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Blueberry bourbon jam recipe

Blueberry jam gets boozy with this blueberry bourbon jam recipe. Like my bourbon blueberry BBQ sauce, this combination is absolutely divine. Capture the flavor of your perfectly ripe, juicy blueberries in a delicious jam that you can enjoy long after the summer season.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

You may also be interested in my blueberry lavender jam and my blueberry lime jam recipes. For ease of browsing, you can find all of my jam recipes in one place.

Blueberry bourbon jam recipe in a glass canning jar with a small silver spoon in the jar. There are blueberries scattered around the jar.

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Blueberry jam with vanilla and bourbon

Making jam is a great way to preserve (see what I did there?) the flavors of summer. Once you become comfortable making your own jam, you can start to get a bit more creative with flavor combinations.

Combining fruits, flavors, and spices into unique and interesting flavors is where it really starts to get good. And this blueberry bourbon jam recipe is GOOD.

Overhead shot of blueberry bourbon jam in glass jar on a white marbled background with a small silver spoon full of jam resting across the top of the jar.

I keep a stash of used vanilla bean pods (don’t throw them away!) that I’ve scraped clean. They still have plenty of flavor left in them and they are the perfect addition to jam.

Throw in a hefty shot of bourbon and now our jam has quite a bit of personality.

What you need to know

This is my set up while making jam. You’ll notice that everything is ready to go, and is within reach. Having everything measured out ahead of time is important, because you can’t walk away from jam once it is boiling.

Set up for making jam in my kitchen. There is a canning pot and pot of jam on the stove, and canning jars on the counter.

When the jam is ready to be put into jars, I place my warm, sterilized jars and tools on a sheet pan (baking sheet). This helps to contain any spills, but also keeps everything I need within reach.

My best advice for beginner jam makers is this – read through the recipe, then read it again. Read the post for helpful tips and tricks to ensure your success. It’s not difficult to make jam, but like anything, if it’s new to you, it’s good to come armed with all the information you can gather. Then measure everything out and organize your setup in a way that works for you.

Ingredients

Overhead photo of ingredients for blueberry bourbon jam recipe on a white background.
  • Blueberries – Wash blueberries and discard any moldy or badly bruised fruit.
  • Bourbon – Don’t use your most expensive bottle here, but one that you like.
  • Lemon – Fresh lemon juice provides the acidity and balance needed for the jam.
  • Pectin – This helps the jam to set properly. *Note that this recipe uses powdered pectin, not liquid pectin.
  • Vanilla – Use vanilla beans that you’ve scraped clean for another recipe if you have them, they still have LOTS of flavor.
  • Sugar – Regular granulated sugar is used in this recipe. Adjusting the amount of sugar may result in a jam that doesn’t set up.

How to make blueberry bourbon jam

Making jam isn’t really difficult, but it does take practice (like anything else), to get the “feel” of it. After you have a few batches of jam under your belt, you’ll start to notice how the jam looks and feels when it’s ready and also when it’s not.

Most important: Have everything measured out and ready ahead of time. Walking away from a boiling pot of jam in search of a utensil is a fast way to ruin all of your hard work and time.

Prepping blueberries for making jam.

The first step is washing the blueberries, then letting them dry. I spread them out on a clean kitchen towel. Then, crush the blueberries. Put them in a very large bowl and use a potato masher to break them up. I’ll be honest, I usually do it in the pot because I’m lazy and I don’t want to wash another bowl.

Next, add the pectin and stir it up. Then add in the vanilla beans, bourbon, and lemon juice. Stir it all up again to make sure everything is well combined.

Blueberry bourbon jam boiling in a stock pot with a thermometer in the pot, showing a temperature of 220°F.

Bring it to a boil, add the sugar and bring it back up to a boil for a minute. After one minute (literally – 60 seconds), take it off the heat. I use a candy thermometer clipped to my pot, or a digital thermometer to check the temperature of the jam. It will reach the “gel stage” at 220°F. Your jam is now ready to put into the jars.

Helpful tip: Wear oven gloves, or long sleeves while stirring hot jam. When the jam is boiling, it may splash, and it really hurts if it lands on your skin.

