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12 October 2018

A simple, spicy, easy-to-make recipe for ghost pepper jelly with sugar, pectin, and lots of fresh ghost peppers. Perfect as a spread but also as a starter glaze or sauce.

More ghost pepper recipes, my friends! I can’t help myself. I grew so many ghost peppers, I have to figure out what to do with them!

Do you ever have that problem?

Seriously, though, I grew a lot on purpose because I LOVE using ghost peppers in several different recipes, from making homemade ghost pepper powder to fresh ghost pepper salsa to picante style ghost pepper salsa, ghost pepper wings and so much more.

I’m crazy for ghost peppers!

Ghost Peppers

Don’t they look great?

Aside from all those other recipes, I’m also making a staple ingredient I like to keep in my refrigerator – We’re talking ghost pepper jelly.


This jelly is nice and sweet and works as a simple spread for crackers or breads or toasts. It’s a flavorful snack. It also works for me as a super quick glaze for grilled meats, like chicken or fish.

Seriously, sear up a salmon or swordfish fillet or some seasoned chicken and finish them off with a tablespoon of this.

You will love it!

You can also use your own homemade ghost pepper jelly as the start of a glaze for those very same meals. So much of the work is already done!

Beware, though. Unlike my Jalapeno Jelly Recipe, which is nice and sweet with a touch of spice, this recipe packs some heat! Ghost peppers are no joke. Even though you are straining out the ghost peppers, the resulting jelly is quite hot.

In a good way, though, my spicy food loving friends.

Let’s talk about how we make this ghost pepper jelly, shall we?

How to Make Ghost Pepper Jelly – The Recipe Method

How to Make Ghost Pepper Jelly


First, chop your ghost peppers. Start with a half pound of them.

Add them to a large pot.

Next, add 4 cups of sugar. Yes, this is a sweet jelly recipe.

Pour in 1-1/4 cups vinegar, 1/4 cup lime juice, and a teaspoon of salt.

Stir it all together.

Bring the mixture to a quick boil and simmer it for about 10 minutes to let the flavors develop.

After 10 minutes, pour the contents into a different pot, then strain it back into the original pot. Make sure all of the solids are removed.

Pour in 3 ounces of liquid fruit pectin.

Bring the liquid back to a boil, stirring a bit, and boil for 1 minute.

Pour or ladle the hot liquid into 4 clean 8-ounce jars, like so.

Pouring the Jalapeno Jelly

Screw on the caps and refrigerate overnight. The jalapeno jelly will set over night, though it could potentially take up to 2 weeks to fully gel.

I keep mine in the refrigerator and eat them within a month or 2, but if you’d like to keep them for longer and/or want to store them at room temperature, you can process them in a water bath. See information on that below.

Recipe Notes and FAQ

Here are answers to some questions I get on making jellies and jams.

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.

Mike holding his newly made ghost pepper jelly

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.

Recommended Products

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

Try Some of My Other Popular Jelly and Jam Recipes

Try Some of My Other Popular Ghost Pepper Recipes

Ghost Pepper Jelly, Ready to Eat!

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.

Ghost Pepper Jelly Recipe
Print Recipe
4.77 from 13 votes

Ghost Pepper Jelly - Recipe

A simple, spicy, easy-to-make recipe for ghost pepper jelly with sugar, pectin, and lots of fresh ghost peppers. Perfect as a spread but also as a starter glaze or sauce.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ghost pepper, jelly, spicy
Servings: 40
Calories: 80kcal


  • 1/2 pound ghost peppers chopped (about 20-30 ghost peppers)
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces liquid fruit pectin
  • 4 drops red food coloring if preferred - NOTE: I didn't use any for this recipe.


  • Finely chop the ghost peppers and add them to a large pan.
  • Add sugar, vinegar, lime juice, and salt.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Strain out the ghost peppers and return the mixture to the pan.
  • Return heat to high and bring liquid to a boil. Stir in pectin and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  • If using food coloring, add it now and stir.
  • Ladle the hot liquid into clean jars and screw on the lids.
  • Cool overnight in the refrigerator. The mixture will solidify into jelly.



