Sweet and spicy, Red Pepper Jelly is one seriously delicious multitasker. It’s fantastic with any type of creamy cheese, works wonders as a glaze on salmon or pork, and adds a zesty kick to a sandwich or pizza.

Jars of red pepper jelly on a tray.

Need a fabulous party snack with your cocktail? Unwrap a block of plain cream cheese and put it on a nice plate. Then take a jar of this hot pepper jelly and pour it over the cream cheese. Serve it with crackers and a spreader and you’re good to go.

But that’s not all. Spoon it over a pork tenderloin, brush it over salmon, or give a basic grilled cheese a sweet little heat. Or, stash a few jars in your refrigerator just in case you need a quick appetizer or housewarming gift. It’ll disappear fast.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Red Pepper Jelly Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Pepper jelly ingredient shot.

Ingredient notes

  • Bell peppers: Red bell peppers make red pepper jelly, but you can substitute any color bell pepper. 
  • Habañero chilies: These fiery peppers bring the heat. If you’re a chile novice, use rubber gloves while cutting and seeding them, and don’t touch your eyes or face. Or, for a milder jelly, substitute 2 jalapeño peppers.
  • Pectin: Liquid pectin is sold in boxes with 3-ounce pouches; Ball and Certo are good brands. Don’t rush the boiling step: liquid pectin needs to boil and reach a certain temperature before it does its work. Usually pectin is stocked in the baking aisle of the grocery store, but sometimes you can find it in hardware stores and online (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link).

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Cut off the stems of the peppers, and remove their seeds, but hold on to the habañero seeds in case you like a spicier jelly. Chop the peppers into rough pieces, then add them to the bowl of a food processor. Quickly pulse the peppers (and habañero seeds, if desired) in the food processor, about 12 to 15 times, until finely minced.
    Bell peppers blended in a food processor.
  2. Then pour out the mixture into a piece of cheesecloth set over a bowl and squeeze out any extra moisture in the peppers. A clean kitchen towel works for this, too. Transfer the peppers to a Dutch oven or (non-reactive) stainless steel pot, then add the vinegar and sugar. Cook over medium heat until fully boiling. Add the pectin, then bring the peppers back to a full boil, stirring frequently.
    Pepper jelly cooking in a saucepan.
  3. Keep boiling and stirring until the temperature reaches 221 degrees, which could take 10 to 15 minutes. Skim off any foam on the surface with a wide spoon.
    Skimming the foam off a pan of pepper jelly.
  4. Once the pepper jelly reaches 221 degrees, spoon the jelly into clean jars with screw-on lids. Allow to cool at room temperature before refrigerating, then let the jelly set up in the fridge for another 12 to 24 hours before using.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: Depending on the size of the peppers, the recipe makes about 5 cups, enough for five 8-ounce jars.
  • Skimming the foam: If you don’t skim off the foam in Step 3, your pepper jelly will migrate to the top of your jar and you’ll have an inch or more of clear, unflavored gelatin at the bottom of the jar.
  • Storage: Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. To can, quickly pour hot jelly into hot, sanitized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rim and center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store.
  • Make ahead: Plan on making the jelly at least a day or two before you need it so the pectin has time to thicken.
  • Fun ways to use: Stir a spoonful into mayo for a sandwich. Add a dollop to a cheeseboard. Most importantly, spoon it over a block of cream cheese and eat it with crackers (like on my Midwest charcuterie board).
Pepper jelly spooned over a block of cream cheese.

Midwest Charcuterie Board

A Midwest Charcuterie Board ripe with regional offerings is perfect for all-day grazing and parties with people you love. Make a few things, buy the rest, enjoy it all! I never met a charcuterie board…

20 minutes
View Recipe

More pantry recipes

Jars of red pepper jelly on a tray.

Red Pepper Jelly

Sweet and spicy, Red Pepper Jelly is one seriously delicious multitasker. It's fantastic with any type of creamy cheese, works wonders as a glaze on salmon or pork, and adds a zesty kick to a sandwich or pizza.
4.97 from 32 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Chill time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 25 mins
Servings 20 servings
Course Pantry
Cuisine American
Calories 206

Ingredients 

  • 3 large red bell peppers stems and seeds removed, coarsely chopped (see note 1)
  • 2 habañero chilies stems removed, seeded and reserved, and coarsely chopped (see note 2)
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar (distilled)
  • 1 (3-ounce) envelope liquid pectin (see note 3)

Instructions 

  • In a food processor, pulse bell peppers, habañeros and habañero seeds (if desired) until finely minced, about 12 to 15 pulses. On a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth over a bowl, transfer pepper mixture and squeeze to remove excess liquid.
  • In a dutch oven over medium heat, combine pepper mixture, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a vigorous boil. Add pectin and return to vigorous boil and stir frequently until temperature reads 221 degrees, about 10 to 15 minutes. Skim foam from jelly using a large spoon (see note 5).
  • Transfer mixture to clean jars with tight-fitting lids. Allow to cool, uncovered, to room temperature then cover and refrigerate. Allow jelly to set, about 12 to 24 hours. Jelly can be refrigerated for up to 2 months (or see note 6 for canning instructions).

