This naturally-sweetened strawberry chia jam couldn't be easier! Lightly sweetened with honey and spiced with a touch of cinnamon, this quick jam recipe thickens beautifully for a healthy breakfast spread that's done in under 20 minutes.
It took me some time to warm up to chia seeds. They sat in my pantry for a month before I worked up the courage to open the bag, probably because I kept hearing how gelatinous they were and, truthfully, that freaked me out.
Strawberry chia jam was one of the first things I made with them and WOW, there was no need to worry. Chia seeds provide a boost of nutrition without impacting flavor, and their gelatinous selves serve an important purpose in achieving a jammy texture without any special ingredients.
While I love making this jam with strawberries, a variety of fruits would work with this recipe framework. Blueberry chia jam is another we're partial to, but raspberries or blackberries would also be great. Even a mix.
Why This Recipe Works
- Chia seeds have big-time absorption abilities and develop a gel-like consistency when combined with liquid. This is why they can produce perfectly thick jams and jellies without tinkering with pectin, sugar, boiling, etc.
- While you can make no-cook strawberry chia jam, heating it for a short time helps it thicken even more.
- While there are clear benefits to canning jams and jellies, there's no getting around the need for precision, safeguards, and time. Although this recipe is not canning-friendly, it's just right for those wanting to make a fuss-free, quick small-batch jam with a carton of strawberries.
- Chia seeds: These are nutritional super stars. They're packed with fiber, omega-3s, and antioxidants and have a very mild taste so they play well in plenty of recipes (NIH source). While they do become gelatinous once they absorb liquid, they blend in to the texture of jam nicely.
- Strawberries: Either fresh or frozen fruit works for strawberry chia jam.
- Honey: Adding to the natural sweetness of the strawberries, just one tablespoon of honey brings a hint of flavor, too (though there are substitutions available if you prefer).
- Cinnamon: This is totally optional, but I *love* the warm flavor of cinnamon with strawberries. One-quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon doesn't overwhelm the flavor of the jam, but you can certainly use less or omit entirely if you're not sure.
- Start by hulling the strawberries, which is removing the leafy green top and a bit of the white center "core" of each berry. While this is an extra step, the center part isn't as tender and lacks flavor, so removing it boosts the natural strawberry flavor in jam.
- Chop up the strawberries into fairly uniform pieces and add them to a small/medium saucepan with the juice from half of a lemon, about two tablespoons. Set the pan on the stove over medium heat.
- Wait a few minutes for the strawberries to heat up (a bit more if using frozen berries), then begin to mash everything up with a potato masher.
- Continue mashing until the strawberry mixture is mostly smooth without any large pieces, leaving a little texture. Once the mixture begins to bubble around the edges of the pan, cook for one minute more than remove the pan from the heat.
- Now with the pan off the heat, add the chia seeds, honey, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon (if using) and stir to combine well.
- Cover the pan and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the strawberry chia jam has begun to thicken. Transfer the jam to the refrigerator to cool completely (it'll thicken up additionally during this dime).
- If you don't have a potato masher, two forks, the top of a meat tenderizer, or even a wooden spoon can work to break down the strawberries.
- If you don't have or prefer not to use honey, the liquid sweetener of your choice will work. Some common ones that can be substituted in 1:1 for honey are maple syrup and agave nectar. Either of these would ensure this strawberry chia jam is vegan.
- It's important to add the remaining ingredients to the jam when the pan is off the heat as to not dilute their flavors. This is especially important with vanilla extract, as otherwise it would cook out and you'd lose that wonderful flavor. You can see this principle in action with cooked eggnog!
No, do not can this recipe. This is a quick and easy way to make a small batch of jam, and it does not follow any necessary canning protocol. Please keep it refrigerated the entire time.
Not from this kind! (Whew.) This strawberry chia jam is already slightly chunky with fruit pieces, and the strawberry seeds blend right in with the chia seeds so the texture isn't off-putting.
