Hot Pepper Jelly

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This sweet and spicy Kentucky gem comes from my Nana! Hot Pepper Jelly is a family favorite that was served for every Derby Party at our house. No, you don’t have to make a big huge batch like she did. This small batch will make about 3 half pint jars.

Hot Pepper Jelly


I was given the family canning cookbook. There’s recipes in there for pickles, canning fruits and vegetables, and, of course, jams and jellies. A good chunk of these recipes are from my mother’s side, but there’s a few from Nana and her kin. Consequently, this is where the Hot Pepper Jelly recipe comes from; my Southern side of the family. Or kin, as Dad calls them. LOL

This little recipe of deliciousness has essentially been a favorite snack, appetizer, and party treat ever since I can remember. Yes, I say appetizer and party treat. We’ve served it as both in my family. It’s always brought to the table with any Kentucky Derby part we throw.

A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures | Saving Summer Hot Pepper Jelly


*WARNING* I would not suggest making a batch of this in a small apartment like ours unless you enjoy the aroma of cider vinegar permeating the air for about a day. I didn’t think of that when I decided to whip up a batch. It’s been a few years and I couldn’t resist the urge to make some for this #SundaySupper, but the vinegar smell was overwhelming in our small apartment. And since S isn’t a fan of vinegar, it wasn’t a pleasant experience for him.

This recipe takes me WAY WAY back to when I first tried to make Nana’s recipe. It wasn’t a success, let me tell you. It didn’t set up the way I remembered Nana’s in the jar. Not to mention I had difficulty finding the liquid pectin she referred to in the recipes. I still have difficulty finding the liquid pectin, so I’ve created one that you can easily use with the powdered fruit pectin commonly sold in most grocery stores.


A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures | Saving Summer Hot Pepper Jelly

Being the resourceful person I was at the ripe age of “teenager” I simply opened all the jars, put them back in the pot, reheated the mixture to a rolling boil, and added yet another package of the liquid pectin. Voila! Perfectly jelled after that. So, if yours doesn’t set up, that’s all it takes. Don’t give up. Don’t scratch the batch. Reheat, re-jell and enjoy!

A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures | Saving Summer Hot Pepper Jelly


However, it’s almost a requirement to serve this tasty treat over cream cheese and butter crackers. My personal favorite are Ritz crackers. Who doesn’t love their buttery tastiness? But any cracker of choice will do. Because of this, I’ve served them on water crackers, too. The cool creaminess of the cream cheese pairs nicely with the sweet, sour and spicy of the jelly. The crackers are just the added salt and crunch to bring all the flavors together full circle. Trust me when I say you will love this make it a new personal favorite.

A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures | Saving Summer Hot Pepper Jelly

Since there’s just the two of us, I didn’t want to create a large batch I knew we wouldn’t eat. Not that it would go bad, I mean, the jars seal, but I didn’t want to move lots of jars when we buy a house. So, this is a small batch that will make about 3 half pint jars. Perfect for us!! If you want a larger batch, double it! It would be perfect for a Christmas food gift. The colors are spot on for that holiday; red or green. I don’t put added food dye in there, but you can if you’d like to really enhance the color.

A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures | Saving Summer Hot Pepper Jelly

Also, you can use any type of peppers you want. If you want it spicier, throw some hatch or habanero on there. If you want it less spicy, use more bell peppers. Just so long as the total pulp matches the recipe, you’re golden! You can adjust the color with the peppers you use, too. You can, therefore, make it orange with habanero and some orange or yellow peppers. Next you can make it red with ghost peppers and red bell pepper. If you want something interesting try some heirloom purple jalapenos and purple bell peppers. Finally, try some white habaneros and white peppers. Honestly, the possibilities are almost endless with the colors and flavors of peppers that are available now.

A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures | Saving Summer Hot Pepper Jelly

I hope you pick the perfect combination for your family and make a batch of this uniquely tasty Hot Pepper Jelly. I know you’re love it! Make sure to see what the rest of the crew have preserved from their summer produce.


Hot Pepper Jelly

Hot Pepper Jelly

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes

This sweet and spicy Kentucky gem comes from my Nana! Hot Pepper Jelly is a family favorite that was served for every Derby Party at our house. No, you don't have to make a big huge batch like she did. This small batch will make about 3 half pint jars


  • 3 cups pepper blend, minced in a food processor (jalapeno, bell, habanero, serano, etc).
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1.75 ounces no sugar needed fruit pectin (I used Sure Jell.)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups sugar substitute
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 4 pint jars with rims and lids, sterilized and prepared for canning


  1. Combine the peppers and cider vinegar in a large, non-reactive stock pot. It is better to err on the side of larger rather than smaller as the mixture will boil over quickly if the pot is too small.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup sugar with the package of fruit pectin and stir into the pepper mixture with a whisk. Bring to a full, rolling boil (a boil that does not go away after stirred) on high heat. Boil hard for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the remaining sugar and sugar substitute along with the butter or margarine. Boil hard an additional minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Skim off any foam and pour into the prepared jars using a funnel. Wipe with rims with a damp paper towel and place the lids and rims on top. Do not over tighten which could prevent the seal from forming.
  5. Invert the jars 10 minutes, then turn them right side up and cool completely. If the jars do not seal, place them in a water bath until they seal.
  6. Serve with cream cheese and crackers.

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  1. What would the ratio be if I used all sugar, amd not the substitute? I’ve been trying to find a good recipe, amd have not been successful yet. Have made two different batches, amd they just didn’t taste right. Hoping this is the one! But I’d rather use all sugar, not substitute as I do t like the taste. Can you help?

  2. There is nothing better than homemade hot pepper jelly! And thanks for the warning about the vinegar. I made a vinegary BBQ sauce when we lived in our apartment and my husband was less than amused as he’s also really against the smell of it.

  3. I get really excited when I see hot pepper jelly over cream cheese at a party! My "kin" likes this too!
    Canning, pickling, and jelly making are something I've always been afraid to do.
    Thanks for linking up, Christie!

  4. omg … I love hot pepper jelly … and yours looks positively perfect!

    Such a beautiful color … and I can only imagine how tasty it is! I guess I need to make a batch and find out!

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh how I love hot pepper jelly. I get some every time I find it at a farmers market. Only thing that stops me from making it is the canning part.

  6. This would be a great appetizer to serve when we have friends over. I love all kinds of jelly. I have had jelly that hasn't set and we have just used it as syrup – putting it back in to heat up some more would have worked too!

  7. Pepper jelly is one of my favorite things but despite living for many years in Texas, I first came across it cooked by an Englishwoman living in the Bahamas. Go figure. Thanks for sharing your family recipe, Christie!

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