Stovetop Hot Pepper Jelly


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After I posted my Hot Pepper Jelly and adventures-in-canning post a couple weeks ago, I made and canned another batch of hot pepper jelly. I love the stuff but canning isn’t one of those spur-of-the-moment little events. It does take some planning and there’s lots of boiling liquid.

stovetop hot pepper jelly in jar

When longtime reader and blogger, J of SemplicementeJ, wrote to tell me she makes Venezuelan Red Pepper Jelly but doesn’t bother with canning, I got very excited.

I asked her permission to share her recipe because it’s not on her site. She combines 1 red pepper, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and 1 cup of sugar on the stovetop and lets it simmer until it’s reduced by half.

stovetop hot pepper jelly in jar

Jelly, without canning? I was sold and tried the stovetop method and I’m so glad I did.

The resulting jelly was delicious. Sweet with some heat, and very thick. I was initially worried it wouldn’t get thick enough without using pectin or by processing it and actually canning it. However, I underestimated the power of simmering and time. The reduction in overall liquid volume thickened the jelly tremendously. It got almost too thick and next time I will not boil it quite as long, which is simply a fabulous excuse to try my hand at making more.

stovetop hot pepper jelly in jar



Stovetop Hot Pepper Jelly (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free)

Makes about 1 1/2 cups jelly, depending on cooking time and how much volume you choose to reduce

1 red pepper, diced

1 green pepper, diced

2 small jalepeno peppers, diced

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cups sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and cook mixture over medium-low heat until the mixture has reduced by half. (This took about 25 minutes for me, but in the future, I will stop cooking after about 20 minutes, since the jelly is quite thick. It’s hard to tell when it’s boiling and bubbling how thick it will be after it has been jarred and has cooled). Carefully pour the mixture into a glass jar or suitable container with a lid. I store my jelly in the refrigerator and surmise it will last for many weeks; use common sense.

Notes: J’s recipe Venezuelan Red Pepper Jelly calls for 1 red pepper, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup sugar. Cut peppers as desired (julienne, small cubes, diced). Cook until reduced by half. Since I doubled the quantity of peppers, I doubled the vinegar and sugar amounts. I also used red, green, and jalepeno and her recipe calls just for red peppers.


 This is a fast recipe that came together in under a half hour and it’s also small batch recipe, and made just this one jar of jelly, which I’ve been savoring. The peppers are really chewy, the sugar-vinegar mixture reduced and became an almost honey-like substance, complete with a tartness from the vinegar and a kick from the peppers.

stovetop hot pepper jelly in jar

In many ways, the principle at play with this jelly is similar to the Cranberry & Orange Ginger Mango Chutney. If you boil fruit and sugar long enough on the stovetop, and it will reduce and you’ll make jelly or chutney.

Cranberry & Orange Ginger Mango Chutney

I’m excited to play around with the pepper jelly recipe and test out different varieties of peppers and maybe include some fruit like mango, pineapple, or oranges. There are so many ways to go with it and I love that I don’t actually have to can, not that I’m trying to discourage you from canning.

 Check out this post; canning isn’t as hard as you think.

homemade hot pepper jelly in can

But no lies, the stovetop method is easier and yielded a very similar-tasting result with less time and much less effort involved, which is a win-win.

Stovetop hot pepper jelly in jar

It’s been very spicy and peppery and hot around here. Where’s the water?

Szechuan shrimp stir fry in pan

Have you ever made jam, jelly, preserves or something similar?

If you’re intimidated by canning, you could try “freezer jam” which is made by simply cooking the fruit or berries with sugar, adding pectin, placing into freezer-safe containers or baggies, and un-thaw as needed.  It’s easy and will make quick use of strawberries, blueberries, or other seasonal fruit. It’s a good “gateway” jam-making process if you don’t want to try full-out canning.

And the method I used for the stovetop hot pepper jelly was incredibly easy, and no pectin required, similar to the Cranberry & Orange Ginger Mango Chutney method.

What’s your favorite kind of jam or jelly?

I love strawberry jam that’s really thick and chunky with big pieces and bits of fruit. I also love the smoothness of a good grape or apple jelly. The flavor of peach jam or jelly, or a mango chutney, they’re all favorites of mine. When it comes to jam, jelly, preserves, I’m not picky other than to say that homemade is always better than storebought.

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Leave a Comment

Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.


    1. Easily 2-4 weeks in the fridge, for me personally. But because there are no preservatives, of course use your judgment.

  1. Have searched & searched Google and through a number of “vintage” and modern canning recipe books fruitlessly (no pun intended!!) for a pepper jelly recipe that did not use commercial pectin but instead apple pectin (made from cooking apple peels and cores and straining for the presumably pectin-laden juice). Have 3 pints of apple juice/pectin canned & waiting, but my sticking point is the proportions… I know I need the vinegar/sugar ratio to be just so for safety’s sake since peppers are non-acid, and so don’t know how much adding any of the apple pectin would change (dilute) the vinegar. I need the help of a qualified home economist!!!
    Also, since I hate wasting any part of my homegrown organic peppers, when I make pepper relish, I sometimes use my grandma’s heavy old vegetable grinder for the peppers instead of my food processor so I can catch the juice that drains out of the thing as I turn the crank. (Gram’s recipe also calls for onions, but I do those separately since, of course, I don’t want onion juice in my pepper jelly!! When grinding the peppers & onions together, the mix gets salted & then has to stand for about an hour, before draining well and discarding.) So now I have about a quart of pepper juice (bell + fish peppers) in my freezer along with about a pint of ground peppers until I can find the sort of recipe I want… Anyone?? Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. Hi, I love this recipe, have read all of the posts, and decided to give this a try. I would like to know if the jam should be immediately be refrigerated, and how long it will last in the refrigerator? I would like to put that info on the gift tags for friends this Christmas.

