Harvest peppers from your garden and make a batch of this sweet & spicy pepper jelly recipe to give as homemade Christmas gifts or any time of the year. It’s a delicious condiment for meat and vegetables, and you can also use it to make quick and easy appetizers.
What if you could get some of your Christmas shopping and gift giving out of the way now? Pin this pepper jelly recipe, then pencil in a little time in the kitchen to make it during the summer, and come hustle-bustle holiday time, you won’t have to worry about making homemade gifts for your teachers, neighbors and friends.
Of course, you can make it any time of the year. But I always love making pepper jelly in the summer when garden fresh peppers are abundant.
Now is really the perfect time to make preserved holiday food gifts, like this easy sweet and spicy pepper jelly recipe. If you planted a garden, I bet you have lots of peppers to spare. And even if you didn’t, you can easily find peppers at the farmer’s market or local produce stands.
But the biggest reason to make your food gifts now is so you’ll have time to do it. How many times have had the good intentions to make homemade gifts for Christmas only to run out time?
Spare a part of an afternoon now, and you can relax come December. And you really don’t need much time at all. This pepper jelly recipe shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.
My mom has been making and gifting sweet pepper jelly for years, and she finally showed me how to make it. It really is easy, I promise.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. Read my full disclosure policy here.
How to Make Homemade Pepper Jelly
First, you’re going to want to prepare your jars. You’ll need six 1/2-pint jars.
You can boil them, but I find it easiest to run them through the dishwasher on the hot setting. Then, when the cycle is over, dry them and let them drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
You’ll need to sterilize your jar lids and rings, too, by boiling them in a pan of water.
Next, you’re going to want to chop up some peppers. (The recipe at the end of the post has precise measurements.) If you don’t like spicy, just stick with all sweet, but I do think it looks pretty if you choose different colored peppers.
When handling hot peppers I recommend wearing gloves to protect your hands and eyes.
Next, you’re going to grind up your peppers in a food processor. You may also want to wear a mask for this step to avoid pepper spraying yourself. My mom warned me about this, but I have a high tolerance for spicy food, so I didn’t mask and glove up. Boy, did I regret it. My hands burned for hours, and I had a full-out coughing fit.
You need a lot of sugar and vinegar for this recipe.
Not counting chopping time and processing time, it takes less than 15 minutes to cook up a batch of homemade pepper jelly.
Once the jelly has set for a few minutes, you can pour it into jars and seal them to fingertip tight. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove jars and cool, checking to make sure they’re sealed after 24 hours.
Print out a label for the jar lids, then add cute tags and personalized ribbon, and you have a half-dozen tasty, thoughtful gifts to share. (I love my P-Touch Embellish for making personalized ribbon and labels.)
How can I serve pepper jelly?
If I haven’t convinced you to make a batch of pepper jelly by convincing you that it will save you valuable time (and money) during the holidays, let me appeal to your sense of taste.
This stuff is delicious. Spoon a little pepper jelly over cream cheese, and you have an instant appetizer.
Bake up wontons in a muffin tin and fill them with a mixture of cream cheese and pepper jelly to make a simple, but delicious wonton pepper jelly appetizer. (You can also add and chopped shrimp to the wonton cups to make a version of shrimp rangoons.)
And pepper jelly makes any vegetable taste better. I love it mixed with green beans, limas, corn, and it’s also fabulous over chicken and pork.
I’m thinking you better make a double batch or your pepper jelly will be all gone by Christmas. (Actually, I recommend that you make two separate batches rather than a double batch. Otherwise, the pepper jelly could boil over and make a mess on your stovetop.)
What kind of peppers can I use in homemade pepper jelly?
That’s the beauty of this recipe. You can use any kind of peppers you like in homemade pepper jelly, including sweet red peppers, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, poblano peppers, banana peppers and hotter varieties, like ghost peppers and scotch bonnet peppers.
Just make sure you are using fresh peppers, not ones that have already been pickled or brined.
And don’t forget to take proper safety precautions when dealing with hot peppers. Gloves and masks are your friend. You may even choose to grind the peppers outdoors if you’re sensitive or someone in your house is. Better safe than sorry.
- ¼ cup chopped hot peppers
- 1½ cups chopped sweet peppers
- 6½ cups sugar
- 1½ cups vinegar
- 1 3- ounce pack liquid pectin
Grind the peppers in the food processor. You may want to wear a mask to avoid breathing in fumes.
Combine ground peppers, vinegar and sugar and bring to a brisk boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
Add pectin and boil for an additional minute.
Remove from heat and set for 5 minutes.
Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and seal to fingertip tight.
Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove jars and cool, checking to make sure they're sealed after 24 hours.
Pin This! Homemade Sweet & Spicy Pepper Jelly Recipe
You might enjoy these other recipes: