My Easy Mulled Cranberry Jelly is a unique homemade cranberry jelly infused with mulling spices. Can it to give it out as holiday gifts, or hoard it all for yourself ~ it’s amazing with cheese and crackers, on a sandwich, and of course with your turkey on Thanksgiving and your roast or ham at Christmas.
Mulled cranberry jelly is an easy homemade jelly that will have your house smelling like the holidays in minutes!
I’m starting up production on my easy holiday food gifts, and first up is this unique spiced cranberry jelly. I know everybody on my list is going to want some, so I’m making lots. We found it goes well with all kinds of cheese for a winter cheese board, it goes great on turkey sandwiches, and, come on, who wouldn’t choose this instead of canned cranberry jelly?
What you’ll need to make mulled cranberry jelly
- a large non-reactive (steel or enameled cast iron) pot.
- unsweetened cranberry juice (pure, not mixed with any other juice)
- mulling spices
- lemon juice
- small jars
- a water bath canner (if you choose to can your jelly)
I’m so glad to have another use for my big jar of mulling spices! I last used them for my Mulled Cider Jelly, and it was such a great idea to buy them in bulk at the beginning of the season. I’m planning to give little jars of this mulled cranberry jelly as gifts during the holidays, and I’m proud of myself for getting such an early start. I’ll pack it in small Weck canning jars for pretty presentation.
What spices to use for mulled cranberry jelly ~
I use whole spices for mulling. Whole spices are relatively expensive, but useful for so many holiday recipes. I stock up in fall and use them right through winter. The good news is that they keep longer than ground spices. Check stores like Cost Plus World Market for affordable whole spices. And you can always get them delivered super quick from Amazon.
- cinnamon sticks
- whole cloves
- allspice berries
- nutmeg, broken in half or pieces
- star anise
- green cardamom pods (crush the pods to release the tiny black seeds before adding)
Can you use ground spices for mulling?
Yes, you definitely can, but you will want to strain the cider through cheesecloth to remove the spices before making your jelly, or it will be cloudy. Ground spices will impart more flavor, so don’t over do the amounts. Taste as you go.
Which pectin to use for best results ~
Pectin can be confusing, and there are many types on the market, but it’s important to use the correct pectin for the particular recipe you’re following. For this recipe I use powdered pectin specifically formulated for “less or no sugar needed recipes.” It’s made by Sure Jell and it comes in the pink box. I find it gives the most reliable results.
This mulled cranberry jelly has the most enchanting flavor!
You’re hit with the sweet tart cranberry first, and then the soft spices follow. We tried it with all kinds of cheese and loved it with soft cheeses like cream cheese and Brie, and also with hard cheeses like cheddar and Manchego. I’d create a simple cheese plate with this at the center, and it would be a wonderful starter for any holiday party. It’s a winner, hope you try it!
Fresh cranberries rule right now, here’s more ways to use them ~
Mulled Cranberry Jelly
- 4 cups unsweetened pure cranberry juice
- several star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 Tbsp allspice berries
- 1/2 tsp whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp whole green cardamom pods, crushed (don't lose the black seeds)
- peel from 1/2 an orange or tangerine
- 4 cups (800 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 1.75 ounce box of Sure Jell fruit pectin powder for less or no sugar recipes, in the pink box
- 1/2 tsp butter (helps prevent foaming)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- In a large non-reactive stock pot heat the juice with the spices to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours or more, if you like. The longer you let it sit the stronger the spice flavor will be.
- Strain the juice and put back into the pan along with the lemon juice and butter. Mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the pectin, and stir into the juice. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. A rolling boil is defined as a full boil that cannot be stirred down.
- Add the rest of the sugar, stirring constantly, and bring back to a full rolling boil. Once at the full boil, let it boil for one minute (set a timer.) Be sure to stir constantly.
- Ladle the hot jelly immediately into sterile jars, filling to 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe down the jars and rims, and fasten the tops.
- To can, immerse the jars in a water bath canner, making sure the jars are covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Process 10 minutes. (Adjust the time if you live at a high altitude.)
- After jars have cooled at room temperature for 24 hours, store in a cool, dry, dark space for up to a year. Store opened jars in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
- If you choose not to can your jelly, it will last, refrigerated, for up to 3 weeks. You can also freeze it for up to 6 months. (If you plan on freezing, leave at least 1/2 inch headspace in your jars to allow for expansion.)
Questions and Reviews
Hi Sue! I love your mulled cider jelly and I can’t wait to try this recipe! Do you think I could sub a little bit of the cranberry juice for orange juice to make it a cranberry orange jelly? I’ve been looking for a cranberry orange jelly recipe but haven’t had much luck and I’m still fairly new to canning so I’m hesitant to tweak any recipes.
Yes, you could. You would probably want to strain it to remove any pulp so the texture of the jelly is silky smooth. Let me know how it turns out!
Hi! Sort of new to jellies and am wondering why the recipe calls for 1 1.75 ounce box of Sure Jell fruit pectin powder for less or no sugar recipes, in the pink box – when the recipe calls for 4 cups (800 grams) granulated sugar?
Looking forward to making this, Great neighbor gift!
The pink box is the surefire choice, and, believe it or not, 4 cups is on the low side for jellies! Remember that cranberry juice is quite tart so the sugar is necessary.
Could I replace the cranberry juice with an apple cider?
Yes ~ check out my mulled cider jelly!
Would this work with certo light?
Hi Sue, I am interested in this recipe, it sounds really good. Here’s my thing…I’m more a jam kinda girl so I’m wondering if I could grind up or boil to pop some cranberries and maybe add some dehydrated cherries for added sweetness? Am I overthinking? Should I just keep it original? I’d appreciate your input. I was going to make this for Thanksgiving but didn’t get my spices in time so now its being saved for my New Years Eve ham. Please get back to me at your earliest convenience. Thanks. Melissa
You could absolutely make a simple mulled cranberry jam, Melissa, just do it the same way you’d do a sauce, using water or orange juice as your liquid, and let the spices mull before finishing the cooking. You won’t need any pectin or anything. I have a bunch of cranberry sauce recipes on the blog, but I would just follow the directions on the cranberry bag for sauce, but adapt it for the mulling spices.
PS it would be SO good with ham 🙂
The Mulled Cranberry Jelly recipe is one I WILL make! Where may I find the beautiful plaid ribbon you used to tie on the jelly jar?
Trader Joe’s has a wonderful no sugar added cranberry juice. I shop every Saturday morning after the farmers market.
Ir is already on my Color Note list, can’t wait.
Perfect 🙂 I was just at TJs working on a fun post for this Sunday, don’t miss it!
I love the idea of this recipe, but where the heck to do you find unsweetened cranberry juice?
There are lots of brands, just check your juice aisle. The unsweetened usually is on the bottom shelf.