Easy Red Pepper Jelly


I make red pepper jelly every year to use as an easy and quick appetizer.  This recipe is very easy to make even for beginners to the kitchen.  This recipe makes twelve 500 ml jars of jelly or twenty-four 250 ml jars.  You may cut the recipe in half, however adjusting any of the ingredients ie: cutting the sugar back will result in jelly that will not set up.  You can adjust the amount of hot sauce however you should try it using the recommended amount, test before adding to jars and then add more if more heat is desired.  I have made this recipe without fail.  On the small chance your jelly doesn’t set you will need to bring the jelly to a rolling boil for 3-4 minutes.  Possible reasons for this happening is that you may not have boiled it long enough (full rolling boiling not a simmering boil is needed) or there was a high amount of natural juice in your peppers.



  • 6-7 medium/large sweet red peppers (850 grams) chopped fine in food processor
  • 10 cups (2010 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml)water
  • 1 cup (250 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (83 ml) lemon juice (fresh or store-bought)
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce (I used my own Habanero Hot Sauce)
  • 2 pouches/170 ml of liquid pectin (I use Certo brand)

Materials needed:

  • Colander
  • stock pot
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • food processor for finely chopping
  • Pot for boiling jars with rack on the inside bottom of the pot (canning pot)
  • Bowl to set lids in and pour boiling water over.
  • Canning lifter
  • Ladle
  • Wide neck funnel
  • 12- 500ml jars and lids or 24- 250 ml jars and lids

1. Wash the canning jars in hot soapy water and place in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes or place in a 200° oven for 15 minutes to sterilize.  Place the lids in a small bowl and set aside until ready to use.  Remove the jars from the water or oven and place on a tea towel on the counter until the finished jelly is ready to be added.  Place the funnel and the ladle in the boiling water until ready to use.

DSC_27912. Wash the peppers before using

DSC_2794_23. Cut open and remove stems and seeds from peppers.

DSC_27954. Chop in small 2 inch pieces for ease of mincing in food processor.

DSC_28015. Add to the food processor and pulse until the peppers are finely chopped/minced.

DSC_27996. Your peppers make look a little frothy depending on how juicy they are.  Both of these pictures are minced to the same size however one has more natural pepper juice.

DSC_28027. Mince the peppers in the processor in 2-3 batches.  Pouring each batch into a stock pot.  Continue mincing the next few cups until finished finely chopping all the peppers.

DSC_28068. Add the pepper to the stock pot.  Stir and remove any large pieces that didn’t get finely chopped.

DSC_2811_29. Measure and add in the apple cider vinegar

DSC_2812_210. Add the red wine vinegarDSC_281711. Add the water

DSC_281612. Add all 10 cups of sugar

DSC_281913. Stir to combine and bring to a fulling rolling boil over high heat boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat.

DSC_282414. Remove from heat and let rest for 15 minutes.

DSC_282915. Remove any seeds that you may have missed and any foam from the edges of the pot if there is any.

DSC_283216. Stir the jelly a couple of times during the 15 minute cooling period.  This is allowing the fruit to cook while preventing overcooking the sugar in the jelly.  This step also minimizes floating peppers in the jelly.

DSC_282717. Measure and set lemon juice aside.DSC_282418. Place the jelly back over high heat and bring to a boil.

DSC_283419. Immediately add the lemon juice and boil for 2 minutes.

DSC_283520. Remove from heat and add the hot sauce.  I used a Habanero hot sauce from Mexico.

DSC_283821. Add the pouches of liquid pectin and stir until completely mixed together.

DSC_283922. Place the sterilized funnel in the jar and ladle the jelly into the jar until it reaches 1/4 – 1/2 inch of top of jar or top rim (head space)

DSC_2842_223. Repeat until all jars are finished being careful not to get jelly on the jar rim.  If you do use a clean paper towel dipped in the hot water that was used for sterilizing to wipe the excess jelly off of the rim.  Place lid on the jar.

