Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

Tart green apples have more pectin in them than sweet apples, so use tart green apples for this recipe, earlier in the season the better. This is especially true if you are not also using cranberries, as cranberries have their own natural pectin as well.

Jalapeño jelly can be pretty "hot" if you have included a lot of the seeds in your cooking. The jelly is great served on crackers with cream cheese because the fat molecules in the cream cheese absorb the hot capsaicin of the jalapeños, reducing the heat, but leaving the flavor of the chiles. This is also why sour cream tastes so good with spicy Mexican food.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Mash straining time: Several hours
  • Yield: Makes 4-5 half-pint jars of jelly


  • 4 lbs of tart apples (e.g. Granny Smith), unpeeled, chopped into big pieces, including the cores
  • 6 jalapeño chili peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, the seeds and ribs removed from 3 of them (for mildly hot jelly. If you want a hotter jelly leave the seeds and ribs in all of them.)
  • 1 green bell pepper (or red if you want the color), seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 cup cranberries (optional but recommended, will help with color and with setting)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar (7/8 cup for each cup of juice)

Special equipment:

  • One 6-quart pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel)
  • A digital thermometer
  • A large fine mesh sieve (or several layers of cheesecloth, or a muslin cloth jelly bag)
  • 4-5 half-pint canning jars


1 Boil and mash the apples, jalapeños, bell pepper, and cranberries: Combine the apple pieces, apple cores (needed for their pectin content), jalapeños, bell pepper, cranberries (if using), water and vinegar in a large pot.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low, simmering for about 20 minutes, or until the apples, cranberries, and peppers are soft. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan where it might burn.

Use a potato masher to mash up the apple pieces to the consistency of slightly runny apple sauce. If the mash is too thick, add more water.

2 Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth: Spoon the mash into a fine mesh sieve, muslin cloth, or a couple layers of cheesecloth, suspended over a large bowl. Leave to strain for several hours (even overnight).

If you want a clear jelly, do not squeeze or force through the mesh. Just let it drip. If you want a fuller flavor jelly and don't mind that the result won't be clear, you can force some of the pulp through the mesh.

If your pulp is too thick, and nothing is coming out, you can add an extra 1/2 cup or cup of water to it. You want to end up with about 4 cups of juice.

3 Add sugar to juice, heat to dissolve: Measure the juice, then pour into a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot. Add the sugar (7/8 a cup for each cup of juice). Heat gently, stirring to make sure the sugar gets dissolved and doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

4 Boil until setting point: Bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes, using a spoon to skim off the surface scum.

Continue to boil until a digital thermometer shows that the temperature has reached 220-222°F (8-10°F above the boiling point at your altitude).

Additional time needed for cooking can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or longer, depending on the amount of water, sugar, and apple pectin in the mix.

runny-jelly.jpg ready-jelly.jpg
Left: Jelly is too runny. Right: Jelly is wrinkling when pushed, which means it's ready.

A thermometer reading isn't always the most reliable indicator of whether or not a jelly is done. Another way to test is put a half teaspoonful of the jelly on a chilled (in the freezer) plate. Allow the jelly to cool a few seconds, then push it with your fingertip. If it wrinkles up, it's ready.

5 Can in jars: Pour jelly into sterilized jars* to within 1/4" from the top and seal.

Makes approx. 4 half-pint jars.

Serve with cream cheese on crackers.

*There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning jelly. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

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  • Annette

    WOW WOW WOW! Just made a batch, first time jelly maker, and it turned out fantastic! I used red crabapples off my tree and subbed red bell pepper and red thai pepper, but followed the instructions exactly. I was worried about the strong vinegar taste but as the jelly boiled and reduced, the flavour became a rich, hot, sweet apple goodness and the vinegar was not noticeable. I must have boiled and reduced too long since the jelly as it cooled almost formed gummies–love it! Will be giving as gifts and passing the recipe around!


  • Sherry

    Wondering how 4 pounds of apples, and 6 cups of liquids equal 4 cups of finished juice?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sherry, because you have to cook the apples in the liquid, and then strain it. Sometimes you even have to add more water to get to a 4 cup result.

  • Jennifer

    Very pretty jelly, but I’m wondering why a jalapeno jelly needs to be red? If I leave out the cranberries and use a green bell pepper, will it produce a green jelly? Or will it be a dull brownish color that requires food coloring to make it appetizing?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jennifer, good question! I’m guessing that if you finely minced a green bell pepper and put it in the jelly, you would have something a bit green, though maybe olive green. The good thing about using cranberries is that they stain the jelly red.

