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17 June 2015

A recipe for sweet and spicy habanero pepper jam made with plenty of habanero peppers.

Habanero pepper jam coming your way! I used to shy away from making jams and jellies. I’m not sure why. Growing up, I was pretty boring, actually. All I ever ate was grape jelly. Peanut butter and jelly was a daily thing, and if you served me grape jelly with seeds in it, forget about it!

And don’t even get me started on strawberry jam.

Fast forward a few years – fine, MANY years – and here I am, making habanero jam. I mean, just look at it! Isn’t it beautiful? I’m so happy my taste buds have evolved.

Habanero peppers are some of the best to work with. They are nice and spicy and have an inherent fruitiness and sweetness that lends them to spreads like jams or jellies. A note about that – the biggest difference between a jelly and a jam is that a jam has the fruit bits in it.

A jelly typically uses only the juice or essence of your flavoring ingredient, like grape juice or strawberry juice. I prefer the actual habanero pepper inside the spread, so it is technically a jam.

Let’s talk about how we make this habanero jam, shall we?

How to Make Habanero Jam – The Recipe Method

First, add your habanero peppers to a food processor and pulse them until they are very finely chopped. Do not overdo it or you’ll wind up with a puree.

Next, scoop out the peppers and add them to a large pan along with your sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt.

Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Return the heat to high and bring mixture to a rolling boil. Stir in the pectin and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

If using food coloring, add it now and stir.

Ladle the liquid into sterilized jars and cover.

Process the jars in a boiling hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove and let cool overnight. The liquid will thicken up into a nice habanero jam for you. So delicious!

What is habanero jam good for?

Use it as you would use any other jelly or jam, by spreading it over cream cheese on toast, over bread for sweeter sandwiches, but it is also great over fish. I like to serve it over salmon or white fish. Spoon it when the fish is hot and it will melt over a bit. No need for a sauce.

It also makes for a good gift! Lastly, a quick note about the sugar content. Some recipes call for almost double the amount of sugar I’ve included here. You can add more sugar, but really, you don’t need that much. This is plenty, plenty sweet with the amount I’ve included.

Patty’s Perspective

What is habanero jam good for, Mike asks? My answer – what ISN’T it good for? Well, maybe 8-year-old PB&J Mike would answer differently, but really, don’t just think of it as a sweet jam.

If you think of it more as a sauce, it becomes very versatile. Instead of reaching for that bottle of sweet hot sauce, try this instead. I want to try this on hot wings. Can’t wait for that!

Habanero Pepper Jam - So Pretty, So Sweet, a Bit Spicy

Here is a link to the jam 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

Try Some of My Other Popular Jelly and Jam Recipes

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.

4.95 from 18 votes
Habanero Pepper Jam - Recipe
Habanero Pepper Jam - the Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
A recipe for sweet and spicy habanero pepper jam made with plenty of habanero peppers.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: habanero, jam, spicy
Servings: 64
Calories: 50 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
  • 1/2 pound habanero peppers chopped
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces liquid fruit pectin
  • 4 drops food coloring if preferred
  1. Add the habanero peppers to a food processor and pulse them until they are very finely chopped. Do not overdo it or you’ll wind up with a puree.
  2. Scoop out the peppers and add to a large pan.
  3. Add sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt.
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Return heat to high and bring mixture to a rolling boil. Stir in pectin and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  6. If using food coloring, add it now and stir.
  7. Ladle jam into sterilized jars and cover.
  8. Process jars in a boiling hot water bath for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove and let cool overnight.

Recipe Notes

Makes about 1 quart (32 ounces).

Heat Level: Medium. The sugar tames much of the habanero heat. Add more habaneros for a hotter version.

Nutrition Facts
Habanero Pepper Jam - the Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 50
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Habanero Pepper Jam - Get the Rercipe

Habanero Pepper Jam - Recipe | ChiliPepperMadness.com



  1. Big fan…thanks for many great recipes! Wondering if I strained the solids out of the Habanero peppers (like the jalapeno jelly recipe) would it reduce the heat any?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jeff, it would reduce the heat some, yes, though you’ll still get heat overall.

  2. This recipe is fantastic! Very spicy. I have friends who can’t get enough of it. For me, I’ll reduce the habanero count slightly next batch. The color is gorgeous too, so I agree it makes a really nice gift. So when you say chop the habaneros, you mean seeds too, right?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, Anne! Super happy you love it! When chopping, yes, I include the seeds and innards. However, you can remove them if you’d like. Enjoy!