Aside from toast, bagels, and other breakfast baked goods, strawberry chia jam works well when stirred into yogurt, blended into a smoothie, or added to baking recipes, such as homemade strawberry pop-tarts or crumb topping jam bars. With whatever you make, just keep in mind that the jam isn't perfectly smooth.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Easy Strawberry Chia Jam
- 1 ½ cups (240g) strawberries hulled and chopped
- Half of a lemon, juice (about 2 tbsp)
- 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- Place hulled and chopped strawberries and lemon juice in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Once the berries are heated, mash the fruit (using a potato masher, meat tenderizer, two forks, or wooden spoon) and stir until mixture is begins to bubble around the edges of the pan, around 5-6 minutes. Cook for one minute more.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, then add the chia seeds, honey, vanilla extract, and cinnamon (if using). Stir a few times and then cover the saucepan. Let the jam thicken for 5-10 minutes at room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to cool/thicken completely. Store leftover jam in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- If you don't have a potato masher, a meat tenderizer, a wooden spoon, or two forks can be used to mash and break down the strawberries.
- Be sure to add the vanilla extract and other remaining ingredients while the pan is off the heat, as you don't want the vanilla flavor to cook out and diminish.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer
I did the same thing with coconut oil awhile back, Helen. I'm still getting used to its consistency, but I've generally enjoyed it in things I've baked! 🙂 I'm so glad I dug into these chia seeds...eventually. Haha! Our batch lasted a few weeks in the fridge (until it was all eaten up!) and was fine the whole time. The recipe I adapted suggests it will stay for two weeks refrigerated, so there's that.
Haha Kristi! I took the tags off of a pair that had been hanging around for months just the other day. In my defense they're leather booties that I bought on super sale while it was 90+ degrees in San Diego so it's not like I would have worn them much before, but still. I'm a huge jam fan too! 🙂
Thanks Arpita - I love how well jam + chia seeds goes together!
Such a great idea, Ami! This is my first foray into chia jam but I think there is a lot more experimentation in my future. Love sneaking in healthy foods into things we generally always eat. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Thanks so much, Danielle! I haven't really branched out too far with them, but figured I'd start simple with this jam. I loved this jam more than I thought I did, and I had high expectations in the first place! I can't wait to try this with different fruits, too!
Thank you! 🙂
Thanks Natalie! I couldn't believe how easy this jam was. I had it in my head that jam was "hard" and time-intensive, but this version was really simple and took no time! Love those kinds of recipes. 🙂
Thanks Jocelyn! 🙂
Haha Mary Frances - I have a hard time committing to clothes too. I figure if the tag is still on at least I can return it! And I'm glad to hear that I have company in being late to the chia seed party. I was so pleasantly surprised with them in this jam, I think it'll be a staple around here. And thanks for the pin! 🙂
Alrighty 🙂 This jam really is the business, thanks so much for sharing, it's sorta good for you too!!! Who doesn't want to get their daily quota of chia & cinnamon.
Thanks Anna! Gaah I've been eating this jam on everything, because yeah! It's not too bad for you! Although I certainly slathered lots of deliciously crusty bread with it so I'm sure the health factor faltered a bit on that one. Worth it! 🙂
Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! says
I was the same way. It took me forever to buy chia seeds and I didn't actually try them for a couple of months. Now I can't get enough ;). It sounds like jam and chia seeds go perfectly together. Can't wait to make some. It looks so delicious!!
Thanks Kathi! Glad to hear I'm not alone when it comes to having cold chia feet. 🙂 This jam was a total treat!
Annie @Maebells says
Okay I haven't experimented with chia seeds either....but I have owned a bag since like July. I just didn't know what to do with them...add them to granola bars? Smoothies? I don't know, I just couldn't get on board. HOWEVER! I love this idea! I never thought of adding them to jam! This is so perfect, I can't wait to try it!
Haha go girl, time to crack into them! This is a safe bet when it comes to first time chia-ing (well that's not a word...). I can't wait to experiment and try them out in other recipes (when I work up the courage!)
I am so addicted to chia seeds (I order Bob's Red Mill on Amazon... 4 bags at a time!) and this jam looks like the PERFECT way to utilize them. I have them in smoothies pretty much every night!
Four bags at a time is serious business! haha And they sound great in smoothies Sues! A nice nutrient boost for sure, I'm going to have to give that a try!
I have yet to try chia seeds in jam, but it sounds like a great idea! This jam looks heavenly, and I wish I had some for my morning toast!
Thanks Marcie! I brought a little container of this jam to work so I could enjoy some there with my mid-morning snack in addition to my stash at home. I'm obsessed!