Makes 4 8-ounce jars.
Heat Factor: HOT. Ghost peppers have a great amount of heat, even though you're straining them out. Keep the ghost peppers in the mix for a ghost pepper jam.


Calories: 80kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 17mg | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 1mg


    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Lori, you can use maple syrup, though I don’t know the exact amounts for replacement. You may need to experiment with ratios, or use a low sugar pectin. Let me know how it goes for you.

  1. Michael,

    If I wanted to use Agave syrup instead of sugar, would you suggest a 1:1 substitution? Using 7 Pot Peppers as well, grown organically in my San Diego neighborhood. Cheers!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hey, Boomer. I would, though it’s really to taste, so you might want to use half, taste and adjust from there. Let me know how it goes for you. Enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    Hi, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. I am a newbie in the hot pepper cuisine world. The ghost pepper jelly was my first, I couldn’t follow the recipe exactly, I cut the pepper content in half to approximately 1/4 lb. didn’t have lime, and I used white vinegar. Plenty hot, super flavor, love it! If I add another 1/4 lb of peppers, I know the flavor will kick more, but will the heat actually increase and intensify with the addition of more capsaicin, or has it already reached “terminal velocity”… I will use cider vinegar this time, It prolly has a better taste than white vinegar….and also how do lemon and lime differ when using with hot peppers?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, B.K. You’ll get even more pronounced heat and flavor with double the ghost peppers. The white vinegar is fine, but apple cider vinegar is sweeter and tangier. You can use lemon and lime juice interchangeably, but they do have different flavors, so consider accordingly. Enjoy!!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Shirley. The only think you can do, I believe, is to make another batch of jelly without any spicy peppers, then combine them. You can reheat the solidified jelly with the new batch. That will give you double (or triple) your amount, depending on how much more you make, but it will dilute the overall heat. Let me know if that will work for you.

  3. 5 stars
    Just harvested 2 pounds of Ghost Peppers off my plant this morning, scaled up your recipe and it turned out great. Yes still quite spicy, unlike other peppers that get calmed down significantly by that level of sugar. Thanks so much, been following a long time and appreciate all you have done!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great to hear it, Ted! Glad you are enjoying it. Thanks!

  4. I’ve never made jellies or jams before. How do you preserve this and what’s the shelf life?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sarah, you can process this in a water bath, though make sure the pH is 3.5 or lower. Or, use a pressure canner. Be sure to use vinegar and/or citrus juice to lower the pH for longer keeping in the refrigerator.

  5. I love the idea of this recipe, but I only have powdered pectin, and I can’t find liquid pectin right now. How can I modify this recipe to use powder pectin?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Misha, yes, you can use powdered pectin. I do all the time. Just check the instructions on the packet or container to use the proper ratios.

  6. Francis Uzzell

    This sounds like a great recipe..
    Can you add some of the pepper back to the jam for appearance..??
    To give it some depth..???

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Francis, absolutely. That technically makes it a jam. I make far more jams than jellies, actually. I don’t like to discard all those wonderful candied peppers. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  7. Thank you for the recipe. I just made so jam this evening and I’m looking forward to enjoying it. I didn’t have plain lime juice so I substituted it for key lime juice. I have nothing to compare it to but I think the key lime flavoring will be amazing

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Ryan, Key Lime juice is perfect for this recipe. Let me know how it turns out for you! Enjoy.

  8. Amy Hardesty Conner

    do you have any instructions to use this recipe in the ball jelly and jam maker

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Amy, the best way to do that is to follow the instructions that came with your kit. I’m happy to help you adapt.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Christine, I leave the seeds in, but you can remove them if you’d prefer. They get strained out anyway for this recipe.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      No reason at all, Angie. This recipe easily doubles. Let me know how it turns out for you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Mango would be GREAT with this recipe! Or pineapple. Yes!

