If you have never tried making a jam or jelly before, this is a great recipe to start with. Let me show you exactly How To Make Cranberry Jalapeno Jelly. Not only is it really simple to make, but so delicious!
What Makes This Jelly So Good?
I love the jalapeno/cranberry combo. It is a beautiful blend of sweet/slightly spicy/tart, making it totally irresistible.
This jelly holds really well for a long time! Like up to 3 weeks in the fridge long. You can also can it as well, which I will explain below. In our house, we never do as we go through it so quickly.
Even if you aren't into spicy foods, I think you will like this. After cooking the jalapenos with the sugar and cranberries, there is barely any heat left, just the flavor. It is a great pepper jelly for beginners.
You can use this pepper jelly for so many things! I will give you some ideas in the section below.
- Cranberries- I like to use fresh, so it is all I can recommend. I imagine the frozen would work as well, but cannot give first-hand advice on it.
- Jalapenos- Make sure the jalapenos are firm, this shows ripeness. Avoid any that are wrinkled and soft.
- Bell peppers- I use a mix of colors as I love the way it looks in the jelly.
- Sugar- I am sure there are other sweeteners you can use besides granulated sugar, but it is all I can speak for in this recipe.
- Lemon juice- you always need a little acid in your jams and jellies.
- Crushed red pepper- I add this for more heat to the jelly. If you want to keep it mind, leave this out.
- Liquid pectin- If you want to leave this out, I will add my recommendations below. I like a thicker jelly, so I add it in.
How To Make
Add all your ingredients to a saucepan, except the pectin. Cook for about 7-10 minutes on medium heat. The cranberries will burst and it will start to thicken just slightly.
Now, at this point you can proceed in 2 different ways, you choose. You can leave the cranberries in chunks, or you can blend them just slightly in the food processor or blender.
I like to leave it slightly chunky, so I only pulse a few times.
Add the mixture back to the pan. You will notice it is already pretty thick. If you want to leave it like this, go for it!
Or you can do like I did and add 2 packets of liquid pectin. Let this continue to cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
If you are canning, now is the time. If not, let it cool at room temp, then bottle it up.
This jelly cooks quickly. It is done in just about 15 minutes. So, don't walk away and forget about this.
You do not have to use pectin. As I mentioned above, I used it as I like a thicker sauce, but you don't have to. Once you pulse it in the blender or food processor you can decide.
If you want extra heat, swap 2 of the jalapenos for habaneros. I love this combo as well.
How To Sterlize Your Jars
The first step in canning is to sterilize your jars. This is not a step you want to skip. Yes, if your water bath time is long enough, they say you don’t need to sterilize, but it is a good habit to get into.
Do this by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Once it is boiling, add in your jars. Make sure they fully submerge. Boil them for about 10-15 minutes to remove any bacteria.
I am going to link to Spruce Eats for information on sterilizing jars, they note adjustments to altitude and I didn’t want to go into that in this post. There is plenty of misinformation out there, so again, be mindful!
How To Can In A Water Bath
Boil a couple of gallons of water in a tall pan. Make sure that it is high enough to cover the tops of your canning jars when they are added.
Make sure the jars are still hot when you add in the hot jam. Remember, hot jars, hot jam. Ladle in the jam from the pan to your jar. A funnel works best for curbing the mess this can create.
Leave about a quarter-inch at the top. You want to remove all air bubbles and then clean around the rim of the jar. You won’t get a proper seal if the rim isn’t clean. Then put the lid on, and the screw ring on top of that.
Next, lower your jars into the tall pan of boiling water. You can use a rack to put them in the boiling water, or a jar lifter like I use. Leave them in there for 15 minutes, and then turn off the heat and remove the jars.
Let them sit for 12 hours, and then check the seals. If any of the seals are broken just store those in the fridge and use them first.
Ways To Serve The Cranberry Jalapeno Jelly
We love it over cream cheese and served with crackers. But my favorite way is to slice a sharp cheddar, add it to a pretzel, and add a spoonful of jelly on top. Yum!!
It is also really good on biscuits, cornbread, any type of bread actually.
It can also be added to the top of ice cream! I am telling you, you can use this in so many ways!!
What other peppers can I use in this jelly?
If you want something with a little more kick, how about ghost peppers, or even Thai hot peppers. Just sub out the same amount of peppers. Same with using habaneros.
Other Jam and Jelly Recipes
How to make cranberry jalapeno jelly
- jars or containers for storing
- 3 cup fresh cranberries 1- 12 ounce bag
- 1 ½ cups finely chopped bell pepper
- 4 jalapenos If you only want it mildly spicy, only use 2 jalapenos.
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar If you like a much sweeter jelly, increase the amount to 2 ½ cups
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper optional for added spice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 pounches liquid pectin
- Add all ingredients to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Mix occasionally. Cook for about 5 minutes after it comes to a boil.
- The cranberries should be burst and the sugar dissolved. You have 2 options at this point. You can leave it chunky like it is, or you can throw it in a food processor or blender. Pulse just a couple of times.
- Add the hot liquid back to the saucepan and return heat to medium. Once it comes to a low boil, add in the packets of pectin and mix for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and it is done! You can let it cool or package it in the fridge, or you can water bath as described in the post.
- You are done. Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!