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Bell peppers: Red bell peppers make red pepper jelly, but you can substitute any color bell pepper. 
  2. Habañero chilies: These fiery peppers bring the heat. If you’re a chile novice, use rubber gloves while cutting and seeding them, and don’t touch your eyes or face. Or, for a milder jelly, substitute 2 jalapeño peppers.
  3. Pectin: Liquid pectin is sold in boxes with 3-ounce pouches; Ball and Certo are good brands. Don’t rush the boiling step: liquid pectin needs to boil and reach a certain temperature before it does its work. Usually pectin is stocked in the baking aisle of the grocery store, but sometimes you can find it in hardware stores and online (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link).
  4. Yield: Depending on the size of the peppers, the recipe makes about 5 cups, enough for five 8-ounce jars.
  5. Skimming the foam: If you don’t skim off the foam in Step 3, your pepper jelly will migrate to the top of your jar and you’ll have an inch or more of clear, unflavored gelatin at the bottom of the jar.
  6. Storage: Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. To can, quickly pour hot jelly into hot, sanitized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rim and center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store.
  7. Make ahead: Plan on making the jelly at least a day or two before you need it so the pectin has time to thicken.
  8. Fun ways to use: Stir a spoonful into mayo for a sandwich. Add a dollop to a cheeseboard. Most importantly, spoon it over a block of cream cheese and eat it with crackers.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 206kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 55mgFiber: 1gSugar: 51gVitamin A: 780IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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Comments

  1. I made this with red peppers and 3 large jalapeno peppers according to your recipe. It turned out beautifully and was so easy to make.
    It made 7 half-pint jars.
    Thanks, Meggan for all your great recipes.5 stars

    1. Hi Audrey! We tested this recipe twice with a 1.75 ounce package of powdered pectin, adding once in the beginning and once just straight substituting, and it came out runny both times. It could work, but I don’t recommend it. Sorry about that! – Meggan

    2. I had a bonafide culinary chef friend of mine tell me that if you add sugar before powdered pectin it’ll be runny. He said mix the pectin into the mixture very well before you add the sugar, and it won’t be runny. Then he gave me some scientific explanation, which I can’t impart to you because I’ve forgotten, but that’s how I do it and it always comes out well. He recommended I do this with all my jams and jellies.

  2. Edit to my last comment:

    I actually added an extra 2 packets on top of the 3 packets since the author said hers always came out runny, so i attempted to slightly overestimate the amount of knox gelatine to be used by rounding up the amount of packets for the volume of the mixture i had in my pot. Total packets i used was 5 with a total of 500ml extra of water (100ml per packet.)

  3. Not 5* because there was no guidance on using powdered pectin (not even in the comments) and so i figured it out on my own since that was all I had on hand. Flavour still tastes really good though. I used knox powder gelatine with the packet instructions that says to mix 1 packet in 50ml water, add 50ml boiling water and stir, and then follow whatever recipe it’s being used in. It says 1 packet is premeasured to set 500ml of liquid. I prepped 3 packets, expecting it to set the 5-6 250ml jars i was expecting to end up with. After adding that to my boiling mixture, i realized i would need more jars to accomodate for the extra 300ml of liquid from the knox gelatine mixture. After fetching another 2 jars to sanitize, i then assumed i’d need to add another packet because now my total finished volume was increased and if the amount the packet says it will set includes the volume of the packet mixture, then i’d need more gelatine for a higher total volume. Off to fetch one more jar just in case.. I’ll admit it’s my first time using gelatine so that might have been wrong 😂 Anyways, i ended up canning all of it and crossed my fingers. At hour 24, it looked quite runny. At 48hrs, it looked slightly more set but still runny so I put one jar in the fridge. Today is hour 72. The jar in the fridge is jello-y so i stirred it up. Jello-y small chunks but it does still taste good and the texture melts quite smoothly (i’m not even a fan of jello.) The jars on the counter set a bit more and look jiggly and it pulls away from the side of the jar when i tip it but it still holds it’s shape loosely and doesn’t fall apart in a soupy mess. At room temp it looks like it’d be just runny enough to stir it up and use it in a spreadable fashion like in the video and in the images of the original recipe. I think if i pulled my fridged jar out and let it warm up to room temp, it’d be more spreadable like in the vid too.

    Next time i’ll dial it back by one packet and see how that one turns out, but YES, it certainly is possible to do it with powder gelatine. If the author says hers always came out runny, then obviously use more.

    In the end, the flavour is still good and pepper-y and sweet, but i would have liked more pepper material since the extra water thinned out the amount of physical pepper in it. I guess my recipe is going to be different then since next time i’ll be using more peppers to accomodate for the extra water (and my way of making it used powder gelatine makes it different too.) Let’s just say this original recipe was a good starting point. My total yield with the extra water/gelatine mixture: 9x 250ml jars! Haha if you find a way to stretch something with water (and gelatine in this case) and still have it taste delicious then that’s ultimately still a win 😂😎4 stars

  4. I would like to make red pepper jelly and only have the red pepper flakes ,will that work rather the actual jalepeno peppers
    I have my red bell peppers from my garden

    1. Hi Connie, I haven’t tried red pepper flakes instead of the habanero chilies, sorry about that! You can omit the habanero peppers if you wish, or substitute with another pepper. Sorry again! – Meggan

  5. I love this. Just made it for the first time and had zero issues with the recipe.
    I used Jalapeño from the garden and 4 cups of red pepper. Instead of using a towel I used a strainer to drain the liquid from the peppers which I used for a red pepper soup later ☺️
    I used the Bernardin liquid Pectin which worked great.
    I’ll be doing another batch tonight!5 stars

    1. So glad it worked out great and you got to repurpose the liquid! Thanks for sharing Mandi. – Meggan

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