My easy pepper jelly recipe made with a mix of peppers for the perfect blend of sweet and heat, great as a glaze, spread, or on cream cheese and crackers.
Pepper Jelly Recipe
We're cooking up a big batch of Spicy Pepper Jelly in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today. Are you ready for some?
Hot pepper jelly is a great way to enjoy the fruits of your labors when your garden is exploding with chilies. It allows you to preserve them to enjoy all year long.
Plus, pepper jelly is delicious! You can smear it onto your morning toast, use it as a glaze for anything on the grill, spruce up your veggies, even spoon it over ice cream.
There are so many ways to enjoy it.
What I love about this recipe is you can really make it any time of year. If you run out, you can run to the store anytime to grab your favorite peppers and whip up a new batch.
Let's talk about how to make pepper jelly, shall we?
Pepper Jelly Ingredients
The full ingredients list with measurements is listed in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Chili Peppers. Use a variety of peppers to your flavor and heat preference. Make it mild with bell peppers. I've made mine today with jalapeno peppers, fresno peppers, and habanero peppers.
- Vinegar. I prefer apple cider vinegar, though you can use white vinegar.
- Lime Juice.
- Pectin. You can use either powdered pectin or liquid fruit pectin for this recipe.
How to Make Pepper Jelly - the Step-by-Step Recipe Method
Chop the Peppers. Finely chop your selected chili peppers, then add them to a large pan or a pot. You can use a food processor to chop them more easily.
The First Boil. Stir in the sugar, vinegar, lime juice, and salt. Cook at a low boil for 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add Pectin. Stir in pectin and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then cool.
Add to Jars and Refrigerate. Pour into jars and let the hot jelly come to room temperature, then refrigerate.
Wait for it to solidify into a jelly. It should jell up by the next morning, though it could take 24 hours, and sometimes a couple days.
Boom! Done! Your pepper jelly is ready to serve. If you'd like to preserve your pepper jelly in a hot water bath for long term storage outside of the refrigerator, see the recipe card.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Use a food processor to save time chopping up your peppers. Just don't over process them or they'll turn into mush.
- Pepper Jelly Didn’t Set? If your pepper jelly didn’t thicken up, pour the loose jelly into a pan. Bring to a low boil and add ½-1 package pectin and boil for 1 minute. Cool slightly, then pour back into the jars, screw on lids, and refrigerate.
- Less Sugar. I have made this recipe successfully with only 4 cups of sugar, and it usually sets right, but can sometimes be more runny/loose. If you want to use much less sugar, use a low or no sugar pectin product, like my Sweet Pepper Jam Recipe.
- Jelly or Jam? This recipe is technically a "jam" when it is unstrained, but most people use the words interchangeably. You can strain it if you'd like.
How Can I Use Pepper Jelly?
Pepper jelly is a wonderfully versatile condiment that can be used in many ways. It is hugely popular served with a block of cream cheese or goat cheese and crackers as an appetizer.
Use it as a glaze for grilled chicken, pork, fish or shrimp. Spread some onto your morning toast for a sweet bite and a kick of heat.
This red pepper jelly recipe will last several months in the refrigerator in its sealed jars. For pantry storage, follow the directions for water bath canning and store in a cool, dark place for 1 year or longer.
If you open the jelly, refrigerate after opening it.
You can also freeze it for 6 months or longer.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my easy pepper jelly recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you, and if you decided to spice it up!
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this hot pepper jelly 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.
Pepper Jelly Recipe
- 4-5 cups very finely chopped chili peppers use a mix of your favorites for flavor and heat – see recipe notes
- 1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1.75 oz package powdered pectin or use 3 ounces liquid fruit pectin
- 5 cups sugar
- Add the finely chopped peppers to a large pan along with the sugar, vinegar, lime juice, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cook at a low boil for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in pectin and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
- Ladle the hot liquid into clean jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, and screw on the lids.
- Cool overnight in the refrigerator. The mixture will solidify into jelly.
- First, clean your jars and lids using a steamer rack in a 16-quart pot. Place the jars on the rack and fill the pot with water, enough to cover the jars. Do not let the jars touch the bottom of the pot, as the heat can cause the glass to crack.
- Bring the water to a boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs when you’re ready to use them.
- Prepare the pepper jelly per the instructions above.
- When the pepper jelly is ready, scoop it into the jars, leaving ¼ inch head space.
- Clean the lids with soap and hot water, then place them onto the jars. Secure them with cleaned canning rings. Wipe the rims clean.
- Place the filled jars back into the hot water bath, onto the steamer rack, ensuring the jars are covered with 3 inches of water.
- Return the water to a boil and process them for 10 minutes. For higher altitudes, process them for additional time (up to an extra 10 minutes). Remove the jars with tongs and tighten the screw caps.
- The jar lids should make a popping sound as they seal. If a lid doesn’t seal for some reason, you can reprocess it, or store the jar in the refrigerator.
- Invert the jars to test for leaks. Flip them upright after 10 minutes and allow to cool.
- Store the jars in a cool, dry place. They will last a year or longer this way. Once you open them, however, keep the jars in the refrigerator.