With less than half the sweetener of traditional hot pepper jelly, this jalapeño pepper jelly recipe with honey is deliciously sweet with a jam-like consistency. Easily made with a lot more pepper-to-jelly ratio and no refined sugars.
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When I started canning, jalapeño pepper jelly was one of the first things I made, along with simple berry jams and salsa (which I later refined to become my favorite salsa for canning).
Not only is jalapeño jelly easy to make, it has that great combo of spicy and sweet that goes with so many things - sort of like Asian chili sauce.
We use it as a meat glaze, a condiment on burgers and sausages, and as an appetizer with cream cheese. It's especially good spread on salmon patties.
I even gave it as gifts and it became one of my most requested canned goods.
- The Problem with Traditional Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
- Jalapeño Jelly or Jalapeño Jam?
- How to Make Jalapeño Pepper Jelly with Honey
- How To Use Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
- Tips & FAQs
- More Easy Recipes Like This
- Jalapeño Pepper Jelly Recipe for Canning or Freezing (Honey Sweetened)
The Problem with Traditional Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
But when I started moving our family away from heavily sugared foods, the 5-6 cups of sugar to only 1-1/2 cups of jalapeños in the standard recipe just didn't sit well with me anymore.
I searched for a less sugary replacement, but wasn't happy with the results, so one year I didn't make any at all.
But we all missed it (it's a favorite with sausages and Addictive Tomato Chutney), so I decided to try again with the garden jalapeños that were left after making our yearly batch of easy pickled jalapeño peppers.
The Adapted Recipe
This time I found a Ball Preserving recipe that was a hybrid pepper jelly recipe using both sugar and honey, though with mainly sweet peppers, that sounded like something I could adapt to create a less sugar jalapeño jelly sweetened with only honey.
Since this was a tested recipe, I kept the ratios the same, but used mostly jalapeños, a few milder Ancho and/or Anaheim peppers (which can be increased and the jalapeños decreased for a less-spicy end product), and only honey as the sweetener.
I used Ball's commercial flex batch no/low sugar pectin to give the jelly the best chance to set when using only honey to sweeten.
Jalapeño Jelly or Jalapeño Jam?
In the end, the jelly is more jam-like in both consistency and all the peppers included (vs. a stiff jelled product with only a few peppers floating around).
This has been perfectly fine for what we use it for - in fact, I've found it actually easier to use as a glaze for meats when it's looser like a jam.
So if you've been searching for a healthier jalapeño jelly product like me, I'm excited to be able to end your search right here.
And if you've never tried making jalapeño jelly, I would encourage you to try it - it may just become your most-requested gifts, too!
- Jalapeño peppers - you can use all green, a combo of red and green or all red (I used a combo, so the resulting jelly in the photos is more red/orange than if you used all green jalapeños).
- Mild hot peppers - anaheim, poblano, hatch, and banana peppers are all good choices.
- Vinegar - I prefer apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar will also work well.
- Ball's Real Fruit flex batch no or low sugar pectin
- Honey - you can use half honey and half cane sugar if you'd like (or even all cane sugar), but not any sugar substitutes - they will not work with the pectin to gel.
How to Make Jalapeño Pepper Jelly with Honey
Detailed quantities and instructions are included in the full recipe box below, but here are a few extra tips to help with each step:
Step 1. Gather boiling water canning equipment and prepare eight 1/2-pint (8-ounce) jars and lids (see tutorial video below). (See all my favorite canning supplies here - including the flat-bottomed canner I wished I'd known about sooner!)
Step 2. Finely chop peppers (I use this food processor, it makes it easy and chops finer than by hand), being careful to protect your hands with gloves - pepper juice has been known to leave a burning sensation in your hands for hours afterwards and often gets transmitted to your eyes (yes, this is first hand knowledge...).
TIP: Remove the seeds and pith completely from the mild peppers, but leave most of the jalapeño seeds and membranes if you like things spicy like we do - the more you remove from the jalapeños, the less spicy the jelly will be.
Step 3. Add the peppers, vinegar and pectic to a large stockpot.
Step 4: Bring to a roiling boil that can't be stirred down.
Step 5: Add honey, return to a roiling boil and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly - this is important, as the mixture could foam up over the pan if left unattended. The mixture should feel a bit thicker as you stir by the end, but will not be like jam yet. It will set more as it cools.
Step 6: Use a metal ladle and canning funnel to transfer the pepper jelly to warm clean half-pint jars leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rim with a damp cloth.
