This easy strawberry jam is made from scratch in the slow cooker! With plenty of berries, a bit of sugar, and a handful of fresh basil leaves for a fun, earthy twist. No pectin needed. A perfect way to use up those fresh summer strawberries!
This crockpot strawberry jam just screams SUMMER. It takes all of two minutes to throw together, and this low-and-slow crockpot cooking method means you get a rich, sweet, concentrated jam without needing to babysit a pot on the oven. (Slow cooker jam = easily one of our favorite summertime shortcuts.)
Strawberries are the star ingredient here, but we're also adding a handful of fresh basil leaves for a subtle, earthy twist that gives this jam a bit of extra depth and complexity. It's excellent on toast, bagels, homemade biscuits, or dolloped onto your favorite strawberry crostini!
This recipe is pretty straightforward, but we want to share a few notes before you get started:
- Use fresh strawberries at the height of their summer season if you can: They'll be sweeter and more flavorful than winter berries! If you don't have fresh strawberries on hand, you can substitute frozen strawberries (they may just need to cook a little longer to thicken up properly).
- Lemon juice cuts through the sweetness to give this jam a nice, bright balance. The lemon is pretty subtle: If you don't have lemon juice on hand, feel free to leave it out!
- Granulated Sugar sweetens this jam, but more importantly, the sugar helps create the jam's thick, glossy, syrup-y texture.
- Fresh basil lends a bit of depth to this jam. It doesn't taste super basil-y, though: The basil just adds an extra layer of flavor that makes this jam a little cozier and more complex. We use whole basil leaves here, so they're easy to pull out before the jam is finished.
- A pinch of kosher salt helps to balance the jam, and makes the flavors "pop"!
Variations and Substitutions
This crockpot jam recipe is very forgiving, and it's easy to customize with whatever you have on hand! Some of our favorite riffs:
- Swap the basil for fresh thyme sprigs (à la our slow cooker blueberry jam or strawberry thyme margaritas!) or use a few slices of jalapeño for a spicy twist. You can also omit the herbs entirely for a regular strawberry jam.
- Add a splash of whiskey or rum when you mix everything together for an extra punch of flavor!
- No strawberries? Use blueberries, blackberries, peaches, or raspberries instead (or use a combo of a few different things to make a mixed berry jam!) You can also swap up to half of the strawberries in this recipe for fresh rhubarb if you like!
- Adjust the amount of sugar. You can reduce the sugar by up to 50% without changing the texture and flavor of this jam too much. You can also swap the processed sugar for maple syrup or honey if you'd like, but the jam will need to cook longer to thicken properly.
How to Make This Jam
Cook the Strawberries
This crock-pot strawberry jam is so simple. Start by adding all the ingredients to the bowl of a slow cooker (Image 1, below) and stirring everything together (Image 2).
Cover the slow cooker and cook the berries on low for about 6 hours, until they're soft and fragrant. The berries will hold their shape pretty well, but they'll be darker, softer, and surrounded by some bright red syrup (Image 3, below).
Remove the Basil
Use a pair of tongs to pull out any large basil leaves (Image 4) - they've already done their part to infuse our jam with some extra flavor, and the finished jam will be a bit smoother without them!
Blend to a Smoother Consistency
Grab an immersion blender and carefully pulse the berries a few times to break up any large pieces (Image 5, above).
Blend the berries as much (or as little!) as you like: You can pulse the blender just a few times for a chunky, rustic jam, or run it longer for a smoother, more spreadable consistency.
Pro Tip: Depending on the size of your crock pot, you may need to tip the bowl to the side to concentrate the berries in one area, so that the head of the immersion blender can be fully submerged in the jam (it will splatter less this way!) We used a 5-quart Crock-Pot in these photos, and blending was easiest if we tipped the pot to one side. Always use caution when blending hot liquids.
Thicken the Jam
Once blended, the jam will still be fairly loose and somewhat runny (Image 6, above). To thicken it up, let it continue to cook on low - UNCOVERED - for another 1-3 hours. Give the jam a stir every half hour or so while it's thickening to keep an eye on its progress.
After a few hours of uncovered cooking, the jam will be thicker and will deepen in color (Image 7). Let it continue to cook, uncovered, until it reaches your desired consistency. Keep in mind that the jam will continue to thicken as it cools!
Storage and Freezing
When your jam is ready, let it cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers (we love these 4-ounce Ball Jars for homemade strawberry jam!) Store jam in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze it for up to 6 months. Defrost frozen jam in the fridge overnight, then use normally.
