Hot Pepper Jelly Recipe (for canning)

By Amanda Paa – Updated June 11, 2024
4.74 from 52 votes
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Learn how to make homemade hot pepper jelly, with this water bath canning recipe. Made with a combination of bell peppers and jalapeños, the sweet and spicy flavors pair perfectly together. Serve this colorful jelly over cream cheese or goat cheese for a holiday appetizer, or any time of year!

hot pepper jelly on a silver spoon

Love preserving? You can find more of my canning recipes here.

You’re scrambling, engrossed in a last minute grocery run for an easy appetizer that everyone will love. You grab the fancy jar of hot pepper jelly, and a block of Philadelphia cream cheese. Or maybe the strawberry jelly and a round of brie cheese. A pretty ceramic platter is in the back seat.

All you need to do is arrive at the party and spoon the jelly over the cream cheese. And in an instant, “the oooohhh, this is so good!” start echoing. Some classics never disappoint. Am I right?

And guess what? You can make one batch of this crowd pleasing Hot Pepper Jelly, and have jars stocked in your pantry year-round, right next to the Best Apple Butter and Roasted Salsa.

Why I love Hot Pepper Jelly:

Hot pepper jelly is a delicious condiment that combines the warm, spicy flavors of hot peppers, contrasting sweetness, and subtle brightness of apple cider vinegar. It has a beautiful translucent orange to yellow color.

Not only is it absolutely beautiful with its confetti of colors shimmering in the light, but it’s the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. Exactly why it’s such a good match when paired with cool and creamy accompaniments, like cream cheese.

hot pepper jelly over a block of cream cheese with crackers surrounding it, knife to the right, on two stacked plates
clear jar with hot pepper jelly inside of it, stainless steel lid

How To Can Homemade Hot Pepper Jelly

  • Sterilize jars and bands by washing in warm, soapy water.
  • Chop all of your peppers, and measure out your other ingredients so they are ready to use.
  • Bring your Ball® Canning half pint jars to a simmer in your water bath canner, and have the lids in warm water in a small saucepan.
  • Add chopped peppers and vinegar to a pot. Gradually stir in pectin.
  • Bring to a full rolling boil (this activates the pectin), and add honey and sugar. Boil.
  • Ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving ¼ headspace. Screw band on until fingertip-tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.        
  • Process jars for 10 minutes. Turn off heat; remove lid and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

You can also watch a tutorial video of how to can hot pepper jelly!

three types of bell peppers chopped and on plate. with jar of honey and bowl of sugar to its right. linen towards the bottom of photo.
a opened container of Ball Fruit Pectin with a set of measuring spoons peeking out of it. bottle of olive oil in the backround.

What is real fruit pectin?

Pectin is a naturally occurring liquid that comes from fruit, such as apples or citrus fruits. It is in the cells of the fruit, which is boiled are water and an acid, such as lemon juice, and then extracted. Added to a jam or jelly recipe, it becomes the natural thickening agent when mixed with sugar.

Every brand of pectin is a bit different, so, use only what is recommended per your recipe. I’ve used Ball® RealFruit™; Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin in this Hot Pepper Jelly. 

5 jars of hot pepper jelly in a ball water batch canner

Helpful tips for making hot pepper jelly:

  • Always use undamaged vegetables/fruits. Too much damage will spoil the result and the jelly is likely to deteriorate quickly.
  • Hard boil’ means it’s boiling so hard you can’t stir it down. Keep stirring. If the boil goes away, it’s not boiling hard enough. When it boils even with you stirring, it’s a hard boil.
  • Add the sugar only after the Ball® pectin has been activated by the 1 minute hard boil.
  • Skim any foam that rises to the surface, only when setting point is reached.

Storing canned goods:

Keep your finished jars of jelly in a cool, dark spot.

Unopened, they will last for up to 16 months if stored properly.
Opened, they will last in the refrigerator for 2 months.

More Ways to Use Hot Pepper Jelly:

confetti pepper jelly in a clear canning jar
hot pepper jelly swirled into cream cheese, surrounded by crackers on a plate with the jar of pepper jelly in backround
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clear jar with hot pepper jelly inside of it, stainless steel lid

Homemade Hot Pepper Jelly

Using the water bath canning method, make your own hot pepper jelly that's just the right amount of sweet and spicy! A classic way to serve hot pepper jelly is on top of cream cheese.
4.74 from 52 votes
Prep Time :25 minutes
Cook Time :10 minutes
Additional Time :10 minutes
Total Time :45 minutes
Yield: 5 to 6 half pint jars
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups finely chopped green, red, or yellow bell peppers. I like to use a combination.
  • 1 cup finely chopped jalapeño pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Ball® RealFruit™ Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin*
  • 2 cups organic sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions 

  • Prepare boiling water canner. Heat half pint jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside. 
  • Combine bell peppers, jalapeño peppers and vinegar in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down over high heat, stirring constantly, for at least 1 minutes. 
  • Add sugar and honey. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil HARD for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in salt. Skim foam off top if necessary. 
  • Ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving ¼ headspace. Wipe rim and center lid on jar. Screw band on until fingertip-tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.        
  • Process jars for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat; remove canner lid and let jars stand in water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. 

