Sweet Hot Red Pepper Jam

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sweet hot red pepper jam in a jam pot with crackers

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.

red pepper jam with cheese and crackers

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.  

homemade red pepper jam in small jars with spoons

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

  • 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!


red pepper jam on a small wheel of Brie cheese with crackers

Canning 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.

making sweet hot red pepper jam

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.


processing red peppers for hot pepper jam

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 addictive.  

cooking sweet hot red pepper jam in a large pot

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.

weck tulip canning jar


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.)

sweet hot red pepper jam on cheese

I have a passion for hot pepper jams, so of course you’ll find lots of other recipes on the blog. 

sweet hot red pepper jam in a jam pot with crackers
Add to Your Recipe Box
3.09 from 23 votes

Red Pepper Jam

My Sweet Hot Red Pepper Jam recipe is an awe inspiring ruby red color with a intense sweet and spicy flavor.  Serve it to friends with cheese and crackers, save it for your favorite turkey sandwich, or can it and get a head start on those holiday gifts.
Course Appetizer, Jam
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes


  • 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


If you cannot find fresh red hot peppers, use more chili pepper flakes for heat.
Double or triple the recipe if you like, but be aware that the cooking times will be longer.


sweet hot red pepper jam pin

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    September 16, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    My chili and pepper plants have been on hyper drive lately, I’d like to make this as a freezer jam, I’m guessing that would work. What say you?

    • Reply
      September 16, 2019 at 5:35 pm

      Definitely! I actually prefer to make small batch freezer jams, so much easier, and I can make so many more variations that way.

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    August 12, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    My MIL used to make this all the time. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    August 12, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    I LOVE hot pepper jam Sue! I acn’t wait to try your recipe. Perfect for so many things! I especially love it on sandwiches!

  • Reply
    Tricia B
    August 12, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    5 stars
    You know I love this jam! One of my favorites for sure. Great idea to get started on holiday canning. I don’t think there can be a better gift! Pinned :)

  • Reply
    August 12, 2019 at 11:59 am

    In your directions, I can’t find where you have added the vinegsr.

    • Reply
      August 12, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      That’s in step 3, just added, thanks Judy :)

  • Reply
    August 12, 2019 at 11:54 am

    Can you use whole berry cranberry in a can for your hot pepper jam recipe ? I froze left over whole cranberry
    And wondered if I could use it in your recipe instead of fresh cranberries as its august now
    Thank you

    • Reply
      August 12, 2019 at 12:15 pm

      Well, you could sort of make a version of this by adding some minced hot peppers to your ready made sauce Deanna, I think that’s the best you could do with the canned stuff.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2019 at 10:02 am

    I know I’m supposed to be looking at the food (and I am!), but I can’t fail to notice all your beautiful silverware in your posts. Such a delightful touch :D

    • Reply
      August 12, 2019 at 10:03 am

      I’m so glad you notice those details…my stepmother gave me some of her old silverware a while back, and I’ve been having fun with it :)