  • Rhian

    Is this recipe safe to can by the water bath process?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Rhian, yes, there is enough sugar and vinegar in it to can using a water bath.

  • Susan

    Delicious! A little loose, but I am trying again! How long can you keep this jelly and does it need to be refrigerated?

  • Beth

    Okay, This is the first time I have tried to make jelly. I made jelly with my mom years ago but don’t remember much about it. So, I grew jalapenos just to make pepper jelly. I purchased exactly all of the ingredients and followed directions. I simmer for four hours and it never did set up. At 9 pm, I gave up. How much pectin do you think I should put in this to salvage the brew? My experience is a one star even though I see no place to rate this recipe.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Beth, this recipe relies on tart green apples for pectin. Cranberries are recommended as well because they are filled with pectin and can help the set. If the apples are green, but don’t taste tart, they won’t work as well. So test the apples to make sure they are tart. At this point I don’t know what to tell you about the jelly. It should have reached a set point after 10 to 15 minutes of uncovered boiling. If you boiled it for 4 hours, you should have nothing left but caramelized sugary syrup. Did you cover the pot? If so, the pot should have been uncovered, as pictured in the photographs. If the mixture tastes good (not all caramelized), but just refuses to set, add a tablespoon of powdered pectin and reheat the jelly until boiling. Boil until testing the mixture it sets.

  • BJ Green

    Yours was my 1st attempt at any kind of jam or jelly & it came out perfectly. Thank you for the very detailed instructions. I have already frozen cranberries for next year’s batchs. Very pretty & wonderful flavor. I did double the jalapeño though.

  • Tiffany

    Made the recipe two times and it was perfect. Played with it a little and did grated horseradish instead of jalapeno a third time and that was also amazing. Have patience while it cooks through at the end. Thanks for the recipe.


  • Mark

    I tried this last night and it was 4hrs wasted. The jelly is a liquid even though on the plate it wrinkled, am so very disappointed. A complete waste of time and beautiful veg from the garden. What am I supposed to do with 4 jars of runny mix?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mark, sometimes I’ve had it happen that the jelly does pass the wrinkle test on the plate but doesn’t set right away in the jars. I suggest letting the jars sit in your cupboard. My experience is that they tend to firm up over time. Might take a few days or several weeks.

    • Meredith

      Use it to baste a chicken. It’s not wasted at all.

      • Anne Moler

        Good idea

  • Marie

    What did you do with your mashed products?

  • Michael

    a great recipe, I just made 5 jars and can’t wait to experiment a little next time with the heat. Thank you.


  • Emily

    Hi Elise,

    The jelly turned out fantastic!! I still did a bit of fudging because I was making such a big batch (12 litres of juice!) The only ingredients were crab apple juice, jalapenos, sugar and red wine vinegar. The consistency and the zing of hot are perfect and it is a beautiful burgundy color. Guess what everyone it getting for Christmas! :) Thank you for the recipe!

  • Emily Ives

    I have been looking for a Jalapeno Pepper Crab Apple Jelly recipe all over the internet (because we have both items in our back yard) and yours is the closest I could find Elise, I am so happy! I am going to substitute the granny smiths and cranberries for the crab apples. I was going to wing a recipe, but it appears that most recipes that have hot peppers in them, vinegar needs to be added to the cooking process, so using a basic fruit jelly recipe might not work. Therefore, I am going to give this recipe a whirl – Wish me luck!

    • Elise Bauer

      Good luck with it Emily, let us know how it goes for you!

  • Ian

    I just made this as my first canning recipe with apples off one of our trees. I replaced half of the Jalapenos with Habaneros for a bit more heat, it turned out great!


  • VictoriaB

    This pepper jelly recipe is wonderful. I love pepper jelly, usually ones that have fruit mixed in. There is a wonderful Habanero Pineapple Pepper Preserves that is available at http://www.blueridgejams.com that I use as a glaze on my Christmas Ham. I wonder how hard it would be to add in fruit to the regular recipe and make up a batch? Would you have to split out how many Jalapeno’s you added to it with the pineapple?

  • Fiona

    Hi there, I’ve made this recipe twice now and its been perfect both times. A great introduction to jam making for me – Thanks! I was just wondering if it is possible to make jam with honey instead of sugar and what kind of ratio would be required? We have bees so it would be great to use a resource I have plenty of to make use of my jalapeños. I must say that the colour and clarity of this recipe impressed me, worth the wait for it to drain through muslin. Thanks again.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Fiona, good question. I have no idea on that one. You might want to do a Google search looking for making jam with honey and see what you find!

