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How to make homemade grape jelly (from prepared juice)

(This recipe, which I published in 2008, is still making the rounds on Pinterest, but it didn’t have a printable recipe. Such things did not exist in 2008. So, here it is, updated with a printable.)

how to make easy grape jelly

This is kind of a cheater’s recipe for homemade grape jelly because it doesn’t involve squeezing the juice out of real grapes.

While that sort of method might produce some very tasty jelly, it’s not at all cost-efficient unless you grow your own grapes or have access to free ones somehow.

How cheap your jelly is depends on the price you pay for your ingredients. If you buy grape juice and sugar on sale and you have a coupon for pectin, it will be really, really cheap.

Plus, your homemade jelly will have no high fructose corn syrup in it (this is actually the reason I first looked into making my own).

homemade grape jelly

I got this recipe from The Hillbilly Housewife, (and it’s basically the same as the one on the insert from the pectin box) but I thought that some of you might be terrified of making your own jelly and would prefer a pictorial guide. 😉

It’s actually really, really easy. I promise.

Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 3 cups grape juice (either in a bottle or prepared from concentrate)
    • 1 package powdered pectin
    • 4 cups sugar
    • glass jars that will hold 1.5 quarts of jelly

(they don’t need to be canning jars…glass jars that used to hold fruit or applesauce, or jelly will work fine)

Combine grape juice and pectin in a saucepan (I stir it with a whisk to get rid of the lumps) and bring to a boil.

As an aside, do NOT add the sugar before you bring the pectin to a boil.

I’ve done this waaaay too many times, and it causes the jelly to not, well, gel.

After the pectin/juice mixture has come to a boil, stir in the sugar. Bring it back up to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, and boil for a full minute.

Remove from the heat. During cooking, some foam may have appeared on the top of your jelly. I like to spoon this off.

It’s harmless, but it’ll make the top of your jelly look cloudy if you leave it there.

Ladle the jelly into your clean jars, screw on the lids, and let the jelly cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge.

If you want the jelly to be shelf-stable, you can process the jars in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. I don’t mess with that usually…I store mine in the fridge, and they keep just fine.

The color of your jelly could vary depending on the grape juice you use.

In my experience, the bottled grape juice makes a more purple jelly than reconstituted grape juice does. The jars above are made from bottled juice, and the jars below are from a concentrate.

They’ll both taste good, though, so use whatever sort of grape juice you like.

Sometimes, my jelly gels right away, but sometimes it takes a while(like 6-8 hours).

So, don’t become distressed if at first it seems that all you have produced is some very sweet grape juice. Be patient, and as long as you’ve followed the recipe properly, your grape juice will have turned into jelly.

homemade grape jelly

Homemade Grape Jelly

Yield: 3 pints
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This jelly is super easy because it's made from store-bought juice! And it doesn't even need to be canned. It makes a nice addition to a gift of homemade bread.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups grape juice (either in a bottle or prepared from concentrate)
  • 1 package powdered pectin
  • 4 cups sugar
  • glass jars that will hold 3 pints of jelly

Instructions

    Combine grape juice and pectin in a saucepan (I stir it with a whisk to get rid of the lumps) and bring to a boil.

    Do NOT add the sugar before you bring the pectin to a boil. I've done this waaaay too many times, and it causes the jelly to not gel.

    After the pectin/juice mixture has come to a boil, stir in the sugar. Bring it back up to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, and boil for a full minute.

    Remove from the heat. Spoon off any foam that has appeared.

    Ladle the jelly into your clean jars, screw on the lids, and let the jelly cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge.

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Kathy

Thursday 10th of June 2021

Thank you Kristen. Soo yummy!! . I was looking for a cheap, quick, recipe that I could make. I feed Baltimore orioles in the summer. I’m in Southern Ontario and grape jelly is very very very hard to find in the stores in the spring and summer here. My Orioles love your recipe and may I say, I do too, on an english muffin, on my patio, with a tea, in the morning, as I watch my orioles dig into your great homemade grape jelly. Thank you once again.

Kathy from southern Ontario Canada!

Gina zapf

Thursday 7th of January 2021

Thank you, I have a question maybe you can help, I made some blackberry jam in summer and froze the rest for later on, so when I got ready to measure it out my blackberry was like molasses, I didn’t put sugar or pectin in when I froze it, do you have any idea what happened?

Kristen

Thursday 7th of January 2021

Boy, I don't know what happened there!

james campbell

Wednesday 18th of November 2020

Is grape juice sugar free or does it matter. It seems like it might be too sweet.I don't want to waste it,the recipe sounds good,Thanks,Jim

Kristen

Wednesday 18th of November 2020

The grape juice I use is just 100% grape juice; not grape juice cocktail.

sandi lusk

Wednesday 11th of November 2020

could I cook the juice down a bit to make the jelly taste more like grape?

Kristen

Wednesday 11th of November 2020

You could give it a try! I've never done that before, but you could experiment with one batch to see if you like the results.

Nicole

Saturday 24th of October 2020

Hello,

Thank you for this recipe! I just finished making it and it came out to 3 pint jars plus another half a pint jar which I will use as my sample. I canned the other 3 using my boiling water canner. I also appreciate the link you provided to another reviewer, to how much pectin to use if you’re not using a box or packet. I used low sugar pectin as I halved the amount of sugar in your recipe and it was sweet enough for me. I’ve made jam before but never jelly and who didn’t love grape jelly as a child? Thanks for giving us a good, quick and easy recipe.

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