My Extra Hot Pepper Jelly is made using spicier peppers that rank higher on the Scoville scale for you guys who can take the heat (all others ~ see my regular hot pepper jelly!)
Maybe you’re like me ~ I love hot pepper jelly but it’s so rarely hot enough for me, there’s usually too much sweet and not enough heat and it’s all sort of blah…I mean, what’s the point of hot pepper jelly without a little tongue-punching jolt of heat? I came up with extra hot pepper jelly to solve the problem.
You NEED extra hot pepper jelly for fall and winter cheese plates, trust me!!
Are you into hot peppers? They’re trending lately driven by a growing interest in spicy foods and fun new flavor experiences. We all love Mexican, Thai, and Indian food and that’s fueling the demand for super hot peppers and hot sauces. In the last few decades, new, even hotter varieties have been developed and hot pepper fans are growing their own or seeking them out in local farmers markets, which is where I scored my collection of super-duper hot peppers for my jelly.
is extra hot pepper jelly safe to eat?
For healthy people, spicy food’s not dangerous as long as you use common sense. Those extreme challenges you hear about in the news are in a different category: eating extremely hot food in large quantities on a dare is never a good idea.
But spreading a little extra hot pepper jelly on creamy goat cheese? That would be a very good idea.
what you’ll need for extra hot pepper jelly
This recipe is similar to my regular hot pepper jelly, except that I’m using hotter peppers, and less of them. With this basic recipe you can use any variety or mix of varieties of hot peppers.
- hot peppers
- I used a colorful combination of extra hot peppers. You can use one type, or mix and match like I did. The final heat level of your jelly will depend on your pepper choices. You can moderate the heat by using less peppers in your batch of jelly.
- For your first batch I recommend commonly available hot peppers like Thai, Cayenne, and Habanero peppers. Even Serrano peppers will give you a bigger kick than Jalapeño.
- For future batches you can experiment with adding Ghost peppers or Scotch Bonnets. The hotter the pepper, the less of it you will need.
- I do not recommend using Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Scorpion and other mega-hot peppers in your jelly. These peppers are dangerously hot and are not worth the risk.
- apple cider vinegar
- this provides the all important tang for this hot pepper jelly, an essential component of the addictive flavor profile. If you need to use white vinegar you can, but I prefer the flavor of apple cider vinegar.
- sugar not only provides the essential sweet/hot flavor of this jelly, it also helps to temper the heat of the peppers.
- this recipe is formulated to work with Sure Jell no sugar needed dry pectin (it comes in the pink box.) This particular pectin makes this hot pepper jelly recipe foolproof. If you use another type of pectin I can’t guarantee the results.
how hot are hot peppers?
All hot peppers get their spiciness from a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is a natural chemical found in chili peppers, jalapeños, habaneros, and others. The spiciness of hot peppers is measured on the Scoville Heat Scale: the higher the Scoville rating, the hotter the pepper. For example, bell peppers have a Scoville rating of 0, while some of the hottest peppers, like the Carolina Reaper, can have a Scoville rating of over 2 million! Here’s a list of some of the most commonly known hot peppers that rank at the top of the Scoville Scale:
- Carolina Reaper (1,641,183 to 2,200,000 SHU)
- Trinidad Scorpion (1,200,000 to 2,009,231 SHU)
- Komodo Dragon Pepper (1,400,000 to 1,500,000 SHU)
- Naga Viper (1,349,000 to 1,382,118 SHU)
- Ghost Pepper (800,000 to 1,041,427 SHU)
- 7 Pot Douglah (800,000 to 1,853,986 SHU)
- Devil’s Tongue (125,000 to 325,000 SHU)
- Scotch Bonnet (100,000 to 350,000 SHU)
- Habanero Pepper (100,000 to 350,000 SHU)
- Thai Chili (50,000 to 225,000 SHU)
- Cayenne Pepper (30,000 to 50,000 SHU)
- Serrano Pepper (10,000 to 23,000 SHU)
- Jalapeño Pepper (2,500 to 8,000 SHU)
where can you find extra hot peppers?
I found mine at our local farmers market. You can find some of the more common varieties like Habanero and Thai peppers at good grocery stores. Check online retailers like Amazon , Melsissa’s, The Ghost Pepper Store, and others.
safety rules for handling super hot peppers
When I made my extra hot pepper jelly I did not experience any discomfort from the fumes, but a friend who was visiting did. Different people respond differently to hot peppers, so keep that in mind when prepping and cooking them.
- Wear gloves and eye protection to avoid skin and eye irritation.
- Don’t touch your face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Work in a well-ventilated area to disperse the fumes. Open your kitchen windows if possible, and turn on your exhaust fan.
