How To Thicken Store Bought Jam [6 Easy Hacks]

How To Thicken Store Bought Jam [6 Easy Hacks]

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You bought some canned jam to use as filling in your cakes. But it’s so runny that it’s leaking through the icing. Don’t worry as we have a solution for you!

How to thicken store bought jam?

You can use gelatin mix to thicken store-bought jam. If you’re looking for vegetarian alternatives, then cornstarch, pectin or xanthan gum will do the trick too. Chia seeds or lemon peels can thicken your jam if you prefer organic

Now you know how to thicken your jam. Read the rest of the article if you want to know the detailed process of how they are used and the necessary dos and don’ts!

Let’s dive right in!

Various Uses Of Thick Jam

Jam is comfort food for most people out there. It is one of the easiest and quickest foods to eat and also tastes very good.

While using it in pies or cakes or even when using a spread or filler in sandwiches,  there is one small problem. Some store-bought jams are a little runny. Runny jams are disliked by most of the people out there.

Jam is one of the most important parts of baked goodies. Thick jams add a delight to it.

Runny jam makes it hard to use as a filler or spread. That is why most people buy jam that is thick or look for ways to make them thicker.

Jam is also used in cakes. They help construct the flavor base for a cake. But too runny jam will obviously get out through the icing and cake. 

The runny jam will also make the cake soggy and it’ll not be pleasant to eat.

Sandwich making or roll making also required jam to be some sort of thick. Because too runny jam is hard to apply and it’s overall hard to eat.

Although most store bought jams have a good consistency. If you leave them in the fridge for some time they get back their consistency.

But you will face a problem if you happen to get a jar of runny jam and you don’t know how to thicken it.

Thankfully there are a lot of ways to make store-bought jam thick. There are certain chemicals as well as natural substances that can help you make store-bought jam thick.

After applying those methods you can easily achieve the consistency you want. And use those jams anyway you like.

6 Methods to Thicken Your Store-Bought Jam

We have quite a few methods to thicken the jam. Every method has its own perks and own sets of time and quantities and balance. You have to check them out and see which one suits you best while you’re doing it. 

Let’s check out some of the methods that you could use to thicken jam:

1. Applying Heat

If your jam is slightly more runny than you want it to be and you don’t want to spend any more on it, there is one simple thing you can do.

Jam is runny because it has a bigger portion of water in it. If you cook it for longer then the extra water gets vaporized. You can thicken jam as well as you can thicken puree-type foods.

2. Mixing Gelatin 

Gelatin is a protein substance that most companies use to make their jams and jelly. This is a combining agent.

Gelatin is very temperature sensitive and you have to use it carefully or your jam might get over firm.

You need to prepare hot water first. Then mix the gelatin into that hot water bowl. Then gently pour the mixture over your jam and mix as you’re pouring it.

Gelatin is a protein substance so if you’re vegetarian then you have to avoid it.

3. Using Pectin

Pectin is a polysaccharide starch. Pectin can be found in most vegetable and fruit cell walls. 

If you’re a vegetarian and want to avoid gelatin pectin is the way to go. 

While using pectin you have to maintain the right balance of sugar and acid and pectin or your jam will not taste right. 

Sweeter fruits have a high amount of sugar in them so using pectin with sweeter fruits requires less sugar. 

Although if you want to avoid using chemical pectin, you can use a natural substitute. That is lemon shells.

Adding lemon peels to your jam will work as a combiner but you have to use a lot of sugar to get rid of the bitterness of the lemon.

4. Mixing Cornstarch 

Cornstarch is also another vegetarian alternative. Cornstarch requires heating after applying.

You have to mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 4 tablespoons of water and mix it until it’s clear. After that, you have to add your mixture to the jam and it will thicken.

Maintain steady temperature and mixing throughout the process so that there aren’t any lumps.

5. Adding Xanthan Gum 

Xanthan gum is another chemical that can be used as a thickener. Xanthan Gum is used in many recipes. It works the same as cornstarch. It doesn’t require heating. 

It can be bought at any store and it is readily available.

You can also use chia seeds if you want to avoid using chemicals. This also has a thickening effect as chia seeds can store up water four times its mass.

6. Cooking In Low Oven

If you want to avoid adding anything extra to your jam then this is another way to try.

You have to pour all your jam on a baking tray. And set it in an oven in a low head.

Let it stay in the low heat for a while. This way it will not get burnt. But the water in it will be removed, 

After enough water is removed from the jam it will get thickened. 

Avoid using Yeti in microwave if you have stored jam in it. Because they are normally made of stainless steel.  

Recommended reading –

Things To Look Out For when Thickening Store Bought Jam

While thickening your jam, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. And if something goes wrong you might lose your jam.

And you might have to spend more money and time on making your jam edible again.

It is best if you look out for certain things when you’re thickening your jam.

First of all, if you are a vegetarian you must avoid gelatin. As it is made from animal products.

While buying jam also look at the label if they used gelatin or not. Most companies use gelatin and there are some alternatives that you can buy. 

Pectin comes from plants. While using pectin you have to measure the amount of acidity and sweetness of your jam beforehand.

An unbalanced mixture of pectin acid and sugar will not thicken your jam properly.

If your jam is already too sweet you don’t have to add extra sugar. But normally pectin requires extra sugar to be added.

Cornstarch is sensitive to heat. If you accidentally heat up the cornstarch too much it’ll get lumped and will not get mixed properly with your jam. 

To thicken your jam properly with cornstarch you have to get the heating just right.

Many people want to avoid extra chemicals to thicken their jam. If you want to use something other than chemicals then chia seeds, lemon peels are good for you.

Lemon peels have natural pectin in them. Thus using lemon peels will thicken your jam.

But while using lemon peels you must add extra sugar to balance.

If your jam was in the fridge for a long time then it would get watery. It’s similar to pudding that is watery. Leave your jam can outside for a while and shake it before using it.

That’s about it. These are some of the pointers that you can follow to make your jam thicker. Following these should make your life easier!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does canned jam last?

Canned jam stays good for about a year. And after opening it stays good for 2-3 months.

Can you turn jam into jelly?

Yes you can. You have to cook it longer till most of its water is vaporized.

Is sugar used for preserving?

Yes, due to its high carbs content, it is a very good preservative. It is used both in domestic use and also commercially.


That is our take on how to thicken store bought jam. We hope this article was helpful and it made your work much easier.

Try out the options discussed in the article and figure out what works best for you. There are lots of options that you can try out and each will give different results.

Now start exploring and bring out the inner chef in you!

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