Texas Living

How to Make Homemade Pepper Jelly

By Celia Bryan-Brown 8.20.20

Pepper jelly is one of those things that just tastes better homemade. It’s also a fantastic way of using up chilies from your garden. What better way to keep enjoying the fruits of your summer harvest through the winter too? Sweet with a little heat, pepper jelly is a moreish pantry must-have. The brilliance of pepper jelly is that you can use any type of chili you like. Get creative with different heat levels and different-colored peppers.

Imani Chet Lytle


Red Pepper Jelly: This is the unbeatable classic hot pepper jelly.
Serve: In a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Ingredients: Use red bell peppers, serrano chilies, and crushed red pepper flakes

Green Jalapeño Jelly: This is a slightly cooler, milder jelly.
Serve: Over cornbread and butter
Ingredients: Use green bell peppers and jalapeños

Ginger-Habanero Jelly: This jelly has a versatile warmth and kick.
Serve: As a pork tenderloin glaze or on pulled pork
Ingredients: Use orange and yellow bell peppers, habaneros, and ginger

Imani Chet Lytle

Your Base Recipe

Making pepper jelly is super easy. This is a simple, failsafe recipe you can adapt with whatever peppers you have on hand.


  • 5 cups jam sugar (this contains pectin)
  • 1 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups bell peppers (color of choice), halved, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup chilies (variety of choice), halved, deseeded and chopped
  • Any other flavorings of choice


  • To sterilize your jars and lids, wash them in very hot, soapy water, then rinse with clean hot water. Place them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven preheated to 250 F. Turn off the oven and leave to dry completely for at least 15 minutes or until the oven is cool.
  • Put a couple of saucers or a metal plate in the freezer to test the jelly later.
  • Heat jam sugar and vinegar gently in a heavy-bottomed pan or jam pan, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Finely chop peppers and chilies in a food processor. Add to the vinegar-and-sugar mix.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and keep at a rolling boil for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Test the jelly by spooning a teaspoonful onto the plate in the freezer. Leave for a minute, then push it with your finger. The jelly should wrinkle a little and look softly set. If it’s not, simmer for another 5 minutes before testing again. If you have a sugar thermometer, this set point is 220 F.
  • Pour the jelly into the sterilized jars and seal.
  • Once opened, the jelly will keep for a month in the fridge.

Find more Texas jelly recipes here.

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