Homemade pineapple jam (for pineapple tarts)

homemade pineapple jam

With Chinese New Year approaching, the house is being filled with more snacks and delicious goodies.

Last year, I didn’t have time to make my own pineapple paste. This year, I wanted to do it because while I liked my pineapple tarts, I always felt that it could be better. Homemade pineapple jam is the answer.

While one can easily find ready-made pineapple paste, I always felt that these paste lacked pineapple flavour and were simply sweetened with too much sugar and glucose.

When you have no time, commercial pineapple paste is really so convenient and easy to use. I suppose they really aren’t that bad.

Cooking your own pineapple jam is not hard at all, just tedious and time-consuming. It is no rocket science. But you have to be prepared to stand by a warm stove for close to two hours.

I find it best to cook it on a rainy, cooling day and have some music that you can sing along to. It can be therapeutic while the smell of the pineapple and warm spices can be pretty intoxicating.

I’ve included my recipe and some tips on making pineapple jam/paste below. If you are stuck at home on a rainy Sunday afternoon, you might want to give it a go. I do think it is worth the time.

I was eating my pineapple jam (the remains on the pot) – it is so good. I simple love it – I love that you can eat the strands of the grated pineapple; I love that I can taste the hints of warm spices that complements the pineapples; I love that you can taste the pineapple fruit.

spices for pineapple jam

grating the pineapple cooking pineapple jam

Recipe: Homemade pineapple jam/paste
Makes about 1kg of pineapple jam
This jam is best for making pineapple tarts. It’s not meant for spreading onto toast as this recipe yields a dry and sticky texture jam. For my pineapple tarts recipe, please go to this link.

5 large pineapples (I use 2 ripe pineapples, and 3 half-riped pineapples)
juice from 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
5 cloves
800g granulated sugar (or to taste)


1. Remove the skin and “eyes” of the pineapple. Cut the pineapple into quarters, lengthwise.

2. Grate the pineapple using a box grater (I found it best to use the stamped hole side, the one with the largest holes) into a large bowl (preferably in a non-reactive bowl like glass, ceramic or plastic). You may choose to wear plastic gloves to protect your hands from the acidity of the pineapples. Discard the core of the pineapples; it is too tough to break down even after cooking, unless you like that texture in your pineapple paste.

3. Drain the grated pineapples with a sieve and place the grated pineapples into a large surface area pot. Save the pineapple juice for later. Add 100g of the sugar, lemon juice and the whole spices in the pot at this point. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon.

4. Bring the pot to a boil at medium-high heat. Once it start to boil, lower the heat to medium and stir it occasionally, be sure not to allow it to burn.

5. Start adding the pineapple juice to the pot a ladle at a time until all the juice has been boiled away.

6. The juice will start to evaporate and dry out. The mixture should start to look dry and its colour should be darker by now. Turn the heat to low and continue cooking until the mixture looks very dry and coats the wooden spoon without any moisture. Add in the rest of the sugar to taste towards the end of cooking.

8. It is important to stir the mixture about every 5 minutes especially at the end of the cooking as it get burnt easily.

9. Take the pot off the heat and allow the jam to cool completely once it looks dry and sticky. The colour would also be an indication of its doneness. The cooking should take about 1.5-2 hours, depending on the amount you make and the surface of the pot you use.

10. Take note that the jam will continue to thicken after it is cooled so it is best not to overcook the mixture. It is better to undercook it for you can always put it back on the heat if it is still not at the right consistency.

11. After the pineapple jam is cooled, discard the spices, cling wrap it and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a 3-4 weeks.

*Tips for making pineapple jam:

*Always grate your pineapples even though it seems a lot easier to just blend them. Grating the pineapples will give you the best texture with nice strands and sinews of the pineapple after it is cooked.

*You can boil the grated pineapples with the juice all at once but this method will take a much longer time. Adding the juice a little at a time will speed up the cooking process.

*The spices lend warmth and aroma to the pineapple jam/paste. It is your personal preference so add them in any variation or quantity. I wouldn’t add too much of it though.

*It is best to add most of the sugar at the end of the cooking – start with a little, then sweeten it to taste when the pineapple mixture has almost dried up. Otherwise, the sugar will start to caramelise with the pineapple jam and will turn it to a very dark brown.

*Try to use a pot that conducts heat evenly and use one with a large surface area. This will speed up the cooking process.

*If you are making open-faced pineapple tarts, the pineapple jam can be slightly more moist as it will continue to dry out when baked.

*For enclosed pineapple tarts, the pineapple jam needs to be completely dry and sticky so it can be rolled into balls and enclosed with the pastry.

To remedy pineapple jam:

*If overcooked (until it is too hard and dry)…
The best way (I’ve learnt it the hard way) is to start preparing a new batch of grated pineapple and juice (you do not need a lot). Start cooking this new batch of pineapple jam and begin to add in broken down parts of your overcooked jam. The overcooked jam will start to soften when heated and will combine with your new batch of jam. Cook this until moisture has evaporated and until jam is at your preferred consistency.

