Kumquat Marmalade: My Saturday Morning Small Batch Recipe

Recipe Pin
4 hours
48 servings

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The months of January and February equal citrus time in the South! Saturday Morning Small Batch Kumquat Marmalade is truly able to be made in just a handful of hours on your weekend.

A jar of marmalade sitting on a table, with Kumquat and Marmalade
Why does this recipe work?

The natural pectin found in the fruit means no additional pectin is required for Saturday Morning Small Batch Kumquat Marmalade to thicken. AND, the recipe I am demonstrating today requires no canning!

We experienced a particularly sunny day about two weeks ago. It was a Saturday morning and I was set on kumquat recipes, marmalade chief among them.

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By the time this batch of preserves was finished, I was STARVING. I quick toasted an English muffin and dotted it with softened sweet cream butter. Still warm, I spooned a sizeable portion of marmalade atop my muffin.

I love how the photos came out for this recipe, as they captured our sunny day, my elation at working with kumquats for the first time, and the gorgeous amber and ochre color of this masterpiece method. It was decided that Kumquat Marmalade recipe would debut here for you!

Thank you to my sweet neighbor Miss Donna for sharing her bounty of fruit with my family!

Saturday Morning Small Batch Kumquat Marmalade is kind of like marmalade 101! There is a bevy of citrus fruit at its peak just now, including lemons, Meyer lemons, limes, clementines, kumquats, and oranges.

The recipe I am demonstrating today requires no canning experience. In fact, today was my first time ever making a kumquat marmalade! This outstanding small batch kumquat marmalade recipe is easy to follow and requires nothing more than a couple of cups sugar, a cinnamon stick or star anise if you have it on hand, and the natural pectin found in the fruit.

My dear friend and neighbor, Miss Donna, has gifted me a seriously large load of fresh kumquats from her tree. This single kumquat tree yielded pounds, and pounds, and pounds of fruit, and as Miss Donna tells it, there is still more!

I am a true marmalade lover. Not the sugary jarred version from the grocery store, rather a sharp, tart English jam that is made with oranges, Seville oranges, Meyer lemons, or clementines. I once even produced a very tasty lime curd which delighted me, as it was the first time I’d ever experimented in the kitchen with citrus.

Donna called asking me if I though a kumquat jam recipe would be in keeping with Not Entirely Average‘s focus on Southern food. Ahh, YES! January and February are citrus months here in the American south. And given this is a good time of year to focus on processing citrus, I have recipes with kumquats in my sites.

This easy kumquat marmalade or kumquat preserve, requires six ingredients, one being tap water. As you can already tell, except for the time spent putting into this easy kumquat jam recipe, it’s extremely cheap to assemble. It also makes a gorgeous gift…

A close up of kumquat sitting on a table, with Kumquat and Marmalade

Do I Need Any Special Equipment For Making Saturday Morning Small Batch Kumquat Marmalade?

Well, really…not very much! I go in with a heavy-bottomed pot, a rubber spatula, good jars with tight-fitting lids and bands, and a candy thermometer. It also helps if you have a smallish sharp paring knife. It’ll enable you to knock out the fruit at a quick pace.

And Speaking Of Jars, What Kind Of Jars Are Best For Storing Marmalade and Preserves?

The great news for this method is that it’s ‘no-canning.’ This means no formal canning process is followed to make these kumquat preserves. The recipe as I have written it here, yields ONLY two single pint jars of marmalade, give or take. I do not do a water bath and seal mine, as I pop mine into the fridge and it’s eaten within a week or two.

If however you were to double this and wanted to store the additional bounty in your cupboard, I might suggest the following. Invest the few dollars in a set of pint size or smaller (if gifting) new canning jars with new lids and new bands. I did this very thing last year. I wanted to be able to add mini jars of Meyer lemon marmalade to the little Easter baskets in April I assembled for my friends.

New jars seal for up to 18 months and the packaging comes with specific instructions for water bath canning. It comes down to boiling the filled and lidded jars of marmalade for 20 minutes to sterilize and seal the jars. Easy peasy.

There is much debate about the ‘old’ canning practices, new and safe canning practices state extension centers are teaching, and the manufacturing process of a jar’s ability to be safely reused. My set of 12 new canning jars cost me $11.99 plus tax at my grocer. It was easier than trying to decide whether or not to use old jars for the purposes of pantry storing. An old jar for fridge storing seems just fine.