DSC_284324. Leave 1/4 -1/2 inch head space for jelly.  Center lids on the jars and apply the screw bands until fingertip tight.

DSC_284525. Place the jars of jelly in the canner and return to a boil for 5 minutes.

DSC_284726. Remove the jars and let cool for 24 hours.  Check the seal on the jar.  The center should have popped inward.  It is recommended to remove screw bands before storage.  Label and store in a cool dark place.

DSC_2945Add a label and give as a hostess gift.  These little jars are the perfect size to use as a condiment over cream cheese and served with crackers or baguette slices.   An easy appetizer using this jelly is to whip cream cheese and spread in a small oven proof dish, top with the pepper jelly and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Being careful not to scorch.  Serve on a platter with crackers, baguette slices. apple slices, and prosciutto.

DSC_2951Delicious as a pork or chicken glaze

DSC_5364For gift giving I like to put labels on my jars.  You can make your own or order personalized labels from Evermine online as I did here.  I prefer using the waterproof labels for my homemade condiments.

DSC_2954Spread on a cracker and top with a slice of applewood smoked cheddar.

26 thoughts on “Easy Red Pepper Jelly

  1. Alecia Ramirez says:

    This looks so good, I’m getting ready to make it and have a few questions…
    1. Can I use powder pectin? I have 57g pouches
    2. How much pectin would you use in the recipe if you wanted the jelly to be a little loose
    3. Can I substitute jalapeño peppers instead of hot sauce without ruining the recipe?

    Thanks so much for your recipe

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Handy Homemaker says:

      Yes, you can use powdered pectin in place of liquid pectin. * but the recipe requires a little tweaking. I have tried this adaption before using the Certo brand. You will need to add 1/2 cup more red pepper per box. So approximately 1 cup total more chopped peppers for this recipe. Also you need to add the Certo powder as per the directions on the box. ie: add Certo to saucepan with all ingredients minus the sugar and bring to boil. Add sugar, then bring to a full boil for 1 minute. As far as being a little less gelled you could hold back some of the pectin. If it doesn’t gel enough you will need to add more pectin (* because your jelly now has sugar in it, you will need to add the small amount of crystal pectin thats left to a sauce pan with a small amount of water in a saucepan and bring to boil before adding to the pot of heated rebates jelly) bring jelly to a full boil again once added more Certo/water blend. Bottle as per directions. Hope this helps. Good luck


    • The Handy Homemaker says:

      Hi Barb on the odd chance that this doesn’t set you can re-boil for 3 to 4 minutes as it could be that your peppers had a lot of water also you could re-boil and then add another package or half of package of pectin. I never add three packages of pectin from the beginning as 99% of the time if this was done it would be gummy bear like vs jelly. Also If your jelly is still hot it will still be runny not thick


  2. Esther says:

    Just finished making this for the 2nd time. I wasn’t going to make more, but it is so good I just had to. I use it with turkey , pork and of course on cream cheese.
    Thanks for the great recipe. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rachelle Chatelain says:

    Made spicy red pepper jelly yesterday, did not set, this is the second time. It taste very good, delicious. Do I have to reboil all my jar, I have 14, and add liquid gel? Thank you for the help. xxx


    • Lindsay Lane Interiors says:

      Yes. Undercooking or over cooking could be an issue (it must hit a full rolling boil for TWO minutes) or too little pectin or sugar leads to runny jam.
      Unfortunately you will need to empty your jelly from the jars and re-boil the jelly in a pot. Once it rolling boils for 2 minutes then Remove from heat and add more pectin and a touch more lemon juice to help activate the gelling process. You won’t know if it’s fully set until it’s cooled completely

      Sometimes if your peppers are high in water content or depending on so many variables even humidity the jelly can fail to set.
      One other thing to consider is that pectin needs acid to gel the sugar and peppers. One person was having problems using fresh lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice has a consistent ph level vs a fresh lemon. I always use bottled for canning. I hope this helps


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