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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
- 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
- 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.