Sauce and dip

Cherry marmalade – raw and without granulated sugar

This cherry marmalade is so easy to make! It requires only 4 ingredients and will be your new favorite healthy spread for quick, but tasty breakfasts. The sweet fresh cherries pair so beautifully with the zesty orange flavor while the chia seeds do all the work to reach that almost jelly like texture that spreads perfectly.

I love the citrusy taste very much, but somehow have a hard time with the bitter intensity and sweetness level from many regular marmalades. So, here is my marmalade version: less bitter while being slightly sweet from mostly the natural sugar from the fruits.

cherry marmalade

Only 4 ingredients needed to make this cherry marmalade:

Orange: You will need one large orange for the whole marmalade, which is much less than what you need for a classic marmalade recipe. Choose a Navel orange, if possible, for their extra sweet taste and juicy flesh.

Cherries: Sweet and bright red cherries are so delicious in this spread! Make this recipe when they are in season for their unique sweet taste that helps tamper the bitterness from the orange zest.

Chia seeds: No pectin in there! With a little resting time, the chia seeds thickens the mixture into a jam texture, no cooking required. You will get tons of omega-3 and fiber in bonus. I prefer to use chia seeds that are ground first to get a closer consistency to jam, but I have made this recipe with whole seeds and it worked very well too.

Liquid sweetener: Skip the big load of white sugar that is traditionally used to make marmalade and use a hint of either maple syrup or agave nectar. You won’t need much added sweetener since the Navel orange and the cherries are already sweet enough.

Making marmalade is hard work in the kitchen, isn’t it?

Not in this case. This is a fuss free, small batch, quick and healthy marmalade. You might say it is not classic marmalade per se, fair enough. BUT, taste this jam and you will realize how strong the orange taste is while being so deliciously sweet.

The longest steps are removing the pit from the cherries and zesting the orange. Then, process the ingredients to a smooth texture and let it set in the fridge overnight if possible. If in a pinch, you can let it rest only for 2 hours, but I recommend you plan ahead and make it the day before you want to enjoy it. Allowing the jam to rest overnight won’t only make sure it reaches a nice thicker texture, but will also helps develop a stronger flavor.

The texture of this marmalade is closer to the one of a regular jam when using already ground chia seeds. The seeds will mostly stay whole if combined to the other ingredients of this jam and then processed, so try to grind the seeds beforehand into a flour texture. To do this, blend a larger batch (about 1 cup) of whole chia seeds into your blender until you reach a flour looking mixture, then store in a air-tight container in the fridge.

What to do with all that ground chia seed? Bake with it! When a recipe ask for an egg, replace it with a chia egg. Works especially well for muffins, pancakes, cakes and cookies.

1 Chia egg = 1 tbsp ground chia seed + 3 tbsp water + resting time of 10 minutes.

cherry marmalade

Best ways to eat this cherry marmalade:

This spread is delicious simply on toasted bread, but you should also try it combined with vegan cream cheese. Swap the sugary and processed store bought jam for this one when making peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches. Or, top a simple breakfast oatmeal bowl with this spread to make your meal so much tastier.

cherry marmalade
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5 from 1 vote

Cherry marmalade – raw and without granulated sugar

This small batch and healthy cherry marmalade is so delicious with its zesty orange taste and extra sweet cherries. Aside from the fridge resting time, this recipe is very fast to make, but still feels like a special treat.
Prep Time10 mins
Minimal fridge resting time2 hrs
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan


  • Food processor


  • 30 cherries pitted
  • 1 large Navel orange juiced and zested (should give you about 1/2 cup of juice)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp ground chia seeds see note
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup or to taste


  • Start by preparing the ingredients: Zest the whole orange and set aside. Then juice the orange. Also, pit the cherries.
  • In the food processor, add 20 pitted cherries (keep the other 10 on the side), the orange juice, ground chia seeds and agave nectar. Process until you reach a smooth texture, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the remaining 10 cherries and pulse once or twice, or until they are roughly chopped but not completely processed.
  • Transfer the cherry mix in a medium bowl. Add the orange zest and mix well.
  • Let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours to allow the jam to set, but ideally overnight. Enjoy cold. Will stay good in the fridge for 3-4 days.


Using already ground chia seeds will allow you to reach a jam texture closer to a regular store-bought consistency. I have used whole chia seeds while testing this recipe and the result was also great although with more texture.


  • Andrew

    5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe. I prefer to eat things that aren’t processed and this gives me a great idea for a healthier treat.

    My suggestion has to do with the confusion between two verbs: to grind and to ground. The past of ‘to grind’ is ‘ground’, as in ‘already ground chia seeds’. The past of the verb ‘to ground’, is ‘grounded’, as in ‘he came home at 4 am drunk and his dad grounded him for a month.

    Best regards,

    • plantbasedjess

      Thanks so much for your comment Andrew! The mistake has been corrected. This is one of the challenges from blogging in my second language!

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