- Use utensils to handle peppers instead of bare hands.
- Avoid inhaling pepper fumes and consider wearing a mask.
- Clean tools and surfaces in contact with peppers.
- Wash hands thoroughly, including under nails, after handling peppers.
- In case of sensitive skin or eye contact, rinse with cold water and seek medical help if needed.
how to safely serve and eat very hot peppers
- Never plunk down a jar of very hot pepper jelly on an appetizer platter without warning your guests! Make sure to label it and warn people who might be sensitive to hot foods. And keep away from pets and children (it looks innocent but packs a punch.)
- Start small: If you’re not accustomed to spicy foods, start with milder peppers and gradually work your way up to hotter varieties.
- Moderation: Consume very hot peppers in moderation to avoid extreme discomfort or digestive issues. I recommend taking a small taste of a hot pepper jelly or hot sauce to check the heat level. If it feels uncomfortably intense, proceed with caution.
- Know your limits: Be aware of your tolerance for spiciness and stop eating if the heat becomes too intense.
- Stay hydrated: Avoid drinking water alone to combat the heat from hot peppers, as water can spread the capsaicin and make the burning sensation worse. Instead, opt for dairy-based or creamy liquids, as they tend to be more effective at soothing the heat.
hot pepper jelly faqs
- Is it dangerous to eat very hot peppers?
- It’s generally safe to eat hot peppers in moderation, but in excess, they can be dangerous. Remember that different people have different tolerances for hot food. If you’re not used to it, consuming lots of extremely hot peppers can lead to stomach pain, headaches, vomiting, or even hospitalization.
- Can eating ghost pepper kill you?
- According to The Cleveland Clinic: “The hottest peppers, like ghost peppers, can kill you. But it’s highly unlikely,” states Dr. Capin. “You would have to eat a huge amount of them. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would have to eat 3 pounds of ghost peppers to cause a deadly reaction.”
- Does straining out the pepper bits from hot pepper jelly make it milder?
- Straining out the peppers from hot pepper jelly can help reduce its spiciness to some extent, but it won’t make it significantly milder. The primary source of spiciness in hot pepper jelly comes from the capsaicin present in the peppers. While removing the physical pieces of peppers can reduce the overall concentration of capsaicin, it doesn’t eliminate it entirely.
- How can I reduce the heat in this jelly?
- If you want to make your hot pepper jelly milder, it’s more effective to use milder pepper varieties from the start or to adjust the recipe by using fewer hot peppers or adding more sweet ingredients, such as sugar or fruit, to balance the heat. Try my Easy Hot Pepper Jelly Recipe or my Sweet Hot Red Pepper Jam for a milder version.
- Are there any creative uses for super hot pepper jelly beyond typical applications?
- What is the best cheese to serve with hot pepper jelly?
- I like to use mild creamy cheese to balance the heat of the jelly. I love soft goat cheese and cream cheese, but also triple cream, Brie, or Camembert cheeses. The fat in the cheeses (like the sugar in the jelly) tempers the heat of the peppers. I like to use hot pepper jelly to top a baked Brie for the holidays.
Extra Hot Pepper Jelly
- food processor
- non reactive pot such as stainless steel or enameled cast iron.
- 5 oz extra hot peppers such as Thai, Cayenne, Serrano, or Habanero. If you want to use even hotter peppers like Ghost Peppers, Devil's Tongue, or Scotch Bonnets, use 2.5 ounces. I weigh the peppers before trimming.
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups sugar
- 1.75 ounce Sure Jell no sugar needed pectin (in the pink box)
- Make sure your work space is well ventilated and keep pets and children away from the area. Wash the peppers and trim the stem ends and discard. Put the peppers in a food processor and pulse them until they are finely minced. Be careful, the fumes will be strong so don't breath them in directly, and make sure to wash your hands and tools well after working with hot peppers. (See post for detailed safety instructions.)
- Put the minced peppers into a heavy bottomed pot. Add the vinegar and sugar to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the pot up to a boil. Once the mixture is at a full rolling boil, stir in the pectin. Bring the mixture back to a full boil, stirring almost constantly. Then set the timer and let it boil for one minute.
- Ladle the hot liquid into clean jars (it will be thin) and set aside to cool before capping and refrigerating. The jelly will start to set as it cools.
- If your pepper bits float to the top, you can give the jelly an occasional stir as it cools to distribute them more evenly. (Alternatively you can cap the jars and flip or shake them occasionally to distribute the peppers.)
- When the jelly is cool, refrigerate the jars. They will thicken further as they chill. The jelly will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.
- Serve with plenty of creamy goat cheese or cream cheese, and crackers or grilled bread.