If you like red pepper jelly but want a bit more of a spicy punch, this jalapeno pepper jelly will be your new best friend.
It’s sweet, sticky, and spicy – in my opinion, the only thing it’s missing is smokey (my flavor trifecta). But I can tell you that it goes great with smoked cheeses! If this is your first time making pepper jelly, you are in for a delightful surprise. (spoiler alert, it’s fantastic!)
1. First, Choose fresh ripe Jalapeno peppers
The trick to getting a delicious jalapeno jelly is to ensure that your peppers are fresh. Soft, overripe, old, and dried hot peppers will not yield a good product. You want your jalapeño peppers freshly picked or at least pump without any lines on the surface and no soft spots.
The best way to get fresh peppers is to grow them. Every year, we grow several plants to make pickled jalapenos (my husband’s #1 canning request) and copycat cowboy candy (sugared, sweet, and unique!).
If you decide to grow your own, we especially like the variety Jalafuego. It grows 6-inch peppers with glossy dark green skin and slightly higher heat than your regular old jalapeno. They also grow abundantly, and I have grown them in Canada zone 3a, a very short season, which tells you how well they grow.
- Learn More: The spiciness of jalapenos can vary wildly due to a number of reasons. We have a full guide on the heat of jalapenos including ways to increase the heat of your growing peppers.
2. read over safe water bath canning practices before you start
- Wear rubber gloves while handling the jalapeno peppers. The peppers are hot and can cause serious skin irritation.
- Be sure to sanitize everything your pepper jelly will come in contact with from the jars to the tools that you will be using. This ensures that all your work will not spoil and go to waste.
- You MUST use a boiling water canner. Old-fashioned methods such as inverting jars to create a seal are no longer recommended as safe canning practices.
- While the peppers, sugar, and vinegar are cooking, resist the urge to get your nose in there to peek around. The mixture is quite acrid and can make you cough and make your eyes water, so be careful.
- It’s also a good idea to open the windows to allow some fresh air in while you are canning with vinegar and hot peppers.
3. Gather ingredients Before You Start To ensure you have everything you need
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 10-12 large jalapenos
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar (you can use white vinegar)
- 6 cups of sugar
- 1.5 pouches of liquid pectin
You can use green bell peppers in this recipe in place of the red, it’s not a problem, but the final product will be an olive green color.
We’ve made this recipe with all green peppers and it tastes great, but it’s not as visually appealing as the red pepper version.
4. clean your jars, lids, and prep area, and get your water bath canner boiling
- First, clean your mason jars and lids. Clean your jars in hot soapy water and rinse well. Set up a steamer rack in a 16-quart pot or water bath canner. Place the jars on the rack and fill the pot with water, enough to cover the jars.
- Bring the water to a boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs when you’re ready to use them.
- While the jars are boiling, be sure to clean your prep area and tools.
5. Clean and finely chop your Peppers
- Clean your peppers in cold water and a splash of vinegar. Swish them around for a minute or two and then rinse with cold water. Give them all a soft pat dry with a clean tea towel or piece of paper towel.
- Finely chop the bell peppers and jalapenos in a food processor fitted with a fine chopping blade. You can also use a knife and a cutting board, it works the same way! You will want to ensure that the pepper bits are quite small. Large chunks of pepper do not look good in the final product.
- Use ALL the excess liquid in your food processor that is left over after the peppers have been minced. That juice will help the jelly set.
- Add the peppers to a large stockpot. You need a large pot because the peppers will foam during the boil and you do not want the sugar mixture to boil over on your stove.
Tip: You can remove the seeds and innards if you want to reduce the heat in this jelly. My favorite way to make this is to leave the seeds in!
6. Cook the Jalapeno pepper jelly To a rolling boil For 10 Full Minutes
- Add to the pot of chopped peppers the vinegar, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil for 10 full minutes, stirring often. You want to ensure that the mixture is not sticking or burning.
- Add the liquid pectin and boil for 1 more minute.
Tip – The recipe calls for a package and half of the liquid pectin. You can store the leftover pectin in the fridge for up to a week to use in other recipes.
7. Process the Jars of jelly for 10 full minutes
- Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the hot jelly to within 1/4-inch of the top of clean, hot jars. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth. Place lids and screw bands on each jar and twist until finger tight. Process the jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. ( 250 ml jars will be processed for 10 minutes, and 500 ml jars will be processed for 15 minutes)
- Adjust processing time for altitude.
- Once removed from the water bath canner, let the jelly rest undisturbed at room temperature for 24 hours to fully set.
- Once cooled be sure to test the lids. Use your finger and press down on the middle of the lid. If there is any give and the lid pops back up you do not have a proper seal. You can keep these jars in your fridge for up to two weeks, but they cannot be used for long-term storage.
8. Store the hot pepper jelly for up to a year
The jelly will last up to a year if stored in a dark, cool, dry place. Once opened, you should finish the jelly in two weeks.
This jelly recipe is excellent if you have a lot of peppers you need to use up. It will last well into next summer!
Everyone LOVEs this jalapeno pepper jelly recipe and it’s a great addition to any cracker or cheese plate during the holidays. It also makes a great DIY gift.
9. Pair your Jalapeno pepper jelly with cheeses, crackers, and meats
Like we said before, spicy jelly goes excellent with cheeses of all kinds, but especially smoked cheeses. We also like to add it to the charcuterie board with red pepper jelly during the holidays – so festive. A block of softened cream cheese smothered in pepper jelly makes a fantastic cracker dip!
The jelly also makes a wonderful glaze for ham and chicken!
Looking for More Ways to Preserve the Harvest?
- How to Make Tasty Crispy Pickles
- How to Make the Most Amazing Rhubarb Jam Without Sugar
- Make Smoked Salt In Your Own Backyard
- How To Clean Pumpkin Seeds For Roasting And Snacking!
- How to dehydrate peppers right at home
- Easy peach preserves for the winter
- Beets, glorious pickled beets!
- 2 large red bell pepper
- 10-12 large jalapenos
- 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar (you can use white vinegar)
- 6 cups of sugar
- 1.5 pouch of liquid pectin
- First, clean your jam jars and lids. Next, wash your mason jars in hot soapy water and rinse. This recipe will make 6 - 250ml jars or three 500ml jars.
- Bring the water to a full boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes to sanitize.
- Clean your peppers in cold water with a splash of vinegar. Swish them around for a minute, and then rinse with cold water. Pat dry with a clean tea towel.
- Process the bell peppers and jalapenos in a food processor fitted with a fine chopping blade. You can also use a knife and a cutting board; it works the same way! You will want to ensure that the pepper bits are pretty small. Large chunks of pepper do not look good in the final product.
- Add the peppers to a large stockpot. You need a large pot because the peppers will foam quite aggressively during the boil.
- Add to the pot the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil for ten minutes, stirring often. You want to ensure the mixture is not sticking and burning to the bottom.
- Add the entire contents of the liquid pectin and boil for one more minute.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the hot jelly within 1/4-inch of the top of clean, hot jars. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth. Place lids and screw bands on each jar and twist until finger tight. Process the jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes for 250 ml jars or 15 minutes for 500 ml jars.
- Adjust processing time for altitude.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 96 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 52Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 0g