jam making than Americans do.  They don’t fuss with canning baths and tongs, and they don’t worry as much about the dangers of spoilage.  They have learned a simple process from centuries of jam making.  This particular recipe makes a small batch, meant to be consumed within a month or so, but if you wanted to make more, you can follow the French method that I outline in this post.

French Apple Jam, made super easy the European way

Apple Jam

Yield: 2 pints


  • about 6 apples (I mixed Granny Smith and Honeycrisp)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed (use a rolling pin or heavy spoon to gently crack open the pods)
  • juice of 2 lemons, divided
  • 2 Tbsp pectin powder


  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the juice of 1 lemon.
  2. Peel, core, and quarter the apples and add them to the lemon water as you work.
  3. Remove the apples from the water (discard the water) and finely dice them.
  4. Add the apples to a heavy bottomed pot, along with the sugar, cardamom pods, (and any seeds that have escaped) the pectin and the juice of the other lemon. Stir well, and then bring to a boil.
  5. Boil, uncovered and stirring often, for about 30-40 minutes until thickened. About halfway through the cooking I used my stick blender to blend the jam just a bit, but I left lots of apple chunks intact. This is optional and depends on what texture you want your jam to have, and how large or small you chopped your apples in the first place. If you do this, be extra careful not to splatter yourself, the jam is very hot.
  6. Ladle the finished jam into clean (sterilized) jars, cover tightly, and let cool before refrigerating. See note below for preserving options.


  • To can using the traditional method, ladle the jam into sterilized jars and process using the hot water bath method for 10 minutes.  You can also freeze the jam, just make sure to leave a little room at the top of each jar for expansion in the freezer.
  • You can fish out the cardamom pods after making the jam, but I like to leave them in.

Apple Jam lightly spiced with cardamom



don’t forget to pin it!

This easy French Apple Jam is a gorgeous fall preserve with a bright golden color, a chunky texture, and a fresh apple flavor with a hint of spice! ~

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55 Responses to French Apple Jam

  1. Pier Sanna says:

    I had been wanting apple jam for a long time and made this recipe using 4 kinds of just-picked apples. This is easy to make, cooked in a little over an hour (without pectin) and made 2 pints exactly. I used a potato masher to mush it up a bit about 30 minutes in and got a perfect texture. The recipe is just enough – give away 2 and keep 2. Looks great in the jars. I love the use and taste of cardamon but a little bit of vanilla bean would help out. Too many seeds though – make a cheesecloth sack to contain the seeds and then add some back to give it that intense cardamon flavor. Oh the flavor – this is delicious with a capital “D”. Next time I will make one with cinnamon, etc and the second batch with cardamon.

  2. Mayank says:

    I prepared jam for the first time in my life and I am glad that I stumbled upon the best thing. It is fresh, savoury and simply stunning. Thank you very much!

    Already pinned it!

  3. Vicky says:

    Can you divide the recipe into 1\2 pints instead of pints?

  4. Nina says:

    I have whole cardamon – not ground, not pods. Can you tell me how much whole cardamon to use?

    Thanks much

  5. Kate says:

    Yum! I can’t get enough of this jam since I made it last year for Thanksgiving! It was quite the hit and I’ve been giving some as gifts since! I also just included a link to this page in my latest post on Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  6. Yolande Mirza says:

    Hi, lovely recipe. Only thing is that I follow the quantities, but then ended up with 1 bottle of jam only. It completely boiled off. I don’t know how everyone else got 1liter (2pints)? What am I doing wrong?

  7. Faye says:

    I’ve been making jam for 45 years and have never messed with a water bath yet and haven’t had any problems. Just this morning I opened a jar of cloud berry jam I made literally 7 or 8 years ago (didn’t mean to keep it that long) and it’s still great. We will use it. But I do store it in a spare refrigerator or sometimes in the wine cellar but this bottle had been in a fridge I keep especially for the purpose of storing flour, dried fruits, nuts, etc.

