Cranberry Pepper Jam

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Tart cranberries and spicy peppers mingle in this sweet and spicy Cranberry Pepper Jam.

When I realized I had been buying Cranberry Pepper Jam almost every time I was at the grocery store, I knew it was time to make my own version of this jam.

Cranberry Pepper Jam - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

I first tasted the jam with brie and fancy wafer crackers. Then I poured the jam over a simple block of cream cheese and served it with Ritz crackers. My kids went nuts over that.

Next, I spread the jam on the Best Ever Ham Sandwich. When you layer this Cranberry Pepper Jam with creamy goat cheese, salty ham, and fresh arugula, it’s the sandwich that everyone is going to be talking about.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned an upcoming recipe that has been as highly anticipated as this Cranberry Pepper Jam.

I mentioned that I would soon be sharing the jam recipe when I first shared the sandwich recipe a couple weeks ago. In the time since, I’ve received countless emails, messages, and snaps asking when I’ll be sharing the recipe for the jam.

I’ll apologize now for the delay, because the recipe just wasn’t perfect until this version. And when I say it is perfect, I mean it. It is absolutely positively PERFECT now.

Cranberry Pepper Jam is everyone's favorite appetizer!

Cranberry Pepper Jam

When you’re working with cranberries, I’ve found that it’s really easy to make a cranberry sauce. As evidenced with this classic homemade cranberry sauce and this spicy hot pepper cranberry sauce, we love our cranberry sauces.

However, for this jam, I wanted something more jelly-like than cranberry sauce, sweet with a solid hint of heat. This Cranberry Pepper Jam delivers it all.

(If you’re looking for a little more heat in your jam, the finely minced jalapeno and serrano peppers in this recipe can be increased by up to 1/2 cup without affecting the final result.)

Cranberry Pepper Jam is sweet, spicy, and completely irresistible! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Cranberry Recipes

This time of year, there’s no end to the cranberry recipes that we love. Lucky for me, I learned many years ago to buy as many fresh cranberries as possible each holiday season and toss the bags straight into the freezer.

This makes it possible to make the crazy popular Cranberry Christmas Cake and the Nantucket Christmas Cranberry Pie all year round. Cranberry Almond German Pancakes and Cranberry Pecan Brownies in July? Yes, please!

As soon as apple season hits, this Cranberry Apple Tart needs to happen as well. There are so many ways in which we use cranberries throughout the year. And this Winter Spice Cranberry Cake? It’s not just for wintertime

You’re going to love all of these recipes, so stock up on cranberries ASAP and be set for all of next year!

Cranberry Pepper Jam is my favorite food to gift!

Why I Use Pomona’s Universal Pectin

You may notice two unusual additions to this recipe; calcium water and Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The calcium water comes in the box along with the Pomona’s, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing them separately.

Because I feel rather strongly about how spectacular Pomona’s pectin is among all others, I’m going to give you a somewhat detailed explanation of why it is that I am recommending this particular pectin product.

Pomona’s Universal Pectin, unlike most other commercial counterparts, does not contain any weird preservatives or fillers. Pomona’s, unlike most other commercial pectins, allows you creative license to scale up or down any recipe to your heart’s content. If you scale up other pectins, the jams or preserves almost inevitably fail.

Cranberry Pepper Jam is the appetizer I want on every cheeseboard!

Pomona’s also allows you to make low/no sugar jams, jellies, and preserves with the same product should you wish to do so. If you want to use a grocery store pectin, you’ll need to buy a separate, specialized kind of pectin for that.

Pomona’s lasts forever and has no expiration date as long as it is properly stored.

Pomona’s may seem more expensive if you just compare the box vs. box prices, but with the Pomona’s you can make between 3 and 5 batches of your favorite jam and with the major brand pectin, you get one batch per box. That makes Pomona’s comparable in all cases and cheaper in most.

*huge thanks to Rebecca Lindamood for her extensive help while developing recipes using Pomona’s and her willingness to share that knowledge so freely. Notes on the use of Pomona’s are very lightly adapted from her words here.

Cranberry Hot Pepper Jam is an EASY appetizer that everyone loves!

Kitchen Tip: I use this pot, this pectin, these jars and these jars when making this recipe.