The Best Slow Cookers for Jam
Because we're making a fairly small batch of jam, a smaller slow cooker works best for this recipe! We used a 5-quart Crock Pot in these photos, and this jam also works well in 3-quart slow cookers.
Larger slow cookers can dry the strawberries out more quickly in this recipe, and they also make it more difficult to smooth out the jam with an immersion blender. If your slow cooker is larger than 5 quarts, we recommend doubling this recipe for best results!
We love using jam in a variety of ways, including:
No - this jam has not been pH-tested for safe home canning. If you'd like to save this jam for later, we recommend freezing it!
To remove as much texture (and as many seeds) as possible, run this jam through the finest blade of a food mill! A good food mill will remove most of the seeds and chunks, leaving you with a seedless strawberry jam that's more similar to a jelly in consistency.
Yes! Just combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes until strawberries are very soft. Turn off the heat, remove the basil, and let cool at least 15 minutes before blending with an immersion blender. Return saucepan to the stove over low heat and let the jam thicken until it reaches your preferred consistency.
We prefer using an immersion blender to smooth out this jam, but you could also give the strawberries a light mash with a potato masher OR pulse cooled jam a few times in a blender or food processor to work through any chunks. You can also leave the jam chunky if you prefer!
Dried basil can make this jam a little bit too earthy and intense, so we recommend sticking to fresh basil here. Fresh basil lends a very delicate flavor to this strawberry jam that doesn't quite translate when you make it with dried herbs. If you don't have fresh basil, you can use a few sprigs of fresh thyme or just leave the herbs out entirely!
We have not tested this recipe in an Instant Pot. Because pressure cookers typically require a fair amount of liquid to properly come to pressure, this recipe would likely not be a great candidate for Instant Pot cooking. We recommend making this recipe in a slow cooker as written, or making it in a saucepan on the stovetop!
This is a fairly small batch strawberry jam recipe: It yields about 1 ½ to 2 cups of jam. Want a bigger batch? You can easily double or triple the recipe using the handy 2x and 3x buttons in the recipe card below!
More Summer Berry Recipes
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This easy strawberry jam is made entirely in a crock pot! A handful of fresh basil adds some depth of flavor to this sweet spread.
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut into halves
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves (use whole leaves - no need to chop!)
- Pinch of kosher salt
Cook the Berries (6 hours)
- Stir strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, basil, and a pinch of salt together in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, until berries are soft.
- Turn off the heat and let berries cool for 10-15 minutes. Use kitchen tongs to remove basil leaves from the slow cooker; compost or discard the leaves.
Blend for a Smoother Consistency (5 minutes)
- Pulse the strawberry mixture a few times with an immersion blender to break the berries up into a smoother jam. Note: Depending on the size of your slow cooker, you may need to tilt it to one side in order to fully submerge the head of the immersion blender in the mixture to avoid splattering. Always use caution when blending warm liquids.
Thicken the Jam (1-3 hours)
- Turn the heat back to low and cook jam, uncovered, for another 1-3 hours, until jam has darkened and thickened slightly. Don't worry if it still looks a little bit loose or runny: The jam will continue to thicken as it cools!
- Serve jam hot or let it cool completely and transfer to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to a week or the freezer for 6 months.
Additions and Substitutions. Use different berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries) here if you like. Add 2 Tablespoons bourbon, whiskey, or rum for an extra punch of flavor. Use thyme instead of basil, or omit the herbs for a plain strawberry jam. Use maple syrup or honey in place of sugar if you like (you may just need to cook the jam uncovered a little longer so it thickens properly). Use frozen strawberries in place of fresh berries if you like (you may need to let the jam cook longer uncovered to thicken properly).
Storing and Freezing. Let jam cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container (we like using small mason jars). Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost frozen jam in the fridge overnight. This recipe has NOT been pH-tested for safe home canning: If you would like to store jam for an extended period of time, we recommend freezing it.
What size slow cooker should I use? This jam works best in smaller slow cookers (2-5 quarts). We used a 5-quart Crock Pot in these photos. If you have a larger slow cooker, we recommend doubling the recipe (the berries will cook more evenly, and the jam will be easier to blend).
- Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
- Calories: 45
- Sugar: 10.2 g
- Sodium: 26.4 mg
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 11.4 g
- Protein: 0.3 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: jam, jelly, slow cooker, crockpot