Homemade Red Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

in Appetizers, Christmas, Condiments

Homemade Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

I have a knack for loving things that seem to quickly go out of style. Or TV shows that get canceled (I’m looking at you, Jericho and Flash Forward). But some things are just way too awesome to ever go out of style. Like yoga pants, cupcakes (not the $4 boutique variety, but in general), putting bacon in and on everything, and jalapeno pepper jelly.

Pepper jellies used to be all the rage, making appearances along side a block of cream cheese and a bowl of crackers, at every single party I attended in 2004 and 2005. But then it just kind of disappeared. Sweet and spicy, it paired wonderfully with tangy cream cheese and a salty, buttery cracker. I could go on and on, but I’m going to quickly run out of adjectives.

Homemade Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

This year, we’re including a jar of red and green jalapeno pepper jelly in our gift baskets. Because we’re still harvesting 50+ jalapeno and serrano peppers a week from our garden. In December. I’m a complete novice when it comes to canning – I can make freezer jam like it’s nobody’s business and turn out a batch of candied jalapenos in no time, but more advanced things make me a little twitchy. But there’s no twitchiness involved here because this recipe is that easy.

For this batch, I used all red jalapenos and serranos – when you put off harvesting them, they actually turn a beautiful bright red! I also think that’s when they go from being “just” a spicy pepper to a seventh-circle-of-hell-hot pepper.

Red Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

Sweet and spicy red pepper jelly, serve it with cream cheese and crackers. Make a festive green jalapeno pepper jelly by using green peppers and adding a few drops of green food coloring at the end of the cooking time.


  • 1 orange bell pepper, halved and seeds and stem removed
  • 1 lb red jalapeno peppers, seeds and stems removed (for a spicy jelly, use a couple of serranos and leave in the seeds to half/all of the peppers)
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 3 oz liquid pectin
  • 1 Tbsp butter


  1. Put the peppers into a food processor and process for 7-10 seconds. Alternately, you can finely chop them by hand - wear gloves!
  2. Transfer the peppers to a large pot and add the vinegar.
  3. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Pour through a fine mesh sieve to separate the peppers from the liquid, you should have 1 cup of liquid. Simmer longer to reduce, if necessary.
  5. Return the liquid and as much of the pulp/seeds (more for a much spicier jam, less/none for a slightly spicy jelly) to the pot and add the salt and sugar until dissolved.
  6. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  7. When the mixture comes to a rolling boil (one that cannot be stirred down), boil for one minute, and then add the butter.
  8. Stir the butter into the mixture and then add the liquid pectin, stirring to mix.
  9. Let boil for 3 minutes.
  10. Ladle into sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
  11. To store jars at room temperature, you'll need to seal them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Otherwise, let the jars come to room temperature, place the lids on them, and then store them in the fridge (the jelly will keep a couple of months this way).
  12. Refrigerate jelly after seal is broken.


Yields: ~6 8 oz jars

Adapted from AllRecipes and Ball

Estimated time: 1 hour

29 comments… add one
  • I really feel like your in my head sometimes… I love everything about your site, the way you cook. It’s such a powerful palate made with ease (who doesn’t love that). I grew up in Texas, but my taste buds have never changed. I COMPLETELY agree about pepper jam. My neighbor makes some and I seriously eat toast with pepper jam 3-4 times a week for breakfast! I can’t wait to show her up! OK Just kidding.

    P.s. I enjoy seeing updates on facebook I always get excited!

  • Red and Green pepper jams are perfect colors for the Christmas season! 🙂 Definitely a festive AND tasty gift. Those gift-basket recipients are super lucky!

  • Thanks for sharing! I’ve been looking for something to do with all my jalapenos that have been growing like crazy here in Austin since the weather finally cooled down. I can’t keep up with what we’ve been harvesting! I definitely like the idea of adding the pepper pulp/seeds back into the jelly.

  • I’m sweating just looking at this jelly! And for my family, red pepper jelly with cream cheese has never gone out of style. I was planning to can a big batch of RPJ for our Christmas packages this year too and now I have a recipe I can trust to use!

    • I was super happy how it turned out. I was so paranoid and kept checking on it, thinking it wouldn’t set. But it turned out great!

  • I love this stuff! Awesome recipe!

  • Moment of silence for Flash Forward – I LOVED that show so much. I try not to get invested in new shows now until I’m sure they’ll get past the first season. I’ve never actually had pepper jelly, but I’m intrigued! Your photos are stunning, as always 🙂

    • Jason decided that we should wait until season 3 and then just get the DVDs and marathon through them. We’ve found Royal Pains and White Collar like that. I will die – literally die – if they kill Revenge or Once Upon a Time.

  • I had jalapeno pepper jelly for the first time at a friend’s wedding two summers ago…and am now kind of obsessed. I think it needs to make a Christmas appearance. Maybe on top of brie. And…now I’m drooling.

  • That texture is just perfect – it looks so taste-bud-numbingly delicious that I don’t know where to start!

  • Yum! Shawnda, this looks delicious!

  • I’ve never seen red jalapenos around here, but I’m determined to find some! I am totally addicted to red pepper jelly and don’t care who says it’s in style or not 🙂 This looks amazing!

  • Oh girl, I love this stuff. Have you put it in with some Meunster cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich? Heaven. I’ve got to give this a shot over my Christmas break.

  • First, love the photos! Second, this combination with the red pepper jelly and cream cheese is always a hit at my families holiday parties. I need to give this a try because I can only imagine how much better the homemade version is.

  • I made this over the weekend with green jalapenos, just added some Red food coloring at the end the fact and turned out beautifully (about the same color as yours) and so tasty! Thanks for the instructions!

  • If I use green jalapeno peppers, should I use green bell pepper instead of orange? Thanks in advance!

  • Yuri Kirby

    How do you get the peppers to get evenly distributed in the jar. Mine all floated to top.

    • J

      How do you get the peppers to stay evenly distributed in the jar. Mine float to the top too!!! Help!

  • Poppa

    Okay, looks fantastic but what is a hot water bath? I want to make this for gifts this Chrismas and I don’t want to mess it up!

    • When you “process” the jar for room temperature storage, you use a hot water bath. Check out the Ball canning guide on their website for the ins & outs of canning & preserving.

  • Barbara

    I made this recipe, but with green peppers. My jelly turned out kinda hard what did i do wrong? Maybe cooked too long?

  • Michelle W

    LOVE this recipe. I just made it because we had a bumper crop of jalapneos and cherry peppers.

    I can’t wait to go get a block of cream cheese and some Wheat Thins (because, let’s face it, that’s awesome). I think this would be great on pork chops too. I’m very excited.

    Also, my first time canning (I always go with freezer jam but my freezer is full, so I went for it). So far so good.


  • Emily

    LOVE this recipe! I have made it 3 times using a variety of peppers and jalapenos!

  • Mekel

    Just made my first batch of this…both Hubby and I did a taste test and can’t wait until it sets up so we can eat more of it. We’ll see if we keep all the jars for us or if we are willing to share :). Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Deanna Hallman

    Folks, you are missing out if you’re not utilizing your pepper jelly with grilled ribs, grilled sausage or fried chicken & waffles!! OMG, you’ll never just settle for serving this jelly at Christmas over a block of cheese!!

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