  3. I made this yesterday and followed the measurements exactly. However it has not set at all, so can I put it back into the pan and add more sugar and re boil it ? Will this affect the flavour?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Arran, it can take up to a week sometimes to set. However, yes, you can reprocess it with a bit more sugar and more pectin to help it set. Let me know how it goes. This has happened to me before, even with the exact same recipe. Sometimes it is the pectin.

  4. For some reason what I made is REALLY hot. Can I just dump em all into a pot and add more sugar and then process?

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Michelle, yes, if you split the batch, it is best to add in the appropriate amount of sugar and pectin for 2 batches total. Let me know how it turns out for you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Alex, jams will last 6-12 months in the fridge once they’re opened. Lower sugar jams closer to 6 months.

  5. Love this recipe! Slightly sweet, very spicy! We had an abundance of habaneros in our garden this year. Perfect recipe for canning to enjoy throughout the winter.

  6. Kerry Johnson

    I have been blessed with a lot of Chocolate Habaneros. Would that make a good jam? What would you di different if anything?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Chocolate habaneros would make a good jam. You might include some other elements, like blueberry or strawberry to compliment the darker color.

      1. Kerry Hohnson

        Thank you for your suggestions. I made 1 batch plain and 1 with Blueberries. All I could taste was pure pain (Huge Pepper Weenie), so I took it to work- the men loved it. They could even taste the Blueberries.

      2. Took the words right from my mind! I have choc Habs and have already stored them every which way (ferment, dehydrate (smoked/non smoked), freeze(both ways) but haven’t prepared a jam yet have made many many hot sauces. Love the flavor but the heat is a little intense on mine!

  7. This sounds delish! How many cups would 1/2 lb of peppers be approximately? Just want to make sure it sets properly.

    Thank you

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Rach. It will depend on the sizes of your peppers, though figure you can easily chop 20-30 habanero peppers for this recipe. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  8. Hey mike, I love this recipe just as it is, but I would like to add fruit to it, like pineapple or maybe strawberry do I have to do something different to the original recipe?

  9. Hi Mike. I’m very eager to try this recipe as my Habanero plant has been producing sooooo much more than I ever anticipated. I really would like to make this for Christmas gifts for my friends but have a friend that is allergic to Lemons. Is the lemon juice a must, can I simply omit it, or is there some kind of substitution I can use?

    Thank you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Regina, you can make this without the lemon juice. Try lime juice, or just use a bit of extra apple cider vinegar. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  10. what about with ghost peppers? a friend gave me some from garden and wanted to use for jam. usually do dry pectin freezer recipes. thanks.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Debbie, absolutely. You can make this exact recipe with ghost peppers. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  11. I made this with extra peppers and made a triple batch and made 13.5 jars!!! It’s beautiful but it hasn’t set to jam consistency and it’s been 2 days!!

    Any tips to make it harden up some for jam?

    I did tilt them around several times to keep the pepper bits and seeds speed throughout.. will that cause the jam to not set right?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Julie, this recipe definitely scales up, but when making very large batches of jam, like you’ve done, it runs the risk of the jam not setting. It just happens sometimes with larger batches. It should have set after 2 days. You can heat the jam back up with more pectin, then ladle it back into the jars for setting. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  12. Charles Pappas

    Turned out wonderfully. The entire family loves this jam. Great flavor all around.

  13. Diane Neuman

    I am a spice weenie. I made your jam for the hubby. Our garden overflows with habenero’s this year. I was shocked to find that I LIKED IT TOO! It captured the beautiful citrus qualities I have never been able to taste before because of the heat! I will be making TONS of this! Thank you for sharing! (I increased the sugar by 1/4 cup, but the next batch I won’t, it really isn’t needed)

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That’s hilarious. I am very good friends with a number of “spicy weenies”. I’m glad you liked it. It is surprising how low-heat this recipe is, considering it is made habanero peppers, which are pretty darned hot on their own. But I agree, the citrus qualities REALLY come through. Thanks!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Loulou, yes, you can make this recipe with powdered pectin. Just be sure to consult the directions on the pectin label. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  14. Hi Mike. I love your recipes! Makes my simple meals delicious! How many Peaches or Apricots should I be using for this recipe?

