Jalapeño Jelly (Pepper Jelly)

4.87 from 147 votes

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This homemade Jalapeño Jelly is so flavorful! It tastes like a fancy jelly you would find at Williams-Sonoma or Harry and David.

A jar of jalapeño jelly and a plate of crackers next to some small fresh peppers
Featured With This Recipe
  1. What is Jalapeño Jelly Made of?
  2. Health Benefits Of Jalapeño
  3. Jalapeño Pepper Jelly With Cream Cheese And Crackers
  4. More Uses for Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
  5. Tips for Making Jalapeño Jelly
  6. Steps For Canning Jalapeno Jelly
  7. Why is My Jelly Runny?
  8. Try These Other Jam and Jelly Recipes!
  9. FAQs
  10. More Jalapeño Recipes
  11. How to Make Jalapeño Jelly
  12. Jalapeño Jelly (Pepper Jelly) Recipe

I know this sounds strange, but hear me out, this Jalapeño Jelly is AMAZING! It tastes like a fancy jelly you would find at Williams-Sonoma, Harry and David, or Trader Joes. When you hear the word jalapeño, you probably imagine something super hot, but I promise it’s not. It is perfectly sweet with just a tiny little kick. My Mom loves this and she hates anything much spicier than ketchup.

My sister gave me this recipe and it has quickly become a favorite in our household, especially when we have it with cream cheese and Triscuits. We have made these as an appetizer many times and EVERYONE who has tried them has absolutely loved them! This jelly also makes for a great gift for friends and neighbors. You are going to love the flavor and versatility of this jalapeno jelly recipe!

What is Jalapeño Jelly Made of?

Most pepper jelly recipes, including this jalapeño jelly recipe, is made primarily from fresh peppers, sugar, vinegar, and pectin.

  • Peppers – We use jalapeños, green peppers, and red peppers for this recipe. The jalapeño peppers give the jelly its distinctive spicy flavor. You can also use serrano peppers or habaneros for this recipe but keep in mind it will drastically increase the heat.
  • Sugar- this adds sweetness to balance the heat
  • Vinegar – Vinegar provides acidity, which helps to preserve the jelly and enhances the overall taste
  • Pectin – Pectin is a natural thickening agent that gives the jelly its gel-like consistency.
A jar of hot pepper jelly made with jalapeños and a plate of crackers

Health Benefits Of Jalapeño

Spicing up foods with jalapeños can be really good for you. Did you know that jalapeño peppers can help prevent colds and headaches? Jalapeños contain a natural plant compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin helps boost metabolism, prevents bacteria growth, can help migraine headaches, and may even help fight cancer. Jalapeños also contain vitamin C and vitamin A.

Jalapeno jelly being spread over cream cheese to use as a cracker spread

Jalapeño Pepper Jelly With Cream Cheese And Crackers

We love pouring this jalapeño pepper jelly over a block of cream cheese and serving it as an appetizer. It is so simple and always a huge hit. The smooth, tangy cream cheese combined with the sweet pepper and salty crackers is a winning combination that everyone will love! It takes 30 seconds to throw together (if that) and it will be polished just as quickly! Once you start to dip, you won’t be able to stop!

A spoon taking a scoop out of a jar of jalapeño jelly on a plate with crackers

More Uses for Jalapeño Pepper Jelly

There are so many ways you can enjoy this delicious jalapeño jelly. Use it as a glaze over your favorite grilled meats or veggies, just brush it over chicken, steak, pork, fish, kabobs, or veggies as they are being grilled. You won’t be sorry! Here are some delicious uses for jalapeño jelly:

  1. Glaze for Meats or BBQ: Brush jalapeño jelly over grilled or roasted meats like chicken, pork, or salmon for a deliciously sticky glaze that adds a burst of flavor. You can also mix it with your favorite BBQ sauce to give it a new flavor twist.
  2. Appetizer Spread: Pair jalapeño jelly with cream cheese or goat cheese and serve it with crackers or toasted bread for a delectable and easy appetizer.
  3. Sweet and Spicy Dip: Use it as a dip for jalapeño poppers, chicken nuggets, or coconut shrimp (the latter being my VERY favorite).
  4. Cheese and/or Charcuterie Board: Include jalapeño jelly as part of a cheese and charcuterie board for a sweet and spicy element that complements various cheeses and cured meats.
  5. Sandwich and Wrap Spread: Add jalapeño jelly on sandwiches or wraps to add a unique and tasty twist to your favorite lunchtime meals.
  6. Condiment for Burgers and Tacos: Use jalapeño jelly as a condiment for burgers or tacos to elevate their flavor with a hint of heat and sweetness.
  7. Marinade for Vegetables: Toss roasted or grilled vegetables in a mixture of jalapeño jelly and olive oil for a tangy glaze that enhances their natural flavors.
  8. Topping for Baked Brie: Spread jalapeño jelly over a wheel of brie cheese before baking it for a mouthwatering and impressive appetizer.

These are just a few examples of the many uses for jalapeño jelly. Get creative and experiment with this versatile jelly to discover new and exciting ways to enjoy its sweet and spicy flavors.

Tips for Making Jalapeño Jelly

  • Wear rubber gloves when handling jalapeño peppers to avoid skin irritation from their natural oils.
  • Adjust the spiciness and sweetness levels according to your taste preferences. You can use more or fewer jalapeño peppers and sugar to achieve the desired balance.
  • To make your hot pepper jelly green (like the store-bought kind), just add a few drops of green food coloring to the mixture while boiling.
  • Experiment with different types of peppers for unique flavors. For instance, you can mix in other hot peppers or use bell peppers for a milder version.
  • Be cautious when handling pectin, as it can create lumps if not properly dissolved. Follow the package instructions for the best results.
  • Skim off any foam that forms during the simmering process to ensure a smooth texture in the finished jelly.

Steps For Canning Jalapeno Jelly

  1. Sterilize your jars and lids before filling them with the hot jelly to maintain freshness and extend the shelf life.
  2. Use a lightly damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars before canning. This will allow the lids to seal to the jars better.
  3. Water bath canners and steam canners are both great options to use when canning jelly. Follow the instructions on your water bath canner for the best canning times. You may need to adjust your canning time for your altitude.
  4. Allow the hot jars to cool before you screw the lids on tightly. Once the jars are cooled, the lids should pop down letting you know the jar has been safely sealed. Check all the jars and lids before storing.
  5. For a beautiful presentation, consider using small, decorative jars to gift or store your jalapeño jelly.
  6. Label the jars with the date of canning to keep track of their freshness and use within a reasonable timeframe.
  7. Store the canned jalapeño jelly in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard, for proper preservation.

Why is My Jelly Runny?

If your pepper jelly is runny, there are a few possible reasons for this consistency, and you can try these methods to fix it:

  1. Insufficient Pectin: Pectin is the natural thickening agent used in jelly-making. If you didn’t add enough pectin or used the wrong type, it may result in a runny jelly. To fix it, you can reheat the jelly and add additional pectin according to the package instructions. Be sure to dissolve the pectin properly in a small amount of liquid before adding it to the jelly.
  2. Undercooking: If you didn’t cook the jelly long enough, it might not have reached the proper gel point. To fix this, return the jelly to the heat and continue cooking until it thickens and reaches the gel stage. You can test for the gel point using the spoon or plate test, or by using a candy thermometer to reach the desired temperature (usually around 220°F).
  3. Incorrect Ratios: The ratio of sugar to liquid in the recipe plays a crucial role in jelly consistency. If you used too much liquid in proportion to sugar, the jelly might turn out runny. We have tested the ratios in the recipe below with great success. As long as you follow the recipe exactly you should be fine.
  4. Cooling Process: Sometimes, the jelly may appear runny while still hot, but it can thicken as it cools. Allow the jelly to cool completely at room temperature, or you can place it in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process. Check the consistency after it has fully cooled.
  5. Overripe or Underripe Peppers: The ripeness of the peppers can affect the pectin content, which impacts the jelly’s consistency. Make sure to use peppers at the proper level of ripeness for the best results.
  6. Time and Patience: If you’ve followed the recipe correctly and your jelly is still runny, it might need more time to set. Some jellies take a day or two to fully set, so be patient and give it some time.