*If undercooked (too moist and doesn’t roll out into a ball)…
This is easy. Simple return the wet jam into a pot and continue cooking with low heat until dry and sticky.
pineapple jam2

About jothetartqueen

My first love is eating. A very close second is my love for baking and cooking. I passionately believe that the best form of appreciation of something is almost always through the creation of it. This passion took me on a whirlwind, unforgettable ride through the patisserie diploma course at Le Cordon Bleu (Sydney). Join me on my discovery for the love of food – through the kitchen, through the markets, through experimenting, tasting and loving.
This entry was posted in Chinese New Year, Festive, Pantry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Homemade pineapple jam (for pineapple tarts)

  1. {Main St. Cuisine} says:

    I have a crush on your recipe! I love that you shared some tips with us and I would probably be sampling little bits from bowl the entire time.

  2. Evelyn says:

    Thank you! Your recipe has just come in time as I was contemplating making Pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year. The weather in Sydney currently has been so wet that it is perfect
    stay-at-home for cook/bake (unless you have kids and cabin fever sets in).

  3. pattyabr says:

    have you every used canned pineapple? I wonder what that would be like?

    • I have not tried using canned pineapples.

      I suppose you could in theory but I do think that you would need to cut down on a lot of sugar as canned pineapples are already very sweet…

      It’s a good shortcut I must say. If I ever do give it a go, I’ll be sure to report back

  4. You inspire me to tart my friend, this looks perfect for spooning too 😀


  5. Pingback: Bake & Cook » Pineapple Jam for Pineapple Tarts

  6. Jo, that looks divine! It’s definitely Chinese NY time with all of these delicious treats coming up! I’m really tempted to buy some pineapple this weekend 😛

  7. Rosalind says:

    I use canned pineapple all the time now. Buy the crushed ones preferably golden circle as there are less core. Blend them first and drain to dry them further. It cuts cooking time. Cheers and enjoy

  8. Rowena says:

    Hi Jo, can advise y my pineapple paste after cooking tend to turn very dark brown against yours which is golden in colour? Over cooked?

    • Hi, sorry for the late reply. Yes it will turn a darker brown the longer you cook it. So you need to stop cooking it maybe slightly earlier. And it may help if you stir it often to make sure it cooks evenly without certain hot spots. Hope this helps!

    • I think that as long as it taste good and not burnt. Your pineapple paste should still work well in a pineapple tart.

  9. Pingback: Ushering in Chinese New Year: Pineapple tarts | Jo the tart queen

  10. natalie fong says:

    How long does this pineapple jam last? (just curious for its shelf life)

  11. Hi Natalie, the pineapple jam will keep for about 3-4 weeks if it is kept in an air-tight container in the fridge.

  12. fati says:

    thank for sharing,i will try mine

  13. Pingback: Pineapple tarts (version 2.0) | Jo the tart queen

  14. jessie says:

    Hi, what is the purpose of adding in lemon juice.


  15. Hi Jessie,

    Lemon juice is often added in jam and marmalade making. It helps the jam thicken or gel more quickly.

  16. Pam Conger-Cox says:

    Have you ever tried it as a filling for moon cakes? It sounds like it would work as it does for tarts?
    Thanks, Pam

    • Hi Pam,

      I have not tried it as a filling for mooncakes.

      I suspect that it would be a little too much pineapple jam and it will make the mooncake too sweet since a mooncake is generally bigger that a pineapple tart. But other than that, I suppose it is possible?

  17. Emily says:

    Hi thank you so much for sharing the pineapple tart recipe.May I know how come my pineapple tart turn mouldy after a week plus. It start from the jam. Usually I cook 3 to 4 hours until sticky and golden brown and will wait for totally cool down .And kept in fridge..
    Please advise me,Thank you

  18. kris says:

    When you say cling wrap, do you mean pouring the jam onto cling wrap and then wrapping it up?
    Or is it pouring the jam into a dry glass container, cling wrap the top and then covering with the container’s cover to make it extra air tight?
    Thank you!

    • Hello, you can do it both ways actually but probably a container will allow you to stack them up in the fridge more easily. If you are using a container, you need to press the cling wrap so it touches all surface area of the pineapple jam. Then place the lid of the container. Hope this clarifies!

  19. Vincent says:

    Hi Jo,
    Like the pineapple jam. How about sharing your recipe on the dough. If its not too troublesome
    don’t mind sending to my email. vinttsg@gmail.com. Thanks Vincent.

  20. Jack says:

    this recipe can be used as regular pineapple jam right??? also for commercial purpose if preparing.. how to add citric acid..is it lemon juice instead of it??

  21. Ling says:

    Is it necessary to keep refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks after cooking?

  22. Rowena says:

    What’s the purpose of putting lemon juice ?

  23. Phelicia says:

    I did not want to make too much filling but I think I added too much sugar as a result there is a sticky liquid that is in the container that I stored the filling in how do I get rid of that

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