Best Watermelon Jelly – Simple and Delicious

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The sweet taste of summer canned in a jar of Watermelon Jelly. This jelly is a sweet watermelon flavor, delicious and goes great on a slice of bread, topping pancakes or waffles or even used in fruit salad or baked goods.

This is the perfect jelly to try out this summer. Canning is a science, so before you jump in, be sure you read my tips and tricks and also do a little homework on canning  jelly.

Watermelon Jelly

It’s easy to have it go wrong. Make sure you are aware of the different aspects of canning.

Which pectin’s to use, how weather and/or humidity in your house can determine the outcome.

Be sure and check out these Canning Tips and Tricks.

Why We Love This Recipe?

  • Tastes like sweet watermelon, almost like candy.
  • Definitely on the easier end of canning recipes.
  • Doesn’t make a million jars, depending on jar size, you’ll end up with probably 2-4 jars.

What does watermelon jelly taste like? 

It tastes a lot like an old fashioned watermelon candy.

Depending on strength it can be a light subtle flavor or a strong watermelon flavor.

Watermelon Jelly

Do I need to strain the watermelon?

You do not have to, we chose to.

If you decide to keep the watermelon in the recipe, you will have to change the amount of pectin in the recipe.

We preferred it strained so it’s how we make it. 

Basically, strained is the different between jelly, not jam.

Jam is made from the pulp of the fruit. Jelly is made from the fruit juice. 

Do not throw out the pulp, and reserve a little watermelon juice, and you’ll have a fantastic base for a delicious drink! 

Watermelon Jelly

What can I use Watermelon Jelly on?

  • toast
  • waffles, pancakes or french toast
  • ice cream
  • biscuits and rolls
  • inside jelly donuts or other pastries
  • as a filling in a cake or cupcake
  • anywhere you would use jelly!

I’m loving watermelon flavored everything and am definitely going to have some fun with all of this.

If you want to make watermelon jam, just keep the pulp there. Don’t strain it.

It’s incredibly easy, if you just follow the recipe and read through the tips.

We have beautiful jars of  Jelly and I cannot wait to get the rest of the watermelon’s grown so we can make more.

I made about three half pint jars with one single small watermelon.

I am hoping that by the end of the summer we will have tons of jars and be able to use it all winter long and enjoy the sweet taste of summer all winter long.

Jar of Watermelon Jelly

How to make Watermelon Jelly with Important Tips for Canning

Pot Size – You want to use the widest and tallest pot you can find. The reason is, the wider the pot, the better the heat process is for the jelly.

You need it to be tall, because you want it to really get boiling, and when it does, it’s going to be creeping up the sides of the pot.

Trust me on this. Large stockpot = perfect canning device.

Pectin Type – You’re going to ask me if you can use liquid pectin, and yes you can, but I will tell you that this particular jelly worked beautifully the exact way I made it, listed in the recipe instructions and I have not tried any other way.

Below I share exactly what product I used.

There have been comments that the jelly didn’t set, I’ve seen comments that it over set. Mine set. With this EXACT recipe.

I don’t think it had anything to do with liquid vs. powdered. It was beautiful, spreadable and delicious. I cannot help you if you want to substitute something else or change the recipe in any way. I’m sorry. I am not a canning expert, this was an experiment and it worked for me. We’ve made it several times since and had no problems.

Other Recipes – If instead you’d like a watermelon syrup that is GREAT with waffles, pancakes, ice cream, etc… lower the pectin amount. Use only one box. Yes, we’ve done it and its amazing.

Do the Plate Test – When you think your mixture is done boiling and ready to be removed, do the plate test. So much easier. Take a small plate or bowl and put it in the freezer at the start of this whole process (at least 15 minutes).

When you think your mixture is ready, take a small spoonful and put it on the freezing plate. Give it about a minute or so and test it. If it’s forming a skin or solidifying a bit, it’s ready.

If it’s still very runny after a minute, give your jelly a few more minutes on the stove. I used three plates in the freezer just in case it wasn’t done the first time. It was.

Use a Canning Funnel – When you are ready to pour the jelly into the jars, I strongly urge you to purchase a canning funnel.

I got this 6 pc canning set, that has a few interesting tools – the jar handler (for when it’s hot) and the wide mouth canning funnel were the two I wanted and use the most.

When you funnel the liquid into the jar, pour slowly and carefully. You will burn yourself badly if you get any of that liquid on your skin. Once the jar appears full, allow it to sit for a minute. You’ll be surprised by how much it settles and you can add more in.