      1. Thanks for responding. Do you have a recommendation in regards to the jelly making process if adding mango? How much mango? Would I need to adjust the recipe due to adding the mango?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Rick, yes, you can, though you might want to look into a low- or no-sugar pectin. I actually use that quite often with great results. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  9. 5 stars
    I just open the little jar I made with your recipe to test it, with very good cheeses. It’s very nice: a sweet and spicy treat!
    I just made one small pot, to test, and I may not have put enough pectin powder in it, so I was wondering if I can put it again in a pan and bring it to a boil with some extra pectin?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jeremie, yes, you can do exactly that to help it set. Let me know how it goes for you.

      1. 5 stars
        Mike, it went perfect: I brought it to a boil, add a little more pectin and put it in the fridge. And tonight I enjoyed it with some nice cheeses: extra jelly texture and super aromatic taste!

  10. 5 stars
    Do you suppose that I could use the peppers that have frozen and thawed a couple of times and are still on the plants in my pepper garden? How about blemished peppers that are stored in my barn?

    NIce recipe. Thanks!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hey, Bart. You can certainly used frozen peppers, but I would shy away from the blemished peppers. Fresh is always best. If you really want to use the blemished ones (and I get that, hate to waste peppers), then I would cut away any bad spots. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  11. Avinash Gune

    How can use pectin powder, because that is what I have available. Can you please tell me, How much and when to add it? Thanks in advance

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      You should be able to use pectin powder, no problem, but check the instructions on the packet.

  12. 5 stars
    This time of year (November) I’ve got a lot of green peppers (Habaneros) that will never ripen. So I repeated this recipe with green habaneros and got the same result but that was greenish instead of orange-ish. Waste not; want not!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Perfect use, Jim! I’ll bet the flavor is awesome. I love it. Thanks for sharing.


    4 stars
    I made this recipe using a blend of all four peppers I grow.
    Reapers, Nagas, SB’s, & WirWiri peppers. Rough chopped them and simmered. I did strain because I wanted the jelly to be clean so to speak. The jelly came out perfectly and it’s QUITE HOT! ?
    But it’s great and will be used or given as gifts. A note to add the recipe made 4 perfectly filled jars which was kinda cool I thought. Oh and the stuff I “strained” went into the dehydrator overnight and made some very interesting “ candy”!!

  14. Jeffrey Palmer - From Wisconsin

    4 stars
    You reallu know to to tear my heart out:) There was a place that sold ghost pepper plants last year…
    No more…I love the taste of them..habs and jalas and ajis too
    But miss the lingering burn of the GP

    Oh my kindom for a some GH!

  15. I’ve got a plethora of Habañeros instead of Ghosts. Do you think the same quantities would work?
    Also, how much extra heat will I get if I don’t strain out the bits?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jim, absolutely. You’ll definitely get more heat if you don’t strain. How much? Hard to say, but hotter for sure.

      1. 4 stars
        OK, I went the Habañero route: 9 oz. stemmed and seeded Habañeros pulsed to a fine grind in the Cuisinart. Strained the solids and added one whole pouch of Certo pectin (vs. 3 oz). Got 4+ pints. Did the 10 minute water bath to avoid constant refrigeration.
        This is one hot jelly. I’m not sure how to use it except as part of a glaze or sauce. Sure not going to put it on my biscuits!

        1. 5 stars
          I did 2 batches with Habañeros; strained one per the recipe, and left the solids in for the other (technically a Jam). Peppers in both cases had previously been stemmed and seeded and frozen. Heat-wise, I can’t tell a lot of difference between the two, but the bits of pepper in the jam are detectable when eating it. A nice touch, I think, having a bit of the fruit there.
          And like Mike Waldman above, I tried the strained pulp. It truly does make for an interesting “candy”!

        2. Peg L Arnett

          5 stars
          Thanks for posting how it turned out. I 2as thinking of doing the same thing with my jalapenos..although they arent hot to begin with so I may still do it. Thank yu thou for using other peppers

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