Cranberry Pepper Jam Recipe

  1. Combine the cranberries, bell peppers, jalapenos, serranos, and vinegar in a large deep pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. While the mixture comes to a boil, shake together the calcium water according to the package directions. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of Pomona’s pectin.
  2. When the mixture on the stove is boiling, add the calcium water and sugar/pectin mixture. Stir and bring to a boil again. When the sugar and pectin have dissolved, about a minute of simmering, add in the remaining 5 cups of sugar all at once. Stir to combine and bring to a roiling boil. (A rolling boil will continue to boil across the entire surface even while stirring.)
  3. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Remove from the heat and pour into sterile jars. Process in a hot water bath and then store in a cool dark place for up to a year. Alternatively, this jam may be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month or alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 6 months.
You're going to LOVE this Cranberry Hot Pepper Jam!

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Cranberry Pepper Jam - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Cranberry Pepper Jam

4.68 from 25 votes
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 112 about 3 1/2 pints (or approx 112 tablespoons)

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups red bell pepper finely chopped, about 1 1/2 peppers worth
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers finely minced, about 2/3 cup worth
  • 2 serrano peppers finely minced, about 1/3 cup worth
  • 2 cups plain white vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar divided
  • 1 tablespoon Pomona’s Universal Pectin *
  • 4 teaspoons calcium water *

Instructions

  • Combine the cranberries, bell peppers, jalapenos, serranos, and vinegar in a large deep pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. While the mixture comes to a boil, shake together the calcium water according to the package directions. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of Pomona’s pectin.
  • When the mixture on the stove is boiling, add the calcium water and sugar/pectin mixture. Stir and bring to a boil again. When the sugar and pectin have dissolved, about a minute of simmering, add in the remaining 5 cups of sugar all at once. Stir to combine and bring to a roiling boil. (A roiling boil will continue to boil across the entire surface even while stirring.)
  • Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Remove from the heat and pour into sterile jars. Process in a hot water bath and then store in a cool dark place for up to a year. Alternatively, this jam may be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month or alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 6 months. Enjoy!

Notes

You’ll notice two unusual additions to the recipe; calcium water and Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The calcium water comes in the box along with the Pomona’s, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing them separately. I’ve explained in the body of this post why it is that I am highly recommending this particular pectin product. 

Nutrition

Calories: 42kcal · Carbohydrates: 11g · Potassium: 5mg · Sugar: 10g · Vitamin A: 65IU · Vitamin C: 2.8mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 11/1/2017 – recipe notes and photos updated 12/9/19}

Sweet 'n Spicy Cranberry Pepper Jam is completely irresistible! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Sheila C Lane says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have had store bought and can’t get it anymore so not just timely but I am sure it will be even better than that!
    Can’t wait to try it out!

  2. Henriette Hall says

    Mary I have been making a very similar recipe I saw on Food TV.. The show was The Kitchen..or maybe just Kitchen..Jeff Mauro made it…
    My Mom made one just like it–only using jalapeno. I did same this year,, no calcium water, and I added Pomegrante –it was really tasty. Keeps forever in the fridge. Pectin formed just fine and the Pom Seeds looked just like little jewels throughout… I bought some pretty air tight glass jelly/jam jars from World Market.. Going to make pretty gifts. As usual, Thanks sweet girl !5 stars

  3. cathy says

    what if I don’t have that kind of pectin? We don’t have that in my little town.. How about regular Sure Jell Pectin???

  4. Ramona says

    I made this and the taste is wonderful. I followed recipe precisely but the jelly did not gel as nicely as I wanted. What did I do wrong?4 stars

  5. Betsy G says

    Hasn’t finished cooling yet & hubby and I keep “testing”! Delicious! I only had frozen cranberries, I used them frozen whole, will definitely use nonfrozen & chop. Almost all popped but still have some whole berries. Didn’t measure any peppers – just used quantities of peppers in recipe (Used red & yellow), turned out GREAT! Used Pomona stuff as suggested. I did not can, so will be handing some to friends this week to eat up! A keeper recipe!5 stars

  6. Deb says

    I made this, but I don’t use pectin or supremely in my jellies/ jams . Boil to 120 to 125 degrees. Won’t set like a solid jelly but flavor is same.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Unfortunately, I can’t speak to the amount needed, Julie. Several people have made this with different variations though, so it might be worth reading through the comments to see which changes they’ve made.

  7. Beau says

    Hey,

    This jam sounds excellent and I’m looking to make this for Christmas gifts. The Sure Jell website has a recipe for Pepper jam but it only uses 1 cup vinegar and 1 packet Sure Jell compared to the 2 cups vinegar in this recipe with the same amount of vegetables/fruit. Is the 2 cups vinegar required for stability issues due to the cranberries or can it be reduced to 1 cup? Does this recipe have a strong vinegar taste to it? With the individuals you’ve talked to in regards to using Sure Jell do you know how much they are using in this recipe? 1 or 2 packets? Thanks for any response and I look forward to making this soon.