Notes

*You must use the pectin brand and type called for, Ball® RealFruit™ Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin, or this will not set properly.
*When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to prevent hands from being burned.
This recipe was originally created by Ball®.

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August 24, 2020

COMMENT & RATE

I look forward to your comments, reviews and questions! If you love this recipe, please rate it when you leave a comment. Star ratings help people discover my recipes. Your support means a lot; thank you for being a part of the Heartbeet Kitchen community.

Amanda

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Recipe Rating




4.74 from 52 votes (33 ratings without comment)

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83 comments

  1. Gail Zander

    Can i use the WalMart brand of organic cane sugar?

    • Amanda Paa

      Yes! Any granulated sugar will work in fact, I just prefer organic.

  2. Linda Ryan

    I’ve made hot pepper jelly before but used granny smith apple for the pectin and it worked very well.

    • Helen

      I love this recipe, but when I filled my 1/2 pint canning jars the peppers floated to the top of the jar, is this normal ?

      • Amanda Paa

        Hello! You’ve done nothing wrong, you just have float. You can simply stir the jelly when you open in to redistribute the peppers. When the jars of jelly are very hot and there is no jell yet, the pulp, which is lighter than the juice, is able to float to the top of the jar. However, if you want to discourage fruit float from happening, you want your pepper pieces to chopped very fine.

        In the future when making this, when you take the jars out of the water bath, leave them for about an hour to start cooling and seal. Then come back and check to make sure they are all sealed. If you see that you have fruit float, turn the jars upside down to force the pulp to redistribute through the jar. Come back in about 45 minutes and turn the jars right side up to once again force the pulp to redistribute through the jar. Check again in another 45 minutes and if you have a distinct dividing line, turn the jars upside down again. Turn the jars right side up again in about 30 minutes. You always want the jars to end up right side up. By keeping the pulp well distributed throughout the jars, there will not be a dividing line when the jell finally starts and locks everything into place.

  3. Diane

    Amanda, could I use frozen peppers? I just found this recipe now and have a lot of jalapeño and red and green peppers frozen from last fall.

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Diane! I’m not sure how that would work with the additional water content that frozen vegetables have. But it should? Let me know if you try it.

    • Dan

      5 stars
      I didn’t have Jalapeño peppers from the garden, but I had frozen habanero ones from last year. I thawed and cut up 4 of them and added them. They were not crisp obviously, but they get cooked anyway. They added a nice kick. You could cut them up and drain well I bet.

  4. jennifer

    I’m in the process of making a double batch and it smells and tastes wonderful….but I can’t get it to set. My peppers where very “juicy”. Can I boil it down or do you have another recommendation.

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Jennifer! Doubling jelly recipes is not recommended for this reason; cooking time will have to greatly increase because there’s so much more in the pot that needs to be cooked down and the gelling ability of the pectin decreases. This can lead to rubbery batches and jam that doesn’t set. You can continue trying to boil it down to get to the consistency you’re hoping for, and it should stiffen a bit in the fridge too.

  5. Mike & Sherry

    5 stars
    We made this last night for the first time. It turned out great, and we followed your recipe to the letter. We are going to change up the peppers this time around and leave the seeds in the jalapenos, and change up with a bit of serrano peppers. Thank you for the recipe

    • Amanda Paa

      That’s great! Love that you will amp up the heat with your next batch!

  6. Kristina

    5 stars
    I made this today and used more hot peppers than bell peppers. I sued a mix of some bell, serrano, jalapeno and siracha peppers. I tasted it from the leftovers in the pan and it is really good! I l like it hot and was able to get that heat with this recipe. Good one! Thank you!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, glad you were able to get the spice level you wanted! Thanks for making the recipe.

  7. Sam

    Can i use ACV with the mother in ghis recioe?

    • Amanda Paa

      You sure can!

  8. Pascale Poitras

    5 stars
    Amanda, This recipe looks wonderful. I would love to try it as one of my daughters loves pepper jellies for cheese. Have you ever experimented with putting fruit into the jelly? If I were to do that, would I do a cup for cup trade for the peppers? I cannot wait to try to make this!
    Thank you!

