This easy vegan strawberry jam recipe creates an ultra fresh tasting spread with little to no added sugar. Berries and chia seeds are all you truly need!
This recipe is free from major allergens and is extremely versatile. You can use any berries you like, as much sugar as you like (or no sugar) and use this chia jam in endless ways!
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Is Jam Vegan?
The short answer is yes, most grocery store jams (or homemade jam recipes) are vegan friendly. The long answer is there are a few things to consider.
First, jam is often thickened with pectin, a naturally occurring starch found in fruits and vegetables. Since pectin is made from plants, it is safe for vegans to use and eat.
On rare occasions, jams use gelatin as a thickener. Gelatin is not vegetarian or vegan as it’s derived from animal bones.
Another consideration is types of sugar. White, granulated sugar is almost always used in jam. This type of sugar may be processed with bone char (from animals).
Not all white or granulated sugars are processed with bone char; if not, they’re likely fully vegan.
Determining whether the sugar in a store-bought jam is vegan or not may be difficult. Contacting the manufacturer may be your only way to find out for sure.
Making jam at home is simpler; just find out which brands of sugar are vegan before buying them. With this chia seed jam recipe, you can use other types of sweeteners or skip the sugar altogether.
Ingredients for Chia Seed Jam
This recipe only requires 2 ingredients, but there are extra ways to add flavor as well!
- Strawberries: Start with fresh berries for the best tasting jam. This recipe is for strawberry jam, but any fresh berry can work. Frozen berries are great to use as well (just thaw completely before using).
- Chia seeds: These nutritious seeds are the key to tasty low (or no) sugar jams. They form a gel when added to liquid; this replaces the thickening power of pectin and sugar in traditional jam recipes. You can use whole or ground chia seeds. I strongly prefer ground seeds because most berries are seedy enough already.
- Lemon juice: This is an optional ingredient I always add to strawberry jam. It brightens the flavor and adds tartness. It’s not needed in this recipe, and you may need extra sugar to balance the tart lemon flavor.
- Sugar: You can add as much or as little sugar as you like. I typically use 1 tablespoon of sugar to get a nicely sweet jam (if I don’t use lemon juice) or 2 tablespoons of sugar if adding lemon juice. Technically, other types of sweeteners or sugars should work but I haven’t tested them. Keep in mind the jam’s flavor will change if you use a sweetener that has flavor (like maple syrup).
How to Make Strawberry Jam with Chia Seeds
This recipe is easy and quick to make! Follow the detailed directions below to see how to make jam with chia seeds.
Step 1: Grind Chia Seeds (Optional)
I strongly prefer using ground chia seeds for this recipe. Strawberries, like most berries, are quite seedy. Adding whole chia seeds can make for a very seedy jam, which is fine, but you can reduce the “seedy-ness” by using ground chia seeds.
I simply place chia seeds into a coffee grinder and blend until the seeds are finely ground.
It’s important to note how to measure chia seeds. The recipe uses 2 tablespoons of either whole or ground chia seeds. Two tablespoons of whole chia seeds weighs 25 grams whereas two tablespoons of ground chia seeds only weighs 12 grams.
If you grind your own chia seeds, adding 2 tablespoons whole chia seeds to the grinder will create more than 2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds and you DO NOT need all of that to thicken the jam.
Measure your chia seeds after they’re ground, not before. Better yet, weigh it!
Step 2: Mash Berries and Make Jam
Once you’ve decided what type of chia seeds you’ll use, measure and mash some berries.
If possible, weighing the berries is best, but this recipe uses about 1 cup of chopped strawberries (200 grams).
Mash the berries however you like; a potato masher works okay but there’s often large chunks that don’t mash well.
I like to use a small circle cutter that more easily cuts through the berries. You could also finely chop the strawberries before mashing to eliminate any large chunks.
After mashing berries to your liking, add the chia seeds. If you’ll use lemon juice and/or sugar, add those now too.
Then stir to combine. You should notice the jam thicken immediately. Taste some and adjust the lemon juice and/or sugar to your liking.
Step 3: Let Jam Set and Serve
Refrigerate the jam for at least 15 minutes before serving. This gives the chia seeds time to fully gel and thicken the jam.
Serve however you would typically use fresh jam!
How to Create a Balanced Vegan Meal
I consider a balanced meal one that contains a good source of plant-based protein, carbohydrates, fats and lots of vegetables or fruits.
