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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.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

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 60 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.
  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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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. I made this , it is delicious . I do have a question , can you use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar ?5 stars

    1. I’m so glad you loved it, Brenda Leigh! I haven’t tried swapping it out myself, but I don’t see why not! Take care!

    1. Hi Susan, thank you for the question! I haven’t tried reducing the sugar in this recipe, and it may not work since pectin needs sugar and acid (vinegar) to set, since these vegetables do not contain large amounts of pectin and sugar themselves. There is no-sugar pectin, but I haven’t tested this recipe with it. Sorry about that! – Meggan

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