Sweet Pepper Jam


This page is not really about sweet pepper jam, it’s about that sense of belonging. That we all have in common. A homemade jam, as simple as it may be, brings back memories of carefree summer days spent at the neighbors cottage. A fruit picked from your backyard, or a farmer’s market, and hand made into a decadent treat.

Red Pepper Jam

Chopped red bell peppers and a single sliced jalapeño chile cook with sugar, white wine vinegar, and a touch of butter in this classic pepper jam recipe, set by pectin. You can refrigerate the results for up to a month, freeze up the 3 months, or can for longer storage.

  • Yield: 3 half-pint jars
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 35 mins, plus cooling time
  • Active: 25 mins

Ingredients (8)

  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano chile, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons pectin
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Place a small saucer in the freezer to chill. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the bell peppers, jalapeno, and red pepper flakes until finely chopped. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the sugar with the pectin.
  2. In a medium heavy saucepan or pot, stir together the pepper mixture, the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, the vinegar, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, letting the mixture boil vigorously and stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Slowly add the pectin-sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to boil, stirring constantly until the jam thickens, about 2 minutes longer.
  3. To store the jam, let cool completely. Transfer to clean airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also can the jam according to our canning instructions.


My Sweet Hot Red Pepper Jam recipe is an awe inspiring ruby red color with an intense sweet and spicy flavor. Serve it to friends with cheese and crackers, save it for your favorite turkey sandwich, or water bath can it and get a head start on those holiday gifts.

red pepper jam with cheese and crackers

Hot pepper jams and jellies have a cult following, and I’m a card carrying member 🙂

I love hot pepper jelly with crackers and cheese, slathered on a turkey sandwich, as part of a luxe grilled cheese, topping a burger, as a glaze for chicken and fish…the possibilities are boundless. They make the cutest darned holiday gifts, too, especially when you put them in pretty Weck jars. These jars are actual canning jars as well, so think about making a few batches to give away to your bestest buds this holiday season.

homemade red pepper jam in small jars with spoons

An important difference between making jam and canning jam…

Canning jam can sometimes be tricky, but making jams and jellies is definitely not. People often confuse the two and avoid it entirely, which is such a shame, especially in summer when there is so much fabulous produce out there just begging to be made into jellies and jam.

Making jam

  • Making jam is the simple process of cooking down fruit until it becomes thick. It can be done with or without the aid of pectin.
  • Pectin is simply a natural substance in fruit that aids thickening. Some fruit, like apples, have more of it. Some fruit, like strawberries, have less. Commercial pectin is a concentrated fruit pectin in a powder or liquid form.
  • If you don’t want to use pectin, simply cook down your fruit mixture with whatever sweetener and flavorings you like, until it becomes thick. This happens through evaporation. If you want to be precise, jam sets at 220F, so you can check with a candy making thermometer. (If you live above sea level, subtract 2 degrees for every 1000 feet.)
  • Once any  jam is made, it can be kept in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks, or frozen for up to a year. I make lots of small batch refrigerator jams and I love it because it allows me to experiment with all kinds of flavors and ingredients.
  • When you make small batch jam you can experiment at will without worrying about whether it is safe to can.
  • For the simplest of all jam making, try my 3 Minute Microwave Jam!
red pepper jam on a small wheel of Brie cheese with crackers

Canning jam

  • Canning jam is the process of making it shelf stable through water bath or pressure canning. To safely can jam it has to have a specific ph balance that is acidic enough for safe preservation, so you can’t can all recipes. You should follow recipes from reputable sources, and follow them exactly.
  • You need to have all the equipment necessary to do the actual canning, and you need to be able to sterilize your equipment.
  • This recipe for red pepper jam is formulated to be canned safely, so feel free to do so.
making sweet hot red pepper jam

This hot pepper jam can be made from start to finish in 30 minutes!

A food processor makes quick work of the chopping for this recipe. Pulse your machine rather than running it continuously; this give you control over exactly how fine you want your peppers. Scrape down the sides to get everything evenly chopped. Using all red peppers, both sweet and hot, gives this jam its glorious color.

processing red peppers for hot pepper jam

The combination of both sweet and hot peppers is key to this jam, and it’s that combination, along with the tang of the vinegar, that makes this pepper jam so irresistible.

cooking sweet hot red pepper jam in a large pot

What you’ll need to make this sweet hot red pepper jam ~

  • You’ll need a food processor to process the peppers finely and evenly, I love my classic Cuisinart Food Processor, it’s been a workhorse for me.
  • A large pot for cooking your jam. The larger the pot the shorter the cooking process will be. I use an enameled cast iron pot for this. The surface doesn’t stick, and is non reactive.
  • Jars for your jam, I love Weck jars. They can be used for canning as well as small batch freezer jam recipes.
weck tulip canning jar

How to serve sweet hot red pepper jam ~

Now that you’ve got your jars of crimson jam there are so many ways you can use it. But first you’ve got to try it the old fashioned way…on top of a block of cream cheese with your favorite crackers. If you’re feeling flush, spoon it on top of Brie or Camembert. Any soft, spreadable mild flavored soft cheese works beautifully with this jam.

Provide plain crackers, I like Water Crackers. (Anything with too much flavor will compete with the jam.)

Red Pepper Jelly

Red Pepper Jelly has just three-ingredients, is sweet, can be spicy (or not), and is the perfect thing to serve over soft cheese and set out with crackers in the fall and over the holidays. It also makes a wonderful homemade gift at Christmas.

This recipe makes enough jelly to fill about three 8-oz jars (or six 4-oz jars). To adjust, click on the number next to servings.

