Hot Pepper Jelly

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    ½ pint jars

Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Go to any large Southern cocktail party and there’s a good likelihood that among the toasted pecans and crab dip and celery stuffed with pimento cheese on side tables will be a slab of cream cheese topped with hot pepper jelly, to be spread on crackers. Exactly when and how this spicy-sweet condiment originated is something of a mystery (some authorities say it didn’t exist before the 1940s), but it’s for sure that its popularity today has only been heightened by the availability of so many exotic chile peppers now on the market. The jelly also does lots to enhance cold ham and pork dishes, but never have I seen it served at breakfast. Remember that it’s always a good idea to wear rubber gloves when handling chile peppers.


  • 2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3 small hot green chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • cups cider vinegar
  • cups sugar
  • One 6-ounce bottle liquid pectin (Certo)


In a blender or food processor, combine the two types of peppers and 1 cup of the vinegar and blend till the peppers are finely minced. Transfer the mixture to a stainless-steel or enameled saucepan, add the sugar and remaining vinegar, and bring to a boil. Stir, remove the pan from the heat, and skim any foam off the surface. Stir in the pectin, return the pan to the heat, and boil hard for exactly 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and skim any foam off the surface again.

Pour the jelly into six ½-pint sterilized jars to within ¼ inch of the tops, seal, and store for about 1 month at room temperature before serving.