The 6 Best Substitutes For Orange Marmalade Which Might Already Be In Your Pantry

Marmalade, or what is subsequently recognized as ‘Orange Marmalade’ is a type of jam or preserve common in Europe.

Yet, marmalade just isn’t as popular in the US, although some may have heard of it. Regardless, marmalade can sometimes be a common ingredient in baking recipes, for cakes and other baked goods.

As a result some more rural Americans may struggle to get their hands on Marmalade, and may not be something they have in their pantry.

In these cases where we can’t find, source, or just don’t have marmalade, we don’t necessarily have to scrap these recipes outright.

The 6 Best Substitutes For Orange Marmalade Which Might Already Be In Your Pantry

Rather, we can simply swap out marmalade for something similar either with an orange flavor, or simply just a different kind of jam.

Knowing what marmalade is, and actually tastes like, can help us understand what we can sub it out for, as well as what won’t work.

In the article below we will help you identify what marmalade is its flavor and what other things we can replace it with that are similar. This means that recipe that was suddenly out of reach could be today’s dessert.

Keep reading to learn more about marmalade, what it tastes like and what we can use to substitute it. Find out below!

What Is Orange Marmalade?

If you have ever seen the Paddington Bear films or books, you will know that the bear’s favored sandwich is a Marmalade Sandwich. The jam, or condiment, is particularly enjoyed in Britain but is actually Portuguese in its origin.

Marmalade itself is an export from other European countries, with Paddington himself being the English literary symbol of immigration at the time.

Put simply, marmalade is a type of fruit preserve that utilizes the fruit juice, and peel of different citrus fruits.

While the most popular and largely traded version is orange marmalade, made with the peel and juice of the citrus fruit, you can get marmalades with all sorts of combinations of different citrus fruits such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamots and quince.

The actual word marmalade comes from the Portuguese word for quince, ‘marmelo’. Of course, ‘orange marmalade’ refers to the version of marmalade commonly made with Seville oranges, arguably the most popular form of marmalade.

Marmalade is different to jam, and is actually more like jelly. The citrus fruits are added to water, the water is set by the high pectin content of the citrus fruits creating a type of jelly rather than jam.

Classic jelly would have the fruit parts strained out, though, while marmalade leaves the peels and other parts in as they are edible and add flavor.

In terms of flavor, marmalade is both tart and bitter, but not necessarily super sweet. Seville oranges are the choice fruit for orange marmalade and they are known for their more bitter and less sweet flavors.

Best Substitutes For Orange Marmalade

Orange marmalade is used in different ways in different baking applications, so depending on how it is recommended for us in the recipe, there are different things that replace it in different processes.

1. Orange Jam Or Jelly

In many baking recipes they may suggest that you use orange marmalade as you would strawberry jam.

If you have ever made a victoria sponge you know there is a separate layer of strawberry jam that goes on top of the butter cream in the middle layer of the cake.

Orange marmalade is often used in the same way in other citric cake recipes, to add that sweet citrus burst to cut through more fatty ingredients like buttercream.

In this described example, you can get pretty much the same effect from an orange jam or jelly. Both jam and jelly will have the pulp and peel of the orange removed, while a marmalade will keep them in.

As a result they are very similar, and can achieve similar results. 

Similarly, if you are making a meat marinade for a dish like orange chicken, these other types of orange preserves that are not marmalade will work very similarly, bringing a jamminess and sugar element to the marinade.

2. Other Citric Preserves

Should you still find that you can’t get your hands on an orange jam, marmalade, or jelly, it can be worthwhile looking for another kind of citric jam.

Citric fruits are plentiful and in the same section you would find marmalade, of your grocery store, you should be able to locate a whole bunch of other citric preserves. 

Orange is arguably one of the sweeter citric fruits, so it is worth going for something similarly sweet for the same effect.

Something like a lemon marmalade or preserve might be a little too sour, a little too citric, but something like a grapefruit or pineapple preserve can do the job. 

Keep an eye out for other orange preserves as well, which may not be clearly labeled as ‘orange’.

For example, any preserve labeled ‘clementine’, ‘satsuma’, ‘blood orange’ ‘tangerine’, or ‘mandarin’ will all have some mild variation of the orange flavor but will effectively be the same as orange marmalade.

3. Orange Juice

Certain baking recipes may be looking for you to combine an orange marmalade with something like butter cream or icing sugar to get a sharp citrus edge to your icing.

When combining orange marmalade with some other element to impart the citrus flavor, it can be easy to substitute this for orange juice. Orange juice can bring the orange flavor to an icing or sauce in the same way that orange marmalade can.

One thing to bear in mind here is that, of course, orange juice is more liquid than orange marmalade and as a result you should keep an eye on if you are thinning out said icing too  much.

4. Orange Zest

Perhaps your baking recipe or dish is asking for only a small amount of orange marmalade, something you don’t have, and it may feel pointless going to get some.

In this situation, depending on where you are using it, orange zest can bring the minute orange aroma and flavor that a small amount of marmalade could bring.

Put another way, on a baked good if you add the zest of an orange to the top of it, in the icing, or even in the batter, you will certainly get a citrus aroma and flavor that be exactly what the recipe needs.

5. Candied Orange Peel

Depending on how and when the marmalade appears in the recipe, one solution could be sourcing or making candied orange or orange peel.

Both candied peel and orange slices are in marmalade anyway, but they can still provide that citrus kick, as well as decoration, or the top of a cake’s icing, or on top of any other baked good.

6. Other Fruit Preserves

If you can’t get your hands on anything citrusy at all, then you can swap out the orange marmalade for many other fruit preserves you may enjoy.

You can easily swap out orange marmalade for strawberry jam, blueberry jam, lemon curd, practically any fruit preserve, whether that’s a jam, jelly, or marmalade, will work, albeit with a generally different flavor.

Oranges are sweet so another sweet fruit would easily work.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, it can be fairly easy to substitute orange marmalade in a recipe. Usually, the marmalade is used to impart some orange flavor in the cake in some fashion.

Spending on where the orange is used, in the icing or the cake or as decoration, for example, can change which citrus product you may want to use.

Generally it is best to go for a citrus substitute first, and if you can’t find any citrus substitutes it can be totally fine to just swap it out for some other kind of fruit preserve like strawberry jam.

The 6 Best Substitutes For Orange Marmalade Which Might Already Be In Your Pantry

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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