  • Joy

    I don’t usually comment on websites but had to put my comments to this one…..I haven’t made jams in many many years, and never jelly…..this recipe was concise and easy to follow, and my jelly has turned out beautifully, what a gorgeous colour! The only changes I made were to add a few slices of ginger, and I had very firey little hot peppers, wasn’t sure how many to use so erred on the side of caution so the jelly is very mild, but delicious all the same. Many thanks!


  • Katherine Teff

    Wow! Had a glut of apples- quite sweet, so probably eaters, but we were determined to do something with all the windfalls and decided to try this recipe. A bit worried that the sweetness of the apples would be wrong, but it has turned out fantastically well (though I say so myself). Couldn’t find cranberries (only at Christmas here in Cornwall), but the apples have a red bloom, so its a pleasant pink colour.

    Thank you so much!


  • Aden

    Thanks Elise. It came out INCREDIBLE!!!I found that the mixture was not spicy enough, so when boiling down I added half a habanero from my garden for a few minutes and then removed. It is wonderful. Thanks for such a great recipe, I will never buy pectin again.

  • Kc8

    LOVED IT!!! This is my first time ever making any jam or jelly type. I just had to try for the sake that I had granny apples and jalapenos.
    Didn’t have red pepper. Anyway, This came out so good. I gave most of them away as a gift and received GREAT Compliments. Thank You.


  • Cristie

    Lovely recipe. I made it yesterday and it turned out wonderfully. The use of all natural ingredients was very appealing to me. Thanks for going to the trouble to figure this out for the rest of us. I do love your site and come here often.


  • Brittany

    I made this today – it turned out beautifully. It made 4 1/2 half-pint jars. My only qualm is i wish it made more for all the work. I made my hotter by adding 7 jalapenos (with seeds and ribs) at the beginning and then adding the seeds of 4 small jalapenos to the syrup. I think this gives the right amount of heat. It’s not unbearable but you know that its jalapeno jelly! It’s hot enough for people who like some heat! – thanks for a great recipe

  • Cindy

    I’m new at this and appreciated the question about processing time being zero. So when you say to fill jars and seal, I assume that means seal immediately while hot and will they just suck down automatically as they cool?

    Also, loved the fruit leather idea with the pulp.

    Very excited to try this!

    Yes, seal while hot! Or they won’t seal well. You can always put them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to make sure they seal well. ~Elise

  • Joe

    I tried this recipe today. I used a little over 4lb of apples and 8oz of frozen cranberries (all I could find) I also had to add about 2c of water while it was still boiling to get the mash to a runny applesauce consistency.

    I eventually got the juice up to about 110 deg C and it wrinkled nicely. I got about 6c of liquid and used 5.25c of sugar (which is 7/8c to 1c of liquid as stated above) and JUST got 4 1/2 pint jars filled. Probably should have used the little crystal jars so I could have gotten 8. It came out delicious just a tad disappointed at the final yield. My candy thermometer might be off and I may have over boiled as it was almost setting in the pan while I was filling the jars!

  • mefitia

    I have made this a few times now, and differently every time. Jalapenos as above, jalapeno and mint, mint alone, and today: thai chilis with mint, lemongrass, and coriander. I have variable luck with the jelling – sometimes I just get a syrup (which I used to marinate pork and other meat). I too have had to use dried cranberries, which might be the jelling problem.

    • Ginger McCarty

      OK…so HAVE to ask…how did the lemongrass/mint turn out?? I’m intrigued. I LOVE mixing my flavors up. I made a mulbery/rosemary/cinnamon/black pepper jam this spring that is to die for. We are living in our fifth wheel & I have extra jalepenos & I just happen to have both lemongrass (which I LOVE!) & mint growing in pots on my picnic table…how much did you use? Coriander, huh? I just finished a nice black bean & corn salsa & on a whim added cinnamon…OMGosh! Sooo good!

  • Aden


    I just made this today in order to get ready for giving out xmas gifts. We are doing a gift basket with homemade cheddar cheese, limoncello, and of course your wonderful looking jalapeno pepper jelly. I just started straining my mixture with some cheese cloth, and I am beginning to think I will get much more than 4 cups if I let it sit overnight. Is this a good thing? Will I get more yield?

    It’s fine if you get more than 4 cups. Every batch is different, depending on the moisture content of the particular fruit you are using. ~Elise

  • rhonda

    I made this jelly for the first time last night. I made it exactly to the recipe and did the “wrinkle” test and it worked, however, when I canned it, it sets but is not firm…I definitely could not slice it with a knife and have it hold firm. It would not hold its shape if I were to take it out of the jar. So my question to you is, should I re-boil? I did not use liquid pectin to begin with but should I now? I used the cranberries (all be it, they were frozen). It tastes great, I am just a little disappointed with the consistency. I had about 4 cups of juice and I did use 3.5 cups of sugar. Perhaps I need to add another 1/2 of cup to make it cup for cup?