Fill to about a half inch from the top. Each time you pour more liquid in, just give in a minute to settle so you can make sure you completely fill the jar. I didn’t realize how much it would settle, so I figure you might not. So just a tip to make things easier.

Use a Canning Basket – Get yourself a canning basket. They are pretty cheap at Amazon or a box store, and they make the whole process so much easier! I’m not kidding either.

I reserve the right to add more tips as I continue to make batches of watermelon jelly 😉

What type of pectin should I use for Watermelon Jelly?

PINK SURE JELL BOX 

The Pink Sure Jell Box is the one that is made for “Less or No Sugar Needed Recipes”.

That is the box I used for THIS recipe, and it’s the only box I tested this recipe with.

This is the one I was recommended for this recipe, so it was what I used.

I get mine here since it saves some money buying extras. Results will vary if you choose a different pectin or a liquid pectin.

Other fantastic canning recipes

Recipe for Watermelon Jelly

Have you ever made any jelly’s or tried canning? Tell me about your experiences below!

Watermelon Jelly

Watermelon Jelly

Nicole Cook
Summer in a jar, this watermelon jelly is sweet and smooth. Can it, preserve it and enjoy it in the cold depths of winter to immediately be brought back to days of sand and flip flops, the sweet taste of summer.
4.60 from 119 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Additional Time 15 mins
Course Condiments Sauces and Dips
Cuisine Canning
Servings 4 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups of watermelon juice
  • 4 cups of white sugar
  • 7 Tablespoons of lemon juice bottled is better because you don’t get the extra pulp
  • 2 1.75 ounce boxes of SURE-JELL FOR LESS OR NO SUGAR NEEDED RECIPES, the pink box

Instructions
 

  • To get your watermelon juice, cut up your watermelon into small chunks and puree in your blender or food processor. I found the blender worked better. Strain the juice out to remove the pulp and the seeds. Save the pulp for another recipe or discard. Do this until you have 4 cups of watermelon juice. You will need to do it in at least 2 batches, maybe three.
  • In the widest stock pot you have (see tips for information on this) add the watermelon juice, lemon juice and sugar and blend together. Add the pectin and stir together again.
  • Heat to boiling and then allow to boil on the stove until it gets to 220 degrees, a digital thermometer will help here, big time. I stirred the mixture a few times to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. It took me 20 minutes to reach 220, but it can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes to reach this which depends on the size of the pot, the pectin, the temperature outside, etc. In other words, this is all a science, and what works one time, might not work the next. My advice, keep an eye on it. I burned a batch because I answered the phone. Yes, 35 seconds to go across the floor to grab the phone and it burned.
  • Once you have reached the desired 220 degrees (please, please use a digital or candy thermometer to do this and then follow the plate test below in the tips to make sure its done).
  • Once you have determined its ready, remove from heat and carefully pour it into your jars. (see the tips for some notes on this too!)
  • If you didn’t use a canning jar funnel, make sure you wipe the lids well, and then put the lids on. (these jars are hot! Use canning tongs or a thick kitchen towel to handle)
  • Quickly clean your big pot out, place the jars in the bottom and fill with hot water covering the jars by over an inch. I had some trouble because one of my jars was only half full and it wanted to bob around in there. I let it, it didn’t hurt anything.
  • Put the pot on the stove, heat to boiling again and give it a 10 minute hot water bath.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the pot from the stove, CAREFULLY remove the jars from the water (I used a canning basket, so it was fairly easy) and allow the jars to cool enough to handle.
  • Remove the rings around the jar and test the seals, make sure they are secure but don’t break the seal. Replace the rings and store for up to a year in a cool, dry place (dark is good too). If any of the seals are broken, use that jar, and enjoy your watermelon jelly. Don’t forget to label the jar, or if you make several kinds you won’t remember what is what. Please make sure and read the extra tips below.
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77 Comments

  1. I had watermelon jelly the first time at a local, small restaurant that is only open for breakfast and lunch. They make their own jellies and you can have whatever ones you like for your breakfast. I always get the watermelon. I’m excited to see your post for it! Maybe one of these days I’ll get canning again.

  2. What a fun jelly! Dropping by to let you know I had your blog for the SRC. I had allot of exploring your blog. So many fun family recipes to try!

  3. Ooh ! watermelon jelly sounds yummy ! Growing your own melons must be so cool ! Most I’ve grown are the usual stuff.. cukes, tomatoes etc. Never have enough watermelon when I buy them since my family devours them, but will put some aside to try this jelly ! Pretty pics too !