Prep Time20 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Total Time35 mins

Course: Sauce

Keyword: appetizer, easy recipe, gluten free, Holiday recipe, homemade gifts, jelly, party and entertaining

Servings: 30

Calories: 87kcal

Cost: $6.00


  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Mason Jars
  • Food Processor
  • Heavy Bottomed Pot


  • 1 lb Red Bell Peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces (important – weigh the bell peppers after the stems and cores have been removed; you should need about 4 regular bell peppers)
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (add more or less according to your spice preference; you can always taste and add more after cooking)
  • 3 cups White Sugar
  • 1 cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ teaspoon Kosher Salt (I use Morton’s)


  • In a food processor, combine red bell peppers and red pepper flakes. Pulse until very finely chopped.
  • Combine bell pepper mixture, sugar, vinegar, butter, and salt in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a vigorous boil over high heat. Boil mixture for 10 to 15 minutes (the longer it boils the thicker it will be – 10 minutes will give you a very loose jelly; 15 minutes will give you a more spreadable consistency). The jelly will thicken as it cools, so don’t worry if it seems loose right after boiling.
  • Divide jelly between jars, leaving at least ⅓-inch of headspace at the top (this is especially important if you are planning to freeze the jelly because it will expand as it freezes).
  • Let jelly come to room temperature and then add lids.
  • Refrigerate or freeze jelly until ready to use. (Jelly will keep for several weeks in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.)


Jars for Canning – I use Ball 4-oz Mason Jars or Ball 8-oz Mason Jars for this recipe. I also keep tons of these mason jars on-hand for making sauces, vinaigrettes and dips. My kids use the 8-oz jars as juice glasses. 

Warming to serve: If you would like to serve the jelly warm (I highly recommend this if you are going to serve it over cream cheese or brie), reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave until warm to the touch.

Hot Water Can / Preserve Red Pepper Jelly:

  1. Before making the jelly, sterilize your jars and lids. To do this, wash jars, lids, and bands in hot soapy water. Rinse and dry well. Put empty jars on a rack in a boiling-water canner and add enough hot water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered, then boil 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place lids in a small saucepan and cover by at least 2 inches of water. Heat until a thermometer registers 180°F / 82°C. Remove jars and lids from heat, leaving them in hot water, covered, until ready to use.
  2. Make jelly according to instructions above.
  3. Carefully remove warm jars and lids with canning tongs. Drain jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel and quickly dry lids. Invert jars and immediately ladle hot jelly into jars, leaving ⅓-inch of headspace at top. (If you have a partially-full jar, refrigerate it and use within a few weeks.) Gently tap the jars on the counter to release air bubbles. Wipe off rims with a damp, clean kitchen towel. Firmly screw on lids with screw bands.
  4. Put sealed jars on rack in canner and add more hot water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a full boil, covered, and then continue boiling with the lid on for 15 minutes. Transfer jars with canning tongs to a towel-lined surface to cool. Let cool completely, 12 to 24 hours. You will know the jars have sealed if the lids are concave. (Put any jars that haven’t sealed properly in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.)


Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 505IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

Sweet and Spicy Christmas Pepper Jam

Couple things to keep in mind when making jam. When you are boiling the fruit & sugar, it is a super hot mixture and will burn you in an instant. Be very careful!! Also, if a jar doesn’t seal, you can always replace the lid (these cannot be reused) and re-process it in the water bath or simply refrigerate that jar.Cook Mode

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time20 mins

Total Time35 mins

Course: Jams and Jellies

Cuisine: American

Servings: 6

Calories: 252kcal

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  • ▢2 green bell peppers
  • ▢2 red bell peppers
  • ▢1 yellow bell pepper
  • ▢4 jalepenos peppers
  • ▢½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ▢¼ teaspoon salt
  • ▢½ cup water
  • ▢½ cup cider vinegar
  • ▢3 cups sugar
  • ▢1 package low sugar Sure-Jell pectin PINK PACKAGE


  • Measure 3 cups sugar into a large bowl. Remove ¼ cup sugar and in a separate bowl, mix it with the powered Sure-Jell. Set aside both mixtures; the sugar and Sure-Jell/sugar.
  • Roughly chop all of the peppers. Carefully remove the seeds & membranes. Add them all to the food processor and pulse until they are well chopped, not pulp, but chopped. You may need to do this in a couple of batches.
  • Place the peppers, red pepper flakes and salt in a heavy bottom pan. Add cider vinegar & water. Add the Sure-Jell/sugar mixture and stir thoroughly. Place mixture over high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly. When it comes to a hard rolling boil (one that you can’t stir down add the remaining sugar and return to a boil, again stirring constantly.
  • Boil hard for exactly one minute and remove from heat. Ladle into clean, sterilized jars.
  • Clean the tops of the jars carefully (so you get a good seal). Place lids on jars and screw on the rings.
  • Place the jam in a hot water bath for 10 minutes – this will help seal the jars. Remove from heat and place them on a heatproof surface (I usually use a heavy cutting board. You’ll hear the jars make a popping noise as they seal. You can check to see if the jars have sealed by pressing down in the center of each jar. If it is sealed, it will not move. If it didn’t seal the “button” on the top will pop up & down.
  • If desired, you may want to flip the jars over ever 20 minutes or so for the first hour. This ensures the pieces of pepper will distribute evenly thru-out the jam. If you don’t, they will all float to the top. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just an extra step that makes the jam look a little prettier when it’s done.


Be sure you choose the pink package, not the yellow. This is the low sugar version. If you use a different pectin the ratios of sugar/berries, etc., will be different.

You can enjoy the jam as soon as it sets up!

Store sealed jars of jam in your pantry. It will last 3-6 months. 

This jam makes six 8 ounce jars pepper jam.

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