What’s the difference between marmalade, jam, jelly and Jell-O®?

This week we are looking at some words which are used differently in British and American English: marmalade, jam, jelly and Jell-O®.

marmalade

jar of marmalade with cut oranges

Marmalade is a sweet food made from oranges, lemons, limes, or grapefruit. In the UK, people spread it on bread or toast and eat it as part of their breakfast. In English, marmalade refers only to a food made from oranges, lemons, limes, or grapefruit; don’t use it to refer to a similar food made from other fruits.

I love toast with orange marmalade.

jam

A similar food made from other fruits, for example blackberries, strawberries, or apricots, is called jam in British English.

I bought a jar of raspberry jam.

jelly

It’s called jam or jelly in American English.

She made us jelly sandwiches.

jelly

red jelly on a plate

In British English, jelly is a transparent, usually coloured food that is eaten as a dessert. It is made from gelatine, fruit juice, and sugar.

He put down a large bowl of jelly.

Jell-O®

This is called Jell-O® in American English.

After dinner we always had red Jell-O.


Find out more in our English Usage article.

This blogpost is based on Collins COBUILD English Usage, written for learners of English. For more examples of English usage points, please visit:  https://grammar.collinsdictionary.com/english-usage.

All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.

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