  4. You can also freeze chopped or thinly sliced watermelon and eat it FROZEN. Yummy sweet treat without any guilt!

    1. mjskit
      you said you have made a lot things with watermelon. …PLEASE…share what you have made with watermelon….I’m looking for watermelon recipes.
      Deana

  5. I made the watermelon jelly by your receipe, This was my 1st time doing watermelon, It is delicious, a bit sweet but good, I could not find the liquid pectin any where here so had to use powdered, worked great, Actually I was preparing it an had all in pot an someone came in so I visited with them before starting to cook it an after it started cooking I looked, an low an behold there set a box of petrin I had not put in , so I added it at that point, still worked great, it only took mine about 10 minutes to get to 220 degrees. I hate watermelon an so does my brother but we both love the jelly. thanks for receipe. I am about to go ,ake blackberry now, picked this morn an have them cooked down an strained. , but this receipe works great , jelly is very firm an tasty. (took a little longer to firm up than my other jellies but was great

      1. The watermelon jelly recipe is right above. The cantaloupe jelly recipe wasn’t posted, but maybe it’s time for me to do that.
        At any rate, you should see the recipe above in the post and you can print it out for your own use. 🙂

  6. I will definitely be trying this recipe. However a couple words of advice (I have been canning for years) to those that are new at canning. First get the BALL BLUE BOOK. It gives all of the whys, why nots, do’s and do not’s for canning. All jellies, jams, spreads, preserves,conserves, etc. are supposed to have a 1/4 inch head space. Not 1/2 inch. Also it is much easier (and has less burning) if you use a medium sized tall ceramic stock pot. Not just an enamel stock pot. When you have finished filling your jars and putting the lids and rings on, you will save a lot of time if you already have a canning stock pot with boiling water in it. Less time involved with processing. Sometimes if over processed your jelly/jam will not set. I personally do not use the canning rack. Too much hassle for the amount I can. I purchased another ‘tray’ (that is used in the bottom of a pressure cooker/canner). It is easier and less time consuming for me. Plus they always seem to rust quickly. I am glad to see more people pick up canning. It is a wonderful way to save money. Plus healthier!

    1. I also have canned a great deal.
      Headspace: For jelly jars and smaller – even 1/8″ head space is recommended. It is important to have the correct headspace amount for what you are making and in what size jar you are using.
      That jar that was only 1/2 full and bobing around?? Don’t even process it. Put it in your fridge and enjoy.
      I use one pot of water to sterilize my jars and then process them in. I have and use a second pot to cook my jam/jelly.

  7. I am going to try this. My neighbor just gave me 2 large watermellons and I figured Jelly and pickles here I come. I have my own Jam business so this would be a great addition. I made Cantalope jam last week and boy was it good. If anybody wants the recipe let me know.

    1. Hi Jolene Harris;
      I can’t imagine cantaloupe jelly or jam having never seen it but I was thrilled with your offer of the recipe. I love ripe cantaloupe and it is so rare to get it ripe that I would like to can it when it appears. I would be so happy to try your recipe. Thanks for the offer and God bless you.
      Sharon

    1. It is three. The first time we made it we were able to use only two. After that I upped it to three to keep it from being so syrupy. I have corrected it in the directions.

      1. Actually, the directions state “2 pouches of liquid pectin”. I don’t see anywhere, where it mentions using 3 boxes.
        So, is it 2 pouches?

    2. I have been doing some research and read that 2 tablespoons of powdered pectin added in at the same time as the sugar does the same as 1 packet of liquid pectin….just in case that question comes up.

  8. I have just started canning. I am enjoying myself so much. When I see all the fresh veggies & the beauty of everything I wonder why I’m just getting into it. I’m looking forward to making making this jelly. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Hi, I just found your offer of a cantaloupe jam recipe which sounds fabulous. This summer I would love to give it a try so please send if possible. Thank you in advance.

  9. I made this yesterday and despite my families odd looks at the thought of watermelon jam, they thought it was AWESOME! Thank you so much 🙂 I used the powdered pectin, and used a little more than you suggested (i really like a thick jam) and it turned out perfect. Great directions and recipe! It has all the watermelon flavor and is very sweet. Thanks again 🙂

  10. I Just came upon your website and think the watermelon jelly looks wonderful. I wonder if one could cut down on the sugar though as I don’t like things too sweet. What do you think? Thank you for sharing with us on your blog and God bless you.

  11. I made this since we have so many watermelons growing and it taste delicious. I would love it if I could get the recipe for the Cantaloupe Jam that one lady was talking about earlier in the comments. I just started canning this year and I am addicted to it. My cabinets are going to be packed with all of these delicious recipes I am finding.

  12. This was an excellent jelly. I always thought strawberry jelly was my favorite. This was better. I have made two batches now, and my family loves them. Thanks for posting this.