  15. I made this yesterday and it tastes great!
    The only problem is that all the seeds have floated to the top, and it’s quite runny!
    Where am I going wrong with the recipe please?
    Many thanjs

    REPLY: Nick, it’s hard to say, though it’s possible you could have used more habaneros in the jam. You can also tip them a bit before they harden up completely to redistribute some of the peppers within. Something to try next time. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  16. Hi Mike, looking forward to trying this recipe, my question is, if I add something like pineapple or nectarine, how does that change the ratios of everything else? I don’t want to turn down the heat too much! Thanks…

    REPLY: Valerie, you can use whatever fruits you’d like. Just keep the amounts of peppers/fruits roughly the same to achieve the proper consistency. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  17. I used your recipe and I believe it turned out perfect. I had a freezer bag full of habenaros, ghost, and a few other peppers that we sweet but hot. I used them all and made a double batch. I did not use my honey as intended because I forgot to. I cleaned the had to cut the tops and clean some seeds or cause I didn’t want it all seedy. When I started cooking though I was a little worried maybe I processed too much. It looked cloudy to me. I added the liquid pecton in and cooked just like instructed. Poured it into jars and it was awesomely clear or as clear as I expected. I’m happy. It looks good and I did taste a little. It’s good! How could it be bad with that much sugar! It’s hot too but I think since I stripped the peeps a little bit I cut it’s heat down like I wanted. Didn’t want it to be to hot for everyone. Awesome recipe and will do this again add it was so easy!

  18. I made the habanaro jam, but,all the seeds & pepper chunks floated to the top & not mixed through, what did I do wrong??

    REPLY: Karen, it’s most likely because you had more room for peppers and. It’s OK, though. You can easily mix the whole thing once it is solidified. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  19. Hi
    Your recipes are too good.
    How much is 4 cup sugar if we convert it in OZ ?

    REPLY: Avinash, 1 cup = 8 ounces. Let me know how it turns out for you. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  20. I’ve just made this jam, but used scotch bonnets, tastes fantastic, but it’s a bit hit for all the family, can I put half the weight of chiles in , will that make itless hot? Thanks

    REPLY: Marc, yes, you can use fewer habaneros for lower heat, or sub in other sweeter peppers as well. Glad you enjoyed it! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  21. Linda Mccool

    I only got 4 8 oz jars with this! Is that right?

    REPLY: Linda, that’s right. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  22. I want to try out this. Is there a problem with using peppers that were in the freezer? Can you use natural honey instead of sugar?

    Mike, yes, absolutely. If you want to use honey instead of sugar, use 7/8 the amount of honey. Let me know how it turns out for you. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  23. Hi Mike, I made a jelly recipe with habanero and pineapple last year. If I followed your recipe and added the pineapple would I still use the same amount of pectin?

    REPLY: Scott, yes, the amount of pectin won’t change as long as the overall ratios are close. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  24. Hi – I have a couple pounds of jalapenos and habaneros ready to use. I’m planning to make jelly and dry some. I’ve been looking at some Ball recipes for pepper jellys and I also came across yours. What does the lemon juice do?


    REPLY: Patricia, it is mostly in order to bring the PH level down to help with preserving. I hope you enjoy it! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  25. Hi, If I decide to use the food coloring, what color did you use? It’s such a beautiful color!

    REPLY: Louise, I didn’t use any coloring, but orange would be a nice addition. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  26. Andrea Smith

    would it be okay to use other kinds of peppers with the habaneros? Such as jalapenos or cayenne?

    REPLY: Andrea, yes, you can use other peppers with this recipe. No problem at all. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  27. Jeanette

    Have made this a couple of times with great results! Do I have to do the water bath at the end? Is that what makes it set up?

    REPLY: Jeanette, the water bath is only if you want to preserve it on the shelf for a while. Otherwise, it will set overnight and you can just enjoy it over the next month or so. Just keep it in the fridge. Enjoy! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  28. so excited to find this recipe. i have some spicy red peppers growing in my garden (i forgot what kind we planted) and my plant is currently exploding with fruit – yes in march! will be cooking up a batch of this tomorrow. thank you so much!

  29. Is it okay to use dry pectin instead? Would you elaborate on the difference in using if you understand it? Thanks. i am looking forward to trying your recipe today

    REPLY: Mark, yes, you can use dry pectin, but be sure to follow the instructions and ratios on the label over these recipe directions. I’ve used both kinds of pectin and they both work nicely. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  30. Thank you so much Mike and Patty for this recipe. I made a double batch of this last night, and it came out perfect. Nice sweet, fruity taste, with a little kick to it. Some how mine made a dozen pints. LOL. I used Red Savina Halapeno Peppers due to the fact that they are a little bit hotter. I can’t wait to try out the same recipe with other peppers as well. Thanks again for the extremely easy to follow recipe.

