If you’ve never had a jar of Jalapeño Pepper Jelly in your house, you are seriously missing out! While this might seem like an odd little condiment (okay, it kinda is), the combo of sweet and spicy lends itself to a ton of uses! Jalapeño Jelly is a perfect match for charcuterie boards, cheese-based appetizers, fancy grilled cheese sandwiches, and even super flavorful glazes and marinades for meat (we particularly love it on pork).
Like all jams and jellies, Jalapeño Jelly is a breeze to make and the perfect recipe for a beginning canner. This recipe only requires four ingredients (five if you’re feeling fancy), comes together in less than an hour, and makes 5 half-pint jars—which are great for your kitchen but also make great gifts. Let’s get canning!
What does jalapeño pepper jelly taste like?
Jalapeño has that glorious sweet and spicy flavor profile that you often see in foods like beef jerky, barbecue sauce, and hot wings.
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What is this hot pepper jelly recipe made of?
This recipe is perfect for beginning canners because it only requires four ingredients (plus an additional optional ingredient). Here’s what you’ll need:
- Green jalapeños—The heat level of jalapeno peppers tends to vary based on growing conditions. We’ve had some that barely taste spicier than a bell pepper, and others that make your brow sweat with one tiny piece! It’s hard to tell how spicy a jalapeño is just from looking at it, so we’ve had the best luck just taste testing them before cooking with them.
- Apple cider vinegar—Since jalapeños are low acid foods, we’ll need to add some acid into the jelly to make it safe for water bath canning and preservation.
- Sugar—You’re looking to use just regular ole sugar here!
- Ball® RealFruit Liquid Pectin—Liquid pectin is a great option for beginning canners since it’s pre-measured, premixed, and ready to go. No worries about getting your jelly to set with liquid pectin.
- Green food coloring (optional)—The natural color of this jelly is a light olive green, but if you want to match the color of a fresh jalapeño, a few drops of green food coloring can help you get there.
How do I make jalapeño pepper jelly?
This recipe is so simple you’re going to be blown away. You can have a batch of this finished in under an hour! Here’s how:
- Prepare a water bath canner. Heat jars in simmering hot water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
- Cut off stems of peppers. Remove seeds and membranes if desired to reduce the spiciness. Purée peppers in a food processor or blender with 1 cup cider vinegar until smooth. Do not strain purée.
- Combine purée with the remaining 1 cup cider vinegar and sugar in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat. Boil 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the Ball®RealFruit™ Liquid Pectin, immediately squeezing entire contents from pouches. Continue to boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add food coloring, if using, and skim foam if necessary.
- Ladle hot jalapeño jelly into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band until fit is fingertip tight.
- Place jars in a boiling water canner and process for 10 minutes, adjusting for high altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when the center is pressed.
We love this jalapeño jelly recipe because it requires almost zero prep of the peppers—meaning you can keep your hands free from the spicy pepper juices that can cause irritation. That being said, we still recommend you wear gloves when dealing with hot peppers. And make sure to wash your hands very well when finished.
How do you know if your jalapeño jelly is set?
Since Ball®RealFruit™ Liquid Pectin is pretty much no-fail, you should get a good gel set easily on your spicy pepper jelly. That being said, double-checking never hurts! Here’s how:
When you start to cook your jelly, place a small saucer in the freezer. Test for gel by placing a small spoonful of jelly on the saucer. Let the jelly cool, then run your finger through the puddle—if it is the texture of jelly, you are ready to can! If it is still too thin, continue to boil hard, testing every minute until it’s the right consistency.
What are the best jars to use for hot pepper jelly?
We used classic Ball® Quilted Crystal Half-Pint Jars here—we love that look for all classic jam and jelly recipes. Any Ball® Half-Pint Jar will do the trick though!
Always prep one or two more jars than a recipe calls for. It’s easy to put jars back on the shelf if you don’t need them, but hard to scramble to get jars prepped if you happen to have extra jelly and need a jar to hold it!
How do I make sure my hot pepper jelly is safe to eat?
We get it! Canning can be intimidating, but by using a tested and approved recipe (like this one that came directly from the makers of Ball® home canning products) and following the directions to a T, you can be sure that what you’re making is safe for you and your family.
How do you eat hot pepper jelly?
There are so many ways to use jalapeño pepper jelly in your kitchen! Here are some of our faves:
- Pour it over a softened brick of cream cheese or goat cheese and serve it with crackers for an easy and decadent appetizer!
- Brush it onto grilled pork or chicken for a wonderful sweet and spicy glaze.
- Spread it onto bread and then use sharp cheddar cheese to make a fancy grilled cheese.
- Add it to a cheese board.
- Thin it out a bit and use it as a marinade for meats.
Do you refrigerate pepper jelly?
Once properly processed, this jalapeño jelly is shelf-stable. It will last on your shelf for at least 18 months (or longer, but be aware you might see a reduction in the quality of the flavor, color, or texture). Like all preserves, pepper jelly will need to be refrigerated once opened.