This recipe is essentially just mashed strawberries which adds fruit to whatever meal you serve it with. While chia seeds contain protein, fiber and healthy fats, there’s a very small amount in the recipe and the nutrition from it is minimal.
Think of this recipe as a garnish or sauce to pair with a meal that provides protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates.
There’s plenty of tasty ways to serve this recipe. Some of my favorites are:
- In oatmeal, or topping baked oatmeal
- Over pancakes
- In a vegan yogurt parfait (dairy-free yogurt, granola and chia jam)
- On peanut butter toast
- As a topping for vegan cheesecake
- Over vegan ice cream or nice cream (banana ice cream)
- Freeze in ice cube tray for smoothies
- Use as a sauce for strawberry shortcake
- Layer it between chocolate cake (or any type of cake)
Vegan Jam Variations
There are endless possibilities when it comes to making chia jam. You can use other berries or mix berries together for a tasty combination.
If you can mash the fruit, you can probably turn it into chia jam.
Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, cherries and peaches all make delicious jams.
You can also add other flavorings like citrus to the jam. Lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit can bring a citrusy tang to any recipe. Use the juice or some zest!
Herbs like basil and mint also pair great with fruit to add incredibly fresh flavor to your jam creations. Just make sure to chop or finely slice herbs before adding.
Does Canning Chia Jam Work?
Many homemade jam recipes are used for canning. With canning, food is preserved by heating it to a certain temperature for a set length of time to kill bacteria. During this process, the jar it’s canned in is sealed tightly to keep out any air.
There are many factors that determine whether a food can or should be canned. There are even more factors to determine the preserving process.
To my current knowledge, there’s no safety data for canning chia jam. This means the process of canning chia seed thickened jams hasn’t been adequately tested and therefore it shouldn’t be done.
There are methods for canning traditional strawberry jam with sugar and pectin, and methods for canning strawberries with or without sugar. If you want long-term, shelf-stable storage of strawberries, please research what methods are safe for doing so.
Do not can chia seed jam.
How to Refrigerate and Freeze Chia Jam
Chia seed jam is not ideal for long-term refrigeration. You should use it within 1 week of making. Cut the recipe in half if 1 cup (250 milliliters) of jam is too much at once.
Since this jam is essentially just thickened mashed strawberries, I use larger amounts of it compared to traditional jam. I find it easy to go through a half or full batch in a week as I like to load it onto toast, oatmeal, yogurt, granola, pancakes, cheesecake or toss it in a smoothie.
You can freeze this recipe in any freezer safe container for up to 3 months. I haven’t tested freezing this jam any longer.
Thaw by refrigerating the jam overnight. I don’t recommend heating the jam to speed its thawing time.
Your jam should remain thickened when out of the freezer. If for any reason the jam is thinner than you’d like, add extra ground chia seeds (start with 1 teaspoon and use more as needed). I’ve never found this to be necessary.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Strawberry Jam (with Chia Seeds)
- Kitchen scale (or measuring cups and spoons)
- Potato masher (or circle cutter)
- 1 cup strawberries , chopped (200 g)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds , whole (25 g) OR ground (12 g)
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice , optional (7.5 mL)
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar , optional (15-30 g)
Step 1: Grind Chia Seeds (Optional)
- If desired, grind some chia seeds in coffee grinder. If using ground chia seeds, measure how much you’ll use in the recipe AFTER they’re ground.2 tablespoons chia seeds
Step 2: Mash Berries and Make Jam
- Mash strawberries to your desired texture in a large bowl.1 cup strawberries
- Add lemon juice and/or sugar if using.½ tablespoon lemon juice, 1-2 tablespoons sugar
- Add chia seeds and stir to combine everything. A standard batch of this recipe uses either 2 tablespoons whole chia seeds (25 grams whole) OR 2 tablespoons ground chia seeds (12 grams ground).2 tablespoons chia seeds
Step 3: Let Jam Set and Serve
- Refrigerate the jam for at least 15 minutes before serving.
More Vegan Breakfast Recipes
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.
Can you bottle and process this jam like you would regular jam and store on shelf.
Hi Joan, thanks for the question! As noted above, there isn't enough food safety information at this time to recommend canning/ processing chia seed jam to preserve it for shelf storage. Regular jam recipes are thoroughly tested for many factors related to how well something will stay safe after canning (high sugar content helps preserve jam). I've seen directions for how to can chia jam elsewhere online but I've never tried that and generally don't recommend it. Instead, I freeze mashed strawberries and when I want to make jam, allow the mashed berries to thaw and continue with the recipe.