Super Easy Hot Pepper Jelly

Hot pepper jelly in glass canning jars.

Easy Hot Pepper Jelly is one of my favorite recipes. This small batch refrigerator recipe makes use of both sweet and hot peppers for a colorful, confetti-like look and an intense spicy kick. It’s going to be your new favorite appetizer!

Hot pepper jelly in canning jars

everyone needs a great hot pepper jelly recipe ~ and this one is so easy!

I’m excited about this recipe because it was truly easy and it turned out so well. And come on, you can’t start out the upcoming appetizer season without a good hot pepper jelly recipe. Paired with soft goat or cream cheese and crackers it’s an epic experience. It draws people in like a flies, and causes normally discreet friends and family to shovel, gorge, and wolf. All conversation stops until the plate is licked clean. It’s not pretty, but it is delicious.

peppers at the farmer's market

hot pepper jelly doesn’t have to be complicated

If you already know and love hot pepper jellies and jams I think you’ll be excited about this one too. I’ve kept the steps to an absolute minimum.. Maybe it’s just me, but the directions that come in those pectin boxes drive me crazy. They are so convoluted and there are so many charts! I bypassed all the charts, and I’m giving you a quick way to get hot pepper jelly into your belly asap. 🙂  And then you can customize it to whatever hot and sweet peppers you have on hand. If you’re the canning type, can up a bunch of it, it will make fantastic holiday gifts. I made enough to last in the fridge for a few weeks of gorging.

colorful peppers

I love peppers of all kinds!

I’ve blathered on about my love of peppers before, so I’ll keep it short. I just think they are not only beautiful, but so versatile. Mid to late summer is the best time to find them at farmer’s markets, but of course you can get them year round in the supermarket. I go crazy picking out a rainbow of colors. For this jelly I used a handful of jalapenos for the heat, and an assortment of bell peppers for sweetness and color. All it takes is a few pulses of the food processor to get them finely minced.

jalapenos, minced

this recipe keeps the peppers colorful and crunchy

But what I love most about this recipe is that there’s no long cooking of the peppers. I just bring the pot to a boil, stir in the pectin, and let it cook for 1 minute. That’s it. All the recipes I researched cooked the peppers for a full 10 minutes before adding the pectin. I took a chance and sidestepped all that. It was perfect. And this way the peppers stay fresh and bright.

cloesup photo of colorful hot pepper jelly

working with jalapeños

It’s not an exact science. Some jalapeños are hot, some are not so much. There’s no real way to tell until you taste. But since the whole point of hot pepper jelly is the heat, I suggest erring on the more is better side. For some serious heat you can substitute habanero  or Serrano peppers.

  • The heat in jalapeños peppers is concentrated in the seeds and inner ‘ribs’. Keep them for a hotter result, and for a milder jelly, remove them and just use the green flesh.
  • Jalapeños get hotter as they get older, so the smoother and glossier the pepper is, the milder it will tend to be. If the pepper is striated (has fine white lines on it) and slightly wrinkled, expect more heat.
  • To test the heat of your peppers, slice one open and touch the tip of your tongue to the exposed area.
  • After working with hot peppers, be sure to wash your hands well; the spicy oils can burn if you touch your hands to sensitive areas like your eyes or nose.

A jar of Hot Pepper Jelly with spoon


tips for making super easy hot pepper jam:

  • IMPORTANT — Make sure you buy the right pectin for this, I used this one which is specifically for lower sugar jams and jellies. It really does make a difference is how reliably this recipe ‘jells’.

sure jell pectin

  • Use any color sweet peppers you like, all red, all green, or all yellow make a pretty jam, too.
  • If you really like it hot, use Serrano or Habanero peppers in place of the jalapeños.
  • This recipe is formulated as a small batch recipe, I haven’t measured the ph to insure that it’s safe to can.
  • For longer storage you can freeze your jam. For freezing, be sure you leave some empty space at the top when filling your jars to allow to expansion in the freezer.
Super Easy Hot Pepper Jelly
3.45 from 558 votes