The jars are carefully lowered into a pot of boiling water. They process for 10 minutes before being removed and placed on the counter to cool and set up.

Blueberry bourbon jam recipe FAQ’s

What if my jam doesn’t set?

Don’t panic. Jam can take up to a week to set properly. It doesn’t usually take that long, but I have had a batch take 6 days before it really set properly.

What can I do with jam that didn’t set up?

Call it compote and be done with it. Or, you can boil it down a bit more and store it in the fridge to eat right away.
Use it on pancakes, swirl it into ice cream or muffin batter. It’s not a total loss, it still tastes delicious.

How long does sealed jam last in the pantry?

Properly sealed jams stored in a cool, dark location (like a pantry), will last up to one year. After that, the jam will start to lose it’s vibrant color and the flavor may start to change.

How do I know if my jars have sealed properly?

Press on the lid of the jar. If it does not pop up or move, your jars are sealed!

Blueberry jam on a slice of toast cut in half on a white plate.

More jam recipes

Once you start this adventure in jam making, you won’t look back. Homemade jam tastes so much better than anything you’ll find in the aisles of the grocery store, and here are a few of my favorites.

Overhead photo of toast with jam on white plate, with blueberries scattered around and a white kitchen towel on the side.

Now that I’ve been making jam for awhile and feel more confident in my abilities, I’ve started using Weck jars like the ones in the photos. When I first started making jam, I was terrified of using these jars. I thought that I would somehow mess up the sealing process. Spoiler alert – it’s no different from the other jars.

If you have ever wanted to try these jars, but were not sure about them, they are great and also, so pretty.

Tools needed to make blueberry bourbon jam

You’ll need the following to make this blueberry bourbon jam recipe. Some of it is canning specific, but most of it is not and you probably have most of it already.

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Blueberry bourbon jam recipe in a glass canning jar with a small silver spoon in the jar. There are blueberries scattered around the jar.

Blueberry Bourbon Jam Recipe

Cheryl Bennett
Delicious blueberry bourbon jam is a perfect way to capture the flavor of ripe, juicy blueberries.
4.67 from 27 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Jam recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 11 Half pint jars
Calories 64 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 cups fresh blueberries stems removed, washed and picked over (about 3 lbs) and crushed *see note
  • 1 box powdered pectin 1.75 oz. / 49g box regular powdered pectin. NOT low sugar, not liquid.
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 6 cups sugar

Instructions
 

  • Rinse blueberries with cool water and place on a clean kitchen towel to dry completely. Discard any moldy or badly bruised fruit.
  • In a water bath canning pot with a rack, sterilize canning jars by bringing them up to a simmer in the water. *Make sure you have added enough water so the jars will be covered by 2 inches of water.
    In a small pot, sterilize lids by bringing those up to a simmer as well. (you can add everything to one pot, but you'll need to go fishing for the lids)
  • In a 10 quart pot, add crushed blueberries and pectin. Stir to combine. (Or, you can just crush the berries in the pot)
  • Add lemon juice, vanilla beans and bourbon. Stir to combine, then bring the mixture to a rolling boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently.
  • Remove jars and lids from water, set aside.
  • Once blueberry mixture is boiling, add in sugar all at once and bring jam mixture back up to a full rolling boil, while stirring constantly. (Meaning, you can't stir the bubbles down). Boil hard for one minute.
    *To ensure the jam will properly set up, I use a thermometer to check the temperature of the jam – It should hit 220°F. That's when it's reached the "gel point".
  • Remove jam from heat and ladle into warm sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" space.
  • Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel to make sure they are clean.
  • Top jars with lids and screw on bands to fingertip tight. (Do not over tighten)
  • Carefully lower into water bath canner and process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Then carefully lift jars out of the water.
  • Set jars of jam on the counter and wait for the lovely "ping" sound to let you know they have sealed.

Video

Notes

  • Crushed blueberries should equal 5 1/2 cups by volume.
  • If jam looks really watery, you can boil it for an additional minute or so. This may happen if you use frozen berries.
  • Boiling jam is HOT and also hurts like crazy if it gets on your skin. Wear oven mitts while stirring to protect your hands from burns.
  • Any jars that haven’t sealed properly must be stored in the fridge.
  • Store sealed jars without bands in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
  • If you are using frozen blueberries, make sure to drain them well before starting. The excess liquid will take forever to boil off.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 64kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.004gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 12mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 7IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 1mgIron: 0.1mg
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Originally published 5/30/20, most recent update 6/12/24.