    Jelly can sometimes take a while to firm up. I would let it sit for a week or two. Also it could be that this batch just will be a bit loose. If after a week or two it is still not the firm consistency you want, you could reboil with some added commercial pectin. ~Elise

  • Liz

    I’m making this now… and instead of cranberries, I peeled and quartered two beets. I hope it works; the liquid is certainly red!

  • Kate

    This recipe looks great. Does anyone know if pears can be substituted for the apples? Will there still be enough natural pectin with the pears only?


  • Deb in Indiana

    Elise, you always have great recipes. I’ve made quite a few, and they never fail to please me and my family.

    I just made a batch of this jelly, substituting crab apples from my yard for the tart apples.

    I also tweaked the recipe by mincing about a third of the peppers (combination of jalapenos, serranos, and red bell) and adding them to the strained juice. All the seeds and ribs I cooked down with the apples, so they were strained out of the juice, but added a lot of flavor.

    I processed the jars in a water bath, following the directions for apple jelly. (Ball Blue Book — I’m compulsive that way.)

    The jelly turned out great — nicely hot, just sweet enough, with a nice color (How clever to add cranberries!) and texture.

    I had never tasted hot pepper jelly before, let alone made it myself, but my brother, who loves the stuff, said that this was the best he had had. A lot of recipes are way too sweet, he says, but this one was just right, and the apple flavor was a great improvement over the vinegar and sugar recipes.

    Hi Deb, I’m so glad you liked it! Love the idea of cooking the seeds and ribs with the apples. Great way to get more pepper flavor. ~Elise

  • Robin

    Some slight adjustments each year…but I thought you’d like to know that this is the third year straight that I’ve made this…Just finished jars cooling on the counter! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Neelam

    Hi Elise, really great recipe. I used red birds eye chillis and it turned out perfect. I had a question however. Would it be possible to adapt this into a sauce and if so what would I do differently?


    If you want to make a sauce, just don’t let it get to the set point. If you want to make a sauce with already canned jelly, I suppose you could add some water and heat it. ~Elise

  • Alice

    I just wanted to say thank you for this recipe. Last year, money was extra tight, so I made jelly (my first time) with home grown jalapenos to give as gifts. I used your recipe as well as one other that used commercial pectin. Although I tend to dirty every pan in my kitchen with this recipe, I got more compliments on the jelly. I am making it again this year, by request. Thanks so much!!

  • Tina

    Well, I just made a batch using your recipe. However, I definitely overcooked it. Mine has the consistency of vulcanized rubber. Do you think melting it down, adding more juice and boiling for a few minutes would solve the problem, or should I just consider this a failed attempt and start from scratch?

    When I have overcooked jellies in the past, they have caramelized a bit, changing the flavor (not for the best). If the flavor is still good, then you might try adding some liquid and reboiling. If not, I would cut the jelly into squares, dust with powdered sugar, and call them Turkish delights. ~Elise

  • Ana

    I have a question. Can the pulp be used for anything or do I throw it away?

    We compost it. You could conceivably push it through a food mill and take the slurry, add sugar to it and make fruit leather. ~Elise

  • Jen

    I have yet to try a recipe from this site that I (and everybody else) don’t LOVE! Thank you so much for sharing such gems! This will be my first attempt at jelly and I am quite excited. Is there any harm in omitting the bell pepper? My husband is allergic. Thanks!

    No, no harm in omitting the bell pepper. ~Elise

  • Lara

    Hi there! I’m new to canning and am super nervous about water bath processing times as they relate to different recipes. How long should I process your recipe?
    Thanks—I’m stoked to try this!

    No need to be nervous about this recipe, there’s so much vinegar and sugar, you don’t need to process it. No harmful bacteria can survive that mixture. If you want to anyway (it will ensure a better seal), 10 minutes will be enough. ~Elise

  • Victoria

    Thanks for the recipie. I have never made pepper jelly before. But instead of cranberries I used huckelberries (a wild berry that only grows around here) and it turned out wonderful. This was also my first time to can anything and was plesently suprised that it turned out so well. We have already tried two of the jars and my husband loves it. And I have passed on the recipie via your website to a friend that wanted to make some as well. I also want to thank you for the really good instructions they were really easy to follow and execute. I’m already looking for more recipies to try.
    Thank you again.