  8. Shivani says:

    Thanks for the recipe Sue. I made it today, and it turned out great. The cardamom addon was a break from the regular and guess what- my son loved it. I could eat it whole right now! Really glad I found you!

  9. Meredith says:

    Cardamom is a traditional Scandinavian spice, so I was excited by the recipe, since I’m also a great fan of chunky apple sauce and jam. The difficulty is that I live in a remote rural area, and I’m not able to find cardamom pods, but I do have a good quantity of ground cardamom. Can you suggest substitution measurements between pods and ground? Thank you.

    • Sue says:

      I think you can go by taste, Meredith, and maybe start with 1/2 teaspoon? You can taste it and add more if you like.

  10. Toa Mukerji says:

    I made this jam today. It came out delicious!! I put come chopped ginger while cooking. It was a hit!! Thank you so much!!

    • Sue says:

      I’m so glad Toa — and thanks for the fresh ginger tip, that really sounds great, I’ll try it next time :)

  11. Kelly says:

    I’ve never thought of making apple jam. Would be great in some fall recipes.

  12. Christie Tuggle says:

    Would so much like to have your French Apple Jam recipe. It sounds so good.

  13. Anette says:

    Dear Sue, thanks for this super-delicious recipe!! I especially like the different taste the cardamom pods add to the “plain apple”! It was a first time for cardamom ever for me and I can tell, it’s been a huge success! I had to go to a special spice stall at the “Weihnachtsmarkt” here in Frankfurt to find cardamom pods. They’re not available in Supermarkets. Even there they had to look for the small satchel in their inventory. “We have it, just have to find it!” The owner said. While waiting for his wife and grandson to search the stall I told him, that I wanted to make apple jam following your recipe with the pods. And soon a little crowd gathered around me, listening intently and asking questions about where to find your recipe and “what?!? Cardamom and apples?!? Never heard of!!” (Here in Germany we use cardamom for Xmas bakery only).
    So thanks again for sharing the recipe, you created a wonderful pre-Xmas event for me!

    • Sue says:

      Best comment ever Anette! You paint such a vivid picture of your experience, and I’m so glad you liked the jam. It sounds like you’ve gotten me some new German fans, thank you!

  14. Kate says:

    This was amazing! I made a batch of this and threw in some crab apples growing wild near my house. We served it for Thanksgiving and it was such a hit! I just linked to this page from my post today at
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Kimi Wei says:

    I love your recipes … and have been wanting to can something for a while but keep chickening out at the last moment. This jam sounds so simple, though, I’m going to try it.

    Any guidance on how many cardamom seeds to use, once they’re out of the pod?

  16. Francine Racette says:

    I only have ground cardamom. Can I use it and if yes how much ?

  17. Lynne says:

    Just made the lovely apple and cardamom jam- ddddeliocious :)
    I cannot wait to share it will my family and friends – so easy to makes – the aroma wafts around the house and the jam looks so lovely and golden in the jars:)
    So glad I came across the recipe after a friend gave me a huge bag of apples from her garden.

  18. Yvonne La Lionne says:

    Hi, Sue!

    I tried this today because a friend gave my husband and me some sweet, hand-picked apples. I like the more Gallic quality of this apple jam than others that I’ve tried so I gave it a shot. For my batch, I had about 7 medium to small apples. I used the same amount of sugar and lemon juice as in your recipe plus Pomona’s pectin, which gels according to how much citric acid is present. I thought it would work great here since there’s so much lemon juice involved.
    I just ladeled (sp?) some into my little 4oz. jars. The whole process was a pleasantly aromatic one — with the ripe apples and cardamom just hitting it off. One jar for the friends who gave us the apples, one for us and one for someone I like a LOT. Mine may be more like a spread, since I boiled it a little long, but it sure *tasted* like fall!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. Pavel says:

    I just made apple jam and it turned out the same way i used 30 apples and multiplied everything by 5. I also made my own pectin and the jam was ready alot quicker. 6 apples roughly equal between 3.28 pounds and 3 pounds is what i ened up with weight

  20. Aisha Marie says:

    Simply beautiful! I can’t wait to try it! And I love seeing the little cardamom seeds against the golden apple jam. Yummm!

