My Sweet Hot Red Pepper Jam recipe is an awe inspiring ruby red color with an intense sweet and spicy flavor. Serve it to friends with cheese and crackers, save it for your favorite turkey sandwich, or water bath can it and get a head start on those holiday gifts.
Hot pepper jams and jellies have a cult following, and I’m a card carrying member 🙂
I love hot pepper jelly with crackers and cheese, slathered on a turkey sandwich, as part of a luxe grilled cheese, topping a burger, as a glaze for chicken and fish…the possibilities are boundless. They make the cutest darned holiday gifts, too, especially when you put them in pretty Weck jars. These jars are actual canning jars as well, so think about making a few batches to give away to your bestest buds this holiday season.
An important difference between making jam and canning jam…
Canning jam can sometimes be tricky, but making jams and jellies is definitely not. People often confuse the two and avoid it entirely, which is such a shame, especially in summer when there is so much fabulous produce out there just begging to be made into jellies and jam.
- Making jam is the simple process of cooking down fruit until it becomes thick. It can be done with or without the aid of pectin.
- Pectin is simply a natural substance in fruit that aids thickening. Some fruit, like apples, have more of it. Some fruit, like strawberries, have less. Commercial pectin is a concentrated fruit pectin in a powder or liquid form.
- If you don’t want to use pectin, simply cook down your fruit mixture with whatever sweetener and flavorings you like, until it becomes thick. This happens through evaporation. If you want to be precise, jam sets at 220F, so you can check with a candy making thermometer. (If you live above sea level, subtract 2 degrees for every 1000 feet.)
- Once any jam is made, it can be kept in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks, or frozen for up to a year. I make lots of small batch refrigerator jams and I love it because it allows me to experiment with all kinds of flavors and ingredients.
- When you make small batch jam you can experiment at will without worrying about whether it is safe to can.
- For the simplest of all jam making, try my 3 Minute Microwave Jam!
- Canning jam is the process of making it shelf stable through water bath or pressure canning. To safely can jam it has to have a specific ph balance that is acidic enough for safe preservation, so you can’t can all recipes. You should follow recipes from reputable sources, and follow them exactly.
- You need to have all the equipment necessary to do the actual canning, and you need to be able to sterilize your equipment.
- This recipe for red pepper jam is formulated to be canned safely, so feel free to do so.
This hot pepper jam can be made from start to finish in 30 minutes!
A food processor makes quick work of the chopping for this recipe. Pulse your machine rather than running it continuously; this give you control over exactly how fine you want your peppers. Scrape down the sides to get everything evenly chopped. Using all red peppers, both sweet and hot, gives this jam its glorious color.
The combination of both sweet and hot peppers is key to this jam, and it’s that combination, along with the tang of the vinegar, that makes this pepper jam so irresistible.
What you’ll need to make this sweet hot red pepper jam ~
- You’ll need a food processor to process the peppers finely and evenly, I love my classic Cuisinart Food Processor, it’s been a workhorse for me.
- A large pot for cooking your jam. The larger the pot the shorter the cooking process will be. I use an enameled cast iron pot for this. The surface doesn’t stick, and is non reactive.
- Jars for your jam, I love Weck jars. They can be used for canning as well as small batch freezer jam recipes.
How to serve sweet hot red pepper jam ~
Now that you’ve got your jars of crimson jam there are so many ways you can use it. But first you’ve got to try it the old fashioned way…on top of a block of cream cheese with your favorite crackers. If you’re feeling flush, spoon it on top of Brie or Camembert. Any soft, spreadable mild flavored soft cheese works beautifully with this jam.
Provide plain crackers, I like Water Crackers. (Anything with too much flavor will compete with the jam.)
I have a passion for hot pepper jams, so of course you’ll find lots of other recipes on the blog.
- Super Easy Hot Pepper Jelly is one of the most popular recipes on the blog, and lives up to its name, it’s quick and foolproof.
- Habanero Nectarine Jam and Habanero Peach Jam ~ make one of them before the summer’s out!
- Apricot Jalapeño Jam ~ jalapeños make this jam a little milder than the above.
- Hot Pepper Cranberry Jam is perfect for the winter season.
- Rosé Wine Hot Pepper Jelly when you’re feeling posh. This is a great one for holiday parties.
Red Pepper Jam
- 3 large red bell peppers
- 2 hot red peppers such as cayenne or red jalapeño
- 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 4 Tbsp powdered pectin
- 2/3 cup cider vinegar
- Whisk together 1/4 cup of the sugar with the pectin and set aside.
- Seed and rough chop the red bell peppers. Trim and cut the hot peppers in large slices. Put all the peppers in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. I scrape down the side of the bowl once. Transfer to a large pot with a wide bottom, such as a soup pot or enameled cast iron pot.
- Add the red pepper flakes, butter, salt, vinegar, and the rest of the sugar to the pot with the peppers, stir to combine.
- Bring the pot to a full boil over high heat, stirring often. Once the whole contents of the pot have come to a full rolling boil, set a timer and continue to boil for 5 minutes.
- Slowly add in the pectin/sugar while stirring. When the mixture has come back to a full boil, boil for another 4 minutes, or until it is starting to thicken. You’ll notice the foaming will start to subside and the mixture will turn slightly darker and glossy. This will not be it’s final consistency, it will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Fill clean jars with the jam and let cool before refrigerating.
- If you are canning, fill sterilized jars with the hot jam, and then close the lids to finger tight. Lower them into your hot water bath canner, making sure the water is at least one inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a boil and process for 5 minutes.
- Refrigerated jam will last up to 3 weeks, and canned jam will last up to a year.
- Makes 3 cups of jam
Questions and Reviews
I love this recipe and it always gets rave reviews when I share the jam with friends and famiy. My question concerns the measurement of the peppers. We grow our own and they are not a uniform size so I always estimate what ‘6 large peppers’ looks like. BUT I also know that consistent proportions of fruit to sugar and liquid is important for maintaining the ph as well as interacting with the pectin. I wonder if you, or anyone else, has measured the amount of peppers. Meanwhile I will continue to ‘wing it’. Thanks for all you fantastic recipes!
I Love red pepper jam alit! However now as a diabetic I can’t have all that sugar. I’d like to substitute for this with monk fruit sweetner. Would this work do you think?
It should work, but only if you use a pectin made for low or no sugar. I like SureJell for low or no sugar, in the (pink box)
I problem-solved this measurement issue since I wanted to get a batch of jam in the jars TODAY. I weighed my biggest pepper that seemed like the same size as I would buy in the store-6 oz. I figured I would need a total of 36oz for my double batch so kept weighing peppers til I got to 36 oz. I was too impatient and forgot to actually measure the total in cups! Next time. The jam turned out just fine.
How is ph/acidity tested for this? for safety?
I made a batch of pepper jam and most of the particle moved to the top, do you have any tips on how to keep it mixed up so the pepper pieces are throughout the jam? Yours is perfect!
I cook it down until it’s quite thick, Cheer, and the peppers stay dispersed for me.
Inverting and reversing the jars several times while cooling helps to disperse the pepper particles.
If I wanted to can the jam how much headspace is need in the jars?
I leave 1/4 inch Rick.
Ah, well, I will do that next time! Thank you, can’t say how much I love your site!! My daily for sure!