  13. I would love to try the Watermelon Jelly recipe. However, sugar is off limits for me right now. Is there a substitute I could use for the sugar?

    1. Look online for jelly recipes using Splenda. I’ve seen one recently, but don’t remember where I found it.

  14. How much jelly does this recipe make? Just harvested a 43-lb. honker from our garden (our first ever!), and brought 1/2 of it home after a party. Managed to snag ~10 cups of juice separate from the fruit/pulp itself, and thought this might be a good way to use a lot of that up!

    Thanks so much –

  15. I have said I would make Watermelon Jelly for years, and never have–did everything else to great success! So…today I was given a largish over-ripe watermelon; not really best for fresh eating so jelly it is! I scraped all the flesh & juice into my Ninja blender (I wanted as much pulp as possible to make it into the jars)…this yielded 9 cups juice. Right now I am simmering that juice to reduce to the 4 cups needed for the recipe…I am hoping this will really concentrate the summer flavor…wish me luck!

    1. I am not sure if that will do anything to the makeup of the watermelon juice as far as consistency or flavor but it might be worth a try to see what happens. If you do decide to try freezing it, please let us know how that goes. I usually make it pretty quick, so I’ve never frozen the juice.

  16. I won’t rate the recipe, because of course I only half followed it and half winged it, so I don’t even know what I did, but it was great! Today’s batch is going to be more true to the recipe, so I will try to review it after. I just saw that you are in St. Charles, which is where I’m from, but living in Minnesota. It’s nice to find little connections. 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!

    1. You’re welcome and it’s nice to meet another Missourian. 😉 I spent a lot of years living all over but wound up coming back and staying. I love St. Charles. 🙂

  17. I love your blog, you have so many unique recipes like this one and you promote other bloggers which is cool. I wanted to ask where you got the adorable button bows on top of the jars, or if you made them is there a tutorial? Thanks so much for all you do.

    1. I did buy them, but I can’t remember where. However, I know positively they were in the craft aisle, as they were like “stickers”. It may have been Michael’s where I found them, or perhaps Hobby Lobby. I know I have seen similar ones in the craft aisle at both Target and Walmart. Hope that helps you at least track some down. Thank you for the sweet, sweet words about my blog and mission. You just made my whole day.

  18. made the jelly, even left some pieces of fruit in there, turned out A M A Z I N G!, getting ready to make another batch today….but saved a whole lot of fruit and the juice for watermelon margarita’s yummmyyyyyy also!

  19. Can’t wait to try. We always have extra watermelons in the garden. I also would like a copy of the cantaloupe jelly. Thanks

  20. It was my first time to try canning you made it so, easy. My watermelon jam looks and taste great. I cut the recipe in half just in case it scorched but no problem cooked 15 minutes. I did the spoon test.

    1. This recipe yields a little more than 4 cups. So you can use whatever size jars you’d like. If you wanted to use 8oz canning jars, then you would wind up with 4 jars. If you wanted to use a larger 16oz jar, you’d wind up with two. I usually make several batches and then make several different sizes so I can give as gifts but still have plenty for us. Hope that helps. 🙂

    1. I didn’t wind up with a huge reduction in size. Since you should always leave head room even with the reduction, it still makes enough for the 4 8oz. jars. 🙂

  21. I have a couple of more questions. I am new to canning and even though I love experimenting, I don’t really have a lot of money to be messing up recipes. So my favourite summer flavors are watermelon, grapefruit and lemon. Do you think, or have you tried to make a watermelon lemonade jelly or just a sweetened red grapefruit jelly? Do you think they would turn out good? The watermelon lemonade idea makes me excited, but I’m scared to risk the supplies and it taste nasty.

    1. Those flavor combinations sound absolutely amazing! However, I must confess I have not tried it. I think it would work, but I cannot say for sure. I’m sorry I cannot be more help – I am a bit on the novice side of canning as well, and almost everything I do is trial and error. I totally get not having the money to experiment and have it go wrong though.
      If you do decide to try it, I hope you’ll come back and tell me about it.
      I did try something a couple of years ago that actually DID work – I used a juice base – like as in – juice from the store. And then created a jelly from it using pectin. I never posted the recipe because the photos were awful. If I can find my notes from that, maybe I’ll share it. Or better yet maybe I’ll just try to make it again. The reason I shared this is because I feel like if you get the right flavor combination between the watermelon and lemonade flavor, adjusting the pectin to accommodate the additional lemon should work. Good luck!!