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Pascale! Substituting fruit would change the PH of the recipe, so the safety would be in question. You may want to look for a validated canning recipe for a spicy strawberry or spicy raspberry jelly? That may get you what you are looking for.

  9. kathy

    5 stars
    Can I use Sure Jell low sugar instead of the Ball Real Fruit? the Ball is not available in my area. Thanks

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Kathy! You should use Ball Real Fruit Low Sugar Pectin to have the recipe set and come out as developed, or you can use Sure Jell low sugar but will likely need to add more pectin to get it to set. That is what others have reported who have tried that. You could order Ball Real Fruit Low Sugar Pectin from Amazon, too.

  10. Barbara Barrios

    5 stars
    I just made this and used 4 cups of jalapeños and 1 cup of bell peppers. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and it is so so good! My husband was scoffing the whole time that you can’t make jelly from jalapeños but I just gave him some, still very warm, on Ritz crackers and he isn’t making fun anymore! My 5 cups of chopped peppers yielded 5 half pints and a one cup Tupperware container. I am very impressed with this! Thank you for the great recipe 😀

    • Amanda Paa

      Sounds great, Barbara! So glad you and your husband are enjoying the hot pepper jelly.

  11. Eileen C

    First time making pepper jelly. It was a hit! Looks beautiful in the jars. Can you double the recipe?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hello! I haven’t doubled this recipe, instead making two separate batches. Ball Canning instructs to prepare only a single batch at a time; doubling the recipe can cause your spread to have a soft set or not gel. But you could certainly try, it will not affect the safety.

  12. Shawn Augustine

    5 stars
    This was PERFECT! ❤️ I found that if you if you turn the jars every 15 minutes or so while they are cooling, that will evenly disburse the peppers in the jam. Thank you Amanda!

    • Amanda Paa

      love that note, thanks for making the recipe!

    • tim

      5 stars
      This should be added in the recipe, thanks

  13. Cindy mays

    5 stars
    This is the best way to put up garden grown bell’s and jalapeños! 🥳 we grow habs too so my hubby chopped those up too. We even doubled it. I used 12 T. Organic Anthony’s brand pectin. I had it so I just used it. Which with organic pectin u have to use more. It’s perfect!! Thank you AMANDA!!! You are a true artist!!!!

    • Amanda Paa

      Great to hear Cindy! Thank you for making the recipe. Sounds like your garden has been flourishing this year.

      • Cindy mays

        5 stars
        This message I’m sending to you is so important to me because I know you are a rhubarb queen. I just put in three root starters the beginning of spring. We have snow here in overgaard Az. I know you do too where you live. I’m new to rhubarb… do you have any pointers on how to keep pests off of the leaves? And any tips on a beginner to keep them healthy ?also I don’t even know how much I should pull next spring? I read on line lots of different things about how much you can harvest. Please advise me of anything you know on care and harvesting it. You’re awesome! XoxoCindy Mays

  14. Darlynn

    Do I remove the jalepeno seeds or leave them in

    • Amanda Paa

      Hello! I remove about 1/2 of the seeds, as I like a medium heat to mine. But you can remove all or none, depending on how spicy you like things. It’s a little bit of trial and error, as even the same variety of peppers can differ in heat depending on the harvest.

    • Cindy mays

      5 stars
      Leave in the hot pepper seeds. Don’t leave the bell pepper seeds

      • Amanda Paa

        Great advice!

  15. Shannon Beth Sterner

    Do you leave the seeds in your jalapeños and can I substitute hot wax peppers ?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hello! I remove about 1/2 of the seeds, as I like a medium heat to mine. But you can remove all or none, depending on how spicy you like things. It’s a little bit of trial and error, as even the same variety of peppers can differ in heat depending on the harvest. And yes, you can substitute hot wax peppers!

      • Shannon Beth Sterner

        Thank you!!!

  16. John Chambers

    Question my husband does not like vinegar can I replace the vinegar with lemon juice?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hello! This recipe has not been tested for safety with lemon juice, so I am unsure if it will work.

  17. Sue

    Could I use Truva instead of the sugar, to make it diabetic friendly?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Sue, unfortunately Truvia cannot be used in this recipe.

  18. Wendy

    5 stars
    I cannot keep this in the pantry. Everyone who tries it wants a jar and the recipe! I have made 8
    times, and will continue until peppers are gone.

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, I’m so glad it’s a hit!

  19. Lele

    your recipe calls for 3 tbsp pectin, should that say 3 oz (or 1 pkt)? I noticed other recipes use 3 oz…

  20. Frank K

    5 stars
    I had a garden for the first time in years , my table runneth over with cucumbers and peppers. Before this week I’ve never made pickles or jelly, I watched my grandmother in the past. Followed the directions I got 5 1/2 pints. Some of the peppers raised towards the top, I’d say the bottom 1/3 of The jars are a little void of peppers. Took a sample of the 1/2 jar tasted pretty good. It’s in the fridge it will be going on toast and other items 👌

  21. Monti

    I just got a jam and jelly maker, can I make it in it?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hello! I haven’t tested it this way, but what assume if the directions are followed for the machine, it would work!