  8. Mandy Compton says

    WOW! I tried this recipe for the first time today & I’m hooked! I followed the directions exactly & it worked perfectly. I have made a batch to share with friends for the holidays but I already know I need to make another batch because I want to have enough for MY family! Thanks SO much for sharing this wonderful recipe! I’m already looking for more ideas😉5 stars

    • Gwen says

      The jelly looks beautiful and tastes wonderful but I must’ve done something wrong. It’s is very liquidy. I am looking back over the recipe and can’t see where I messed up. I bought the Pomona Pectin (1 Tbls) with calcium water (1/2 teaspoon mixed with 1/2 c water, shaken) but it still isn’t setting. Hmmm…3 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Gwen! First things first, it can take up to 48 hours for jam to fully set. Did you by chance double the recipe? Or adjust any other ingredients? Slight changess in jam can result in it not setting. If you did follow a single batch recipe exactly, my best guess is that it didn’t boil hard enough. You CAN fix jam that didn’t set by reboiling it, however I haven’t personally tried this method using Pomona’s. But if all the other questions have been answered, this might help: https://foodinjars.com/blog/canning-101-how-to-save-runny-jam/

  9. Angela Turnbull says

    Hi this recipe is amazing. We made it without the seeds on the peppers, do you make it with the seeds or without? Thank you …

  10. Margaret Austin says

    Hello Mary
    This pepper jelly is excellent …definitely 4 forks. I use it as a gift to my favourite people and it is well received and anticipated. Just finished making a triple batch and the lids are popping as I type.
    Thanks so very much.
    Have a wonderful holiday season.5 stars

  11. THERESA says

    I love this recipe!!! I haven’t made any preserves for over 40 years. Thanks for making it as simple as possible💜
    . 🤶🏻This is going to be in my Christmas goody baskets for our family, this year!! 🎄5 stars

  12. Peg says

    Still trying to figure out the pectin. Am I missing something? I thought the reason for using this pectin was to use less sugar but see cranberry pepper has a lot. Is reason for using Pomona’s just have the option to reduce the sugar in other recipes ? Thanks so much.

  13. Pat says

    I bought all the ingredients for this jam (jars etc)but unfortunately didn’t read all the way to the end where it says “process in a water bath”. I have never canned before so I don’t have a water bath. Is there any substitute for a water bath? Or a recipe for freezer jam?

    • Mary Younkin says

      Pat, you can simply put the jam in the freezer until ready to use it. It will keep nicely in sealed (unopened) jars in the fridge for up to a month as well.

    • Jeni says

      I use my stock pot. As long as you have enough room at the top so the jars are covered with a couple inches of water, you can pretty much use any pot for a water bath. Mine isn’t as large around as most canners so I have to do them in batches, but they still work just fine.

  14. Nicole says

    Hello,

    I was wondering how much pectin I would need if I was using a common brand, such as no sugar needed sure jell? I’m having a hard time finding the Pomona’s near me, but really want to make this for Christmas!

    Thank you!
    Nicole5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      A few people have noted in the comments that they were able to use alternate pectins without any issues, Nicole. I’ve never done that myself, so I can’t speak to any other pectins.

  15. Patti says

    So I have only used Bernardin or certo pectin liquid and or powder types, has anyone used them as I have been unable to find the calcium and Pamona’s but would love to try this

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’ve heard from several people this holiday season that sure-jell and certo both worked nicely in this recipe, Patti. (If you’re using either of those, you won’t need the calcium water.)

  16. Jeni says

    Hi1

    First time visitor, specifically for this recipe 🙂 When I’ve used Pomona’s my jam/jelly always turns out pasty and curd-like, definitely not clear and jelled like yours shows here. I definitely don’t like the texture. So what am I doing wrong that this his happening, any ideas?
    Do you have a recipe for the jam using regular pectin?

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’ve heard from readers that have successfully made this with both sure-jell and certo pectins. However, I have only made it with Pomona’s and it turns out clear every time.

  17. ISLA J. DANE says

    I’ve never made jams/jellies before, but this recipe makes me want to try.
    How many jars are needed for this sized recipe?
    Can the sugar be reduced or will that ruin the consistency of the jam?
    Can you recommend a good site with instructions on water baths for beginners?

