Making jelly is a relatively quick and easy process. Making hot pepper jelly is more my speed! It’s a delicious and powerful twist to spice up snack time. It’s also perfect for topping treats for the big game or movie night.

Even though we’re using reasonably hot peppers, the sweet nature of jelly mellows out the sting, making it more enjoyable for everyone.

The jelly-making process goes a bit easier if you have the right tools. For this recipe, you can use six 8 oz jelly jars or twelve 4 oz jelly jars. For this round, I used the smaller 4oz jelly jars


You’ll need 5-8 hot peppers. I recommend using Habanero peppers. The amount can vary depending on the type of peppers used and how hot you may like your jelly. 1 bell pepper any color. I prefer red or orange bell peppers. 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, 6 cups of sugar, and 3 ounces liquid fruit pectin (1 packet of Certo brand is recommended).

Basic Equipment Needed

(1)  Regular or wide-mouth Mason-type, threaded, home-canning jars with self-sealing lids are the best choice. These jars are typically available in the spice/baking aisle of most major grocery stores. Mason jars may be reused many times, requiring only new metal lids for the next use. The metal screw bands may be reused if they are in good shape (no rust or denting). Before every use, wash empty jars, lids, and screw bands in hot water with detergent and rinse well by hand, or wash in a dishwasher.

(2)  Large pot with a tight-fitting lid: either a water canning pot with a wire canning rack or a large, deep Dutch oven plus a round, metal wire rack that fits into it. The wire rack helps prevent the jars from breaking during boiling.

(3)  Canning funnel to make filling jars much easier.

(4)  Jar lifter to safely move jars in and out of the hot water bath.

(5)  Lid wand (with a magnetic tip) to help remove lids from hot water.

All of these items are also available as a complete Canning Tool Set.

Parts of a canning jar:


To sterilize empty jars after washing and rinsing thoroughly, submerge them, right side up, in a boiling-water canner (or large pot) with the wire rack in the bottom. A wire rack (be sure to get the right size for your pot) on the bottom of the pot is recommended to prevent the jars from breaking. Here’s a great 10-step article with photos on water bath canning.

I don’t do a ton of canning, so I don’t have a canner. I simply use a large pot or my dutch oven. Since I’m filling small 4oz jelly jars here, they are small enough for my dutch oven. If you’re using taller 8 oz jelly jars, you’ll want to use a taller pot. If you plan on doing a good amount of canning, you may want to consider purchasing a full canning kit.

Fill the pot or canner with enough warm water so it is 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to kill off any germs and bacteria. This will also prevent the jars from breaking when filled with hot jelly or when transferred to the boiling water bath. Keep the jars in the hot water until ready to fill. You can also wash and dry jars in the dishwasher; keep jars in dishwasher with the door closed (to keep them warm) and remove them as needed.

Place new lids (you must use new lids each time you do canning; screw bands can be reused if in good condition) in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer (180°F). Lids must be simmered for 10 minutes to “activate” the sealing compound needed to achieve a vacuum seal. Keep lids in simmering water until ready to use. (Do not boil: simmering the lids in water hotter than 180° may interfere with proper sealing.)

After 10 minutes, reduce the heat under the canner or pot, and keep the jars and lids in the hot water until it is time to fill them. Don’t discard the water in the pot. You will be reusing it to process the jelly at the end.


Coarsely chop peppers and drop them into a food processor or blender with the apple cider vinegar. The more of the seeds you leave in will add to the heat! Feel free to fine-tune the heat by removing some seeds. Always use food prep gloves when chopping hot peppers.

Blend in the food processor until the peppers are finely diced.

Pour blended liquid into a large pot and add the sugar. Bring to mixture to a rolling boil. Then turn down the heat and gently boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the heat isn’t too high or the mixture will boil over. 

After 5 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and immediately stir in the fruit pectin.

TIP:  To help prevent the peppers from floating to the top of the jar once you ladle them into the jar, remove from the heat and and gently stir every minute for 5 minutes. Then ladle into the jars.

When ready to fill, using a jar lifter, remove one jar, lid and metal screw band from the water. A magnetic lid lifter is ideal for easily removing the lids from hot water.

Place the wide mouth funnel in the jar and ladle your jelly into the jar filling to about 1/4 inch from the top. I have to say, the use of a wide mouth funnel makes filling the jars super easy and much less messy. I’d highly recommend getting one. 

Wipe the rim if any jelly has spilled onto the jar. Cover with flat lids and screw on screw bands tightly, until fingertip-tight.


Once all the jars are filled, place them back into your canner or pot. For this recipe, we are going to use the water process method. Make sure all jars are covered with water. Bring the water to a boil, cover with lid and leave the jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude

Turn off the heat and remove the lid. Let jars stand 5 more minutes in the water. Remove the jars and let them cool on the counter or on a cutting board. Check the seal after 24 hours. The lid should not flex up and down when the center is pressed. If the little center part of the lid does flex, you’ll need to refrigerate those jars and should use them first. Enjoy!


Hot Pepper Jelly

A great tasting, easy to make hot pepper jelly recipe.

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 8 oz jars


  • 5-8 hot peppers this amount can vary depending on the type of peppers used and how hot you want your jelly. I used one pepper per jar of Red Savina habaneros and it had a decent kick, but still edible by everyone.
  • 1 bell pepper any color
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 3 ounces liquid fruit pectin Certo is recommended, 1 packet
  • 4 drops food coloring optional
  • 6 8 oz canning/jelly jars with lids or 12 - 4 oz jelly jars


  1. Coarsely chop peppers and pop them into a food processor with the vinegar. Blend until the peppers are finely diced.

  2. Pour blended liquid into a large pot.
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Bring to mixture to a rolling boil. Then turn down the heat and gently boil for 5 minutes. Make sure the heat isn't too high or the mixture will boil over.

  5. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the fruit pectin and food coloring (if using food coloring).

  6. Pour into sterilized jars and seal the jars using the hot water bath method. To do this, put jars into a large boiler or pot of boiling water with a rack on bottom (a water canner), cover jars with 1-2 inches of water and boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars and allow to cool completely before storing.

Recipe Notes

If you’re wanting to store these for months unopened for later consumption, you’ll want to follow the USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning. This resource is for people canning for the first time or for experienced canners wanting to improve their canning practices.

If you make this, be sure to share with all the fans!

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