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The Best Apple Jelly Substitutes

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No matter the time of year, apply jelly makes for a wonderful treat. Whether you enjoy some apple jelly on toast for breakfast or use it in a delicious marinade for a barbecue, apple jelly is always great to keep in the kitchen.

For sweet and savory desserts, apple jelly helps to give a sweet and slightly tart flavor. It can be exactly what you need to give a meal an extra bit of sweetness and fruitiness.

That is, until you open the cupboard and find that the last bit of apple jelly has been eaten!

What are the best substitutes for apple jelly? The best substitutes for apple jelly have similar flavors and textures. Canned peaches, apple juice, grape jelly, marmalade and apricot jam are some of the best substitutes. Other fruits, jams, jellies, and citrus marmalades typically make decent alternatives.

Below we’ll go into the five best substitutes for your beloved apple jelly so you can make the most of your favorite snacks and recipes, even when you’re out of one of your top ingredients.

A Quick Guide To The Best Substitutes For Apple Jelly

Apple jelly has a moderate flavor, a sweet, fresh aroma, and a thin jam-like texture. This makes it quite difficult to substitute, but here are some of the best options to try out.

Peaches – Peaches, especially canned since they’ve been “marinating” in all those delicious juices, make for a great substitute for apple jelly. There shouldn’t be too much of a difference in your dish when using peaches instead of apple jelly.

Apple Juice – Apple juice will naturally give you the closest flavor possible to apple jelly. Its liquid form should be easy to use in most apple jelly recipes, though you may want to adjust the ratios of dry and wet ingredients a little.

Grape Jelly – Grape jelly has a similar texture to apple jelly, but it can be slightly thicker. It is just as sweet and has some tartness as well, although with its distinct flavor notes, which helps to substitute for the sweet-tart flavor of apples.

Marmalade – Marmalade is most often made from citrus. Citrus has a high pectin content, which is a good gelling agent, much like what you find in apple jelly. The taste might be tarter, but it is still fruity and has a good consistency.

Apricot Jam – Apricot jam is very similar to apple jelly in that both have pronounced, but not overpowering, flavors. The high amount of pectin in apricots give the apricot jam a very similar consistency to apple jelly as well.

The Best Uses For Apple Jelly

Apple jelly is one of those ingredients that can be used for so many different purposes. Both sweet and savory dishes can benefit from some apple jelly. Here are some ways you can use delicious apple jelly at home:

  • Spread on toast
  • Filling for cakes
  • Filling for tarts and even crisps
  • Used in marinades
  • Used for chicken bakes
  • Glaze for pork roasts

It is always so handy to keep some apple jelly in your kitchen, you never know when your meals could call for it!

Substituting Apple Jelly – The 5 Best Options

Below are the best options to use to substitute apple jelly. While none will be exactly the same as apple jelly, they are as close substitutes as you could hope for, and you might even enjoy the different flavor or texture they bring to a dish!

We’ll also suggest some great particular substitutions you can make.

1. Peaches

Recommended: Native Forest Organic Sliced Peaches

Peaches are wonderfully versatile. As a substitute for apple jelly, you can use fresh peaches, canned peaches, or even peach jam.

Apples and peaches share a very similar flavor, both being sugary, slightly acidic, and both have a wonderful fruity taste. This makes peaches a great substitute for apple jelly.

Peaches also naturally contain pectin, which is a natural thickener, just like apples do. This gives the peach jam the same consistency as apple jelly, so you do not have to change too much when substituting the two in a recipe.

Fresh peaches might need to be cooked down a bit, and using them will depend on the recipe. Canned peaches work wonderfully as a filling for tarts and pies when you don’t have apple jelly.

2. Apple Juice

Recommended: Kirkland Signature Apple Juice

Apple juice is the substitute that would have the most similar taste to apple jelly. In fact, apple juice is what is used to make apple jelly!

One thing to note when using apple juice in place of apple jelly is that apple juice is slightly more acidic and that apple jelly tends to be even sweeter! You might have to add in some extra sugar or honey to make up for this. Honey is a good idea as it is slightly thicker than apple juice (as you can guess for yourself) while still being naturally sweet.

Apple juice is also obviously more liquid than apple jelly, but this is not much of a problem in most recipes, as apple jelly tends to turn more liquid when cooked.

