Make Ahead

Habanero Pepper Jelly

July 26, 2011
5 Ratings
  • Makes 6 half pints
Author Notes

This is hands down our favorite home-canned product. When my husband and I were in college we ate so much of this jelly smeared on hard crackers with goat cheese that we dubbed it "The Snack". In truth it was more like The Snack, The Lunch, The Dinner, you get the idea. Serve this sweet and spicy jelly with soft cheese such as chevre or brie. It is also an excellent addition to a grilled cheese sandwich or a glaze for grilled salmon. Yum! —My Pantry Shelf

What You'll Need
  • 2 orange bell peppers
  • 8 habanero peppers
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 packet no or low sugar pectin
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  1. Seed and stem bell peppers and habaneros. (Take care with the habanero, they are extremely hot. Gloves are recommended.)
  2. Roughly chop the peppers, then toss into a food processor and process until minced, but not pureed.
  3. Place peppers, vinegar, pectin, salt and butter to a full rolling boil. Stir constantly.
  4. Add sugar and return to a boil for one minute.
  5. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Fill sterile mason jars leaving a 1/2 inch head-space.
  6. To make shelf stable- process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Anthony Ivers-Read
    Anthony Ivers-Read
  • Elaina Kriz
    Elaina Kriz
  • Liz Colville
    Liz Colville
  • Veronika Bartosch
    Veronika Bartosch
  • Kris
The bounty of each season is worth celebrating! Most of the meals I cook for my hungry family of four are based on whatever is fresh and bountiful in our yard or what we can glean from the yards of our friends and neighbors. The seasonal food we have in surplus goes into the canning jars. Even busy families can find time for fresh, homemade foods.

28 Reviews

Terry P. January 22, 2021
This is a fantastic recipe -- nice balance of warmth, spice and sweetness. Whoever recommended having this with goat cheese nailed it! So good.
Terry P. January 22, 2021
This is a fantastic recipe -- nice balance of warmth, spice and sweetness. Whoever recommended having this with goat cheese nailed it! So good.
dianne September 29, 2020
Can you substitute apple cider vinegar for some or all the vinegar?
Anthony I. September 30, 2020
I wouldn’t see a problem with that generally white and cider conifers are interchangeable I wouldn’t necessarily sub malt vinegar but it all comes down to person preference
Anthony I. July 27, 2020
I made a half portion with homegrown habaneros and it was fantastic. Now I have some smallish red jalapeños homegrown how many do you think I would need to use instead of habaneros?
Orpheline July 19, 2020
How much is a”half packet of pectin”?
Jessi September 19, 2018
Great with Ritz crackers and cream cheese top it off with your new jelly
Jessi September 19, 2018
Always make this but I love to use carrots and shred them in place off peppers!! Have fun!
linda H. March 12, 2018
It doesn't last too long around here...I would freeze it if I had to eat it slowly!
John S. March 12, 2018
How long will this last in the fridge without the hot water bath? It looks like a fairly low pH . . .

Thanks in advance.
linda H. October 23, 2017
Elaina...they really bury this without a side link:
Hope you have luck.
linda H. October 23, 2017
to Elaina:
Pomona Pectin has detailed instructions on how to deal with jam that
has not jelled there are ways to see if
your jam might not require you to re-process. they have been a lifesaver here...I did the same thing you did by adding the sugar too early!

Elaina K. October 23, 2017
I'll look it up. I used Ball brand low or no sugar needed pectin but I'll check out Pomona. Thank you for the advice
Elaina K. October 23, 2017
I made this yesterday, and completely read the recipe wrong. I wasn't paying attention and added the sugar in early as I normally do in other recipes. While it tastes good it still hasn't set. Any ideas to save it or reprocess recommendations?
Liz C. January 6, 2016
This was my first foray into canning and it was a major SUCCESS! I halved the recipe, using half a packet of Pomona powdered pectin. It made two half pint jars. For the second jar I added another 1/2 bell pepper to make it milder, and I eyeballed a little extra vinegar, sugar and pectin to even out the proportions. Thank you for this!!
Veronika B. November 5, 2015
Does it work without butter? Or do you have a vegan alternative? Thanks!
nirvana August 9, 2015
Michael, I am sure it can be. I use "Little/No" Sugar because I don't want the extra sweetness. With regular pectin you must use the recommended sugar amount otherwise it won't gel.
Michael August 9, 2015
But what would that recommended amount be? That's what I don't understand
I'm new to this
Michael August 9, 2015
Can this be made with regular pecten? The only kind at my local market carries is the real Fruit classic pectin in a jar made by ball. How do I adjust the recipe if this is the only pectin and I have
nirvana December 22, 2014
I have been canning for about 40 yrs yet had never made any pepper jelly. In all honesty, the times I have eaten this at parties it has been ho hum at best and contained food coloring.
One of my regular clients who has bought countless jars of jams and jellies, asked if I had ever made red pepper jelly. My response was basically what I stated above. But, I was willing to step up to the task and find a recipe that would be tasty. This was a several hour undertaking and I won't bore anyone with the nonsense I waded through. Then I thought of Food52 and did a search. The above recipe sounded very interesting and no food coloring.
First of all, this is uncomplicated and the recipe can be made and dishes washed in an hour. My kind of recipe!! Yes, it does make 6 1/2 pints. Nice texture, good color. Since I used the "little/no" sugar pectin as recommended, while making this jelly, I used the same method as I do making jellies. The key to jelling is bringing the mixture to the proper temps. Therefore, for me there was no weeping or gooey jelly. And I didn't have to wait for two days to firm up.

Yesterday I went to Nantucket to make the delivery of pepper jelly. A little nervous because I wasn't clear about how hot my client really likes his peppers. But we have a good working relationship and I told him if it needed it hotter, that was easy to rectify. In my opinion, this jelly is fabulous and has just enough heat and this is what I passed along.
I received a call last night from this client telling me that this is.......fabulous and the perfect amount of heat.
This is a long revue and I am sorry about that. But, I am thrilled to have such a delicious new jelly to make. Thank you Food52!!!!

Kris November 21, 2014
Great recipe. I had bought a jar from someone and have been looking to make it at home. Will this ooze out/burn when you make turnovers? How do I avoid that ?
linda H. November 10, 2014
Huge success!! Recipe made 6 half-pints and was very easy. I even spaced the first boil by adding the sugar too early but it still came out perfect. There was a bit left in the pan so I dragged a slice of warm roast beef through it and swooned.
Feel like I belong on Walton's mountain...THANKS
davegorf January 6, 2012
MPS, I made this over the holidays. Volume was good, 2 large and 2 small jars. Everyone who has tried it loved it. We paired on one occasion with cheese and bleu cheese was best. Nice contrast. It also went over big on crackers, bread, apples, and late one night oatmeal raisin cookies. I must admit when I think jelly I think Peanut Butter. makes a great PB&J on rye toast!!! Try it! Then I brought a jar to work and put it out with a baguette and a chunk of gorgonzola. My colleagues were lined up. I have yet to find my jar. I suspect someone may be sitting in a corner licking it out. Wild success, thanks so much. DG
My P. January 6, 2012
Dave, So glad to hear it was a success. PB&J on Rye? That is one combination I will have to try. Hope you find your jar.