Craving a sweet jelly? This easy-to-make cranberry pepper jelly recipe is made with jalapeno peppers and fresh cranberries. It is both delicious and sweet. Great for a quick spread or even as a glaze.
When I was growing up, the only jelly I would eat was grape. I would turn up my nose at even the suggestion of anything other than grape. And if you suggested I try something new with my peanut butter, look out! Dang, was I picky.
Fast forward and here I am, making my own jellies and jams at home, and seriously mixing up the flavors. Thankfully, my taste buds have come a long way.
Chili peppers are PERFECT for jellies and jams. Check out our Pepper Jelly Recipes. So good! So many combinations. With this recipe, I didn't realize I still had a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer from the holidays.
Oh boy. What to do? Yep. Jelly.
Lucky for us, we ALWAYS have a lot of chili peppers around. Um, yeah. OBVI. But truly, there is something special about the combination of jalapeno peppers and cranberries.
Let's talk about how we make the recipe, shall we?
Cranberry-Jalapeno Jelly Ingredients
- Ripe Cranberries.
- Jalapeno Peppers. Chopped.
- Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Liquid Pectin.
How to Make Cranberry-Jalapeno Jelly - the Recipe Method
First, add the cranberries, jalapenos, vinegar and water to a large pot. Bring to a boil. Lightly boil 10 minutes, until the berries begin to pop and soften.
Squash the berries in the pot to squeeze out their juices. Strain into a large bowl. I used a food mill to get extra juices out, but a potato masher works great, too. You should have about 2.5 cups of liquid at this point.
Toss away the solids and add the liquid back into the pot.
Add sugar and swirl to incorporate.
Add pectin and boil for 2 minutes.
Cool and ladle into jars. Should fill about eight 8-ounce jars.
Cover and refrigerate, then let the jam set overnight.
BOOM! That's it, my friends! I hope you enjoy your cranberry-pepper jelly!
Sealing Jellies and Jams - The Water Bath Method
- Properly sealing jellies and jams is important for longer keeping. To do this, use jars that have been cleaned with soap and water, then held in hot water until you're ready for jarring.
- Or, you can sterilize the jars by boiling them in hot water for 10 minutes. Add 1 minute of boiling time for every 1000 feet of altitude. Set them into hot water while you prepare your jelly or jam.
- Wash and rinse the bands and lids.
- Next, prepare the boiling water canner or pot with enough clean water to cover the jars by at least an inch or 2. Bring the water to 180 degrees F. Just under a boil.
- Pour the hot jelly or jam into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe the jar rims and screw on the cleaned rings bands and lids. Place them onto the canning rack, ensuring the jars are 1-2 inches below the water.
- Bring the water to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, or 10 minutes if you're not using sterilized jars. Add an extra minute per 1000 feet elevation over 1000 feet.
- Remove the jars and set them onto a protected surface.
See the National Center for Home Food Preservation site for more information on proper canning.
Benefits of the Water Bath
Water bath processing super heats the air at the top of the jar, effectively killing any spores or yeast from the air, as you don't want to seal those in with lower sugar jams.
The method also makes for a stronger seal than simply letting the jelly or jam cool and pop.
Storing Jellies and Jams
Don't move the jellies or jams for at least 12 hours after you've made them, or you risk breaking the gel. After proper cooling, check the seals and store in a cool, dry place.
Your jellies and jams should last a year this way, but the flavor is still best if used within a few months.
Here is a link to the jam/jelly jars that I personally use and prefer. Highly recommended. Affiliate link - FYI: Ball Mason 8oz Quilted Jelly Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 12.
Serving Ideas for Cranberry-Jalapeno Jelly
- I like to spread a bit of jelly on toast or an English muffin in the morning, but honestly, there is so much more you can do with a good jelly.
- Think of it as a sauce. Pop it over freshly cooked fish or chicken for something quick and simple, or use it as the base for a glaze. Having a good jelly around can help you make any meal in a hurry.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Chili Pepper Burn. Wear rubber gloves if you’re concerned with feeling the burning sensation peppers can cause. If you do feel the skin burn, see How to Stop the Chili Pepper Burn.
- Food Processor. You can also use a food processor to more finely chop the peppers. Just don’t over process them, or you’ll get a mush.
- Sugar. You can make this recipe without so much sugar. Just be sure to use a low-sugar pectin and follow the instructions on the product label.
If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you'll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don't forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I'll be sure to share! Thanks! -- Mike H.
Cranberry-Jalapeno Jelly Recipe
- 2 cups ripe cranberries
- 2 cups jalapeno peppers chopped (about 6-8 average size jalapeno peppers)
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 6 cups sugar You can get away with 4 cups
- 6 ounces liquid pectin (2 pouches)
- Add cranberries, jalapenos, vinegar and water to a large pot. Bring to a boil. Lightly boil 10 minutes, until the berries begin to pop and soften.
- Squash the berries in the pot to squeeze out their juices. Strain into a large bowl. I used a food mill to get extra juices out. You should have about 2.5 cups of liquid at this point.
- Toss away the solids and add the liquid back into the pot.
- Add sugar and swirl to incorporate.
- Add pectin and boil for 2 minutes.
- Cool and ladle into jars. Should fill about eight 8-ounce jars.
- Cover and refrigerate, then let the jam set overnight.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 11/1/19 to include new information, photos and video. It was originally published on 2/1/16.