Super Easy Hot Pepper Jelly

This easy small batch refrigerator recipe makes use of both sweet and hot peppers for a colorful, confetti-like look and and an intense spicy kick.  It's going to be your new favorite appetizer!
Course Appetizer, Jam, Jelly
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 64 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 8 jalapeño peppers
  • 12 oz assorted colorful bell peppers weighed after trimming
  • 2 cups white vinegar (or cider vinegar)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1.75 ounce box no sugar needed pectin


  • Wash the jalapenos and trim the stem end off. Remove the seeds if you want a milder jelly. I recommend using the whole peppers, seeds and all. Give them a rough chop and then pulse them in the food processor until they are finely minced. Be careful, the fumes will be strong, and make sure to wash your hands well after working with hot peppers. Put the peppers into a heavy bottomed pot.
  • Wash and trim the bell peppers, and remove the inner ribs and seeds. Give them a rough chop and pulse them in a food processor until finely minced. You may want to do this in batches, because I find you get a more even chop if you don't crowd the bowl. Add the bell peppers to the pot with the jalapenos.
  • Add the vinegar and sugar to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the pot up to a boil, and then add the pectin. Boil, stirring, for one minute.
  • Ladle the hot liquid into clean jars and set aside to cool before capping and refrigerating.
  • If your pepper bits float to the top, you can give the jelly an occasional stir as it cools to distribute them more evenly.
  • When the jelly is cool, cap and refrigerate the jars. They will thicken as they cool, and even more as they chill.
  • Serve with plenty of creamy goat or cream cheese, and crackers or grilled slices of baguette.


The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

e book



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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    This looks amazing!!

  • Reply
    Beth @ Tasty Yummies
    August 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    OMG I love this, what a wonderful recipe and so easy! Pinning for later, for sure!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Wow and no canning! I love it! So colorful and I’m sure delicious.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Am going on my Friday visit to our out door market tomorrow and have had my eyes on the hot peppers there that is now in abundance and at great prices. Have been wondering what to make with them and we do love HEAT, so this will be make along with our Jalapeno poppers we have planned to make. So I can load up and know that none will go to waste. Yum…..can’t wait.

    • Reply
      August 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      I’m planning to make some poppers this weekend, too, yum!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Sue, what a wonderful recipe, love the way this looks, now I can make my own. I’m always buying this at Trader Joes for appetizers.

    • Reply
      August 28, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      I haven’t seen it at TJs, but I do find that store bought versions are usually pretty wimpy in the heat department.

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    August 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

    wow..I wish I could taste this! Those peppers are so gorgeous, esp. the amazing purple one.

    • Reply
      August 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      The purple ones are my favorite but guess what? of all the peppers, the purple ones lose their color when heated. Bummer!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Love the ‘blast thru’ on cooking, and high-so-high color of the peppers in this jelly!! Thanks!!

    • Reply
      August 28, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Thanks Savvy, I really try to do away with useless steps in my recipes. This jelly came out perfectly, I hope you try it!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2014 at 9:48 am

    This looks great, Sue! I’ll make some up right away. A note on the jalpenos…I found out from our Mexican gardener just the other day that if the jalapeno has brown striations on it and not so smooth, the heat will be much higher. If it is completely smooth and a lighter green, it will be milder. I handed him a gallon bag of jalapenos that I had just picked and he noticed right away which ones would be hotter.

    • Reply
      August 28, 2014 at 10:41 am

      I got mine from the farmer’s market and I found them to be a lot hotter than the supermarket variety, too. I think they may be breeding them for size, not heat. Not sure.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    August 28, 2014 at 9:44 am

    You are so right Sue – everybody loves this wonderful appetizer. It is one of my personal favorites and I’ve always wanted to make hot pepper jelly – so this one goes on the list … again! Beautiful peppers, beautiful jelly, beautiful photos! Have a great holiday weekend 🙂

    • Reply
      August 28, 2014 at 10:42 am

      Thanks Tricia!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    August 28, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Your jelly looks so flavorful with those gorgeous peppers, perfect to serve with a cheese plate!

    • Reply
      August 28, 2014 at 9:11 am

      Thanks Laura — I was envisioning a confetti jelly with a clear base and all the color visible, but the gold color is pretty nice, too!

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