Our favorite Pepper Jelly recipe is sweet and spicy (adjust heat to your preference) and delicious spooned over cream cheese, served with crackers for dipping. I’ve also included instructions for canning and freezing.
My husband is the one who first got me hooked on hot Pepper Jelly, and it is always the most popular addition to our charcuterie boards. If you’ve never made jalapeño jelly you will be shocked how EASY it is to make! It makes a great gift, and you can store it long term in the freezer, or in your pantry if you process it in a water bath canner.
- Bell Peppers: Use a combination of colors, like red and green.
- Jalapeños (about 10): remove seeds and veins from half for mild jelly, or leave them all in, for hot jelly.
- Sugar: I use significantly less sugar than most recipes do, and I find the jelly perfectly sweet. This has worked for me using Certo brand of fruit pectin. Other brands of pectin may require more sugar to help them set up, or you can use a no-sugar added pectin and follow the recipe inside the box. Do not use sugar substitutes (like Splenda) or it wont set up properly.
- Pectin: I use liquid fruit pectin. Here is a recipe that uses powdered fruit pectin.
- Vinegar: is used to help the jelly set and the acid in the vinegar helps make it safe for canning and long term storing. White or apple cider are my favorite varieties for jalapeño jelly.
How to make Pepper Jelly:
Chop peppers: Finely chop bell peppers then use paper towels to squeeze out excess liquid. Measure out 1 ½ cups of diced bell pepper. Dice jalapeños and squeeze liquid out (make sure to wear gloves).
Combine diced peppers, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, and salt in a large, deep pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, but maintain boil for 10 minutes.
Stir in liquid pectin and boil for another minute. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Give a good stir and pour jelly into containers. Apply lids securely.
Cool at room temperature for 24 hours, then store in refrigerator for up to 10 days. Read on for canning and freezing instructions.
Canning and Freezing Instructions:
To Can: Pour jelly into sterilized jars. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and secure with rings and new lids that have been washed in warm soapy water. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (or longer for high altitude—see notes below). Allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then store in a cool dry place for 6-10 months.
To Freeze: Pour jelly into containers and apply lids securely. Store in refrigerator for 10 days, or freeze for up to 4 months.
- Fruit Pepper Jelly: Replace bell peppers with chopped cranberries, strawberries, or raspberries (blot out excess moisture). Or, add a little lemon zest to the jelly for a lemon flavor.
- Steam Canner: would work in place of a water bath canner. Processing time should be the same (double check to account for elevation).
- No Sugar Jalapeño Jelly: Try the Sure Jell recipe, using their special no sugar pectin.
Uses for Pepper Jelly:
- Appetizer with cream cheese and crackers (our favorite way to enjoy it!).
- Slathered on turkey burgers, pork, grilled chicken.
- Glaze on hot wings.
- Spread on sandwiches, for an extra flavor kick!
- 1 ½ cups finely diced bell pepper , I use a combination of colors
- 1 lb jalapeños (about 10) , remove seeds and veins from half for mild jelly, or leave them all, for hot jelly
- 5 cups granulated sugar*
- 1 ¼ cups white or apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces Certo liquid fruit pectin
- Use a knife or a food processor to very finely chop the bell pepper. Scoop the diced peppers into paper towels and squeeze out excess liquid (this will help ensure the jelly sets up properly). Measure out 1 ½ cups of diced bell pepper (loose, not packed in the measuring cup).
- Dice the jalapeños and squeeze the liquid out, in the same manner (I highly suggest wearing gloves when handling this many).
- Add all of the diced peppers to a large, deep pot. Add sugar, vinegar, lime juice, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat, but maintain a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the liquid pectin and boil for another minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then give a good stir (to evenly distribute the pepper pieces) and pour jelly into containers. Apply lids securely.
- Optional: flip the containers upside down and allow to cool like this for 30 minutes or so (this will help keep the pepper pieces from floating to the top of the jar. Flip right side up and allow to cool at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Refrigerate jalapeño jelly and enjoy within 10 days, or freeze for up to 4 months.
- To Can Pepper Jelly: Pour jelly into sterilized jars. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and secure with rings and new lids that have been washed in warm soapy water. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (or longer for high altitude—see notes above). Allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then store in a cool dry place for 6-10 months.
- 1,001 to 3,000 feet – increase processing time by 5 min.
- 3,001 to 6,000 feet – increase processing time by 10 min.
- 6,001 to 8,000 feet – increase processing time by 15 min.
- 8,001 to 10,000 feet – increase processing time by 20 min.
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