A Hot Pepper Jelly Recipe You’ll Love All Year Long

Perfect for appetizers or a glaze on meats, this hot pepper jelly recipe is the perfect blend of hot and sweet. Just a few ingredients and a simple canning process transforms peppers and sugar into something magic.

Canning jars filled with hot pepper jelly, displayed with a kitchen towel and fresh peppers.

Hot Pepper Jelly

This melds the fiery heat of jalapeños and habaneros with the mellow sweetness of bell peppers, creating a bold condiment that’s perfect for jazzing up your favorite dishes.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Processing Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serving Size 6 half-pint jars


  • Waterbath canner
  • 6 half-pint canning jars with lids and bands
  • Large pot
  • Canning funnel
  • Jar lifter
  • Ladle


  • 3 cups finely chopped hot peppers mix of jalapeños and habaneros
  • 2 cups finely chopped bell peppers
  • 6 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar white vinegar is fine too
  • 1 package powdered pectin suitable for high sugar recipes


  • Prep Jars. Start by sterilizing or heating the jars and lids according to the manufacturer's instructions. Keep the jars hot until ready to fill.
  • Combine Ingredients. In a large pot, combine the chopped peppers, apple cider vinegar, and pectin. Stirring frequently, bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
    A pot with neatly arranged chopped red, orange, and green peppers with a mound of sugar in the center, ready for cooking.
  • Add Sugar. Once boiling, add the sugar all at once. Return the mixture to a full rolling boil, one that cannot be stirred down, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
    Peppers and sugar combined in a pot, beginning to cook, showing early signs of boiling with bubbles forming.
  • Fill Jars. Using a ladle and canning funnel, carefully fill the hot jars with the jelly, ensuring even distribution of the pepper pieces and leaving a ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the rims and threads of the jars clean, place the lids on the jars, and screw the bands on until fingertip-tight.
    A pot of chopped peppers and sugar mixture boiling vigorously with bubbles throughout.
  • Process. Place the filled jars in the waterbath canner, making sure they are completely submerged under water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes (adjust time for altitude if necessary).
    A water bath canner filled with jars of hot pepper jelly, with a jar being lifted by a jar lifter.
  • Cool. Remove the jars from the canner and set them on a towel or cooling rack. Allow the jars to cool for 24 hours. Check the seals, label the jars, and store them in a cool, dark place.
    Top-down view of sealed canning jars of hot pepper jelly, arranged on a checkered kitchen towel.


For a balanced flavor and texture, use a variety of peppers. The inclusion of bell peppers adds sweetness and reduces the overall heat.
Serve with cream cheese on crackers for a quick appetizer, use as a glaze for grilled meats, or stir into sauces for an added flavor boost.
Calories: 830kcal | Carbohydrates: 210g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 408mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 206g | Vitamin A: 2269IU | Vitamin C: 171mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

We’re huge fans of anything with a bit of a kick in our kitchen, and this Chunky Hot Pepper Jelly is no exception. It’s become my go-to for spicing up everything from morning toast to a quick grilled cheese. The first time I made it, I was amazed at how the peppers’ heat perfectly balanced with the sweetness, turning ordinary dishes into something extraordinary. It’s especially a hit during our family BBQs, where it quickly disappears as a glaze for chicken. Honestly, I keep a jar on hand at all times now—it’s that good.

Sealed half-pint canning jars filled with clear hot pepper jelly, alongside fresh peppers.

Give it a try, I think you’ll find it just as addictive!

Hot Pepper Jelly Tips

  • Pepper Prep: When chopping your peppers, wear gloves to protect your skin from the heat, especially when handling habaneros. This prevents any accidental burning sensations later on.
  • Sugar Dissolution: To ensure your sugar dissolves completely, stir it thoroughly as soon as you add it to the boiling mixture. Undissolved sugar can lead to a grainy texture in your jelly.
  • Check the Boil: Achieve a “full rolling boil” — a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred. This is crucial for the pectin to set properly and for your jelly to firm up as it cools.
  • Sterilization is Key: Make sure your jars and lids are properly sterilized to prevent any bacterial growth. Keeping them hot until use is not just about safety; it also prevents the jars from breaking when filled with the hot jelly.

Key Ingredients and Tools

Here are a few key tools and ingredients that are crucial for making your hot pepper jelly a success. Each plays a vital role in the recipe, and knowing a bit more about them can enhance your cooking experience.

Ingredients for hot pepper jelly recipe laid out: chopped peppers, sugar, vinegar, and pectin.
  • Powdered Pectin. This ingredient is what makes your jelly set and achieve the right consistency. You’ll find it in the baking aisle near the sugars and flours, and it’s important to use a type that specifies it’s for high-sugar recipes.
  • Waterbath Canner. A specialized pot that ensures your jelly jars are processed safely and evenly. If you don’t have one, a large, deep stockpot with a rack on the bottom can work as a substitute, but make sure the jars don’t touch the bottom directly.
  • Canning Funnel. This tool makes filling your jars clean and efficient, reducing spills and waste. It’s a simple tool but makes a big difference in keeping the jar rims clean for a proper seal.
  • Jalapeños and Habaneros. These peppers provide heat and depth to your jelly. Found fresh in the produce section, they can be adjusted in proportion depending on how spicy you like your jelly.

Understanding these tools and ingredients helps you prepare better and ensures a smoother cooking process. Make sure to gather these before you start, and you’ll find making hot pepper jelly not just fun but also rewarding.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with cream cheese on crackers, grilled pork chops, baked brie, turkey or chicken sandwiches, and glazed over roasted vegetables.

Troubleshooting and Help

Can I use just one type of pepper if I don’t have both jalapeños and habaneros?

Absolutely! While using both types of peppers adds depth to the jelly’s flavor, you can make it with just one kind. Just keep in mind that habaneros are much spicier than jalapeños, so adjust according to your heat preference.

What if I don’t have a water bath canner?

No worries! You can use any large pot deep enough to completely submerge your jars in water. Just make sure to put a rack or a folded kitchen towel at the bottom to prevent the jars from touching the direct heat and cracking.

How long does the jelly last once canned?

When properly sealed and stored in a cool, dark place, your hot pepper jelly can last for up to a year. Once opened, keep it refrigerated and try to use it within a month for the best taste.

Is there a way to make the jelly less sweet?

Reducing the sugar can affect how well the jelly sets, but you can experiment with slightly less sugar if you prefer it less sweet. Another option is to look for a low-sugar pectin option, which is formulated to set without the need for as much sugar.

Feel free to reach out if you have more questions or need further tips!

Storing Leftovers

Storing this properly is key to keeping them fresh and tasty. Here’s how you can do it:

After Canning:
Once your jars are sealed, store them in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cupboard. They’ll keep well for up to a year. Make sure to check that the seals are tight before storing. If the lid pops up when pressed, it hasn’t sealed correctly and should be refrigerated and used first.

After Opening:
Once you open a jar of pepper jelly, keep it refrigerated. It will stay fresh for about a month. Always use a clean spoon to take out the jelly to avoid contamination.

It’s not recommended to freeze this jelly. Freezing can change the texture and consistency. Stick to canning and refrigeration for the best results.

By following these simple storage guidelines, your hot pepper jelly will maintain its quality and flavor, ready for you to enjoy whenever you like!

This jelly is perfect for those looking to spice up their meals and impress guests. Remember, the key to perfecting jelly is ensuring the sugar dissolves completely before returning to a boil. With a little practice, you’ll find this recipe both straightforward and delightful to make.

Cream cheese topped with colorful hot pepper jelly served with crackers.
A Hot Pepper Jelly Recipe You\'ll Love All Year Long
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