This classic sweet and spicy Jalapeño Pepper Jelly is one of my most popular preserves! It's fantastic served over cream cheese with crackers or as a delicious dip or marinade.
Y'all I am so picky when it comes to pepper jelly and this recipe is by far my favorite version! Using only fresh jalapeños, bell peppers, sugar, apple cider vinegar and pectin, it is the perfect marriage of spicy, sweet and tangy!
My favorite way to serve this jelly is with cream cheese and crackers. But it's also fantastic as a sweet and spicy dipping sauce or as a marinade for steak, chicken and fish.
This recipe is safe for water bath canning. Be sure to follow safe canning practices as outlined by the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
What is water bath canning?
Canning is simply the process of applying adequate heat to high acid food that is sealed in jars for the allotted time necessary to kill off bacteria and micro-organisms that cause food spoilage. During heating, oxygen is driven out of the jars, causing a vacuum seal to form when the jars cool down. This prevents any outside micro-organisms and oxygen from getting back into the food. When done correctly, canning preserves food safely for at least a year, although probably much, much longer.
Safe canning resources.
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For the Jalapeño Pepper Jelly:
- Large pot
- Cutting board & knife OR chopper
- Measuring cups
For water bath canning:
- Mason jars: Make sure the jars are clean and that the lids are brand new. You cannot reuse canning lids.
- Large pot with rack OR Electric Canner: If you only can once in a while using a large pot with a canning rack works just fine. As someone who personally does a lot of canning and I absolutely LOVE my Ball FreshTech Electric Canner.
- Jar lifter: You will need a jar lifter to remove the hot jars from the water bath.
- Funnel: I personally love this canning funnel because it also allows you to measure the headspace easily.
- Ladle: This Prepworks Canning Scoop is my favorite.
- Fresh jalapenos
- Fresh bell peppers
- Apple cider vinegar
- Pectin: I like this Sure Jell Pectin or you can use Ball Pectin.
Tips & Tricks for perfect Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
- Dice your peppers as small and evenly as possible.
- Do not adjust measurements. This could prevent the recipe from setting.
- Make sure the jelly is at a full rolling boil that you can't stir down before setting the one minute timer.
- Make sure to wipe down the rims of the jars after you have added the jelly. Any bits of jelly left on the rims may prevent you from getting a good seal.
- Do not start the processing timer until the water has reached a full rolling boil.
- Do not skip the step of allowing the jars to rest in the water bath with the heat off for 5 minutes. Taking them out too early could cause heat shock that may shatter the glass.
- Never place the hot jars directly on your counter tops. Always lay down a towel to prevent shattering.
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Made this Jalapeño Pepper Jelly? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
- Large pot
- Water bath canning equipment: Large pot or electric canner with rack; mason jars and new lids; funnel; dish towels; jar lifter
- 4 cups finely diced fresh peppers, a mix of jalapenos and bell peppers Use fewer, seeded jalapenos for a more mild jelly or a greater portion of jalapenos with seeds for a spicier jelly.
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar diluted to 5% acidity
- 1.75 oz box of pectin
- 5 cups sugar
Prepare canning materials
- Prepare a boiling water bath and mason jars.Place fresh lids in a pan of simmering water until ready to use.
Make the Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
- Mix peppers and apple cider vinegar in a large pot. Heat over medium high heat, gradually sprinkling in pectin as you stir. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the sugar all at once and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Then set the timer for one minute and boil on high heat , stirring constantly so the mixture does not scorch. Remove from the heat and stir.
Process in the water bath canner.
- Ladle the jalapeño pepper jelly into jars leaving about ¼th to ?rd inch of headspace.Remove air bubbles and wipe the jar rims. Place on new, clean lids and bands and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (adjusting time for altitude).Turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the warm water for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a towel on the counter (do not place directly on the counter).Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for about 24 hours until all the lids have sealed.Store sealed jars in a cool dry place for 12-18 months for best quality.*Note* If any of the jars do not seal simply store in the refrigerator and consume within 10-14 days.