  31. Hi Mike-I will be making this and wanted to know what will happen if I do not add the food coloring? I have never done any jellies and don’t know much about the pectin coloring.

    REPLY: Shelley, you don’t need the food coloring. It only affects color, nothing else, so feel free to skip it. Let me know how it turns out! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  32. mark Daigneault

    I only have a couple of questions, how many jars does this recipe make? would the ratio of dry pectin be the same as the liquid? i can’t wait to make it and my friends are drooling on the pics I’ve sent them. I need to make probably 12 half pint jars.

    REPLY: Mark, this makes about 4-5 smaller jars, so upscale accordingly. If you’re using dry pectin, be sure to follow the labeled instructions for the ratios. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

    1. My batch filled ten 1/4 pint jars almost exactly. I was left with 1/2″ headroom on the last jar.

      Had I not culled out a few bad spots on my peppers that I had missed earlier, it would have been ten 1/4 pints to the tee.

  33. I have made Habanero Pepper Jam for years with a slightly different recipe, I always take out the seeds and most of the vein, but you did not mention this, I looked closely at your pictures and I did not see the tale tale pepper seeds in your jam, in my jam I have a few floating seeds that I may miss and I have particles of opaque seeds that get broken up by the blender, did you remove the seeds? I also add a seeded red bell pepper for intensifying the color so I do nothave to add food coloring. We like our jam served with cream cheese on crackers.

    REPLY: Hi, V.L. I didn’t remove the seeds, though habaneros usually aren’t super seedy. I’ve made plenty of jams where there were a lot of seeds. If desired, it’s easy to remove them before using. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  34. Sharon Rossy

    Just made this for the second time. I used a bit more habanero’s and half of a sweet red pepper. I confess I did add 5 1/2 cups of sugar. The only recommendation I would give is to give the head space for jams for preserving which is 1/4″. I love the addition of the lemon juice. It’s addictive.

  35. Wesley Marshall

    Just made my first batch of Jam. I used Orange Jalapeños for mine as they have a great flavor plus I think they will go great in a jam. Followed recipe although I used jam sugar instead of separate sugar and pectin. Cant wait to taste it (it’s still hot but starting to set)

    REPLY: That sounds great, Wesley. Let me know how it turns out! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  36. How many habanero peppers are in 1/2 lbs exactly????

    REPLY: Lumeena, depends on the size of them, but you’ll probably get a good 20+ or so? — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  37. I use my non-jelled jelly as a chip dip/spread. Pour it over a softened pack of cream cheese.

  38. I messed up mine did not turn out like jam. Everything sealed fine and I tasted it wow mine was hot but good. So I have these jars it tastes good but what do I call it? How can I use them?

    REPLY: Sorry to hear, Barbara. You can still use it as a marinade, or even as a glaze over grilled foods, particularly chicken or fish. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  39. Bill Savage

    You can use frozen chillies the same way you use fresh ones,thaw them out and then use as normal.I have had frozen scotch bonnets in the freezer for a year and when thawed they were just as hot as the fresh ones ,I made chillie jam with them ,awesome!

  40. kiran kumar janalila

    Hats off ,thank you for making a wonderful combination of chilli peppers . I love Mexican stuff, thank you mike

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      REPLY: Kim, no, you don’t have to, though you can remove the seeds and innards for a milder jam. The seeds, also, will start to float around. Another reason to remove them if you’d like. REPLY: Mine were fairly mild, though either will do. – Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  41. We made the jelly – we had about 15 peppers and it filled 5 small jam/jelly jars. Love the jelly!

  42. How many jars does this jelly make? And can you add some fruit? Strawberry, blueberry etc etc?

  43. The habaneros from my garden this year are crazy hot – how hot/spicey does this recipe end up? I can’t imagine putting in a 1/2 a pound of these peppers in anything.

  44. About how many jars of jelly does this recipe make. These look like they would make great gifts

  45. Hi Mike, I LOVE your recipes! Already made many of them, just recently Habanero Pepper Jam, and yesterday the Beer Honey Mustard. Love them! Thanksfor the awesome websites, and the super fine photography! I love anything spicy but am a vegetarian, so maybe more veggie recipes? Thanks also for answering my question about frozen chilies. Still haven’t found anything to use them for. Take care, keep up the good work, Regina goldstar15@live.com

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