    Thank you! I look forward to trying this out!
    Isla

    • JC Busch says

      Hi!
      I make Habanero Gold jelly whenever my habs are ripe. We love it with cream cheese or brie on water crackers.
      My question is:
      Can I substitute my habs for part or all (they are super hot this year) of the japs?
      The combination of cranberries with the HOT fruitiness of fresh ripe habaneros sounds delectable.
      I’m thinking about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of my red habaneros then use some of my my green pabalmos for the serranos and the rest of the japs, and ripe red Italian peppers (no heat) for the bells.
      What do you think?
      My Habanero Gold calls for liquid pectin, and I’d never even heard of Pamano’s until I read your recipe.
      I’m hoping this will be another wonderful spread for crackers, and take the place of the cranberry sauce/relish we make to go with Turkey every year, and also help use up my bounty of habaneros!
      Hmm, or maybe Habanero Blue, with some of my frozen blueberries. (I have a freezer full of cranberries & blueberries right now that need to be used up before hunting season!
      Thanks a Bunch!
      JC

  18. June says

    Can I use another brand of pectin? I buy it by the pound and all of my recipes call for 1/3 cup. Does that sound about right for this recipe? I notice the amount of sugar, fruit and yield are about the same as most of my recipes.

  19. Carmen Edwards says

    I made this using 3oz of liquid pectin….I couldn’t find the calcium water locally. It came out great.
    Mine made 8 4oz jars.
    Great recipe.5 stars

  20. Darlene Koss says

    My husband is diabetic. How can I reduce sugar or use a substitute in this recipe without changing the taste?

  21. Cheri says

    Hi Mary. I just made two batches of this amazing jam and already have family begging for more! I’ve used up my freezer stash of fresh cranberries but have a giant bag of dried cranberries. Do you think the dried berries can be used in this recipe? Thanks for the great recipe!5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I imagine that will work fine to make a cranberry jam, Rachel. It won’t have the sweet / spicy combination though without the peppers.

  22. Michele Novak says

    I worked with Brian Sumer, one half of the team that created Pomona”s pectin. I had used Pomona’s for many years before I met Brian and was happily surprised to learn that he created what made jelly and jam making, for me anyway, a joy. Now I am twice blessed as I love cranberry hot pepper jelly and now can make my own. That is as soon as I can get the ingredients! Not an easy task during this social distancing era. Soon, though, soon! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  23. Randee says

    I’m super new to canning. What is the headspace on this? I’ve only ever canned strawberry jam, so I don’t know much lol

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Lisa, I have no idea how that might taste as I haven’t tried that combination myself. If the amounts are equal to the ingredient list, it will probably work for you.

  24. Susan C Cohen says

    Question: How long do l process in hot water bath? I am more than excited to make this jam. Thank you!

  25. Wendy Raley says

    I am making this recipe tonight and i only have certo liquid. Can I use this? and how much? I could not find the stuff that you use.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Wendy, I haven’t tried an alternate pectin in this recipe. That said, it should work fine. (There are approximately 4 tablespoons of powdered pectin in a packet of pectin and a packet of pectin is my best guess for this recipe. I don’t know how much is typically in a package of liquid pectin, but you would need to use twice that much liquid pectin to substitute it.)

  26. Julia says

    The recipe says the vinegar should be divided, it doesn’t mentions the division again after that. Is there a step missing or can I add all the vinegar at once? I can’t wait to make this!!5 stars

  27. Amie A Blanks says

    Hi. I made this today but I’m a bit confused. It calls for a 1/2 teaspoon of the calcium (which is the whole packet) and then 1 TABLESPOON of the pectin….which is less than the pectin. So what do I do with the rest of the pectin? Or how can I use it? Thanks for your help. My jam looks beautiful but I’m not sure if it will jell or not using the measurements that are in the description part of the recipe. Thanks for your help.

  28. Robynne Sapp says

    This recipe is stellar! Best jam ever, and so easy to make. We love it with a good cheese & crackers, as well as with turkey and ham. Just made my first batch and I’m so pleased that I’m planning another batch to give as gifts.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m thrilled that you like the jam, Bette. It should be partially set as it cooks and will firm up a bit as it cools. Unfortunately, doubling jam recipes can often mess with the way a recipe will set. My fingers are crossed that you won’t have any issues with this batch!

  29. Sue Johnson says

    Hi. What would the measurements be using regular Ball Pectin? I have the canister so how many Tbsp would I use? Thank you.