There are many different ways to use apple juice in place of apple jelly, blending it in with other ingredients, seasoning meat, or using it as a topping to finish the dish off!

3. Grape Jelly

Recommended: Trader Joe’s Organic Concord Grape Jelly

Just like apple jelly, grape jelly is made by blending together grapes and sweeteners such as sugar. This means it has a very similar consistency to apple jelly.

When using grape jelly in place of apple jelly, keep in mind that grapes are slightly sourer than apples, and can be sweeter. Grape jelly might be more sugary than apple jelly, so you would need to balance this out in the meal you are making. For tarts and cakes, however, this should be fine. You may find you even like this substitution better in some recipes!

Grape jelly does work as a good substitute for apple jelly, as long as the recipe calls for extra sweetness and benefits from the jelly’s natural sweetness and tartness.

If it is a more savory recipe, however, grape jelly might not be the best choice. For example, cinnamon apple marinated pork roast might be better served with apricot preserves (see below).

While apple jelly is sweet, it does have a lighter tartness and crispness that balances out well with savory dishes, which is what makes it so ideal to use over a range of cooking and baking purposes. But grape jelly is a richer flavor, which may or may not serve all of your savory dishes well.

In baked goods, though, your grape jelly will usually be a fantastic substitute!

4. Marmalade

Recommended: Tiptree Crystal Orange Marmalade

Most marmalades are made from orange and are fairly bitter with only a hint of sweetness. However, nowadays you can find marmalade made from a range of fruits, such as limes, lemons, mandarins, and even bergamots.

Much like apple jelly, marmalade contains a high amount of pectin, which helps to gel the fruit to make a thicker consistency. Pectin is found in most citrus fruits and is what helps apple jelly bind together so well. The comparatively bitter taste is really great and similar to the tartness you get from apple jelly, too.

You can use marmalade in place of apple jelly in quite a few different recipes. In the morning, you can spread some marmalade onto some toast instead of your usual apple jelly, or you can use it as a beautiful marinade for chicken pieces.

In fact, marmalade makes for an incredible sticky marinade for chicken wings, and you might be happy that you have run out of apple jelly!

Marmalade might not be the best on its own to replace apple jelly in recipes such as tarts and cake. You might have to add in a little more sweetness – unless this is the richer, less sugary flavor you’ve been looking for in your already sweet treats!

5. Apricot Jam/Preserves

Recommended: Tiptree Apricot Preserves

Apricot is one of the most popular preserves that people keep in their kitchen, and it happens to be a good substitute for apricot jam as well!

Although there is a difference between jam and preserves, when it comes to substituting apple jelly, using either apricot-based goods should leave you in equally delicious hands!

For tarts and cakes, apricot jam offers a beautifully sweet and fruity taste, similar to apple jelly. Apricots, however, do not have a high pectin content, so you may need to thicken it a bit for recipes. You can also try mixing it with honey and using them together as a substitute to get a thicker texture overall.

Apricot jam is great to have on toast in the morning in place of apple jelly but is also wonderful to use in savory dishes too. It goes well with beef, pork, and poultry, and makes a great marinade too.

Related Questions

How Long Does it Take For Apple Jelly to Set?

If you are making apple jelly at home, you should set aside around 24 to 48 hours for the apple jelly to set. If the apple jelly has not set after 48 hours, it might need to be recooked.

Is Apple Butter the Same as Apple Jelly?

No, apple butter is not the same as apple jelly.

Apple butter is more concentrated applesauce. It has a good spreadability, which is about as much as it has in common with regular butter. Apple butter is more like a preserve or a jam.

Apple jelly is comparatively thinner. It’s just like your standard grape or strawberry jellies from the store (only naturally made with apples instead).

How Can I Use Apple Jelly?

There are many ways to use apple jelly. It is a very versatile ingredient to keep in the kitchen. Any recipe that calls for sweetness, some tartness and a semi-solid gelatin texture can do with a good helping of apple jelly.

Can You Make Apple Jelly From Scratch?

Yes, you can make apple jelly from scratch, and it is a great idea to do so, especially if you have an excess of apples at home.

You just need the juice of the apples, lemon juice, and sugar. Boil everything together over high heat and then leave it to set. 

Up Next: Best Substitutes For Applesauce In Baking

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