By addressing these factors, you can usually fix a runny pepper jelly and achieve the desired gel-like consistency. If all else fails, you can use it as-is as a glaze or marinade instead of a spreadable jelly. You can also wait a few more days for it to set, or you can follow this super helpful guide we found online to fix it.

Try These Other Jam and Jelly Recipes!


How long does jalapeño jelly last?

If it is processed correctly, it can last up to two years in a cool, dry place. After opening, it can last two-three months in the refrigerator.

How do you thicken pepper jelly?

In this recipe, you use pectin for the thickener. If you like a thicker jelly, you can always add a little extra pectin. Use the pectin package instructions as a guide for thickening and re-thickening.

How fine should I chop the peppers?

We like to chop them pretty fine. It is helpful to use a food processor to get them chopped small.

I thought jalapeño jelly was green, mine turned out to be more of an amber color. What did I do wrong?

You did nothing wrong. The color you got is right, like the pictures above. The green colored jalapeño jellies that you find in the store are an unnatural color. Food dyes are added to get the green color.

Do I need to add lemon to the jelly or jars before processing?

No, the jelly should be acidic enough as it is.

More Jalapeño Recipes

How to Make Jalapeño Jelly

A spoon taking a scoop out of a jar of jalapeño jelly on a plate with crackers

Jalapeño Jelly (Pepper Jelly)

4.87 from 147 votes
This homemade Jalapeño Jelly is so flavorful! It tastes like a fancy jelly you would find at Williams-Sonoma or Harry and David.
*This recipe makes 6 half pint jars with approximately 16 (1 Tbsp) servings in each jar.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 21 minutes
Total Time 36 minutes
Course Canning
Cuisine American
Servings 96 servings




  • Rinse jalapeño peppers and remove stems and seeds (you can leave the seeds in if you like it spicy). In food processor or blender, finely chop peppers.  
    Peppers chopped up in a food processor
  • Place peppers in a large pot or heavy large saucepan with vinegar, salt and sugar and bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring often. 
    Stirring together pepper jelly ingredients in a pot.
  • Add Certo pouch (liquid pectin), stir, and boil 1 more minute. 
    Adding pectin to pot of pepper jelly ingredients
  • Fill canning jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Add to a water bath for 10 minutes (adjust for high altitude, you may need to process longer). Wait a day or so before serving so the jelly has a chance to 'gel' or set.
    Pepper jelly jars in a water bath
  • Serve on crackers with cream cheese. This jelly is also delicious as a dipping sauce for steak or chicken nuggets.
    Serving pepper jelly on a cracker with cream cheese


  • UPDATE – We have had some people comment saying their jelly turned out hotter than they like it. Be sure to use milder jalapeños if you don’t like it hot. You may use hot jalapeños but remove most or all of the seeds depending on if you want your jelly spicy or not. How can you tell the hotness level of your jalapeños? Click HERE!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 50kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 12mgPotassium: 8mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 60IUVitamin C: 4.3mgCalcium: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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    1. We haven’t tested that, and we can’t guarantee that would be safe for canning, unfortunately.

  1. Love the recipe but I must be doing something wrong. My jelly comes out really thick and rubbery. I’m wondering if I’m using too many peppers. After chopping finely I get 4 cups (20 ounces). I am using previously frozen jalapeños from my garden which after thawing and chopping, pack densely in my measuring cup whereas fresh don’t as much (since they are firmer). Could this be the issue? I follow everything else (measurements and cooking time) exactly as the recipe is written.

  2. Your Jalapeno Pepper Jelly recipe says: How can you tell the hotness level of your jalapeños? Click HERE! I can’t find anywhere on that link about how to tell if you are buying mild or hot. Please help.
    Thank you & love your recipes!

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