Skip to Content

Homemade Grape Jelly Recipe – Made With Fresh Grapes or Juice

It has been a great year for the grape harvest and that means it is time to share our homemade grape jelly recipe.

As much as I see websites posting about making strawberry jam or jelly, I rarely come across a recipe for grape jelly. I would imagine it is due to the fact that the grapes ripen in the middle of vegetable garden season.

Everyone is researching, reading, and writing about how to can pickles, tomatoes, and peppers and not much love is given to the grape harvest.

Just like everyone else we also get busy with preserving our tomatoes and peppers. But it is always nice to take a break from peeling and processing tomato sauce and salsa and make a little jelly.

homemade grape jelly

We not only make our grape jelly for spreads on sandwiches, we also use it in various recipes such as our favorite Appetizer Meatballs and Little Red Smokies recipes.

But the most gratifying way that we use our grape jelly is as a gift to family and friends around the holidays. We love to share homemade products and watch others enjoy it as much as we do!

Best of all, this recipe can also be made from grape juice. So if you are searching for a homemade gift idea in the middle of November, when there are no grapes to be picked, this recipe is perfect!

Just be sure to use 100% grape juice with no additives and not previously frozen as a concentrate.

What Grapes Make The Best Jelly?

If you are making this recipe from fresh grapes, it is best to use Concord Grapes. They make the best homemade grape jelly, especially if they are slightly underripe.

However, any red grape can make jelly. Although you definitely should avoid making jelly from green or white grapes. They simply don’t have enough flavor to make good jelly.

concord grapes on vine
We love to use our concord grapes to make jelly.

Homemade Grape Jelly Recipe

*Complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article.

**makes approximately 12 half-pint jars

INGREDIENTS:

  • Grapes or No Sugar Added Grape Juice
  • Sugar
  • No-Sugar Needed Pectin

I have not tried making this recipe into a sugar-free version. Although, as long as you correctly convert your sugar to an alternative sweetener as recommended, I would imagine it would turn out just fine.

The important thing, whether you are making it with sugar or a substitute, is to use no-sugar needed pectin. And yes, we even use it when we add sugar to this recipe.

The benefit of using pectin that is designed for no-sugar added recipes, is that we can use less sugar than when standard pectin is used. In fact, we have been able to cut the amount of sugar required for this recipe in half by using Sure-Jell No-Sugar Needed Pectin. 

Using this method allows just the right amount of sweetness to make great grape jelly that still gels up perfectly.

INSTRUCTIONS:

smashing grapes for homemade grape jelly
Smashing grapes before they are boiled with help the juices release much quicker.

How To Make Homemade Grape Jelly From Grapes

The first step in making grape jelly is to wash the grapes and remove the stems.

Then in a large bowl, add enough grapes to cover the bottom of the bowl. Using a potato masher, crush the grapes.

Next, add the crushed grapes to a large non-reactive stockpot. Repeat the process until all of the grapes have been crushed and then transferred to the stockpot.

Then add enough water to the pot just until the grapes are barely covered. Turn the burner on medium-high heat and bring the grapes to a boil, stirring frequently.

Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Strain The Mixture

Next, pour the mixture into a jelly strainer or in a colander lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. For best results let the mixture strain overnight.

The next day, when you are ready to finish making the homemade grape jelly, add the pectin and ½ cup of sugar and mix together. Set aside.

jelly strainer
Although not necessary, a jelly strainer comes in handy when making jelly!

Then place a metal spoon in a glass of ice water and set aside. This spoon is going to be used later to check the thickness of the grape jelly.

Now pour the strained grape juice back into a large stockpot and add the pectin/sugar mixture. Over medium-high heat, cook the juice until it begins to boil.

Then stir in the remaining sugar and bring it back to a rolling boil. Let it continue to boil for 1 minute and test the thickness using the cold spoon.

Fill the teaspoon half full and set it on a plate. Once It cools to room temperature, turn the spoon sideways.

If the gel has thickened to the desired consistency the jelly is ready. If not, continue the boiling process and retest until it thickens.

How To Make Grape Jelly From Juice

The process for making homemade grape jelly from juice is rather easy.

Start by pouring the juice in a large stockpot. Then in a small bowl, add the pectin and ½ cup of sugar and mix together.

Heat this mixture over medium-high heat and cook until the juice begins to boil. While you are waiting for the pot to boil, place a metal spoon in a glass of ice water and set aside.

Once the mixture begins to boil, add the remaining sugar and bring it back to a rolling boil, stirring frequently. Let it continue to boil for 1 minute.

Now test the thickness using the cold spoon by filling the teaspoon half full and set it on a plate. Once It cools to room temperature, turn the spoon sideways.

If the gel has thickened to the desired consistency the jelly is ready. If not, continue the boiling process and retest until it thickens.

canning grape juice

Canning Instructions

If you will be canning the jelly, fill half-pint, sterilized mason jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rim clean and add the lid and band. Process in a hot water bath canner for 5 minutes, adjusting for altitude as necessary.

Storing Instructions

You can also store your homemade grape jelly in the refrigerator or freezer. Allow the jelly to cool and place in half-pint or pint size containers. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

You can freeze the jelly in freezer-safe mason jars. Just be sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace to allow for expansion so that the jars don’t break.

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

As always, feel free to email us at thefarm@owgarden.com with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up for our free email list that is located in the middle of this article. This article may contain affiliate links.

Check out our Simple Garden Life Podcast Below:

Grape Jelly Recipe

An easy to make grape jelly recipe using half of the sugar of standard grape jelly recipes.

  • 5 lbs of grapes (or 5 cups of all-natural, no sugar added grape juice)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 box no-sugar needed pectin (plus ¼ of another box)
  1. Wash the grapes. If making jelly from grape juice, skip to step 6
  2. In a large bowl, add enough grapes to fill the bottom of the bowl. Using a potato masher, crush the grapes.
  3. Add the crushed grapes to a large non-reactive stockpot. Repeat until all the grapes are in the pot.
  4. Add enough water to the pot just until the grapes are barely covered. Bring the grapes to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the mixture into a jelly strainer or in a colander lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. For best results let the mixture strain overnight.
  6. In a small bowl, add the pectin and ½ cup of sugar and mix together. Set aside.
  7. Place a metal spoon in a glass of ice water and set aside.
  8. Pour the strained grape juice into a large stockpot and add the pectin/sugar mixture. Over medium-high heat cook the juice until it begins to boil.
  9. Stir in the remaining sugar and bring it back to a rolling boil. Let it continue to boil for 1 minute and test the thickness using the cold spoon. Fill the teaspoon half full and set it on a plate. Once It cools to room temperature, turn the spoon sideways. If the gel has thickened to the desired consistency you can begin to fill the sterilized mason jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. If not, continue the boiling process and retest until it thickens.
  10. You can freeze the jelly in freezer-safe mason jars or process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes (adjusting for altitude as needed) for both half-pint and pint jars.

Recipe courtesy of Make Your Meals