  • Andrea in OR

    I just finished!! Thanks for the recipe, I love the fact that it’s “all natural”. The only thing I did different was with the cranberries. It’s the middle of the summer and I knew I wouldn’t find whole cranberries anywhere, so I used dried cranberries instead. I really wanted the red color, but it came out more apricot than red, which works for me. :) The taste turned out a lot more mild than I would like so next time I might add more jalapenos to get that kick in every bite.

    One quick question though, I did use Granny Smith apples and they are really overpowering, it almost taste like spicy rotten apple jelly. (LOL, still edible though) Any idea why it turned out this way? What can I do different next time?

    Also when I pour the jelly into the sterilized jars and put the lid on, how do I “seal” them so the lids click reassuring freshness and shelf life? How long will the jelly be good for?

    Don’t know why your Granny Smith’s are overpowering, they shouldn’t be. But, they aren’t in season yet, so may be the ones you have are too green? Our Grannys aren’t ready for picking until late August or September. Regarding the sealing of jars, you might want to look online for more information on canning. In a nutshell, the canning lids will self seal as the jelly cools. ~Elise

  • sherry schwotzer

    Anxious to try, just have to get the grannies and the cranberries. My grandmother, who did a lot of jelly said ‘rule of thumb’ one cup of sugar to one cup of juice. I have learned you can sterilize the jars in the microwave – wash rinse fill with water and pop them in the micro 2-3 minutes depending on the size 1/2pt to quart be sure it boils. This works well if you are short a jar or two. BE careful that water will be hot!

    The problem with the microwave method is that microwaves are designed to get the water hot, not the container. In the case of sterilization, you really want the container to get hot. I would not recommend the microwave approach for sterilizing your jars. 10 minutes in a 200°F oven will be more effective at sterilizing. ~Elise

  • amy

    I tried this recipe. The taste was good, but the texture was waaaaay off. The jelly is thick and tar-like, not like a jelly at all.

    This was my first stab as a savory jelly.

    Any ideas as to what happened?

    Sounds like you didn’t have enough pectin. Using green apples late in the season (January) you probably need to add liquid pectin or make sure you are also using the cranberries, which have a lot of natural pectin. The earlier the season, the tarter the apples, and the more pectin they have. Later in the season, not so much. You can also let the jelly you made just sit (canned) for a few weeks. Jellies can firm up over time. ~Elise

  • Alice H

    For a first time jelly maker, this was alot of work, but got the most compliments of all the jellies I made. It does dirty every pan in my kitchen (straining the pulp out) but made the prettiest and tastiest jelly. I gave it away for Christmas presents this year.

    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • carolina paul

    Elise, oh my did this turn out fabulously!! I used 4 lbs apples, 4 lbs hot/sweet italian peppers, a whole bag of cranberries and kept the quantity of water/vinegar the same as in recipe, yielding 7 cups of liquid, to which I added 3 1/2 c sugar…while it was boiling away I added some teeny, tiny hot red peppers which I sliced and added in for the piquancy and the eye appeal…I barely waited for the jar to cool before sampling it…oh yeah!! The color and consistency are beautiful!! Thank you for making this recipe available with all of your helpful pictures…I will have some very happy recipients this Christmas!!

  • carolina paul

    Elise, how can I adjust this recipe if I need to use up more peppers from my garden (italian hots and sweets)? Should I also increase apples and cranberries proportionally for the additional pectin? As for the taste, I am looking to maximize the pepper flavor and as for the intensity, I am a fan of spicy so I am ok with that! I am about to embark on making this and would appreciate any additional input.

    P.S. I put up (for the first time!!) raspberry and blackberry preserves this summer without adding pectin and am really looking forward to tasting those soon. (I relied on lemon juice and orange zest for the pectin – hopefully with good results – if it is too runny is it still safe to eat, following correct canning instructions of course?)

    Hi Carolina, I think you are just going to have to experiment. I wouldn’t know what to tell you. Regarding the question of if it’s safe if it’s runny? Yes. The sugar is the preservative in jam and jelly making, not pectin. ~Elise

  • REBridgewater

    When does the pectin get added???
    Being new to jelly-making, I don’t know when to add the liquid pectin. The recipe lists pectin as an ingredient but not when to add it. It mentions the apple/cranberry natural pectin content, Step 3 includes adding the sugar, then at the Step 4 boil for 10-15 minutes part, references additional time “depending on the amount of water, sugar, and pectin in the mix.” Does the pectin get added with the sugar?

