Spicy Red Pepper Jelly (No Added Pectin)

Sweet, tangy and delicious, Spicy Red Pepper Jelly (No Added Pectin) is the perfect condiment to serve with cream cheese and crackers. With free printable labels!

When I was first living in Cyprus I spent a very happy summer running a stall at the local markets selling jams, chutneys, pickles and relishes. Every week I would buy up loads of the incredible local produce, and then set to work like a mad scientist, with a kitchen full of bubbling pots, boiling up hundreds of jars of preserves. It was an enormous amount of effort, especially as the temperature outside crept over 40°C, but it was an absolute joy.

One of my most popular recipes was Spicy Red Pepper Jelly, an American invention, perfect for swirling through cream cheese. Pepper Jelly in the U.S is commonly made with commercial pectin to set it, however, in Cyprus pectin is nowhere to be found.

The solution is to add some natural pectin in the form of granny smith apples to the jelly to help it to set the natural way. This gives the jelly a lovely loose set – ideal for using as a dip or a sauce. This is such an easy, natural way of cooking, without any special ingredients.

I like to add a couple of mild chillies to my Spicy Red Pepper Jelly – after all, that’s what makes it spicy! You can adjust the heat to your taste. For a more mild heat, use jalapeños, for some serious spice throw in a couple of birds eye or habanero chillies.

While it is often simply served with cream cheese as a party dip, Spicy Red Pepper Jelly makes an excellent sauce for a quick stir-fried chicken or pork too. Cook the meat and stir through the jelly with a squeeze of lime at the end of the cooking time. Yum!

Despite the heat outside, summer is the season for canning and preserving. If you are looking for more preserving recipes click here for more.

I’ll be adding more recipes all throughout the summer. Take care out there and happy cooking! x J

Spicy Red Pepper Jelly

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!

Spicy Red Pepper Jelly

Spicy Red Pepper Jelly

Yield: 3-4 Jars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Sweet, tangy and delicious, Spicy Red Pepper Jelly is the perfect condiment to serve with cream cheese and crackers. It’s also delicious as a sauce for chicken or pork! This recipe has NO added pectin.


  • 2 red bell peppers / capsicums (or 1 red, 1 yellow)
  • 2-3 chilli peppers, to taste
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and grated
  • 400g sugar (approx. 2 cups)
  • 250ml (1 cup) white vinegar


Finely dice the peppers and chilli, I find it better to use a food processor, as this helps to release the juices, but you can do this by hand if you like. Grate the apple, then put the peppers and the apples into a large, heavy-based saucepan.

Stir through the sugar and vinegar, then heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then simmer for around 20 minutes until the mixture has reduced and begun to thicken. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 120°C / 250°F / Gas ½ and wash your jars in warm soapy water. Place the jars in a baking dish in the oven to sterilise. Place the lids in a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water.

After the jelly has reduced allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a heatproof jug. Pour into the hot, sterilised jars. If you find the pieces of pepper are floating to the top of the jar, invert the jars every 10 minutes until set. Allow to set overnight. Store in a cool dry place and don’t forget to label the jars!


If you are having trouble filling your jars without making a mess all over the counter (like me), try using a jam funnel like this one. Trust, me, life-changing!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 Tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 87Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 0gSugar: 21gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.


How long will red pepper jelly last?

In sterilised jars, stored in a cool, dark place, Spicy Red Pepper Jelly will keep at least two years.

How do I fill the jars without making a mess?

If you are having trouble filling your jars without making a mess all over the counter (like me), try using a jam funnel like this one. Trust, me, life-changing!

Can I use dried chillies in red pepper jelly?

Yes, you can! Just add the dried chillies to taste while the jelly is cooking.

Can I use other coloured peppers to make pepper jelly?

Yes! Red, green or yellow peppers are all fine. Green bell peppers and green jalapeños make for an especially delicious jelly.

Do I have to use apple in red pepper jelly?

The purpose of the apple in this jelly is to add some natural pectin to help the jelly set. If you leave it out you will need to use another type of setting agent, or boil the peppers down until they are very thick – Which can affect the texture. Make sure to use a tart apple variety, granny smith are ideal.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I like to use a mixture of red and yellow peppers to get a bright orange colour, but green peppers and jalapeños are delicious too!

Spicy Red Pepper Jelly

You can make this jelly as spicy as you like, or even add extra flavours like ginger or lime.

Spicy Red Pepper Jelly


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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food, architectural and landscape photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.
Articles: 218


  1. I am making this for the second time! It is the best pepper jelly I have ever tasted or made. The Apple gives it the right amount of pectin. I am using less sugar on my second batch. Thanks,

    • Hi Vanessa, that’s my pleasure, I’m so glad you found this recipe! It was just the same for me living in Cyprus, no pectin anywhere! I’d love to know how you get on! J

  2. What a great recipe! I doubled it using red and green bell peppers (2 of each) and 6 jalapeno peppers (2 with seeds and ribbing) Simply wonderful!!! Thank you so much!

    • Hi Leah! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I am so happy you like this recipe, I love the idea of all those jalapeños and the red and green must look beautiful! Enjoy and Happy Christmas! J.

  3. Hi Jay, can I replace the chilli peppers with chilli pepper flakes? I have bell peppers, just not the chilli ones. Thanks

    • Hi Jane! I’m so sorry for the delayed reply, I’ve just seen your message. Yes, you can absolutely replace the chilli peppers with chilli flakes, just adjust the amount to suit how spicy you like it! xJ

  4. I made this today! I doubled the recipe and added a couple of small apples that I had in the fridge to use them up. It did, however take the better part of the afternoon to cook down but hubby says it’s yummy. We’re going to serve it with cream cheese tomorrow!

    • Hi Jessica! Thanks for dropping by. The amount depends a bit on the size of your peppers (sometimes they are huge!) and the apple, I usually get 3-4 standard jam/peanut butter jar sizes out of this recipe. That’s roughly 300ml / 10 fl. oz per jar. Have a great weekend – I’d love to know how the recipe goes for you! J.

Let me know what you think!

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