    • Mary Younkin says

      It’s in the recipe directions, Miranda. While the cranberry mixture comes to a boil, shake together the calcium water according to the package directions. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of Pomona’s pectin.
      When the mixture on the stove is boiling, add the calcium water and sugar/pectin mixture. Stir and bring to a boil again.

  30. Bruce Baker says

    I just made a triple batch of this stuff (actually a 2.67 batch, because that’s how much pectin is in a box. Eight teaspoons.) The taste is great, although it’s too mild for me. I added two habaneros and a teaspoon of cayenne, and it was still to mild. Also, it’s too drippy. Eat this at the table, not on the couch.

    I should have made a test batch then a production batch with more heat, more pectin, and more cranberries. That said, this recipe is a keeper.4 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m glad you like it, Bruce. Jam recipes can be fussy when multiplied. They can be less likely to set when the ingredient quantities are changed.

  31. Gigi Riojas says

    Hi I live in Central America and cannot get Pomona Pectin. I was able to get pectin but cannot find calcium water, could I use plain water and the amount of pectin it asks for?

  32. Diane Gilch says

    Can you make this, put in dishwasher-clean plastic containers, and freeze? I’m trying to avoid the whole “putting up in jars” process!

  33. victoria lyons says

    Just making the Cranberry Pepper Jam right now, have you tried adding finely chopped shallots? Just a thought

  34. Robert Tillotson says

    I’ve used this recipe. I also added 4 superhots, blended, and doubled recipe. It has a solid kick, but the flavor from this recipe makes it perfect.5 stars

  35. Mary Ellen Van Bommel says

    I combined two recipes and came up with a very pretty jelly. I also strained through a food mill.
    I plan to sprinkle some fresh jalapeno on top of the jelly just before serving. Will be pretty for the holidays and add more zip—my family loves very spicy dishes.

  36. Suzi Troxell says

    Made this last night to take as gifts to my Bible study group as we enjoy all kinds of pepper jelly. I used the small 4 oz jars as they are perfect over a block of cream cheese. This recipe is fabulous! When you said you worked on it u til perfect…you are absolutely right! The heat was just right, pepper jelly must have a bit of heat but not overpowering! First time to use this pectin and am very happy with it, TY for telling us about it. Do you just keep the calcium water until you make another batch of jelly?
    Thanks again for a great recipe! BTW my yield was 14-4 oz jars.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m so happy that you love the jam, Suzi. If you’ll be making another batch of jam soon, you can keep the calcium water in the fridge. Otherwise, I toss it.

  37. Aimee says

    Well, I bought the Pomona’s Pectin at the Amazon link given. But, the 3 pack was all that was offered for a reasonable price. I didn’t know I would need 5 boxes since each box has a scant teaspoon of the Calcium water powder. It wasn’t enough for the recipe, which calls for 4 teaspoons of the calcium water. And I’m not sure why we need the Pomona’s because the recipe promotes Pomona’s as a way to use less sugar, but this recipe, with the Pomona’s still uses 6 cups of sugar? All that being said, I think giving just a few more directions for making this jelly would be very useful. Mine has not thickened as much as I hoped for, maybe because of the calcium water, but it does taste delicious.3 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Aimee, you should have way more calcium water than you need for a batch with just what is in one box. I typically put the extra in the fridge or just toss it if I won’t be making more jam right away. You use the powder to make the calcium water and then you’re measuring the calcium water. You can certainly use a different pectin, however “I” truly love Pomona’s and it’s what I’ve had the best luck with for this particular recipe. Anything with cranberries requires a substantial amount of sugar to balances the tartness.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Unfortunately, jam recipes aren’t always reliable when quantities are changed. I typically make a recipe twice instead of risking it not setting when I’m making jam.

  38. Barbara Ridgway says

    Loved this! I added more chilis and was amazing! I used it over pate as well as warm Brie. love love love.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Crystals can form as a result of undissolved sugar during cooking – typically when the jam is undercooked. And sometimes, when the jelly cooks, sugar crystals may form about the edge of the boiling mixture. The fact that your jam is runny makes me think that it may not have been hot enough to cause it to fully cook and then set.

  39. Tish says

    I don’t see how long to process this jam in the recipe (in a water bath canner).
    Do you have any recommendations?

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Tish, I typically process jams in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes if jars are pre-sterilized. Clean hot jars that are not pre- sterilized may also be used; in that case, process jams in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

  40. Carolyn Arthur says

    Thanks for the video. It’s beautiful. Loved the, not yet, NOT yet, when it came to the “rolling boil.” I don’t think I get there, NOT that good! Also, needed to see that you used those dry cranberries. Thanks!5 stars