Canning and Freezing

Make This Jalapeno Jelly For The Best Sweet Heat


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Jalapeno Jelly Recipe For The Best Sweet Heat

sweet heat on bread

Jalapeño Jelly is beautiful and mysteriously both sweet and hot. Around the holidays, it’s wildly popular on buffet tables, and you will often see people swarming around it for more. For a wonderful appetizer, pour it over a block of cream cheese and serve it with crisp crackers.

This amazing condiment makes coveted gifts, and it’s very easy to make. You can find fresh jalapeno and bell peppers in grocery stores year-round, so make it now when your garden is overflowing, and make it again for sharing and making people smile when Christmas rolls around!

I Used Powdered Pectin To Make One Perfect Batch

jalapeno jelly

This recipe uses powdered pectin, the type of pectin I have always used for my jellies and jams. There are recipes for jalapeno jelly that uses liquid pectin, but the two are not interchangeable. Each type needs a particular process to cook and set up.

If you want to know more about how each type works and how to substitute one type for another, here is an article from someone who has done their homework! I have no experience with liquid pectin, but there is a wealth of information if you take a little time to research and experiment! Our kitchen is also our laboratory!

This recipe also has a large amount of sugar and needs the amount listed to gel properly. The balance between sugar/acid/pectin is the key to success! We only eat small amounts of jelly and jam as an occasional treat, so I am not worried about the sugar content.

Many people try to avoid sugar for various reasons and look for sugar substitutes. I have not done the research to answer questions, but here is a pretty exhaustive post from someone who has compiled some excellent ideas for using alternative sweeteners for sugar.

Make A Batch Of Delicious Jalapeno Jelly With Just Five Ingredients

Jalapeno Jelly Ingredients

These peppers came from the farmer’s market, but luckily, they are available year-round in grocery stores, so any time is a good time to make some pepper jelly! This recipe uses about 12 jalapenos and one colorful bell pepper for contrast and visual appeal. I had a red bell pepper in my crisper drawer, so that’s what I used!

Be very careful when you cut fresh jalapeno peppers. They contain a substance called capsaicin which can really burn your eyes. Please DO NOT touch your eyes while cutting them until you have thoroughly washed your hands with soap and water! I learned it the hard way!

Capsaicin is one of the ingredients in some arthritis rubs. It is the substance that produces heat. The more seeds you leave in the jelly, the hotter it will be. Most of the heat is in the seeds, so I discarded them all because I was “born to be mild,” 😉 and I do not enjoy hot, spicy foods.

After washing and seeding the peppers, cut them into chunks, put them in a food processor with one cup of vinegar, and pulse until they are the sizes of confetti.

peppers in food processor

You will need to process the jelly in it for long-term storage. Before you start cooking the jelly, fill a second tall stockpot about two-thirds full of water and set it on the stove to boil. If you have hard water, add a tablespoon or so of vinegar, so lime does not form on the jars.

Measure and set aside the sugar because you will add it all at once when it’s time. Pour the pepper/vinegar mixture into a large stockpot and add the pectin and one more cup of vinegar. I always add a teaspoon of butter to help keep any foam from forming on the jelly, but it’s optional.

Bring the mixture to a boil, and then add all the sugar at once. Keep cooking and stirring the mixture until all the sugar dissolves. When the jelly comes to such a rolling boil, you cannot stir it down; set a timer for one minute, and keep cooking until the timer sounds; then remove the pot from the stove and place it on a rack or thickly folded towel.

Remove the jelly from the stove. It will be super hot, above boiling, so be careful! Ladle the molten jelly into the jars using a canning funnel. Place the two-part lid on each jar and tighten it securely by hand. Leave about one-half inch of headspace, don’t fill to the brim.

Use a canning jar lifter to put the jars into the boiling water bath and set a ten-minute timer. Be sure the water covers the jars by at least one inch.

When the time is up, use the canning jar lifter to remove the jars and put them on a rack or thick towel to cool. Allow the jars to sit without moving or touching until they are completely cool. You’ll hear the distinctive “ping” sound as the jars seal.

If one does not seal, freeze it or refrigerate it and use the jelly within about a month. Trust me; this will not be hard to do!

boiling water bath

There is usually just a smidge of jelly left in the pot, not enough to fill a jar, but perfect for sampling! That is the reward of being the chief jelly maker! Enjoy it!

sweet heat on bread

Here Are My Best Tips For A Successful Jelly-Making Session

Please read all the instructions before you begin, and be ready to follow them. They are simple but critical to success. Getting all your canning supplies together is important, too, to avoid a mad rush to the store. Once you have started a batch, it’s almost impossible to stop.