22 Comments

  1. OMG….. I absolutely LOVE this jam. I am going to make another batch or two and give this as gifts this December. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I did add a little more powered pectin than it called for because I just didn’t want to take the chance to have runny jam.

    1. THANK YOU so much!!! That makes me so happy! Thank you so much for such lovely feedback. I’m so glad that you love the recipe!!! Homemade jam is the best. Your friends & family are going to be so happy in December 🙂

  2. Hey! I have a pickling business and have never ever made jam. I used your recipe to make my first ever batch of jam. I made about 30, 250ml jars!
    I also adapted your recipe and made Blueberry GIN and blueberry lavender. Both were DIVINE.

    I am wondering though…. would the amounts and process be the exact same if I use tiny wild blueberries?! Would love to know your thoughts!

    I also wonder if I cut out a bit of sugar would it make it a tad less sweet? The little I know about canning jams is that everyone says don’t mess with amounts. Have you found this to be true? Would taking a bit of sugar out make a negative difference?

    Thank you so very much for this amazing recipie.

    1. Hi Emily! I’m so glad you liked the recipe! As far as the wild blueberries, I would think that as long as you stick to the recipe as far as amounts, it should be fine.
      Now, as to the sugar – it will affect the outcome. You can do it, but it may not set up the same, so you can just keep it in the fridge. I hope that helps! 🙂

    1. Hi Amanda! I have only used the powdered pectin. It is different from the liquid, so I can’t say that it would turn out exactly the same. 🙁
      I would say to make a half batch and test it out, but I’d hate for you to waste time, money & ingredients if it didn’t work out well.

  3. How many pouches of pectin is 1/2 cup? Or how many tbsp is required for this recipe? The pectin come in 57g each.

    1. Hi Cathy, the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of powdered pectin, not pouches of liquid pectin. There are 8 tbsp. in a 1/2 cup.

  4. Thank you so much for this recipe. I used new vanilla bean pods and split them down the middle. The kids loved it and it’s super yummy.

  5. I’m using frozen, so since there wasn’t a cup measurement for the actual crushed berries, Google tells me that 1 quart (or 4 cups)= 2 pounds. So with 3.5 lbs. required, I get 7 cups of crushed fruit. I’m go with that and I sure hope that’s correct….

    1. That sounds about right. I don’t bother crushing the blueberries before making the jam. I use a potato masher to break them up a bit, but they mostly burst on their own, so it’s personal preference for how smooth you want the jam to be.

  6. Hi, this recipe looks very enticing! I am curious about the amount of pectin being used in this recipe; am I correct in thinking that 1/2c is equal to 2 boxes of sure-jell? But the amount of blueberries and sugar is the same as a single batch of the sure-jell recipe. I just made a batch of the low-sugar sure-jell recipe (10-1/2c blueberries, 4-1/2c sugar, 1 box pectin(4TBSP)) last night and it set up so solid that it doesn’t even move when I tip the jar upside down. Do you know why this recipe requires twice the pectin?

    1. Hi Kelsie, the low sugar pectin is not the same as regular pectin. I haven’t made this recipe with low sugar pectin.

  7. I think someone else tried asking this question but since the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of powdered pectin and I buy the little boxes of powdered pectin that comes in 57g boxes, I think I’d need just over 1 box but I am trying just 1 box for now and will see how that works.

  8. Excited to try this recipe! Wondering if you think I could use vanilla beans that I used to make vanilla? I’m worried it’ll affect the flavor since they’ve been soaking in vodka for over a year. O.o And I was taught not to mix my liquors, so…

    1. If it were me, I’d use fresh vanilla beans. Moreso because they’ve been soaking in the vodka for a year, they might not have much oomph left in them. I would hate for you to go through the trouble of making jam, only to discover that the vanilla beans didn’t have much flavor, and be disappointed in the result. I hope that helps!

4.67 from 27 votes (27 ratings without comment)

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