    This recipe calls for no added pectin. The reason step 4 mentions the amount of pectin is that depending on the apples you are using, this factor is going to be variable. There is natural pectin in tart green apples, but it isn’t something you can measure. So, sometimes this section takes longer because sometimes there isn’t as much pectin in the apples as you would think. ~Elise

  • KathyB

    My jelly never did ‘jell’. I cooked it til the juices were almost gone. I believe I should have added Pectin.

    I am telling my friends that my first attempt will make a great glaze. Personally, the heat in this dish should be increased, the resultant product was very sweet and only slightly hot. I understand the heat content is personal but the jelling content for me did not work. I have jars of swishing glaze, but no jelly. Use the pectin. It will most certainly help.

  • Maddy

    This is the best Jalapeño pepper recipe I have tried. I like it hot as I serve it with steaks, and on bbq hamburgers, as well as with other red meats. I am going to make some with mint added to serve with Lamb. I will try it with Turkey breasts as well, I think the cranberries will really add to that. I left them out as I like the jelly more golden, green coloured. But to serve with turkey, ummm I will make some with.

  • Dee

    Thank you, I tried a similar recipe before for my diabetic mother, who loves it! Hopefully this one will work too, I couldn’t find cramberries and I used machintosh apples, which I have in my yard.The pectin in the apples should be enough, cross my fingers. Do you have a recipe for Quince jelly? It also has a lot of natural pectin so no need for the store stuff .. I find I still need a lot of sugar because is so tart. Any suggestions?

    The pectin should be enough, especially if you don’t remove the cores or peels which is where most of the pectin is. If you find it doesn’t set, you can reheat it and add some liquid pectin to it. Early season apples and tart apples tend to have more pectin than later, sweeter apples. We do have a recipe for quince jelly, love quince! ~Elise

  • Lindy

    Cool use of the apple pectin! I find it works well with almost any low pectin fruit- I did some mango preserves and some garlic/rosemary jelly, and both turned out just fine, too.

  • Jennifer

    Hi Elise,

    I’m a long time reader but I just discovered this recipe! I’m trying it this weekend with my new canning pot. So excited! I was wondering if the tart apples are important or if I could substitute a rome? I just bought a huge amount of rome apples. If not I’ll buy more. What are your thoughts on it?

    The reason you want tart apples is that they have more pectin in them and will help the jelly set better. Rome apples I believe are great for baking whole. Have no idea how they will can. ~Elise

  • Jamie

    I totally became infatuated with the jelly/jam/preserve making process seeing it in action in the Amish country of PA. I can’t wait to try this and will definitely add some finely minced red and green jalapenos in the later stages for some more visual and textural interestand maybe heat.

    In anyones experience, does this jelly get hotter in time as it “ages” in the sealed jar? Or perhaps mellows?

    Has anyone ever tried fire roasting, then peeling and seeding some or all of the chile peppers in a jelly? I’ve been searching on the internet for “Roasted Chile Jelly” and only one came up, but an expensive commercially made product, not recipes. I really want to experiment with my own Connecticut grown poblano peppers in a jelly, but in a fire roasted form.

  • Tom

    I made this recipe with splenda instead of sugar. It worked just fine without the additional pectin, but I got half the yield–1 1/2 8 oz jars. Does anyone have a suggestion for increasing the yield without using real sugar?

  • carolina paul

    Thanks Elise for sharing your recipe and for such clear directions and pictures!! I have been looking for a hot pepper jelly recipe ever since my first taste this past summer at a roadside stand in South Carolina! I wanted to make my own healthier version (less sugar, no artificial anything, spicier!!) to use up the overabundance of peppers from our garden…my husband and I are pepper freaks and we are really looking forward to our next harvest!! I also wanted to make a suggestion for serving this as an easy appetizer…substitute softened goat cheese for the cream chees and serve atop water crackers. I dare you to eat just one!! Thanks again!

  • Shannon

    Excellent recipe! If you use crab apples you get gorgeous red color, depending on the variety of crab apples you use and it is slightly more tart and has tons of pectin for jelling. I use 1 cup of juice to 1 cup of sugar and it has never failed me. I always check with the chilled plate test during cooking. You can make mint jelly this way too!

  • Anna Holloway

    This was a simple and very good jelly. Everyone has just raved over it.

  • Cheri

    Wow! I haven’t had Jalapeno jelly in a long time! I have wanted to make some for the past couple of weeks, but couldn’t find my recipe…so I looked online, and I am glad I lost the other one! This jelly is delicious! I added some finely chopped red jalapenos during the last few minutes of cooking for more kick and color. Oh sooooo yummy! Thanks for sharing this recipe. And thanks for making it so much healthier for my family!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the recipe! This was a fun new one to try. Next time, I would add more peppers to give it more of a kick! My co-worker used raspberries in her mix and it gives the jelly a beautiful pink color! Thanks again!