  22. Erin K. Berry

    Can I make this confetti pepper jelly with all jalapeno peppers? If so what adjustments would I have to make?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Erin! I’m not sure what adjustments you’d need to make for it to be just jalapenos, since it would be much spicier. I’d google jalapeno jelly and see what you find!

  23. Prudence Ann Shaw

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe. Made two batches and they both turned out great.

    • Amanda Paa

      great to hear, Prudence!

  24. Mark

    5 stars
    Came out okay 3x! The one time I used a food processor I had to double up on the low-sugar pectin.

    • Amanda Paa

      glad you like the recipe, Mark!

  25. Marcy

    The jelly did not set up, it’s very runny.
    Can I recook & add more pectin?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Marcy! If it didn’t set, that’s due to either undercooking or overcooking. Too little heat will cause the pectin not to set and too much heat will break down the pectin also causing it not to jell. This article will show you how to fix a jelly that has not set.

  26. Nancy Partlow

    What if I should use regular granulated sugar?

    • Amanda Paa

      hello! i haven’t tested this recipe with sugar. it does not have the same chemical makeup as honey so i wouldn’t suggest substituting sugar.

      • Kendra Heiden

        I had the same question, because the recipe calls for 2 cups of organic sugar.

        • Amanda Paa

          Sorry, I meant I haven’t tested it with only sugar. I’ve only tested it as written with honey + sugar.

    • Tim

      5 stars
      I think the question is Can you use regular table sugar in place of Organic? I also would like to know.

      • Amanda Paa

        Yes, regular granulated sugar is just fine to use!

  27. Audra

    In Step 5, it states to adjust for altitude, but I did not see a chart. How long do I process for an altitude of 3650? Thanks

  28. Loren

    Hello….I have a question more than a comment for those of you who have made this recipe. That is, what is the approximate length of time that the peppers are cooked in the vinegar and pectin, before adding the other ingredients. My end result seems a little chunky, as the peppers kinda floated to the top. Thnkyou!

    • Taylor

      If the peppers floated to the top it might be something called “fruit float” which has a couple different reasons why it might happen

  29. Heidi

    5 stars
    This pepper jelly was easy to make and truly delicious! The honey addition made it really special and it was exactly the right amount of jalapenos for the perfect heat.

    • Amanda Paa

      so glad you liked it, Heidi!

  30. Lisa craig

    Four small jalapeños equal a full cup chopped?

    • Amanda Paa

      hi! the 4 jalapeños i used equaled 1 cup chopped. but it may take a few more jalapeños depending on the size you’re using.

  31. Rusty Spradley

    5 stars
    Great recipe. Pay close attention to all steps

  32. Kaitlyn

    5 stars
    Just put these in to process and super excited! I noticed that the peppers all floated to the top in my jars when I was putting them in the water bath, do you know what caused this? Sure it will still be delicious but want to make sure I know what to fix next time.

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Kaitlyn! The jelly will still be delicious, and sometimes the peppers do rise to the top – same thing if you are making something like strawberry jam. Float can simply happen because of the difference in density between the liquid phase and the pieces of vegetable, which contain entrained air and liquid which may also differ in density.

      Just stir it all together when you open the jar. The jars are absolutely safe to store and eat!

  33. Linda P.

    Well I made this this morning. It was lovely, I couldn’t wait to try it. I had a little left over soooo, I ate some. It was fantastic. I will be giving some out today. This is a winner recipe!!!!!

    • Amanda Paa

      fabulous, so glad you liked the pepper jelly, Linda!

  34. Chad

    How would I add a flavoring juice to this? I would like to make this into a Satsuma Pepper Jelly, just not sure on the quantity or when the juice would go in, or if the ratios of other ingredients would need to be altered.

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Chad! I haven’t tested this with any fruit juice added. Sorry I can’t offer any insight!

  35. Jennie P.

    I don’t enjoy the taste of honey. So, if I omit the honey, how much extra sugar should I substitute for it? Or do I need to at all? Thanks!

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Jennie! You won’t taste the honey – the flavor will be cooked off in the boiling process. Honey is needed in this recipe to create the proper texture, in combination with the pectin.

  36. Mary Secor

    I’m excited to make this jelly, it will make cute gifts. I love the name confetti pepper jelly. With a name like that who would not want to try it?

    • Amanda Paa

      people love getting this a gift!