Step 7: Attach lid and band to the jar, screwing the band on just to fingertip tight.
Step 8: Fill one jar at a time and transfer to a raised rack in a water-bath canner before filling remaining jars. (This is the glass-topped one I use now after retiring my wobbly old enamel canner!)
Step 9: Lower canning rack and process jars in canner for 10 minutes (timing after water comes to a boil with the jars submerged). Remove lid, turn off burner, and let jars sit in canner for 5 minutes.
Boiling Water Canning Step-by-Step Video
You can also read the full canning tutorial with more details here.
Step 10: Remove jars to a towel-lined surface to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Remove rings, check seals and label with date before storing.
I love seeing the jars sitting while cooling, waiting to be labeled and added to the canning pantry - it's such a nice feeling of accomplishment.
How To Use Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
Here are just a few of the ways we enjoy this condiment:
- Spread on burgers and sausages.
- As a glaze for chicken, pork, and ham.
- Added on top of salmon patties or Costco's salmon burgers.
- Spooned over a block of cream cheese to eat with crackers for the easiest appetizer ever.
Again, you can see this isn't your typical clear jelly with a few peppers floating around in all the sugar, this is full-on pepper jam.
Both Brian and I like it much better, though - I hope you do, too!
Tips & FAQs
First of all, it will not be like jam until it fully cools down - as you can it, it will still be liquid. Here are some tips for success:
-From a comment: "Boiled hard for 5 minutes instead of three. It is nice and thick."
-Use only the measurements listed in the recipe (do not double - the larger amount to boil could affect gelling).
-Use only a pectin for low and no sugar recipes.
No, because of the low amount of sweetener and the different way honey reacts with pectin, it needs to be a pectin marketed for low or no sugar recipes (I link to Ball, but Pomona's is another brand people have used).
Yes, this is the same - you can use all jalapeños or a mix of hot peppers.
18 months to 2 years if canned, about a year if frozen. Once the jar is opened it will last in the fridge for 3-4 months.
More Easy Recipes Like This
- Easy Addictive Tomato Chutney Recipe
- Easy Canned Chipotle BBQ Sauce Recipe
- Sweet and Spicy Canned Onion Marmalade/Jam
What Other's Are Saying:
Oh my gosh! This is absolutely the best! -Carol
This is by far my husband's favorite preserving recipe ever. He eats this stuff on EVERYTHING. It's super good with farm-fresh scrambled eggs and vermont cheddar cheese. Delicious. -Kimberly
This turned out REEEAAALLLY awesome. I omitted most of the seeds, used 1/2 green, 1/2 red jalapeños (for visual interest) and let it "cure" in the 'fridge for a few months. -Kristin
Jalapeño Pepper Jelly Recipe for Canning or Freezing (Honey Sweetened)
- Food Processor
- 6-quart or larger stock pot
- water bath canner
- canning jars and lids or freezer containers
- 3½ cups finely chopped jalapeño peppers about 2 pounds *see note on peppers
- 1½ cups finely chopped Anaheim and/or Ancho peppers about 1 to 1¼ pounds
- 1¼ cups cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Ball Low or No Sugar Flex Batch Pectin **see note
- 2½ cups honey
- Wash 7 to 8 half-pint (8-ounce) jars and keep warm until needed. Wash lids and rings in soapy water and set aside. Prepare boiling water canner.
- Combine peppers and vinegar in a large stockpot, then gradually stir in the pectin.
- Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a full rolling boil over high heat that can't be stirred down.
- Add honey, bring back to a full boil and boil hard for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim foam if needed.
- Ladle hot jelly into prepared, hot jars, one at a time leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rim, center lid on jar and attach ring, screwing just until fingertip-tight. Add to rack in canner.
- Lower canning rack and process jars in canner for 10 minutes (timing after water comes to a boil with the jars submerged). Remove lid, turn off burner, and let jars sit in canner for 5 minutes.
- Remove jars to a towel-lined surface to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Remove rings, check seals and label with date before storing.
- Adjust the peppers as you desire: use less jalapeños and more mild peppers for a less spicy jelly or visa versa - just keep the total pepper amount to 5 cups. You can use any pepper you'd like- hotter peppers like habaneros or even sweet peppers in place of the mild peppers.
- Also, you can leave the seeds out if you want a milder jalapeño jelly.
- Remember to use gloves when preparing hot peppers!
- A food processor makes quick work of chopping all the peppers.
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in 2014.
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