Our favorite Pepper Jelly recipe is sweet with a hint of spice, and delicious served over cream cheese, with crackers for dipping. You can freeze it, or can it, and it’s great for gifting.

If you love homemade jam and jellies, try our Blackberry, Strawberry, Peach or Raspberry Jam, or Orange marmalade.

A block of cream cheese on a plate with easy pepper jelly poured on top, surrounded by ritz crackers.

Why I love this recipe:

  • Favorite appetizer: My husband introduced me to pepper jelly served over cream cheese, and it’s always the most popular addition to our charcuterie boards.
  • Gifting: Every year we gift a savory food for Christmas neighbor gifts, and the year we gave pepper jelly was my favorite (we placed it in a bag with a block of cream cheese and sleeve of crackers).
  • Can it or Freeze it: Process it in a water-bath canner or shelf storage, or don’t can it, and store it in the freezer instead for up to several months.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 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.
  • Lime
  • Salt
All of the ingredients needed to make an easy Jalapeño Pepper Jelly recipe.

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 then squeeze liquid out (make sure to wear gloves).

Two images showing chopped bell peppers and jalapeño on top of paper towels, and then chopped jalapeños in a food processor.

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.

A stainless steel pan filled with diced peppers, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, and salt to make easy pepper jelly.

Stir in liquid pectin and boil for another minute. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Give a good stir then pour jelly into containers. Apply lids securely.

A package of certo liquid pectin being poured in a pot of the best pepper jelly to help it set up.

Cool at room temperature for 24 hours, then store jalapeño pepper jelly in refrigerator for up to 10 days. Read on for canning and freezing instructions.

Easy jalapeño pepper jelly being poured into a mason jar with a ladle.

Canning and Freezing Instructions:

To Can: Pour jalapeño jam into sterilized jars. Wipe the rims of the jars clean then 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 homemade pepper jelly into containers then apply lids securely. Store in refrigerator for 10 days, or freeze for up to 4 months.

Three mason jars filled with homemade Pepper Jelly.

Recipe Variations:

  • 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:

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Recipe

Prep 20 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 40 minutes
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Ingredients
 
 

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • Dice peppers: 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 jalapeños and squeeze the liquid out, in the same manner (I highly suggest wearing gloves when handling this many).
  • Cook: 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.
  • Add liquid pectin slowly stirring it in, 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*). Allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then store in a cool dry place for 6-10 months.
  • Serve jalapeno jelly over a block of cream cheese and crackers, slathered on turkey burgers, grilled chicken burgers, pork, or grilled chicken, as a glaze on hot wings, or spread on sandwiches for an extra flavor kick.

Notes

Troubleshooting: If Jelly didn’t thicken properly, pour it back into saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, and add another package (or half a package) of pectin. 
High Altitude Canning Processing Times: 
  • 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.
Steam Canner: Would work in place of a water bath canner. Processing time should be the same (double check to account for elevation). 
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.
No Sugar Jalapeño Jelly: Try the Sure Jell recipe, using their special no sugar pectin.
Doubling or halving the recipe:I don’t recommend doubling the recipe, as it won’t set up the same. Make it in two separate pots instead. You can half the recipe with no problems. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 689kcalCarbohydrates: 175gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 395mgPotassium: 304mgFiber: 3gSugar: 171gVitamin A: 958IUVitamin C: 123mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg

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I originally shared this recipe June 2021. Updated December 2023.

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    I used SureJell 1.75oz less sugar and my recipe set perfectly. I followed the exact instructions from this recipe.

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