Pepper Jelly and Jam Recipes


Today I am sharing my favorite pepper jelly recipe.  If you have never made pepper jelly or jam, this recipe is the one to start with.

One of my favorite appetizers is a soft cheese with pepper jelly. For years I bought prepared pepper jelly. This recipe is so easy to make and I always have some on hand for surprise visitors!

Cranberry Pepper Jam canning

Making and canning jam is a fun and easy project. I have made strawberry and mixed berry jam before but for the first time, I made Pepper Jam. I love having items in my pantry that I can use to make a great appetizer. Pepper jam works wonderfully on a charcuterie board or with baked brie for a quick and easy appetizer. Today I am going to share two wonderful pepper jelly and jam recipes.

charcuterie board with jam

I made Orange and Red Pepper Jam and Cranberry Pepper Jam.

cranberry pepper jam and orange red pepper jelly

Before I get into the details, I did a bit of research to answer one important question, “what is the difference between jam and jelly”? The answer is: In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice. … In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit.  I had originally titled this blog post “Easy Homemade Pepper Jelly”. Once I read this, I changed the title to “Pepper Jelly and Jam Recipes”. Just to be safe.

But I will likely still call it a Bell Pepper Jelly recipe. 

There are a lot of Pepper Jam recipes and I have to say that without a doubt my favorite recipe was the one I created for Cranberry Pepper Jam. The pepper taste isn’t too strong and it has a bit of a kick. I absolutely love it.

cranberry pepper jam and cheese

Most pepper jams include more than one kind of pepper. For this recipe, I used red and orange peppers as well as jalapeno, serrano, and habanero peppers. I am not a fan of green peppers so I left them out. 

pepper jam ingredients

Ball® jars in an assortment of sizes are perfect for jellies and jams and are available on Amazon.

ball jars for jam and jelly

There is a bit of prep involved when making Pepper Jam. There is a lot of slicing and dicing. If you have a food processor, this is a perfect project for it!

pepper jam and jelly peppers

Clean and core the peppers first and then cut them into less than 1″ thick pieces. Cut the pieces relatively the same size so your end result will be similar-sized pieces after they are chopped in the food processor.

how to chop peppers for pepper jam

When you make jam or jelly, you need to decide if you want to store it in the refrigerator or pantry. If you want to can it for dry storage there are some safety measures you need to use to sterilize and seal your jars. Don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated as it’s not that hard. You just want to be safe. For specific steps of what you need to do, head to the Ball® Jar website.

canning jar sterilize

Serving Pepper Jelly

Traditional Red and Orange Pepper Jellies (or jams) have a distinct pepper taste. It’s great with almost every kind of cheese. Open a jar and add it to a charcuterie board with lots of fun options.

charcuterie board example

Yield: Six 8 oz half pints

Ball® Red Pepper Jelly

Ball® Red Pepper Jelly

Preserving Method: Water Bath Canning
Makes about 6 (8 oz) half pints

If you enjoy a mild pepper jelly, this recipe should top your list. The addition of jalapeno peppers adds just the right kick, without extinguishing your taste buds.


  • 4 ½ cups finely chopped green, red or yellow bell pepper or a combination (about 4 large)
  • ½ cup finely chopped jalapeño pepper (about 4 small)
  • 1 ¼ cups cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Ball® RealFruit™ Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 6 Ball® or Kerr® (8 oz) Quilted Crystal® Jelly Jars with Lids and Bands
  • Optional: Ball® freshTECH Electric Water Bath Canner + Multicooker


  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside. 
  2. COMBINE bell peppers, jalapeño peppers and vinegar in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down over high heat, stirring constantly.
  3. ADD sugar and honey. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.
  4. LADLE hot jelly into hot jars, leaving ¼ headspace. Wipe rim and center lid on jar. Screw band on until fingertip-tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled. 
  5. PROCESS jars for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat; remove lid and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
I am slightly obsessed with cranberries and I decided to make my own version of Cranberry Pepper Jam.

cranberry pepper jam and cheese and crackers

Cranberry Pepper Jam

cranberry pepper jam

This is a wonderful version of pepper jam. The pepper taste isn't as strong but there is a nice kick from the hot peppers.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 2 cups fresh chopped cranberries
  • 1 cup red peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 cup orange peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 TBL finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1 serrano pepper, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 packages Sure Jell powder pectin


  1. Sterilize your canning jars and lids according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Place the cranberries, red peppers, orange peppers, jalapeno and serrano peppers in a sauce pan over high heat. Add the apple cider vinegar and two packets of pectin.
  3. Bring to a boil and add the sugar quickly. Stir and bring to a rolling boil for one minute.
  4. Ladle the jam into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch from the top. Cover first with the flat lids and then screw on the bands tightly.
  5. Process in a hot water bath and remove and allow to cool completely.
To make a charcuterie board, gather jams and cured meats, cheeses, veggies, nuts, olives, dried fruits, crackers, and more. I had so much fun putting this together.

jams and charcuterie board
pepper jelly and jam

One last tip. I bought the hot peppers but when I got them home I couldn’t remember which one was which. But a quick google search solved that problem!

hot peppers for pepper jam

So, there you have it – everything you ever wanted to know about pepper jelly but were afraid to ask. It’s easy enough to make at home, and just a touch of heat makes it the perfect condiment for any dish.

I’m sure your taste buds will thank you. Do you have a favorite recipe that calls for pepper jelly? Share it in the comments below!

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  1. I make pepper jam which we love too. I am definitely going to try your cranberry pepper jam. It sound delicious. Thank you for your beautiful presentation board. I could dive right in. So pretty and inviting.

  2. I used the recipe for Cranberry Pepper Jam, but substituted 2 cups of rhubarb for the 2 cups of cranberry. I thought I would give it a try, both are tart and have good flavor. I live in upstate NY and right now my garden is exploding with rhubarb, so I wanted to use what I have. Unfortunately the peppers in my garden will not be ready for at least a month, so used store bought peppers…..but the result was terrific, tart, sweet and peppery!

  3. Hi, I would likes to make wild blackberry pepper jelly so should I sub crushed blackberries in the same quantity? I’m new to making jams or jellies but did make a peach pepper jelly that turned pretty tasty for my first time making it. Not as much kick as I would have liked but want to use up fresh picked blackberries.

    Professional pictures! They are beautiful, and they prompted me to try your recipe.

  4. Thank you for this recipe! I have hunted several days now for a recipe using cranberries (not juice), bell peppers as well as jalopenos, and powdered pectin, since that is what I have on hand. I also needed to know how much sugar and vinegar to add. So many of the recipes use very little sugar and vinegar. I will be making this tomorrow!

  5. Thank you for sharing this cranberry pepper jam recipe, have looked all week for the one that included red pepper, cranberry and vinegar and your recipe is the only one that seems the best. I have a question though, I only have the Certo liquid pectin. Would I use two packs or one since the recipe calls for 2 packs of the powdered pectin?
    Thank you again.

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