Skip to Content

9 Awesome Ways To Substitute Pectin

Imagine this: you’re back home after a long day, and hunger is killing you. You spot the sweet jar of strawberry jam right then, and the thought of having jam and bread increases your appetite.

Given their delectable taste and sweetness, jams and jellies are always the number one snacking option for foodies, and what’s better than homemade fruit jams? Nothing!

Do you know that pectin, the main ingredient in making jams and jellies, might not always be an option for you?

This article will explore various substitutes for pectin in making multiple delicacies, but before we do that, let’s understand pectin and its use.

What Is Pectin?

Pectin is the main ingredient responsible for the gel-like consistency of jams and jellies. Pectin is a heteropolysaccharide, a type of starch that occurs in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables.

When you combine pectin with acid and sugar and heat it, it turns into a jelly-like substance. Some fruits are already high in pectin content, but others need more added pectin for the proper structure!

Once you get your hands on processed pectins, you can use them in various recipes to thicken the consistency of your dish. 

How much pectin you use in any substance depends on your ingredients. For example, fruits like apples might not need additional pectic, but fruits like blueberries and strawberries do.

Does pectin have a flavor of its own? Nope! Pectin doesn’t have a taste of its own and will not alter the flavor of your recipe either. 

Best Substitutes For Pectin

Now, if the ingredients in your recipe don’t already have high amounts of pectin, here’s a range of options for you to consider.

Now the good news is that pectin can also be produced commercially. The bad news is that, unfortunately, everyone can’t use or tolerate pectin in their food.

For some people, it’s inaccessible; for others, it’s expensive, and plenty of others are allergic to it! So what do we do now? 

Don’t worry; we have some great substitutes for pectin

1. Citrus Peels/Piths

Citrus Peels/Piths best substitutes for pectin

Peels of citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are incredibly high in natural pectin. Although they work as a perfect gelling substance, they have a robust flavor.

Due to citric fruits’ potent flavor, you must be careful about using them in your recipe. Make sure that a citric tang to your jam or jelly won’t severely affect the overall flavor.

So if you pair the flavors thoughtfully, citrus peels can be your jam savior. We suggest you use it with the right ingredients and recipes, for example, when preparing marmalade or citrus-based jams and jellies.

Here’s how you can make pectin with citrus peels:

  1. Grate the citrus fruit’s peels well, and you can also add the fruits to the mix if you like the flavor.
  2. Now take this mixture and add it to boiling water.
  3. Boil the water with the mixture at low heat for 20 minutes.
  4. Now strain the mixture and use the concentrated water as liquid pectin.

How To Substitute

One cup of this liquid citrus pectin can be used for 8 cups of jams/jellies.

2. Green Apple Pectins

Green Apple best substitutes for pectin

Green apples are an excellent source of pectin too. You can prepare your homemade pectin using tart green apples!

To make homemade green apple pectins, follow the recipe mentioned below:

  1. Wash and chop your green apples properly – don’t forget to remove the core and seeds!
  2. Now combine one pound of apples with 2 cups of water. Follow the same ratio if you are adding more apples. 
  3. Bring this blend to a boil and let it simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes. Turn off the stove and let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
  4. Let the mixture strain through a cheesecloth for one night (don’t squeeze it).
  5. Now add this juice to a pot or an enormous container, start boiling it at a medium-high flame, and let it reduce to half on its own. Turn the stove off, then.
  6. Once it has cooled down, store this liquid pectin in a clean glass jar and refrigerate it. You can use it for up to 4 days.

How To Substitute

You can use one cup of apple pectin for every four cups of jam.

3. Corn Starch

Corn Starch best substitutes for pectin

Corn starch often surprises people, but trust us; it deserves to be on this list! Easily accessible and cost-efficient, corn starch is an excellent thickening agent!

Many people love cornstarch as a replacement for pectin because it provides gel-like consistency and emulsifies and stabilizes other ingredients in the mix.

How To Substitute

You can use two spoons of corn starch in four cups of the fruit mixture before bringing it to a boil. Once the mixture starts boiling, let it simmer on low heat till the jam is done.

4. Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

One of the best things to ever exist, chia seeds are loved by vegan people as a replacement for eggs in multiple recipes. Guess what? They are not only a replacement for eggs but also pectin!

Many people already love using chia seeds in various smoothies and puddings, but you can also use them to prepare your favorite jams and jellies!

The only compromise you’ll have to make with chia seeds is the time! 

As far as the consistency goes, your jam might not get that thick with chia seeds, but guess what? Chia seeds make up for these little drawbacks through their rich nutritious content!