  • Emily

    Do the jars need to be sealed in a conventional water bath? I do not see any information regarding the actual canning process in this recipe and was wondering if it is necessary. Also, what is the shelf life?

  • Heather Harmon

    I used this recipe last fall with my bounty of red jalapeños, but instead of including all the peppers in the mash I seeded and finely minced about a 1/2 Cup of red jalapeños and cooked them in the jelly. The jelly turned out fantastic, a beautiful clear red with tiny bits of mildly spicy jalapeño. This jelly goes great with crackers or even your dinner rolls. It really is not overwhelmingly hot, but you get just enough sweet and heat for a definite taste experience.

    I would think the jelly base could be used for other jellies made from scratch. I really enjoyed making the jelly from scratch and would definitely recommend this recipe!

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Leslie – I think if you use commercial pectin, you can use apple juice if you want. But my whole point of using apple jelly as a base is that there is so much natural pectin in the apple cores, you don’t need to use extra pectin. BTW, you don’t peel the apples in the recipe. You do chop, cook, and let them drain through a sieve though.

  • Leslie

    Is it possible to use apple cider juice
    instead of having to do the peel, chop, cook,
    sieve, etc. thing? Appreciate your time to
    answer – thanks

  • Elise Bauer

    Hello Frances – I don’t know anything about high altitude cooking. You’ll have to look for answers on Google unless someone else has an idea.

    Hi Karen – I just like mine with cream cheese, but maybe you could use it as a glaze for a Southwestern style chicken dish?

    Hi Bobi and Brian – The recipe calls for using apples WITH their cores. The cores have all the pectin. If you do not use the apple cores, the jelly will not set. As for how to save it, I haven’t the faintest. Perhaps adding some liquid pectin? You might try researching solutions on Google.

  • Bobi E.

    Hi Elise, my husband and I made this wonderful jelly last fall and it was fantastic! So last week we decided to make it again, but it will not set up. We changed the bell pepper to one seeded poblano pepper, and left the apple cores and seeds out. Could this be our problem? Anything we can do – I have 10 jars of runny jelly!! Thanks, Bobi y Brian

  • Karen

    Hi! I did a search for pepper jelly. I recently was introduced to it by my boyfriends sister at a family gathering, on top of cream cheese & crackers, of course. Now I’m curious. What other good uses are there for pepper jelly?

  • Frances

    I have made several versions of pepper jelly. I live in high altitude country and have a question about sealing the jars. Do you seal using a water bath or just by sterilizing the jars then, the fill and tip method? Currently I use a recipe that calls for the 2nd method, am concerned about recipes that say fill and seal, not being specific on how to seal. Thanks for a reply.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Jeff,
    Habanero chiles are likely to be way too hot for jelly making. For pepper jelly you want mostly the pepper flavor and just a little bit of the heat, otherwise it is inedible.

  • Jeff

    Can you use habanero peppers in this recipe?

  • Roseann Hanson

    Hi Elise! I’m back from my trip, and while gone someone gave my husband about 10 pounds of green apples from their orchard in the mountains of southern Arizona. So I’ve been scrambling to make apple recipes and this one was so much fun. Took some to a party last night with cream cheese and crackers and it was a big hit.

    Thanks! Tonight trying the sour cream-apple streusel.

    Nice redesign on the site. Congrats!


  • Charles

    Hi Elise – Excellent suggestions. I made this again this past weekend. (My serrano plants are quite prolific! — Back during the spring, I wasn’t sure they were going to make it.) Anyway, Fuji apples, + 12-13 serranos with seeds & ribs — and it turned out delicious! The jelly had a nice amber color, and exactly the zing I was hoping for. Good suggestion to test the mash. Thanks.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Harry – Chipotles are simply smoked jalapenos, I would not use them in this recipe. But serranos are fair game. Mint and lemongrass added would be lovely. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out.

    Hi David – Ah, egg rolls! I completely forgot that this jelly could be used with them. Great idea.

    Hi Charles – Serranos are a lot smaller than jalapenos. I would use more, but mind the hotness. Test the mash before you strain it. If it still needs more heat, add in some more seeds and cook a little longer. I usually taste all through the process. The first batch I made was extremely hot, and that was because I didn’t remove any seeds or ribs. This last batch was much more mild. I could easily add a few more jalapenos to it (again, without the seeds).

  • Charles


    This is a terrific recipe. I’ve never made jelly before, because watching people do it — just looked complicated.