  21. Larissa Troy says:

    What is the weight value of the apples? I’m using small apples so the weight would help with balancing of the quantities of ingredients.

  22. Marianne says:

    How did you manage to keep that beautiful bright color? I’m afraid mine will turn brown (like apple butter) with the cooking.

    • Sue says:

      That really surprised me, too, Marianne. All I can say is, follow my directions, and use a mix of Granny Smith and Honey Crisp. Good luck!

      • Marianne says:

        Sue, this is not only beautiful (I’m going to make another batch for holiday gifts), it is absolutely delicious! I love that it tastes like apples with a little something special… not, as you said, like the “apple pie filling” concoctions we are all so used to. We devoured a pint already. Thanks so much for sharing this! It’s my new favorite recipe!

    • beth says:

      Mine turned out that color, and I just used regular local apples.I think the key is in that lemon water- -it really does keep the apples from going brown before they go in the pot, which keeps them from going brown in the cooking.

      This is a lovely jam- -thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • Art in Carlisle PA says:

      Make sure to use fresh crisp apples. The “storage” apples from supermarkets or soft apples will likely turn brown.

  23. wynd says:

    My wife and I love it. What a wonderful surprise…thanks.

  24. Catherine says:

    French Apple Jam
    Hi, Susan.

    I recently spent a week in beautiful Provence, France, and couldn’t wait to try the French Apple Jam recipe you posted earlier this month. Yesterday, I finally got around to making it and just had to let you know that it’s SUPER-FABULOUS . . .exactly what I would be having with warm croissants on an early fall day in Provence. The finished product looks just like your photo – luscious and golden. I’m planning to make another batch before Christmas to give to friends and family.

    I’ve made berry, fig and stone fruit jams on-and-off for many years, but your French Apple Jam with cardamom ranks among my favorites. Thanks for sharing “The View from Great Island”.

    Catherine Christensen
    Woodland Hills, CA

  25. viviene says:

    Can this gorgeous jam be frozen?

  26. Gorgeous jam, I love the color!

  27. and yet I still haven’t done a homemade jam yet!
    I need to get on this.
    Have a great weekend!

  28. Liz says:

    When I was growing up, I absolutely hated the jam/jelly process. It was in Ohio: hot & humid and no A/C and yuck!

    As a middle-aged person who is making most everything from whole food, I’ve had fun with jam and marmalade and this past year have been making small amounts: 2-4 pints. NOW, I’m having fun!

    This apple jam is so perfect. Good, organic and relatively local apples are available now. And really, there is almost always something that is in season.

    My mother told me long ago (she’s not French, she just went on her own common sense) – if you are putting boiling whatever into sterilized jars…done! And my entire family is still alive :) !

    Thanks for the recipe and also the link to your post with the French method.

  29. This is lovely recipe Sue. I can’t imagine how tasty it is. And so pretty too! I need more jam in my life!

  30. What a beautiful recipe! Love the whole cardamom seeds just suspended in it, so pretty! Cardomom is hands down my favourite spice and although I’ve been canning with it this year with pears I’ve never thought of using it with apples. I thought I was done making jam for the year but looks like I might just squeeze in one more batch….

  31. This looks wonderful and I can just imagine how good those cardamon pods smell.

  32. I’ve never had apple jam but I’m thinking.. wouldn’t this be wonderful inside a crepe?? I must make this and see. :)

  33. Karen Harris says:

    This looks delicious. I can just taste it. I found the French method fascinating. Doing away with all the pots, pans and stuff that I feel I have to get out to put jam in jars really prevents me from making it more often. I can’t wait to give it a try.

    • Sue says:

      That’s the way I feel, it’s so freeing! I also love making small batches, so I don’t feel like I have to wait till I have a huge load of fruit to make jam or chutney.

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