Everything you’ll need is readily available at grocery stores, hardware stores, online, and even Walmart. The things you’ll need are inexpensive and last a long time. And believe me, you’ll find lots of uses for jars, jar lifters, and canning funnels beyond making jam!

canning assembly line

Set up a little assembly line with everything you need close at hand. Once you’ve started, you won’t have time to run to the store! Here’s a list of equipment you’ll need.

Those are my supplies, and that’s my lovely canning towel. Probably a graduation gift from long ago. I keep it stashed in a handy drawer on my island, where I fill my canning jars.

Here’s a list of equipment you’ll need.

  • Two tall soup pots or a tall soup pot and a water bath canner (one for cooking jam, one for processing the jars)
  • Clean jelly jars you’ve washed in hot, soapy water and rinsed thoroughly or washed in the dishwasher.
  • Measuring cups and measuring spoons
  • A masher or chopper
  • A large measuring cup or bowl for sugar
  • Canning flats and rings
  • A ladle for putting the jam into the jars
  • A canning funnel
  • Tongs or a magnetic lid lifter to pick up flats from the hot water
  • A clean damp dishcloth to wipe off jar rims before applying the lids
  • A jar lifter to move filled in and out of the boiling water bath
  • A thick old towel
  • A cooling rack
Yield: 7 half pint jars

Jalapeno Jelly

jalapeno jelly

Jalapeño Jelly is beautiful and mysteriously both sweet and hot. Here is the recipe for you.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • Twelve average size jalapeno peppers
  • One bell pepper, preferrably yellow, orange, or red for contrast
  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 6 cups of sugar, measured and set aside. You will add it all at once.
  • One 1.75-ounce box of powdered pectin
  • One tsp butter to help prevent foam, optional.


  1. Wash and seed peppers, chop them into approximately one-inch chunks, and put them into a food processor.
  2. Add one cup of vinegar and pulse until the pieces are the size of confetti.
  3. Pour the pepper/vinegar mixture into a tall stockpot, and add the second cup of vinegar, pectin, and butter, if desired.
  4. Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
  5. Add the sugar all at once and cook until the sugar is all dissolved.
  6. Keep cooking and stirring until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.
  7. Set a one-minute timer and keep cooking and stirring until the timer sounds; then, remove the pot from the heat and place it on a rack.
  8. Ladle the hot jelly into clean jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rim with a clean damp cloth.
  9. Place a two-part lid on each jar and hand-tighten it firmly.
  10. Use a canning jar lifter to put the jars into a boiling water bath and set a ten-minute timer. Water must cover the jars by at least one inch.
  11. When the timer sounds, remove the jars onto a cooling rack with a canning jar lifter and let them cool without touching or moving.
  12. Refrigerate or freeze any jars that do not seal.

Here’s what one reader had to say about this recipe: “I was looking for a recipe to make jalapeno jelly using powdered pectin and I found your recipe! I just got done canning 12 half pints and six 4-ounce jars using your recipe! Thanks so much! It’s delicious!” Robin

That sure made me smile!

Have you ever had jalapeno jelly? Did you know it also makes an awesome glaze for pork or chicken? Here are some more of our most popular jellies and jams. Strawberry-rhubarb Jam, Corn Cob Jelly, Fresh Peach Jam.


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  1. The ingredients list 2c. vinegar but the recipe only mentions 1cup…?

    • You DO need two cups of vinegar. Use one in the food processor to help chop up the peppers but then you pour that mixture into the pot with the second cup of vinegar. I think you’ll see that when you read the directions again. If you don’t have a food processor you can chop the peppers really fine by hand and then add them to the pot with TWO cups of vinegar. I hope that makes sense. Sorry for the confusion!

      • I think you do have a typo on your recipe. You did omit when to add the other cup of vinegar. My jars are cooling now, but my sample taste was awesome!

        • You are so right! I gave the directions in the narrative part of the story but failed to add that detail in the recipe card instructions. Thanks to you, I have corrceted my mistake. Thanks for kindly pointing it out and do enjoy your jelly!

  2. Hi Betty!
    I was looking for a recipe to make jalapeño jelly using powdered pectin and I found your recipe!
    I just got done canning 12 half pints and 6 4oz jars, using your recipe!
    Thanks so much! It’s delicious!


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