    1. I have stored it for many weeks in the fridge. I would suggest putting it in the fridge as soon as possible to maximize its longevity.

  3. I made this hot pepper jelly today. Whenever I want to make something but don’t have all the ingredients, I substitute just so I can make it! As usual, I used more peppers than the recipe called for. Not sure how many cups I had, but the chopped peppers weighed one pound. Didn’t have jalapeños so I used two small hot green pointy peppers, seeds included. Everything else was the same as in the recipe. After cooking it for 20 minutes on medium low, it wasn’t anywhere near the jelly stage, so I increased the temperature to medium high and seven minutes later, it was ready. I did the cold plate from the freezer check and it was ready. The jelly tasted great now so I’m looking forward to trying it out tomorrow on some goat cheese!!

    1. Hot pepper jelly and goat cheese is so good together – enjoy! And glad this worked out great for you based on what you had on hand.

  4. I tried this recipe today.
    I used
    1 green pepper
    1 yellow pepper
    2 red hot pepper,
    2 small jalapeno
    all diced up and de-seeded
    1 cup of sugar
    1 cup of Stevia
    1 cup of Apple Cider vinegar
    followed the instructions
    boiled til it reached 220 (good ol” candy thermometer)
    took it off the heat
    poured in a plastic container
    it boiled down real good and was a “light honey syrup”
    Taste awesome !!!!!
    definitely going to be making this for Christmas gifts

  5. I made three batches of this doubled the jalapeno and tripled the jalapeno peppers in two of the batches added orange and yellow peppers. Love it hotter!. One batch I doubled. Which I think was a mistake took too long and waiting to see if it is thick enough once cool. The plate in the freezer from a post is a great idea! I put some on top of a bacon wrapped meatloaf last night and Holy Cow! The taste was outstanding and it looked beautiful! I never reply to recipes but this idea of no pectin is wonderful!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! I love all the variations you did to it – sounds fabulous!

  6. I place a plate and spoon in freezer when I start my jelly. I place a small amount on the plate to see if it is thick enough before I take it of the heat. If it cools on the cold plate and I run my finger through it and it stays separated and does not run when I tip the plate it’s done. I do that with all my jams jelly and butters.

  7. I use a thermometer to determine when jelly has cooked to perfect texture. As soon as it reaches 220 F (and not a moment longer) I pull off heat and jar. I always get perfectly textured jelly. Has anyone else used this method?

  8. I just realized I used sweet red peppers. Were we supposed to use hot peppers ?

    Today, following my great mid-week success I’m going to make hot sauce, using this same recipe as a base.  I’ve bought some Scotch bonnet peppers to add, as I live in Caribbean and everyone likes their hot sauce HOT.

    1. I use red bell peppers (which I guess some people may call ‘sweet’) and sometimes I’ll throw in some small red chili peppers (i.e. ‘hot’ peppers) but it’s really up to you with what you like, how hot you want to make it, what you have available, etc. Go with what you like!

      I once made the error of grabbing Scotch bonnet peppers when I was in the Caribbean traveling and making salsa, thinking it was just an ‘average’ pepper, and let’s just say that was the hottest salsa I’ve ever tasted :)

  9. I’ve just put mine on to cook, and after reading the comments I’m expecting a complete disaster. Let’s see how it goes.

    1. UPDATE.

      It was almost perfect. The taste is great but it’s just not quite think enough. I’ve cooked it gently for a few more minutes and I’m going to let it cool again.

      Do you have an idea how much time there is between not quite there, and candy which I think is the next stage. How long in the window where it is right. Are we talking one or two minutes or longer.

      The taste is excellent. I did the small recipe for my first try, on red pepper and some jalapeno. I’m not very good at cutting so my cubes were too big, so part why through the cooking I put it into the blender for a quick wiz and it came out just perfectly.

      Now I’ve just got to hit the perfect window of cooking for the texture.

      It’s pretty easy to see how to make hot source from this recipe. Less cooking and put it into a hot sauce bottle.

      Thanks for the recipe and guidance.

      1. So glad it’s ‘almost there’! Yes, with any kind of canning/jam/jelly-making there’s that slight bit of variance between too much and not quite enough cooking time. If it was pretty runny, I’d give it 3-5 minutes more. It’s so…variable! based on the peppers, the heat of the stove, the pot you’re using, all these little nuances and it’s hard to give a solid time, but I’d go for 3-5 more and see what happens. Keep me posted!

  10. I’m excited about the simplicity of this recipe!  My one question is, if I were to make more and want to preserve it, can they still be canned and have a shelf life or is this a refrigerator/freezer jelly only?

  11. Thanks for the recipe! I don’t have the time or space for canning, so it’s great to get a chance to make this jam without that process. I used 2 jalepenos, seeded and a bell pepper, also seeded., and only 3/4 cup of acv (that’s all I had). It took a long time to thicken- I burned my first batch (oops! Now I know jam can burn!), so I kept the heat low, so that was probably why it took so long. I did let it cook too long- it was very very thick, but next time I will know to take it off the heat sooner. I don’t think my jalepenos were very spicy, so I got almost no spice in the jelly. This is a great recipe- definitely using it again!

    1. Jam-making with the thickness level of things based on in the pot, and then after it’s cooled, it’s a bit of trial and error, isn’t it. And so are jalepenos and peppers in general. Some are super hot and I don’t expect it, and others I expect to be crazy hot, and they’re pretty mild. It’s sometimes a bit of ‘pot luck’ but glad the recipe will come in handy for future experiments!