When cooking, make sure you add chia seeds as the last step of the process. First, cook your fruits for approximately ten minutes, and then add all other ingredients like sugar or added flavors. 

Once your mixture has been thoroughly cooked, add chia seeds and mix it well. Don’t wait and turn the stove off. Now let the mixture cool – it will achieve the desired consistency!

How To Substitute

You must use two tablespoons of chia seeds for every two cups of fruit.

5. Sugar

Sugar - best substitutes for pectin

No, no – this isn’t your regular sugar. We are talking about jam sugar here.

The only downside of using jam sugar is that lacking any other thickening agent can make your recipe too sweet to tolerate.

You might not want it as sweet, making it a little bit difficult to determine the ratio of regular sugar.

That being said, jam sugar does work well as a thickening agent. Make sure you slowly add sugar to your recipe while regularly stirring the mixture.

Using sugar is not wrong; it’s just a long way. Traditionally, people have always used sugar in their jams and jellies. 

It’s a bit time-consuming, but once the total moisture from the mixture has been absorbed, you will get a perfect and thick consistency.

How To Substitute

Substituting sugar can be a bit tricky. Since it makes the jam sweeter, you must keep adding the sugar until the desired consistency and sweetness are reached.

Best Sweet Relish Substitute You Should Know

6. Jello

Jello - best substitutes for pectin

Yes – Jello! It already has an existing gel-like consistency and a good amount of pectin. 

Moreover, it also has existing sugar and flavors, making your jam recipe even more prosperous and savory.

How To Substitute

Use an entire packet of Jello for every six cups of your fruit mixture. Since Jello doesn’t require cooking, you must add it to the mix once it has been thoroughly prepared.

7. Gelatin

Gelatin

The first ever well-known gelling agent – gelatin, used to be found in every home. Over time, as more vegan options came, gelatin became a little less popular.

On the other hand, if you aren’t keen on vegan recipes and dishes, you can use gelatin, but it would help if you were warned that gelatin isn’t as easy to include in any recipe.

If you don’t have any other option available, then gelatin will do the work excellently. Gelatin needs to be activated once added to a mixture, so you must follow specific steps if the gelatin has to work correctly.

How To Substitute

For every four cups of jam, you must use two tablespoons of gelatin powder.

8. Tapioca Starch

Tapioca Starch

Tapioca starch is an excellent vegan option; you might already have it in your kitchen! This beloved ingredient is used in various recipes and is quite versatile.

Do you know what the best thing about this ingredient is? It’s entirely non-allergic for most people!

This ingredient is a polysaccharide, and when heated, it reacts accordingly. Traditionally, people have used it to thicken the milk’s consistency in various recipes in India and nearby regions. 

How To Substitute

You can use Tapioca starch the same way you use corn starch. Use two tablespoons of tapioca starch for every four cups of fruit mixture to get the best results!

9. Agar

Agar

It makes sense if you have not heard of this ingredient in any cooking class. Unfortunately, Agar isn’t a very famous ingredient, and it’s primarily found in laboratories, not kitchens.

It’s a kind of algae used for tissue culture in labs, but guess what! This vegan ingredient is edible, nutritious, and a near-perfect replacement for pectin.

So if it’s available in the nearby store, why don’t you try Agar this time in your jam recipe?

How To Substitute

You have to use the same amount of Agar as pectin powder.

Additional Recipes

Calories Per 100 G: 236

Total Preparation Time: 2 hours

 Calories Per 100 G: 8

Total Preparation Time: 60 minutes

Calories Per 100 G: 10

Total Preparation Time: 50 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Thicken Jam Without Pectin?

Yes. You can use various vegan and no vegan alternatives for the same.

Can You Make Jelly Without Pectin?

Yes. For the same, you can use ingredients like Jello, corn starch, tapioca, etc.

Is Gelatin A Good Substitute For Pectin?

Yes, gelatin is an excellent substitute for pectin, but unlike pectin, it’s not vegan.

Will Using Citrus Peel Change The Taste Of My Recipe?

Yes, since citrus has a strong flavor, it will affect the flavor of your recipe. It’s suggested to use it in citrus-based jams and marmalades.

9 Best Substitutes For Pectin

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time

10

minutes
Cooking time

49

minutes
Total time

59

minutes

Do you know that pectin, the main ingredient in making jams and jellies, might not always be an option for you?

Ingredients

  • Citrus Peel/Pith

  • Green apple Pectin

  • Corn Starch

  • Chia Seed

  • Sugar

  • Jello

  • Gelatin

  • Tapioca Starch

  • Agar

Directions

  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio.
Jess Smith