  22. Hi there, first off I would like to thank you for taking your time to post your most wonderful recipe! I had some watermelon leftover, and decided to give it a try. I was amazed how well it turned out. I was a little skeptical about using two boxes of the pectin but I went ahead and did it anyway.
    I put three small ramekins in the freezer in preparation to check for it to be set correctly, and on the first try it worked flawlessly.
    I was so amazed! I did follow you sure gel recipe direction to mix one quarter cup of the reserve sugar into the box of pectin, so I did it twice for once for each box. Then I added that mixture both of them into the watermelon juice. I had 4 cups of watermelon before blending it in my blender and pushing it through my wire seive. Then I only ended up with about three and a half cups or just a little more. I did take my rubber scraper and push a lot of a pulp through the sieve since I was running short on juice. I noticed on the sure gel pamphlet from the box it said that you could add up to a half a cup of water to make up difference in Juice shortage!! I was thrilled at that point I knew I would have enough to make your batch.
    At any rate it turned out fabulous! ? thank you again for sharing, I also wanted to share what I did since it worked too!
    Hugs to you!°•.?••?.°•.?

    1. I love it when people share what they did that worked (and sometimes didn’t work) so I’m so thankful you came and shared! I’m so glad this recipe worked out for you – it’s simply fabulous and can be used on so much! Like I said… summer in a jar. I have a thing with unique jelly flavors, and this is by far one of my favorites!
      Have a great week ahead and enjoy that wonderful watermelon jelly! <3

    2. Thank you for posting that ‘add 1/2 c water’ note..ALL these comments are giving me courage to just go for it!!!! Thank you!! And THANK YOU Nicole for such a beautifully done recipe, pictures & tips at the end! I’m about to go looking for the cantaloupe jelly recipe & search around your site 🙂 LOVE your style!!! I think I’m a year later replying but oh well..happy dance day because I have 32 little, medium & large watermelons I picked yesterday..omg!! I’ve been looking for jelly, ice cream, juice, fruit roll-ups etc..anything to get these watermelons from going to waist. LOVE this jelly idea!!!! ?✌✌✨??

      1. Ok..apparently I’m not a year late..lmao!! I was thinking the post said 2016. But in my defense I had just woke & hadn’t had coffee yet ???✌✌✌

  23. You say to use pectin for low or no sugar, I’ve made jelly before, never used this type pectin though. Why use the low/ no sugar as opposed to regular/real fruit pectin, which is what I’ve used. Is there a difference?

    1. You can use whatever you’d like to use. We choose the low or no sugar option as much as possible to reduce the amount of sugar consumption. We have a diabetic in our family and most of us are trying to cut our carbs down as well.
      There’s a difference but probably not enough of one to make a difference to you.

  24. I’ve been making this recipe for couple years now and love it and get alot of people wanting my jelly. But I did find if u use just a pack and half of pectin instead of 2pks it is better and to keep the heat on higher to cook faster to 220degrees.

  25. i started making Cantaloupe butter many years ago on a whim. The taste is much like pumpkin but with a texture like apple butter….delish!

  26. I wish watermelon was something we could grow (both weather and space-wise) as we all love it. But even still, we might have to try making this to keep the flavors lasting that bit longer!

  27. I’m confused on the amount of sure jell. Is it boxes or pouches? Or to clearing…how many ounces? Thank you

    1. I am sorry the recipe wasn’t more clear – for some reason I thought I had that in the text above, but realize I did not. In our area we only have ONE size of the pink box and it comes in a 1.75 ounce size. So two boxes would be 3.50 ounces of the Pink box of Sure Jell. I hope that helps.

  28. Omg Nicole! This recipe is fantastic! Made it today just as you said. It’s setting up wonderfully! Taste great too,! Now I have to get up early and make biscuits! Thanks for the great recipe.
    Rodney

    1. Is possible for me to lower the amount of sugar in the jam? Because it’s too sweet for me and basically tastes like watermelon candy

  29. Is there anyway I can reduce the sugar? Or make it any less sweet? I used the pink box pectin but it was still SUPER sweet it basically tasted like watermelon candy.

  30. I just came across your recipe for watermelon jelly. I followed the recipe and have 3 pints jelling right now. This was easy to follow and did not take as long as I thought it would. I have more to make.

  31. I made exactly as you instructed and this jelly is delicious! This is my first, and definitely not my last, watermelon jelly making. Thank you for sharing!

  32. Hi, I usually blend/liquify my strawberries and blueberries. I use all of it for my jellies, as I hate tossing that pulp. They make the absolute best jelly/jam. I do not like large chunks of fruit in my jelly so I figured I get the best of both worlds.
    I’m assuming I can do the same with watermelon, minus seeds of course. I’m thinking you mentioned that we could.

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