Easy Jalapeño Pepper Jelly (Pectin Free)
A little sweet, a little spicy, and a whole lotta tasty, this easy Jalapeño Pepper Jelly recipe is liquid and powdered pectin free, making it less scary for canning virgins like me! Preserve your bumper crop of late summer chiles in this simple pepper jam and enjoy the bounty of your garden all year long.
Whether you use it for glazing meat, jazzing up your cheese plate, or for dipping your jalapeño poppers, this easy jalapeño jelly is sure to win the hearts of your guests. It’s also a great edible hostess gift, which is perfect for the approaching holidays.
About These Homemade Preserves
My grandma used to can tomatoes, fruit preserves, and salsa. I used to love seeing her colorful mason jars in the cabinet and hearing them pop open to make so many of her delicious recipes. I am still in awe that she rarely grocery shopped; she made her garden last the entire year by canning. How cool is that?!?
As much as I’d love to learn my grandma’s ways, I’m just not the canning type. Maybe one day I’ll jump on that train, but to be completely honest, water bath canning and its risk of botulism makes me nervous.
I have always wanted to make jalapeño jam (it’s so delicious in so many applications!), but most recipes ask for liquid or powdered pectin to help it thicken and gel. Even more intimidating is that most also require water-bath canning, which I’m just not comfortable with.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person wary of canning, so I set out to develop an easy, pectin-free jalapeño jelly recipe for all of us on team No Can Do (should we make shirts?). In my research, I found this recipe and learned that granny smith apples are a great natural source of pectin.
By adding an apple to the mixture, voila! You have an easy jalapeño jelly with naturally occurring pectin. The apple helps to both thicken the jelly and preserve it for up to one month. There is no need to can it; simply place it in jelly jars (I love these mini mason jars) and refrigerate or give them away as edible gifts.
What Are The Best Peppers For This Sweet and Spicy Jam?
When it comes to pepper jelly, I think the most important part is having a good balance of sweet and spicy. As such, you’re going to want to choose a somewhat spicy chile to work with. Jalapeño pepper jelly is probably the most well-known of these kinds of preserves, but I find that this is the perfect way to use up either jalapeño or red fresno chile peppers from the garden!
If you’re unfamiliar, fresno chili peppers were first cultivated in 1952 and were named after the city Fresno, California. Red Fresno peppers may look like jalapeños, however the Fresno pepper has a fruitier, smokier taste and they can be a bit spicier. In fact, they measure from 2,500 – 10,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), versus jalapeños which range from 2,500-8,000 SHUs.
How to Make Pectin Free Pepper Jelly
If you’ve never made homemade preserves before, you’re going to flip over this easy recipe for jalapeño jam. It’s so simple!!
Place chopped chile peppers, bell pepper, and apple into a food processor or blender. Pulse for 1 to 2 minutes until the ingredients are very finely diced.
Place pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar into a stock pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once thickened, remove from heat. Place jelly into glass jars and let cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator for up to one month. Super easy, right?
Now that you’ve made my simple jalapeño jelly recipe, I’m sure you’re wondering what in the heck to do with it. Well amigos, I have some good news for you: it is delicious in a multitude of different applications. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Pour the jalapeño jelly over a block of cream cheese (or goat cheese) and serve it as an appetizer. It is so simple and always a huge hit. The smooth, tangy cream cheese combined with the sweet and spicy jelly is a winning combination that everyone will love. It’s so addictive — once you start to dip, you won’t be able to stop!
- Place a jar of it on a charcuterie board. Remember this cute Halloween cheese board?
- Brush it over grilled or baked chicken or pork kabobs for a sweet and spicy glaze. It’s also awesome on chicken wings for game day.
- Use it as a dip for jalapeño poppers, because the only thing better than jalapeños is DOUBLE jalapeños.
- Add it to your morning toast or grilled cheese for a hint of heat.
If you come up with any other winning ways to use this delightful spicy-sweet condiment, snap a pic and be sure to tag me on Instagram!
Frequently Asked Questions
Producers of jams, jellies, and other preserves often use food coloring as a way to entice customers. Did you know that mint jelly isn’t naturally green either?? Since this is a homemade recipe, you can easily omit all the weird artificial stuff, including dyes. Yay for homemade!
This pepper jelly has just the right amount of heat for me, but I’m also a huge fan of spicy things. If you’re heat averse, remove the seeds and membranes from your jalapeños and omit the fresno chiles.
Heck yeah! If you want to make your bounty last all year long like my grandma without having to water-bath can, simply pop your jalapeño jam in the freezer. Just be sure to leave about ¾ inch of space between the lid of your container and the top of the jam to allow for natural expansion. Frozen pepper jelly should last for up to six months in the freezer.
Pectin is a naturally occurring starch that exists in several varieties of fruits and vegetables, including apples, plums, and the rinds of citrus. In jam and jelly-making, it acts as a thickener. Many jam recipes will call for powdered or liquid pectin, which is most often processed from the rinds of citrus fruits. In my simple jalapeño jam recipe, I use the natural pectin present in a granny smith apple to do all the work without having to buy a strange ingredient I wouldn’t use otherwise.
If you made my quick and easy recipe for Jalapeño Jelly, please be sure to rate and review it below!
- 6 jalapeños, roughly chopped
- 1 bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 2 fresno chile peppers (optional) , roughly chopped
- 1 green apple, cored and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- Place chopped chile peppers, bell pepper, and apple into food processor or blender. Pulse for 1-2 minutes until ingredients are very finely diced.
- Place mixture, vinegar, and sugar into stock pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Once thickened, remove from heat. Place jelly into glass jars and let cool at room temperature. Then store in refrigerator for up to one month.
- If you would like a mild jelly, remove the seeds and membranes from chile peppers and omit the fresnos.
- Makes 6 (4-ounce) jelly jars
- Frozen pepper jelly should last for up to six months in the freezer. Just be sure to leave about ¾ inch of space between the lid of your container and the top of the jam to allow for natural expansion.
Photography by Jenna Sparks