    I used serrano peppers, because that’s what I have in the garden. It didn’t get quite as hot as I had hoped, (basically it’s apple jelly). I think it’s because I used 6 peppers, and looking at your photos, they weren’t as large as your jalapenos. Next time I’ll use more. Also, not a solitary grocery in this back-water county had cranberries. But the apples were good enough, and I think when I try it again, I’ll leave the berries out. The apples with a few more peppers will probably do the trick.


  • Harry

    Hi, Elise. I’m a huge fan of pepper jellies, and I use them on everything from omelets to pancakes. Do you think this recipe would work with other peppers, e.g., chipotles or serranos? Serrano peppers with the addition of mint and lemongrass might have a nice Thai flavor. Doyathink?

  • Susanna

    Yes, we are agreed on the natural pectin issue… I was mostly reacting to the person above who made the conclusion that no commercial pectin automatically means less sugar, because it’s not quite as simple as that. Depends on your base, and your pectin.

    I forgot to say, this is a fabulous recipe. Even my husband’s ex-wife loved it – and she feels no need to be nice to me, so it was actually your recipe she liked! :)

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Susanna,

    If you use commercial pectin and water, which is what most jelly recipes call for, instead of using apples for a base, you do need to use more sugar in order to get it to gel properly. If instead you use a base that is naturally rich in pectin, you don’t need to use as much sugar. If you use Pomona pectin, which is stronger than most regular commercial pectin, you don’t need to use as much sugar either.

    Most similar recipes call for 5 cups of sugar instead of the 3 1/2 that this one calls for.

    You definitely do not need to add pectin to this recipe, there is enough just from the apples. So you can add just as much sugar as you want to get the desired level of sweetness.

  • Susanna

    I’m sorry, but I think it’s misleading to say that if you use commercial pectin, that means you have to use more sugar. If you add commercial pectin to this recipe, it means you can actually use less sugar.

    I made this recipe with two cups of sugar instead of the 3 and a half by leaving more of the apple pulp (and pectin) in the jelly. The jelly is not clear, but that’s not an issue for me, I prefer it less sweet, and a tiny bit more healthy.

  • sean

    Mmm … I used to consume quite a lot of this stuff when I lived in Santa Fe. It’s good on everything. Also, they make a lovely chili honey, which as far as I can tell is just chili powder mixed into honey. Sometimes the simple things are best, no?

  • Kelly

    I make my own jalepeno apple jelly using crabapples. I never tried it without using commercial pectin, but being a diabetic I appreciate the tip that you would use less sugar if you don’t use commercial pectin. I’m getting ready to make my jelly next week and will try it without sure jel. I wouldn’t recommend trying jelly with Splenda, Splenda will work in jams but not jelly. The jelly will not gel. The manufacturer does not recommend using it for jelly, only jams.

  • Mrs Helen M. mineghino

    Just wondering, can you use Splenda instead of sugar in this jelly recipe? It sounds delicious.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Robyn – I’m very happy with the way this jelly turned out, especially after I had botched the previous batch by forcing the pulp through the strainer. There was so much pectin in that batch that it jelled into more of a paste than a jelly.

    Hi Ellie – I’ve also put some of the jelly into a quesadilla for an interesting touch.

    Hi Alanna – Great question! Beyond just the “cool” factor of making do with what’s on hand (we have a Granny Smith tree), there is a practical reason to not use commercial pectin. One of the roles of sugar in jelly making is its help in the gelling of the preserve. If what you are gelling doesn’t have enough of its own natural pectin, then in addition to commercial pectin, you usually need to add even more sugar to help it firm up. So, you might have only needed 3 cups of sugar for necessary sweetness, but 5 cups if you need the sugar’s help with making the jelly gel.

    If you make your own pectin by using tart apples as the base for your jelly, you only need to add enough sugar to make the jelly sweet. The pectin from the apples is sufficient for gelling, without the addition of more sugar.

    I usually don’t like commercial jelly that much, because in my opinion it is just too darn sweet. It can give me a sugar rush. But my homemade jellies use either pectin from the apples or a special commercial brand called “Pomona” which is much stronger than regular commercial pectin. This allows my jellies to be “low sugar”, which for me, just tastes better.

    Hi Jen Jen – Thank you!

  • jenjen

    Elise, this is great. I love the combination of hot and sweet. What better way to make use of these flavours than with a jelly, well done.

  • Alanna

    I’m curious: I understand the objection to commercial dye (brilliant, the addition of cranberries which also adds another layer of tartness, too, I suspect) but what’s the objection to commercial pectin? (Uh oh. Maybe I should’ve checked the label before asking! It might be oh-too-obvious!)