And if you are somebody reading this post who has knowledge of old versus new canning methods, I would love for you to school me! Please drop a detailed comment so we may all learn from your experience.

A piece of bread with marmalade, with Kumquat and Marmalade

What Other Types Of Citrus Can Be Used To Make This Marmalade?

So, I have used this method and these exact measurements to make other marmalades this season. Miss Donna gave me so many kumquats, I was free to experiment! First, I added oranges to sliced kumquats and cooked them down for about an hour. I achieved a beautiful kumquat and orange marmalade naturally. It was difficult to discern the real difference between a preserve with the kumquats alone versus a preserve with both.

I tried again, this time adding bourbon. In the South, bourbon seems to grace just about every dish, so why not jams and marmalades? I took an otherwise old fashioned kumquat marmalade and concocted kumquat bourbon marmalade. Now, THAT was a darn good jar of preserves…

If you want to go old school as the Joy Of Cooking so notably says, lemon marmalade and orange marmalade are great choices. I would recommend adding an additional 1/8 to 1/4 cup of sugar to any lemon preserves UNLESS they are Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons are perfection on branches just they way they are and make incredibly sweet and surprising preserves.

A basket of fruit, with Kumquat and Marmalade

How To Make Kumquat Marmalade

(This is a rough highlight of the steps; scroll down for the complete printable recipe and be sure to watch my video at the top of this post for a visual demonstration).

Remember, this is small batch. The recipe is able to be produced with a few hours of your time. The longest part of the recipe is preparing the fruit. Recipes for kumquats are fairly abundant on the internet, and as you can well guess, marmalade, jam, preserves – any kumquat recipes involving preserving, are popular. No real experience necessary.

It is my opinion that recipes that do not suggest removing the pith in addition to removing the seeds, are not going to produce the best tasting preserve a kumquat will yield. This is because on a kumquat, the outer rind is the sweet part of the fruit. The flesh is tart, unlike an orange.

The pith is bitter and despite being edible, adds that bitterness to the overall finished product. Now, I don’t love my preserve sweet, so I do this: I remove the piths from half of my batch. In other words, one cup chopped kumquats, pith removed, and one cup chopped kumquats, pith only partially removed or left altogether. If you decide to leave the pith, I recommend adding an additional 1/8 to 1/4 cup of sugar, as the kumquat juice and pith will require it.

A close up of kumquat sitting on a table, with Kumquat and Marmalade

All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

A jar of marmalade sitting on a table, with Kumquat and Marmalade

Kumquat Marmalade: My Saturday Morning Small Batch Recipe

Jenny DeRemer
Saturday Morning Small Batch Kumquat Marmalade is achievable in just a handful of hours on your weekend, no canning required!
5 from 2 votes
Servings: 48 servings
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Macerating Time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 48 servings
Calories 10 kcal


  • heavy bottomed pot
  • candy thermometer
  • jars with tight fitting lids and bands/seals
  • silicone or rubber spatula


  • 2 cups kumquats halved, quartered, seeds and pith removed, and then chopped into very small pieces
  • ½ to 1 whole medium lemon zest and juice; I use a whole
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 star anise pod or 1 stick cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 cup water


  • Prepare the kumquats. Wash and dry. Halve, quarter, and remove seeds. Using a very sharp paring knife, remove the white pith or membrane. Finally, chop each quarter, rind and flesh, into very small pieces. **See my notes below regarding pith.
  • Place the prepared kumquats into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, a healthy pinch of cayenne, a single star anise, the sugar, and the water. Stir. Cover and allow fruit to macerate for a minimum of 2 hours (I do 3 hours) at room temperature.
  • After the fruit has macerated, place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the entire mixture to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Remove the star anise after about 20 minutes. If using a cinnamon stick, remove after 40 minutes. Continue cooking and stirring often until mixture is thick, similar to the consistency of gravy. Use a candy thermometer to check the mixtures temperature. You are looking for 215° to 220° F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  • Spoon the warm marmalade into sterilized jars. Secure lids and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. You will have roughly 2 pints of marmalade.


Measure the kumquats after you’ve removed the seeds and pith and sliced them.
I prefer a more bitter, tart marmalade. I remove the pith for only HALF the recipe. So, one cup chopped kumquat, pith removed, and one cup chopped kumquat, pith remaining or only partially removed. 
To Prepare Jars For Refrigeration:
Sterilize the canning jars, mason jars or glass containers as well as their caps or lids by boiling them in water for approximately 10 minutes.
Fill the jars. Ensure that the ingredients do not reach the edge, leaving about 1/2-inch free space.
Tightly close the lids and refrigerate. 
To Seal Jars For Pantry Storage:
Sterilize the canning jars, mason jars or glass containers as well as their caps or lids by boiling them in water for approximately 10 minutes.
Fill the jars. Ensure that the ingredients do not reach the edge, leaving about 1/2-inch free space.
Tightly close the lids.
Place a piece of cloth in the bottom of the pot. Place the filled, closed jars in the pot atop the cloth. No jars should be touching. Fill the pan with water to cover the jars. 
Bring the water in the pan to the boil and boil for about 20 minutes. Remove the sealed jars using gloves or tongs. Let them cool down on a towel on the counter. In order to know if the glass jars have been sealed properly, press down on the button on the lid. If you are unable to press it down, the jar is properly sealed.

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 10kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 11mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 14IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
Did you love this recipe?Leave a comment and Let me know how it was!

The following recipes are also made using citrus in one form or another so consider…

Semi Homemade Orange Marmalade Cream Cake

Blissful And Indulgent Creamy Pink Grapefruit Bars

Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake

Say Hello To The Spiced Blood Orange Sour

Orange Simple Syrup

No-Bake County Fair Lemon Pie

Roasted Turkey Breast à l’Orange

A Sour Orange and Chocolate Tart 

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Recipe Rating


  1. HI Jenny,
    I found and chose your recipe today as it was for a small batch and also adjustable. The marmaldae was delicious. I have a short cut for the removing the pith. I cut the citrus in half length wise and make a V- shaped channel with a sharp paring knife along either side of the long vein of pith. Often this exposes the seed which can be flicked out with the tip of the knife. I then cut the halves into quarters and chop finely.
    Jane5 stars

    1. Jane, you’ve just schooled me and HUNDREDS of others – THANK YOU! And yes, the marmalade is fabulous, just that pith for me is an obvious struggle! So, Miss Jane, what other kitchen hacks do we need to know about? What’ve you got?? xo – Jenny

      1. Made your kumquat jam last week and I didn’t remove the pith, rather cut them in quarters lengthwise then cut all quarters in halves. I flicked seeds out with the point of a paring knife so did not use the natural pectin from the seeds to thicken the jam. It made a bigger batch and it was delicious! The measurements I used made 6 half pints and 1 small half pint!

        8 cups prepared fruit
        2 cups water
        4 cups sugar
        3 T pectin (powdered from can)
        3 star anise whole

        Cooked it till it thickened and then put it sealable jars. I did remove the star anise when it started thickening. I did end up adding pectin because for me, it wasn’t thickening fast enough and fruit was cooking down to small amount.

        Put a Tablespoon in a small bowl to see if it thickened in fridge. Waited to see if it did and then turned off stove, then jarred them. Used cool jam to enjoy a delicious peanut butter sandwich afterwards!

        My sister provided the fruit from her yard in Bakersfield and she didn’t know what to do them, she was just enjoying how pretty they were on her tree! I live in a small town called Watsonville California, about five hrs. from Bakersfield! Have never seen Kumquats growing here! She didn’t even know what they were!

        Will certainly make more when I can! I brought home a bag of them in a quart size zip lock bag and used most of them. Hope you will try it! Yes, I agree they were a lot of work but well worth it!

        Usually sell my jams to afford buying more products for canning, however, what I would have to charge for my labor most people wouldn’t pay it. This will be strictly for my enjoyment and will probably share a jar with my sister who grew the fruit! Do you know if it freezes well for future use?

        5 stars

        1. Lupe, I have been waiting for a canner person to jump on this method, and I’m soooo glad it was YOU! Yes, it is a lot of work, BUT…for many of us, cooking, baking, freezing, and canning is cathartic in some way, so it doesn’t necessarily “feel” like a lot of work. I have indeed frozen this jam for later use and it freezes well; perhaps a bit of darkening from the original sunny golden hue, but apart from that, no attribute changes. At one point, I had a marmalade cake on this website. It never garnered much traffic, so I deleted it. I published this jam post years after the cake despite this jam being THE marmalade used in the cake. Now I wish I would have left it because it was tasty and very, very elegant. I digress….Lupe, thank you! If you manage photos, please send so others can see your success. I find it helps when somebody is embarking on a recipe front that they’ve not attempted previously 🙂 Jenny